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British slang video lesson

In this lesson I explain some extremely common and useful British slang terms which I recommend you study and learn. Please find written explanations below.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1nGVglSVu4

 

Aye

This word is not very common but is still used, (especially by me) and is a substitute for “yes” and “OK”. I believe it is originally a Scottish word, although I am not sure.

So, you use it in exactly the same way as you would “yes” or “OK”.

“How are you?” “Aye, not bad”

“Are you feeling better?” “Aye, thanks”

 

Ain’t

“Ain’t” is a very common and popular word for native English speakers, (I say it all the time) although it is grammatically incorrect. It is hard to explain too, because it is one of the English words which defies the normal rules of language, but I will try to explain how to use it as well as I can, because if you know how to use it, you are a real English speaker!

Basically, it is used as a substitute for the negatives of two verbs: “to not have” and “to not be”, and you can use it for ANY of the subject pronouns. All I can do is give some examples so you can see what I mean:

“Are you there yet?” “No, I ain’t.”

“Have they got it?” “No they ain’t.”

“What’s she wearing to the party later?” “She ain’t going.”

 

British slang: “loo” means “toilet”

A very important slang term to know in the UK is that “loo” is often used as a synonym for toilet.

EXAMPLE

“I’m dying for the loo, where is it?”

Other terms

“Bathroom” normally means the room in a house which contains the bath / shower etc., but sometimes we use it as a synonym for “toilet” too.

“Gents’” (short for “gentlmen’s”) means male toilet and “ladies’” refers to a female toilet.

 

Cheers

“Cheers” is the equivalant of “salud” in Spanish and “santé” in French – normally used when people are drinking together and they hold their glasses close to celebrate something. However, we also use it for two other reasons, for “thanks” and for “bye”.

“Here you go!” “Cheers, mate.” (Thanks.)

“See you later then.” “Cheers.” (Bye.)

 

English slang: “sick” means “great”

“Sick” normally means “ill”, but for some reason is has become a slang synonym for “great”, “amazing” and similar words, having a very positive meaning. I don’t really understand why.

EXAMPLES

“That tune is sick!” (“That song is great!”)

“I can’t wait for the party on Friday, it’s gonna be sick.”

 

Innit

It is derived from “isn’t it”, used mainly by young men in informal settings, normally used like “isn’t it?”  at the end of a question, but also in a confirmatory style at the end of a statement. EXAMPLES:

“It’s very hot today, innit?”

(Me during the football against Germany) “That was way over the line, innit!”

In a confirmatory style: “I’ll call you later, innit.”

 

British slang: “rubbish” means “very bad”

“Rubbish” means “waste”, (“garbage” or “trash” in American English) but another very common usage is an adjective which means “very bad”.

EXAMPLES

“I don’t like that film, I think it’s rubbish.”

“Your football team is going to be rubbish this year.”

I discuss the slang use of “rubbish” briefly in this video lesson:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xo1mOOmUvMk

 

Synonyms / slang for “tired”

Whacked; exhausted; knackered; cream-crackered (rhyming slang for “knackered”);

So, instead of saying “I’m a bit tired”, you could say:

“I’m a bit whacked.”

“I’m absolutely knackered.” (For informal situations.)

 

Wee

“Are you coming?”, “Aye, wait a WEE while” (Wait for a short time.)

“He’s a WEE lad.” (He’s a small boy.)

NOTE: as a verb, “to wee” is a juvenile expression meaning “to urinate”, so please don’t get that confused with the above.

 

Cockney rhyming slang

Cockney rhyming slang involves using phrases which rhyme with words as substitutes for those words. They will often then drop the last word of the phrase, which rhymes, so that the phrase no longer rhymes, to make it even more confusing. Here is a list of them: http://www.aldertons.com/english-.htm

Butcher’s book (or butcher’s) means “look”

“Let’s get a butcher’s; “Have a butcher’s at that girl!”

Adam and Eve means “believe”

“Would you Adam and Eve it!”

Apples and pears means “stairs”

“I’m heading up the apples and pears…” (“I’m going to bed”)

You can see the rest if you click on the link. There is a very long list.

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