Despite English being the official language of the United States, having once been a British colony, it’s intriguing how these two linguistic variations have evolved independently. This list delves into some of the most common British English terms, providing brief explanations to help demystify them for American English speakers.
In British slang, “plastered” is a term used to describe someone who is heavily intoxicated, often due to excessive alcohol consumption. It’s similar to saying someone is “wasted” or “drunk out of their mind.” For example, if someone says, “After the party, he was absolutely plastered,” it means he was extremely drunk.
“Daft” is a British slang term used to describe something or someone as silly, foolish, or lacking common sense. It’s often used in a lighthearted or teasing manner. For instance, if someone makes a silly mistake, you might say, “That was a daft thing to do.”
In British slang, “dodgy” is used to describe something that seems suspicious, unreliable, or potentially unsafe. It’s akin to saying “shady” or “questionable.” For example, if you’re hesitant to buy a used car because it doesn’t seem trustworthy, you might say, “I’m not sure about that car; it looks a bit dodgy.”
“A cuppa” is a British slang term for a cup of tea. It’s a shortened form of “a cup of.” The term is often used when someone asks if you’d like a cup of tea, and you might respond with, “Yes, I’d love a cuppa.”
“Chuffed” is a British slang term used to express delight, satisfaction, or being genuinely pleased about something. It’s akin to saying “happy” or “thrilled.” For example, if someone receives a compliment, they might respond with, “I’m really chuffed you liked it!”
The term “bloke” is a casual and commonly used word that simply means “man.” It’s often used informally to refer to any male individual, regardless of age or social status. For example, you might hear someone say, “He’s a friendly bloke,” to describe a person as a friendly man.
In British slang, “bagsy” is a playful way to claim or reserve something, similar to saying “dibs” in American English. It’s often used in informal situations among friends to express a desire to have or use something before others. For instance, if a group of friends sees the last slice of pizza, one might say, “Bagsy the last slice!” to claim it for themselves.
“Quid” is a slang term for the British pound sterling, specifically referring to a single pound or 100 pence. For instance, “The ticket costs ten quid.” However, it can be used to refer to other currencies as well, depending on where the person currently is.
In British slang, “kip” is a term used to mean taking a nap or getting some sleep. For example, “I need a kip after that long journey.” It is most often used in an informal setting.
In British slang, “ledge” is a shortened form of “legend,” which is used informally to describe someone remarkable or admirable. For example, you might hear someone say, “David Bowie was an absolute ledge,” to express admiration for the iconic musician.
“Brass monkey” is a slang term used to describe extremely cold weather conditions. It’s often used in the phrase “cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.” This phrase alludes to the idea that very low temperatures could cause metal (the “brass monkey”) to contract, potentially leading to objects placed on it to fall off.
In British English, the word ‘snog’ is a colloquial term that refers to an intimate act of affection. It essentially means to engage in passionate kissing, cuddling, or making out with someone. It’s a playful and informal way to describe romantic or physical interaction between two people.
In British slang, “rubbish” is a versatile term. It can mean something of poor quality or something that’s just not good, like a bad movie or a disappointing meal. Additionally, “rubbish” is often used to refer to actual trash or garbage, making it synonymous with “trash” in American English. For example, “That movie was absolute rubbish,” or “Take out the rubbish, please.”
In informal British slang, “monkey” can be used to express indifference or a lack of concern about something. For instance, if someone says, “I don’t give a monkey’s about your work schedule,” it means they don’t care or aren’t interested in the details of your work hours.
In British slang, “bog roll” is a humorous and colloquial term for toilet paper. This playful term likely originates from the Scottish/Irish word “bog,” meaning soft, and the fact that toilet paper is a soft material used in the bathroom. For example, someone might ask, “Could you grab some bog roll from the store?” when referring to toilet paper.