Common British Slang Words You Need To Know

2 October 2023
By Sarah Angela Almaden
Japanese House

Chewing Gum

Oscar Wilde once mentioned something about America (which, of course, is talking about the US) in his short story The Canterville Ghost and it went like this: “We have really everything in common with America nowadays except, of course, language." I like that Wilde statement and I always find that very interesting because what Wilde said back then is still very true today. I mean English (along with other diverse languages) is spoken in both sides of the pond, but… the English language spoken in both places has its special differences.

Okay, there are similarities in both British and American English. But their differences are crystal clear. You can see and hear their variations in spelling, accents, pronunciation, regional dialects, and most especially in slang. In this case, we are talking about British slang phrases. And believe it or not, there are plentyyy of British slang phrases that many Brits use here and there. If you’re not used to hearing these slang terms, then they might sound funny to your ears. Nevertheless, these words mean no harm, so why not get to know them, eh?

  • bits and bobs: a small selection of things; the miscellaneous details
  • cheesed off: to be angry or to be upset
  • hunky-dory: fine
  • knees-up: a wild party
  • pip pip: bye
  • telling porkies: telling lies
  • sod off: another way of saying “go away”
  • peng: very attractive or very beautiful
  • jiggery-pokery: a dishonest behavior
  • botch job: a very bad job
  • builder’s tea: a very strong cup of tea
  • cack-handed: clumsy
  • codswallop: nonsense
  • dog’s dinner: describing something that is messy and chaotic
  • dog’s bollocks: something that is very, very great
  • full of beans: having a lot of energy
  • leg it: to run away
  • miffed: annoyed
  • twee: quaint; pretty; small
  • fag: a cigarette
  • take a punt: take a risk
  • pig’s ear: something that is done terribly
  • put a sock in it: stop talking