List of British words not widely used in the United States

This is a list of British words not widely used in the United States.

  • Words with specific British English meanings that have different meanings in American and/or additional meanings common to both languages (eg pants, cot) are to be found at List of words having different meanings in American and British English, as are compounds derived from such words (eg cot death). When such words are herein used or referenced, they are marked with the flag [DM] (different meaning).
  • Asterisks (*) denote words and meanings having appreciable (that is, not occasional) currency in American, but nonetheless notable for their relatively greater frequency in British speech and writing.
  • British English spelling is consistently used throughout the article, except when explicitly referencing American terms.


about-turn : an abrupt turn to face the opposite direction, often used metaphorically. Typically also used in the armed forces as a drill instruction. (US and UK also: about-face.) abseil : to descend on a rope (US: rappel). accountancy : calculating and tracking financial matters (US: accounting).
In the UK accounting is the school subject, but accountancy the professional qualification. advert : advertisement (US and UK also: ad, classified ad, commercial). agony aunt : the author of an agony column – a magazine or newspaper column advising on readers' personal problems. The image presented was originally that of an older woman providing comforting advice and maternal wisdom, hence the name "aunt". Better known to most Americans as a "Dear Abby" column or advice column. Similarly, agony uncle. aggro : aggressive or confrontational behaviour, extreme irritation or exasperation. alight : to descend from a car, train, or bus. (US: deboard). answerphone : (originally from trademark Ansafone) automated telephone answering device (US and UK also: answering machine). anti-clockwise : direction opposite to clockwise (US: counterclockwise). approved school : school for juvenile delinquents; reform school. Note that such institutions have not been referred to officially as "approved schools" since 1969. Juvenile delinquents, depending on their level of malfeasance, are now sent to PRUs (Pupil Referral Units) or YOIs (Young Offender Institutions – a correctional facility for juvenile delinquents). (US: juvenile detention center, juvenile hall, (slang) juvie.) Argie : (pejorative) an Argentine. argy-bargy : (informal) pushing-and-shoving or outright fighting. arse *: (vulgar; UK and Canada) buttocks (US equivalent: ass), backside or anus, depending on context; to be arsed: to be bothered to do something, most commonly as a negative or conditional (e.g. I can't be arsed, if/when I can be arsed). Sometimes used in the US but only as a noun. [to fall] arse over tit : (vulgar, alternatively arse over tit/tip) [to fall] head over heels. (US: ass over tea kettle). artic (lorry) : (abbreviation of 'articulated lorry') (US: semi, semi-trailer truck, tractor-trailer) ashet : (Scottish) a deep plate or dish. aubergine: a solanaceous plant bearing a fruit of the same name, commonly used as a vegetable in cooking (US: eggplant). autocue : a prompting system for television announcers (genericised trademark, after a leading manufacturer) (US: teleprompter).


Batty : London west Indian term for an Arse or a Homosexual e.g Batty Boy balls-up : (vulgar) error, mistake, (see Cock-up) SNAFU bang to rights : (slang) in the act of committing an offence, red-handed (US: dead to rights) banger : (1) a sausage (from the tendency of sausages to burst during frying), (2) a firework, (3) an old car (allusion to their tendency to backfire) banksman : (not widespread) person in charge of vehicle movements at a construction site or on a bus/taxi stand (US: dispatcher) bap: soft bread roll or a sandwich made from it; in plural, breasts (vulgar slang) barmaid *, barman : a woman or man who serves drinks in a bar. Barman and the originally American bartender appeared within a year of each other (1837 and 1836); barmaid is almost two centuries older (circa 1658). barney : a fight or argument. barrister * : (UK, Canada) a type of lawyer (one qualified to give specialist legal advice and argue a case in both higher and lower law courts). Sometimes used in US with pejorative connotations. beck : small watercourse; stream; creek (regional, especially Yorkshire and the Lake District) bedsit (or bedsitter) : one-room apartment that serves as a bedroom and a living room (US: see SRO; compare studio apartment, efficiency (apartment)) Belisha beacon : orange ball containing a flashing light mounted on a post at each end of a zebra crossing (qv); named after the UK Minister of Transport who introduced them in 1934. berk : a mildly derogatory term for a silly person. The word is an abbreviation of either 'Berkshire Hunt' or 'Berkeley Hunt' (it is uncertain which is the original phrase), cockney rhyming slang for cunt. (Note that 'berk' rhymes with 'work', whereas the first syllable of both 'Berkshire' and 'Berkeley' is pronounced 'bark'.) bimble : to wander aimlessly or stroll/walk without urgency to a destination. bint : a derogatory term for a woman. Usage varies with a range of harshness from 'bitch', referring to a disagreeable and domineering woman, to only a slightly derogatory term for a young woman (from the Arabic for a girl). biro : a ballpoint pen. Named after its Hungarian inventor Laszlo Biro bish bash bosh : emphatic way of stating that something is simple, and will be/has been easy to do. black pudding : (US. Blood Sausage) blag : (slang) to obtain or achieve by deception, to bluff, to scrounge, to rob, robbery, tall story, bluff, deception blimey : (informal) an exclamation of surprise. (Originally gor blimey, a euphemism for God blind me, but has generally lost this connotation.) bloke : (informal) man, fellow bloody hell: (informal, mildly vulgar) oh my God, what the hell. blues and twos : (slang, uncommon) emergency vehicle with lights and sirens (emergency services in the UK generally use blue flashing lights and a two-tone siren) (US: lights and sirens) boardies, board shorts : long shorts used for surfing or beachwear (US and UK also: swimming trunks) bobby : police officer, named after Sir Robert Peel, the instigator of the world's first organised police force Bob's your uncle : "there you go", "it's that simple". Also used to signify that no further explanation for the situation being described will be forthcoming. Sometimes extended to "Robert's your mother's brother" for emphasis. It derives from the name of a British Prime Minister Arthur Balfour, whose uncle Lord Salisbury (given name Robert), had been his political mentor and also prime minister. bobbins : something of low quality or (more commonly) someone who lacks ability at something, (e.g."Our new striker is bobbins") bodge : a poor job (repair) that just about works. See Bodger. boffin : scientist or engineer, geek, nerd, sometimes abbreviated to boff bog roll: (roll of) toilet paper (slang) bog-standard: completely ordinary, run-of-the-mill, unadulterated, unmodified boiled sweet: type of confection (US: hard candy) bollocks : (vulgar; originally ballocks, colloquially also spelled as bollox) testicles; verbal rubbish (as in "you're talking bollocks") (US: bullshit). The somewhat similar bollix is found in American English, but without the anatomical connotations or vulgar sense meaning 'mess up'. The twin pulley blocks at the top of a ship's mast are also known as bollocks, and in the 18th century priests' sermons were colloquially referred to as bollocks; it was by claiming this last usage that the Sex Pistols prevented their album Never Mind the Bollocks from being banned under British obscenity laws. Related phrases include bollocksed, which means either tired ("I'm bollocksed!") or broken beyond repair; bollocks up, meaning to mess up ("He really bollocksed that up"); and [a] bollocking, meaning a stern telling off.

The dog's bollocks is a fairly common phrase used in British English, although this has the opposite meaning – something described as "The dog's bollocks" or sometimes even just "The bollocks" is something considered to be very good. In mixed company this phrase may be toned down to "The mutt's nuts", or the phrase "The bee's knees" may be used as a polite substitute. The etmyology of this expression is said by some to derive from printers' slang for the punctuation symbol ':-' when printing involved the use of carved metal blocks to form typesetting. bonce : (informal) person's head (mainly used in London and the South East, though said in the North too) bone-idle : lazy brass-monkeys : cold – from "cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey". This phrase is often said to derive from cannonballs stowed on a brass triangle named after a "powder monkey" (a boy who runs gunpowder to the ship's guns) spilling due to the frame's contraction in cold weather. However this is doubtful since these were wooden (possibly for this reason) and its more obviously vulgar derivation may be the correct one. bristols : (vulgar, Cockney rhyming slang) breasts; from football team Bristol City = titty brolly : (informal) umbrella bubble and squeak : dish of cooked cabbage fried with cooked potatoes and other vegetables. Often made from the remains of the Sunday roast trimmings. (Irish: colcannon) bugger-all : little or nothing at all; "I asked for a pay rise and they gave me bugger-all"; "I know bugger-all about plants"; damn it all. US: zip, jack or (offensive) jack shit; US and UK also (offensive) fuck-all. building society : an institution that provides mortgage loans and other financial services (US equivalent: savings and loan association) bum bag : a bag worn on a strap around the waist (US: fanny [DM] pack) bumf, bumph : useless paperwork or documentation; from "bum fodder" toilet paper) bureau de change : an office where money can be exchanged (US: currency exchange) burgle *: (originally colloquial, back-formation from burglar) to commit burglary (in the US, burglarize is overwhelmingly preferred, although burgle is occasionally found). busk : 1: * to play live music, perform or otherwise entertain in a public place, usually in the hope of receiving small monetary contributions from spectators and passersby. American English has no exact equivalent, but a busker is a "street musician" or "street performer". Gradually, "busk" (v) and "busker/busking" (n) are becoming increasingly common in US English usage, at least among professional musicians.
2: used to imply rapid improvisation in a working environment, for example: "we'll have to busk it" (we'll have to make it up as we go along). The latter meaning comes from the former, specifically from the concept of performing without sheet music or script. butty : (North England colloquialism, also understood in the south) a buttered sandwich, often with chips [DM] (chip butty)
(Northern and Central England) a workmate, and thus an unpowered barge towed by a powered one, such as a narrowboat
(Welsh English colloquialism) friend, similar to usage of word mate (usually "butt").


cach : commonly used in Scotland (from the Gaelic word for fæces), See cack below. cack : (slang) faeces (feces); nonsense or rubbish: "what a load of cack" could equally be used to describe someone talking nonsense or as a criticism of something of poor quality. Also spelt "kak". Derived from an ancient Indo-European word, kakkos, cognate with German word Kacke; US: crap, caca. See also kaka one's grits below cack-handed : (informal) clumsy; left-handed. Derived from cack, meaning "fæces (feces)", with reference to the Quranic rules that only the left hand should be used for cleaning the 'unclean' part of the human body (i.e. below the waist). (US: butterfingers) cafetière : device for making coffee (US: French press) cagoule : type of lightweight hooded waterproof clothing call box, phone box : public phone (US and UK also: payphone) call minder : (rare) telephone message recorder (US and UK also: answering machine; voicemail machine) candidature : synonymous with candidacy candy floss : spun sugar confection (UK, Canada) (US: cotton candy; Australian English: fairy floss). Otherwise, "candy" is a not a broadly used term, though it would be understood if used in an American context. ("eye candy" is used) canny : (primarily used in northern England, Scotland, Ireland), wise, able to see the best course of action (e.g., "he's a canny lad") or very, as in "it is canny big" caravan park : area where caravans are parked (US: Trailer park for near-permanently-installed mobile homes, or RV park for areas intended for short term recreational vehicle parking. Trailer parks are typically low-income permanent residencies; RV parks are a holiday destination.) car hire : car rental car park : area where cars are parked (US usually parking lot if outdoor, parking garage if indoor). carriageway : the part of a road that carries the traffic; see also s.v. dual carriageway (US and UK also: lane) carrier rocket : a rocket used to place a satellite in orbit (rare, US: "launch vehicle" generally used in both). cash machine, cashpoint : automated teller machine. ("Cashpoint", strictly speaking, refers only to the ATMs of Lloyds TSB, although the term has become generic.) cats eye : reflector used to mark lane divisions and edges of roads, also written cat's-eye, genericised from the trademark Catseye (US: raised pavement marker; Botts' Dots are similar) central heating boiler : (US: furnace) central reservation : division between carriageways of a road (US: median strip) chamber pot: porcelain receptacle kept under the bed chancer : (slang) an opportunist char, cha: (informal) tea. From the Chinese, chá. char : (informal) short for charwoman or charlady, a domestic cleaner Chartered Accountant : (UK, Canada) one authorised to certify financial statements (US: Certified Public Accountant) char-wallah: a usually South Asian servant whose role is to provide freshly brewed tea on demand. From Urdu chai, tea, and -wallah, -man. charwoman : (dated) a woman employed as a cleaner, especially as an office cleaner chav : (slang, often derogatory) typically a working class person of lowish intelligence who wears designer label (eg Burberry) copies, fake gold bling, and is a trouble-maker. "Chav" is used nationally, though "charv" or "charva" was originally used in the northeast of England, deriving from the Roma word charva, meaning disreputable youth. Often referred to as wiggers in the US, although the cultural differences are vast. cheeky * : (UK, Canada) impertinent chimney pot : smoke-stack atop a house. But refers to the cylindrical topmost part. The part below is the chimney or chimney stack. chinagraph pencil : pencil designed to write on china, glass etc. (US: grease pencil, china marker) chip shop : (informal) fish-and-chip shop (Scot, Ire: chipper), also chippy (see also List of words having different meanings in British and American English) chinwag : (slang) chat choong : (slang) attractive person - usually referring to a female. Used mostly in a urban youth/chav setting. chuffed : (informal, becoming somewhat archaic, originally Liverpudlian) proud, satisfied, pleased. Sometimes intensified as well chuffed; cf. made up chunter * : (sometimes chunner) to mutter, to grumble, to talk continuously; "What's he chuntering on about?" clanger : (informal) a big mistake, blunder, bad joke or faux pas ('to drop a clanger') clapped out : (informal) worn out (said of an object) cleg : horse fly clingfilm : thin plastic film for wrapping food (US: plastic wrap, Saran wrap) cob : a bread roll of any kind in the West Midlands and East Midlands cobblers : shoemakers; (slang) a weaker version of bollocks, meaning 'nonsense' (often "a load of old cobblers"), from rhyming slang 'cobbler's awls' = balls cock/cockle : (informal) affectionate term used in Northern England, London and elsewhere, similar to love or darling. "Are you alright, cock?" cock-up, cockup : (mildly vulgar) error, mistake codswallop, cod's wallop : (becoming old-fashioned) similar to bollocks but less rude, "You're talking codswallop" (US: You're talking trash) compère : master of ceremonies, MC compulsory purchase : the power of the governmental authority to take private property for public use (similar to US: eminent domain) conservatoire : music school (US usually conservatory) cool box : box for keeping food and liquids cool (US and UK also: cooler) cop off with : (slang) to successfully engage the company of a potential sexual partner, to "pull"; to copulate (have sexual intercourse) with. Cor Blimey : see Gor Blimey cotton bud : wad of cotton wool fixed to a small stick, used for cleaning (US: cotton swab, Q-Tip) cotton wool : Spun cotton, used for cleaning wounds or make-up (US: Absorbent cotton, cotton ball) council house/flat , also council housing or estate : public housing. (US: projects) counterfoil *: stub of a cheque, ticket etc. courgette : the plant Cucurbita pepo (US: zucchini) cowl : a wind deflector fitted to a chimney top. craic : joking talk among lads, common over cards or pints. Pronounced "crack." Irish usage. crikey : (becoming old-fashioned) exclamation of surprise (once a euphemism for Christ's keys or perhaps Christ Kill Me) crisps : very thinly sliced fried potatoes, often flavoured, eaten cold as a snack (US: potato chips) crotchet : a musical note with a duration of one count in a time signature of 2/4 (US: quarter note; see Note value) cuddly toy : soft toy (sometimes used in the US; also stuffed animal, plush toy) current account : personal bank account used for everyday transactions (US: checking account)curriculum vitae: a document summarising occupational experience used to obtain a job, often abbreviated CV (US: resume)


daft * : odd, mad, eccentric, crazy – often with the implication of it being amusingly so. "Don't be daft" and "don't be silly" are approximately synonymous. dekko : (informal) a look, reconnoître "I'll take a dekko at it later." – British military slang derived from the Hindustani dhek/dekho meaning "to see". Also less commonly decco, deccie,deek, deeks. dene : wooded valley or seaside dune div : (slang) a fool or idiot, hence divvy foolish or idiotic. dodgems : fun-fair or fairground bumper cars dodgy : unsound, unstable, and unreliable dogsbody * : someone who carries out menial tasks; a drudge the dog's bollocks : (vulgar) something excellent or top quality, the "bee's knees" (the business), the "cat's whiskers". Nowadays is becoming "mutt's nuts". dole * : (informal) welfare, specifically unemployment benefit. Sometimes used in the US, esp. older generation dosh : (slang) money (US: dough) "how much dosh you got on ya?" doss : (from docile) to be lazy, "I've been dossing all day", "doss-house", "dosser" (US bum) Also can mean to truant, "dossing off" (similar to bunking) double first : an undergraduate degree where the candidate has gained First-Class Honours in two separate subjects, or alternatively in the same subject in subsequent examinations (see British undergraduate degree classification) double parked * : (slang) having two drinks in your hand at once (US: double fisting). Could also mean, or even originate, from the term 'double park'; which involves leaving a car in a restricted area draper : a dealer in drapery (i.e. clothing, textiles, etc.) (US: dry goods [DM]) draughts : the board game (US: checkers) drawing pin * : pin with a large, flat head, used for fixing notices to noticeboards etc. (US: thumbtack) dress circle : the seats in the first balcony of a theatre (US: balcony or loge although dress circle is used in a few very large opera houses that have many levels of balconies) driving licence : document authorising the holder to drive a vehicle (US: driver's license, driver license) dual carriageway: major road with some physical barrier or separation between the lanes going in opposite directions (US: divided highway) dustbin : (sometimes used in the US) receptacle for rubbish, very often shortened to simply 'bin'. (US: trash can; wastebasket) dustman : rubbish collector (US: garbage man; trash man; sanitation engineer)


Elastoplast : an adhesive bandage placed on a minor cut or scrape (UK also: sticking/sticky plaster [DM]; US: Band-Aid) electric fire : domestic electric heater (US: space heater) engaged tone: tone indicating a telephone line in use, (US: busy signal) estate agent * : a person who sells property for others (US: realtor) ex-directory : (of a telephone number) unlisted; also informally of a person "he's ex-directory", meaning his telephone number is unlisted extension lead : mains extension cable, (US and UK also: extension cord)


faff : to dither, futz, diddle, “I spent the day faffing about in my room”. Also related noun ("That's too much faff") ; fairing : a gift, particularly one given or bought at a fair (obsolete); type of cookie (biscuit) made in Cornwall fairy cake : a small sponge cake (US and UK also: cupcake) fairy lights : Christmas lights fancy dress : a costume worn to impersonate a well-known character, animal etc., typically at a fancy dress party (US: costume party) feck : (vulgar) mild expletive employed as an attenuated alternative to fuck (including fecker, fecking, etc.) (originally Hiberno English)Note that British people tend to incorrectly perceive the word to be vulgar, whereas in hiberno english it is not fettle : (uncommon except in dialect) state of something, as in "My business is in fine fettle"; to fettle (dialect word) : to sort out, fix (e.g. "that's fettled it") : to adjust with the intention of fixing (e.g. "He's got his head under the bonnet fettling the engine") fiddly * : requiring dexterity to operate ("the buttons on the tiny mobile phone were too fiddly") fittie : (slang) one who is sexually attractive (US: hottie) fiver : five pounds fiz, fizog, fizzog : (dated slang, now uncommon) face, also spelled phiz etc. (from physiognomy) fizzy drink * : carbonated soft drink (US: soda, pop, coke depending on the region) footie : (slang) football (US: soccer) fortnight *: a period of 14 days (and nights) or two weeks fourpenn'orth : (old-fashioned) four pence worth (fourpenn'orth is literally "four pennies' worth") french letter: (slang) condom funfair : a travelling fair with amusements, stalls, rides etc. (US: carnival; in the UK "amusement park" refers to a larger and more permanent establishment)


gaff : (dated Cockney slang) cheap music hall, theatre, pub, club, shop, hangout; home gaffer * : (informal) old man; (informal) boss; football manager (US: soccer coach); Also in US: (professional) chief electrician on a theatrical or film set. gaffer tape * : strong, woven, cloth adhesive tape, originally sourced from the gaffer on a film set. (US: gaffers tape, gaff tape) gangway * : a path between the rows of seats in a theatre (US aisle; gangway is a naval command to make a path for an officer)) gearbox : system of gears in a vehicle or other machinery (US transmission) gear-lever / gearstick : handle for changing gears in a vehicle or other machinery (US gear shifter) gen : (informal) information, info (short for "intelligence") (US: intel) get off with * : to engage in passionate kissing and fondling - does not usually imply sexual intercourse. (US: make out) Ginger: (dated Cockney rhyming slang) homosexual, short for Ginger Beer, rhymes with "queer" (somewhat known in US due to use by radio personality and rock musician Steve Jones) git : (mildly derogatory) scumbag, idiot, annoying person (originally meaning illegitimate) gobsmacked : (slang) utterly astonished, openmouthed go pear-shaped : see pear-shaped googled : confused (from a cricketing term for a type of delivery bowled, the googly; predates Google) Gor Blimey : exclamation of surprise, also Cor Blimey (originally from "God blind me") gormless : lacking in intelligence; with a vacant expression go-slow : a protest in which workers deliberately work slowly (US: slowdown or work to rule) grotty : disgusting, dirty (originally from grotesque, though now rarely used with quite that meaning). In a scene from the 1964 film A Hard Day's Night, George Harrison has to explain the meaning and origin of the word; the impression is given that it was then considered modern slang, known only to trendy youngsters (this is no longer the case). green fingers : talent for growing plants (US: green thumb) greengrocer : a retail trader in fruit and vegetables greengrocery : a greengrocer's profession, premises or produce guitar lead : high impedance coaxial guitar cable (US guitar cord) gurn/girn : (colloquial) To pull a face; grimace deliberately (England) The face pulled when one is about to climax during sexual intercourse (Yorkshire); to cry/weep (Scotland, Northern Ireland). gutties : running shoes, tennis shoes, maybe from "gutta percha" old source of natural rubber


hand brake : brake in motor vehicle operated by a lever used to keep it stationary. (US: Emergency brake) ha'penny : (pronounced "HAY-penny" or "HAYP-nee") half a penny; a coin of this denomination, no longer in circulation hash sign : the symbol "#" (US: number sign, pound sign [DM]) haver : (Scottish) talk nonsense or babble headmaster, headmistress, headteacher *: the person in charge of an educational institution (US: principal [DM]; headmaster and the like are usually used for private schools) Heath Robinson : (of a machine or contraption) absurdly complex (see Rube Goldberg machine). hey up : (informal greeting) (often pronounced: AY up) how's it going? high street : primary business and shopping street (US: main street) higgledy-piggledy : in disarray hire purchase: a credit system by which debts for purchased articles are paid in installments (US: installment plan or layaway if the item is kept at the store until the final payment is made) hob : the hot surface on a stove (US: burner) holidaymaker : person on holiday [DM] (US: vacationer) hols : (informal) short for holidays [DM] home and away : fixtures played at alternating venues (US: home and home). Also 'first and second leg' (US series). hoover : vacuum [cleaner], to vacuum (archaic in the US) (genericised trademark, from The Hoover Company, the first main manufacturer of vacuum cleaners) hot up : to become more exciting or intimate (US: heating up) how do, 'ow do : terse greeting in the north of England, shortened from formal 'How do you do?' hundreds-and-thousands: coloured sugar sprinkles used for dessert decoration (US: sprinkles,non-pareils, jimmies)


ice lolly : frozen fruit juice on a stick; ice pop (US: Popsicle), iced water : (US: ice water) icing sugar : (UK, Canada) (US: powdered sugar) industrial action : (see article; US: job action) inverted commas : quotation marks (see also American and British English differences – Punctuation) invigilator : person who monitors an examination (US: proctor [DM]) ironmongery : ironware, hardware; hardware store


jacket potato : baked potato jam sandwich : (slang) police car. So called as, in the past, most UK police vehicles were white with a horizontal yellow-edged red fluorescent stripe along the entire length of their sides, giving a certain resemblance to a white bread sandwich with a coloured jam (jelly) filling. (US: black-and-white. In many cities of the US, police cars are painted black at the hood and trunk and white on the doors and roof.) jammy (git) : (slang) lucky (person) jemmy : To break into a lock (US: jimmy) jerry : (slang) pejorative term for a German or Germans, (US and sometimes Canada: Kraut) jimmy : (Rhyming slang) urinate, as in jimmy riddle - piddle jitty : An alley way connecting two streets. jobsworth : (slang) Originally a minor clerical/government worker who refuses to be flexible in the application of rules to help clients or customers (as in "it will cost me more than my job's worth to bend the rules"). Also used more broadly to apply to anyone who uses their job description in a deliberately obstructive way. (US: see DMV) johnny : (slang) a condom (US: rubber) John Thomas : (slang) To engage in sexual intercourse. Better known as slang for penis or "dick" (US: cock, dick, or johnson) jumble sale : (see article; US: rummage sale) jumper : a pullover sweater jump leads : booster cables used to jump-start a car (US: jumper cables)


kaka one's grits : (not in widespread use) to soil one's pants Karno's Army: a chaotic, ineffective team (usually: Fred Karno's Army) kappa-slappa : (derogatory slang) promiscuous lower-class female, similar to "kev" or "chav" (from Kappa, a clothing brand supposedly worn by such women, and slapper, a slovenly, sluttish woman) kecks : (informal) trousers or underpants keep fit costume : exercise, dance or training suit ken : to know (Scotland and northern England) - also used to refer to one's specific range of knowledge (e.g. "beyond my ken"), ; can also mean "house" (e.g.: our ken = our house) kerfuffle : a disorderly outburst, disturbance or tumult, from Scottish origin (UK, Canada) kev : (slang) equivalent to "chav", derivative of "Kevin" – typically a working class person that wears designer labels, fake gold, has to always be "in", is most likely a troublemaker and most likely smokes. Popularised by British comedian Harry Enfield. khazi : (slang) lavatory (numerous alternative spellings are seen, such as karzy, karsey, carzey etc.) kip : (informal) sleep (US: nap) kitchen roll : paper towels knackered : (slang) exhausted, originally 'sexually exhausted', perhaps derived from knacker's yard knackers : (colloquial) testicles (e.g., "Ouch, she kicked me right in the knackers") knacker's yard : premises where superannuated livestock are sent for rendering, etc. (glue factory). Sometimes refers to the same for vehicles, a scrapyard (US: junkyard) knicker : (colloquial) 1 pound, maintains singular form when used in a plural context (it cost me 2 knicker) knickers : girl's and women's underpants (US: panties)


launderette : self-service laundry (US: Laundromat ) lav : also, lavy (informal, increasingly uncommon) lavatory, toilet (in the US, airplane restrooms are typically called lavatories) legacy accounts : funds left in a budget (US: funds remaining) let-out (n.) : a means of evading or avoiding something letter box : 1. a slot in a wall or door through which incoming post [DM] is delivered (US: mail slot, mailbox)
2. (less common) a box in the street for receiving outgoing letters and other mail (more usually called a postbox or pillar box) (US: mailbox)
See also Letterbox (US & UK): a film display format taking its name from the shape of a letter-box slot loch, lough : Scottish and Irish Gaelic word for lake or narrow sea inlet. Loch primarily used in Scotland, as in "Loch Ness", Lough primarily used in Ireland, as in "Lough Neagh" lock-in * : illegal gathering in a pub at night to drink after the pub is supposed to have stopped serving alcohol, where the landlord "locks in" his guests to avoid being caught by police. Unless the landlord charges for the drinks at the time, the people in the pub are considered his personal guests; if money is exchanged beforehand or afterwards then it is considered a gift from the guest to the landlord for the hospitality (US: may refer to a large and highly chaperoned "sleep over" at a church, school, etc.) lodger: tenant lollipop man / woman / lady : a school crossing guard who uses a circular stop sign lolly * : 1. lollipop /ice lolly (US: popsicle); (q.v.)
2. (slang) money loo : toilet (usually the room, not just the plumbing device) (US: bathroom, restroom) lorry : a large goods-carrying motor vehicle (US and UK also: truck) loudhailer : megaphone (US: bullhorn) lower ground : the lower of two floors at ground level (for example, if a building is built on a slope). See "ground floor". Also used as a euphemism for "basement" when trying to sell a flat [DM]. lurgy : An imaginary illness allegedly passed on by touch--used as an excuse to avoid someone. (c.f. US: cooties)


mains power, the mains : 240V AC electrical current, provided by the electricity grid to homes and businesses; also attrib. ("mains cable") (US: variously called: line power, grid power, AC power, household electricity, etc.) manky : (slang) feeling ill, rough, out of sorts; filthy, dirty, rotten. (poss. from French "manqué" - missed, wasted or faulty) mardy : (derogatory, mainly Northern and Central England) describes someone who is in a bad mood, or more generally a crybaby or whiner or "grumpy, difficult, unpredictable". Used, for example, by children in the rhyme "Mardy, mardy mustard...", and in the title of the Arctic Monkeys song "Mardy Bum". The verb to throw a mardy means to display an outburst of anger. maths : mathematics (US: math) MD (managing director) : equivalent of US CEO (Chief Executive Officer), also used in the UK mentioned in despatches : identified for valor or galantry in action (US: decorated) mercer : (rare, old-fashioned) a dealer in textiles, esp. expensive ones; a dealer in small wares merrythought : (rare or old-fashioned) wishbone mince * : 1. ground meat, especially beef (US: ground beef, hamburger meat, mince typically describes a chopping style) 2. Walk daintily. 3 "Mince your words;" to obfuscate or conceal when talking or writing. minge : (vulgar) (rhymes with singe) female genitals or pubic hair minger : (originally Scottish slang, rhymes with singer) slob, someone who is unattractive minging : (originally Scottish slang, rhymes with singing) dirty, rotting, smelly, unattractive etc minim : a musical note with the duration of one count in a time signature of 2/2 (US: half note; see Note value) mither : (Northern England) to complain annoyingly ("Stop mithering!"). To whinge (Aus), to haver (Scots). First vowel as in "eye"; also spelt myther, moither. moggie, moggy : (informal) non-pedigree cat; alley cat mong : (slang) disgusting, dirty, foul, idiotic person, possible derivation from mongoloid, now obsolete term for someone with Down's syndrome monged (out) : (slang) being incapable of constructive activity due to drug use, alcohol consumption or extreme tiredness motorway : a class of major road designed for fast, high volume traffic, usually with three lanes in each direction (US: occasionally used; also freeway, expressway, superhighway) MOT, MOT test : (pronounced M-O-T) mandatory annual safety and roadworthiness test for motor vehicles (from "Ministry of Transport", now renamed "Department for Transport") move house, move flat, etc. : to move out of one's house or other residence into a new residence mullered : (slang, Southern England) to be comprehensively beaten up ("He got mullered by the school bully"), to be beaten in competition (widely in use since the 50's), to be drunk and incapable ("Went to the pub; three hours later we were totally mullered on Tanglefoot"). Also mullared or mullahed. Derivation unknown, possibly from German Müller, or (less likely) Persian mullah.


naff :(slang) lame, tacky, cheap, low quality (origin uncertain – numerous suggestions include backslang for fan, an old term for a vagina), also gay slang for a straight man (said to mean "Not Available For Fucking") naff off : (dated slang) shove it, get lost, go away – a much less offensive alternative to "fuck off" (originally obscure Polari slang, made popular by prison sitcom Porridge and famously used by Princess Anne) nark * : 1. (v.) (informal) irritate
2. (n.) (slang) police informer (US: narc, derived from narcotics agent, but often used in a general sense) nappy : absorbent garment for babies (US: diaper) ned : (Scotland) (slang) a working class person with a certain cheap and tasteless style (see chav). Also "schemie" (greater emphasis on anti-social behaviour). neeps : (Scotland) Rutabaga, "Tatties and Neeps" traditionally served with the Scottish national dish of Haggis as the main course of the Burns supper. Derived from turnips. Note however, that the OED gives neep as earlier than turnip, (derived from the Latin napus.) nesh : (central England, north-west, Yorkshire, also once western England, gently derogative) of a person, sensitive to the cold, delicate (typical usage, of someone who wears a coat on a mildly cold day: "He's nesh", meaning "He's a bit soft"). newsagent : strictly a shop owner or shop that sells newspapers, usu. refers to a small shop, e.g. corner shop, convenience store, newsstand, or similar (US: newsdealer) newsreader : someone who reads the news on TV or radio. See news presenter for a description of the different roles of a newscaster, a British newsreader and an American news anchor. nob : see knob nonce : 1. (slang) paedophile, pimp, child molester, idiot
2. the present time or occasion – now usually encountered only in the compound nonce word, meaning an ad hoc word coinage, and the somewhat old-fashioned phrase for the nonce, meaning "for now". See also the nonce. nosh : 1. food, meal; also "nosh up", a big satisfying meal ("I could do with a good nosh up")
2. (slang) oral sex nosy parker : a busybody (similar to US: butt-in, buttinski) nous : Good sense; shrewdness: “Hillela had the nous to take up with the General when he was on the up-and-up again” (Nadine Gordimer) nowt: (Northern English) nothing. From Standard English "nought". number plate : vehicle registration plate (sometimes used in the US; also license plate or license tag) numpty : (mainly Scottish) a stupid person nutter: (informal) a crazy or insane person, often violent; also used as a more light-hearted term of reproach ("Oi nutter!") (occasionally used in the US) (US and UK also: nut, nutcase)


OAP : Old Age Pensioner (qv) (US: Senior Citizen) off-licence : shop licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption off the premises, informally abbreviated to offy; also known as an Outdoor (West Midlands) (US equivalent: liquor store) off-the-peg : of clothes etc, ready-made rather than made to order (US: off-the-rack) oi : coarse exclamation to gain attention, roughly equivalent to "hey" ("Oi, you!" = "Hey you!") the Old Bill : (slang) The police one-off : something that happens only once; limited to one occasion (as an adjective, a shared synonym is one-shot; as a noun, it has no exact US equivalent) on the piss : (vulgar) drinking heavily; going out for the purpose of drinking heavily; at a slight angle, said of an object that should be vertical orientate : less common alternative to orient, deprecated by some as an unnecessary back-formation from orientation Other Ranks: members of the military who are not commissioned, warrant or non-commissioned officers (US:junior enlisted personnel) outwith: (Scotland) opposite of within and a local alternative to one meaning of without. For example, "Advanced Quantum Mechanics is outwith the scope of an introductory physics textbook". overleaf: on the other side of the page owt : (Northern English) anything. From Standard English "ought" oxter: (Scotland and Northern Ireland) armpit oy: See "oi".


package holiday : a holiday whose transport, accommodation, itinerary etc. is organised by a travel company (US and UK less frequently: package tour). Cf holiday [DM] paki : (offensive) Pakistani; loosely applied to anyone from South Asia, or of perceived South Asian origin (sometimes used in the US; in the US "paki", spelled packy, can suggest a package store, i.e. a liquor store, which could not be referred to as such under blue laws). panda car : (informal) police car. Small police car used for transport, as opposed to a patrol or area car (analogous to US: black-and-white) Derives from a period in the 1970s when UK police cars resembled those of their US counterparts, only with blue replacing black. paper round : (the job of making) a regular series of newspaper deliveries (US: paper route) paracetamol : a common and widely available drug for the treatment of headaches, fever and other minor aches and pains (US: acetaminophen, Tylenol) parkie : (informal) park-keeper parky : (informal) cold, usually used in reference to the weather (Cornish) pasty : hard pastry case filled with meat and vegetables served as a main course, particularly in Cornwall and in the north of England pear-shaped : usually in the phrase "to go pear-shaped", meaning to go drastically or dramatically wrong (possibly from the idea of a ball deflating). cf tits-up Peelers : The Police. Named after Sir Robert Peel, who founded the service. The slang is only regularly still in use in Northern Ireland. pelican crossing : pedestrian crossing with traffic lights operated by pedestrians (from Pedestrian Light-Controlled) pernickety : fastidious, precise or over-precise (US: persnickety) petrol : refined mixture of hydrocarbons, used esp. to fuel motor vehicles (short for petroleum spirit, or from French essence de pétrole) (US: gasoline, gas). Also variously known as motor spirit (old-fashioned), motor gasoline, mogas, aviation gasoline and avgas (the last two being a slightly heavier type designed for light aircraft) petrol-head, petrolhead : someone with a strong interest in cars (especially high performance cars) and motor racing (US: gearhead or motorhead). pikey : a pejorative slang term, used originally to refer to Irish travellers pillar box : box in the street for receiving outgoing mail, in Britain traditionally in the form of a free-standing red pillar; also called postbox or, less commonly, letter box (US: mailbox)
See also Pillar box (film): an aspect ratio named for a supposed resemblance to the dimensions of the slot found on a pillar box. pillar-box red : the traditional bright-red colour of a British pillar box pillock : (slang, very mildly derogatory) foolish person, used esp. in northern England but also common elsewhere. Derived from the Northern English term pillicock, a dialect term for penis, although the connection is rarely made in general use. pish : (vulgar) Scottish variant of piss. pisshead : (vulgar) someone who regularly gets heavily drunk (cf. BrE meaning of pissed). pissing it down [with rain] : (slang, mildly vulgar) raining very hard (sometimes "pissing down" is used in the US, as in "It's pissing down out there.") Also "pissing it down the drain" or "pissing it away" meaning to waste something. pleb : (derogatory) person of lower class, from plebeian; similar to townie. Also commonly used to mean idiot. pleck : also: guitar-pleck; plectrum (US: guitar pick) plimsoll : a type of shoe with a canvas upper and rubber sole, formerly the typical gym shoe used in schools (US: sneaker or Tennis shoe) plod : police - from PC Plod in Enid Blyton's Noddy books. plonk : a disparaging term for cheap wine, especially cheap red wine, is now widely known in the UK and also to a lesser extent in the USA. Derives from French vin blanc and came into English use on the western front in WWI. plonker : (very mildly derogatory) fool. Used esp. in the south-east of England, although not unknown elsewhere. Derived from a slang term for penis, and sometimes used in this fashion, e.g. "Are you pulling my plonker?" (to express disbelief) ponce : (n.) (slang) someone with overly affected airs and graces; an effeminate posturing man; a pimp. Originates from Maltese slang.
(v.) (slang) to act like a pimp; to cadge, to borrow with little or no intention of returning, often openly so ("Can I ponce a ciggie off you, mate?") ponce about/around : (v.) (slang) to act like a fop, to wander about aimlessly without achieving anything ponce off : (v.) (slang) to mooch, to hit up, to leave in a pompous manner poof, poofter : (derogatory) a male homosexual (US equivalent: fag, faggot) poof, poove : A small drum-shaped soft furnishing used as a foot rest. porky(ies) : slang for a lie or lying, from rhyming slang "pork pies" = "lies" postage and packing, P&P : charge for said services (US: shipping and handling, S&H; the word postage is, however, used in both dialects) postal order : a money order designed to be sent through the post, issued by the UK Post Office (US: money order, or postal money order if the context is ambiguous) postbox, post box : box in the street for receiving outgoing mail (US: mailbox; drop box); see also letter box, pillar box postcode : alphanumeric code used to identify an address, part of a UK-wide scheme (US equivalent: ZIP Code) poste restante : service whereby mail is retained at a post office for collection by the recipient (from the French) (US: general delivery) postie : (informal) postman poxy : (slang) something that is unsatisfactory or in generally bad condition. pram, perambulator : wheeled conveyance for babies (US: baby-carriage) Similarly, a "pram-face" sometimes refers to a very young or young-looking mum. prat : (slang) an incompetent or ineffectual person, a fool, an idiot press-up : a conditioning exercise in which one lies prone and then pushes oneself up by the arms (US: push-up) provisional licence, provisional driving licence : a licence for a learner driver, who has not yet passed a driving test (US: learner's permit) pud : (informal) short for "pudding", which may mean dessert or occasionally a savoury item such as Yorkshire pudding or black pudding; a fool (informal term usually used good-naturedly between family members). pulling his pud, means male masturbation. pukka : (informal) legitimate, the real thing, of good quality (usually Southeastern England term, recently more widely popularised by Jamie Oliver, but dating back to the 19th century). From Hindi. punch-up : a fistfight punkah-wallah : a usually South Asian servant whose role is to operate a manual fan. From Urdu pankhaa, fan, and -wallah, -man punnet : basket for fruit, usually strawberries pushbike : (informal) bicycle (pre-dates modern safety bicycle q.v. velocipede) pushchair : forward-facing baby carriage (US: stroller)


quango : Quasi-Autonomous Non-Governmental Organisation. A semi-public (e.g. non-governmental) advisory or administrative body funded by the government and having most of its members appointed by the government. quaver : a musical note with the duration of one count in a time signature of 2/8 (US: eighth note). Also compound nouns semiquaver (US: sixteenth note), demisemiquaver (US: thirty-second note), hemidemisemiquaver (US: sixty-fourth note); see Note value). queue : N. a waiting line (as of persons, vehicles etc.) * (US usually: line [DM]; queue is used in computer applications, such as printer queue or render queue); hence jump the queue); V. to wait in line (US line up) quid : (informal) the pound sterling monetary unit; remains quid in plural form ("Can I borrow ten quid?") (similar to US buck, meaning dollar) quids in : (informal) a financially positive end to a transaction or venture "After all that, we'll be quids in!" (US: money ahead)quieten : used in the phrase "quieten down" (US: quiet down) quiff : forelock (initially Hiberno-English); a hairstyle (from the 1950s onward).quim : (vulgar slang) female genitalia, the vagina


randy : (informal) having sexual desire, lustful, horny (now more common in the US because of the Austin Powers franchise) ranker : an enlisted soldier or airman or (more rarely) a commissioned officer who has been promoted from enlisted status ("the ranks") rashers *: cuts of bacon rat-arsed : (slang) extremely drunk recce : (informal) reconnoître, reconnaissance (pronounced recky) (US: recon) Register Office, Registry Office : official office where births, marriages and deaths are recorded; usu. refers to local Register Office (in each town or locality). General Register Office is the relevant government department. In England and Wales until 2001, almost all civil (non-church) marriages took place in the local Register Office; different laws apply in Scotland and N. Ireland. road-works : upgrade or repairs of roads (US: construction; roadwork [singular]) ropey : (informal) chancy; of poor quality; uncertain (see dodgy). Can also mean unwell when used in the form to feel ropey reverse charge call : a telephone call for which the recipient pays (US and UK also: collect call); also v. to reverse [the] charge[s] *, to make such a call (dated in US, used in the 1934 American film It Happened One Night – US usually: to call collect) rota : a roll call or roster of names, or round or rotation of duties (the) rozzers : (rare slang) Police ("Quick, the rozzers!") – possibly from Robert Peel, who also gave his name to two other slang terms for the police: peelers (archaic) and bobbies (becoming old-fashioned). rucksack *: a backpack. rumpy pumpy : (informal) Sexual intercourse, used slightly jokingly.


salad-dodger : (informal) an overweight person sanitary towel, sanitary pad : sanitary napkin, maxi pad sarky : (informal) sarcastic (abbrev.) "why are you being so sarky?" sarnie, sarny : (informal) sandwich (abbrev.) scheme : plan, as in "government scheme to provide assistance" schemie : (Scot) (derog. slang) working class person with traits of anti-social/criminal behaviour. From 'council housing scheme'. Compare ned/chav. scrubber : a lower class, (usually young) woman of low morals scrumpy : cloudy cider, often high in alcoholic content scrumping : action of stealing apples from an orchard; also v. to scrump self-raising flour : self-rising flour secateurs : gardening tool for pruning plants (US:pruners of clippers) secondment : (/sɪˈkɒndmənt/) the assignment of a person from his or her regular organisation to temporary assignment elsewhere. From v. second (/sɪˈkɒnd/) Sellotape : from Cellophane, transparent adhesive tape (genericised trademark) (US: Scotch tape) semibreve : a musical note with the duration of four counts in a time signature of 4/4 (US: whole note; see Note value) serviette : (from French) table napkin [DM]. Regarded as a non-U word, but widely used by non-U people. shandy : lager or beer mixed close to equal parts with 'lemonade' (any sparkling lemon soda). shite : (vulgar) variant of shit, often seen as more jocular. rhymes with 'kite'. singleton : a single, unmarried person. sixes and sevens : crazy, muddled (usually in the phrase "at sixes and sevens"). From the London Livery Company order of precedence, in which position 6 is claimed by both the Worshipful Company of Merchant Taylors and the Worshipful Company of Skinners. skew-whiff / skew-whift : skewed, uneven, not straight skint : (informal) out of money skive [off] : (informal) to sneak off, avoid work; to play truant (U.S.-"Play Hookey") slag * : similar to 'slut', a woman of loose morals and low standards; sometimes implying the woman is of an undesireable age or has become aged by her lifestyle. Occasionally used to refer to a male, though does not then have sexual connotations. (US: industrial waste slag off : to badmouth; speak badly of someone, usually behind their back slaphead : (informal) bald man (pronounced slapp-ed) slapper : (vulgar) similar to slut but milder. Implies drunken, flirtatious behaviour as opposed to frequent sexual conqests sleeping partner : a partner in business, often an investor, who is not visibly involved in running the enterprise (US: silent partner) sleeping policeman : mound built into a road to slow down vehicles (UK also: hump [DM]; US & UK also: speed bump) slowcoach : (slang) a slow person (US: slowpoke) smalls : underclothing, underwear, particuarly underpants smart dress: formal attire smeghead : (slang) idiot; a general term of abuse (for discussion of origin, see smeg (vulgarism)). Popularised by its use in the sitcom Red Dwarf. snog : (slang) a 'french kiss' or to kiss with tongues soap dodger : one who is thought to lack personal hygiene sod off : (vulgar, moderately offensive) go away; get lost spacker (spacky) : (vulgar, offensive to many) idiot, general term of abuse: from "Spastic", referring in England almost exclusively (when not used as an insult) to a person suffering from cerebral palsy.(variant forms spaz/spastic, are used in American English) Spanish archer: give someone the "elbow", which means to sack or fire them spawny : lucky spiffing : (informal) very good (old-fashioned, or consciously used as old-fashioned, associated stereotypically with upper-class people) spiv : an unemployed person who lives by their wits; someone who shirks work or responsibility; a slacker, a dealer in black market goods (during World War II). The term wide boy is also often used in the same sense spliff * : (slang) a hand-rolled cigarette containing a mixture of marijuana and tobacco (Also used in US, j or blunt more widely used) spod : someone who spends too much time in internet chat rooms and discussion forums. Also verb: to spod. sport : recreational athletics (usually singular) (US: sports (usually plural)) spot on : exactly (US: right on) squaddie : (informal) a non-commissioned soldier (US: grunt) squidgy : (informal) soft and soggy squiffy : (informal) intoxicated (popularly but probably erroneously said to be from British Prime Minister (Herbert)Asquith, a noted imbiber). The word can also be synonymous with skew-whiff. squintie, squint : crooked; cf on the skunt squiz : (rare) look, most often used in the form to have a squiz at... starter : appetiser (most common); also from French "entrée" or "hors d'œuvre", used less often sticky-backed plastic : large sheet of thin, soft, coloured plastic that is sticky on one side; see Blue Peter (US similar: contact paper) stockist : a seller (as a retailer) that stocks merchandise of a particular type, usually a specified brand or model straightaway : immediately (sometimes used in the US; also right away) strop : (informal) bad mood or temper stroppy, to have a strop on : (informal) recalcitrant, in a bad mood or temper suck it and see : to undertake a course of action without knowing its full consequences (US: take your chances) suss [out] : (informal) to figure out (from suspicion) suspender belt: a ladies undergarment to hold up stockings (US: garter belt) swot : 1. v. to study for an exam (US cram)
2. n. (derogatory) aloof and unpopular schoolchild or student who studies to excess sweet FA : (slang) nothing (from "Sweet Fanny Adams", alternative: "Sweet Fuck All"), "I know sweet FA about cars!" (US: jack shit) swimming costume: swimsuit or bathing suit; also cozzy for short. swither: (Scottish) to hesitate, be undecided, dither


ta : (informal) thank you; TA also standing for "thanks awfully" takeaway : food outlet where you can order food to go (or be delivered) (not usually applied to fast food chains). Usage: "we had a takeaway for dinner", "we went to the local takeaway". [DM]; (US: takeout) take the piss (vulgar) / take the mickey: (slang) to make fun of somebody; to act in a non-serious manner about something important (also: take the pee) takings : receipts of money tannoy : loudspeaker (a proprietary brand name), PA system tarn : small mountain lake. Used especially in the Lake District tatties : (Scotland) Potato, "Tatties and Neeps" traditionally served with the Scottish national dish of Haggis as the main course of the Burns supper. telly : (informal) television tenner : ten pounds Territorial: a member of the Territorial Army (US: Army Reserve) Tiger nuts: (vulgar slang) small remnants of toilet paper that cling to body hair after bowel movement clean-up (originates from small chocolate covered caramel candy of the same name). (Commonly "tigers"). tingy : (from Ireland) cf wotsit Tipp-Ex : white tape or liquid used to make corrections of ink on paper (US: Wite-Out) throw a wobbly : (informal) to lose one's temper, throw a tantrum thruppennies : (Cockney rhyming slang) breasts/tits (from thruppeny bits, obsolete British coin) titfer : (Cockney rhyming slang) hat (from tit-for-tat) [go] tits up : (mildly vulgar) to suddenly go wrong (literally, to fall over). cf pear-shaped (appears in the US mainly as military jargon, sometimes sanitized to "tango uniform") toad-in-the-hole : batter-baked sausages, sausages baked in Yorkshire Pudding toff : (slang) member of the upper classes toffee apple : a sugar-glazed apple on a stick eaten esp. on Bonfire Night and Hallowe'en (US: caramel apple or candy apple) toffee nosed : anti-social in a pretentious way, stuck up tonk : (informal) to hit hard, sometimes used in cricket to describe a substantial boundary shot: "he tonked it for six". In Southern England can also mean muscular. (US: ripped or buff). tony : expensive or luxurious. tosspot :(colloquial) a drunkard. (slang) a no-good waster, (US: jerk). totty : (informal, offensive to some) sexually alluring woman or women (more recently, also applied to males). Originally a term for a prostitute in the late 1800s. training shoes, trainers: athletic shoes. (US: sneakers). training suit : clothes worn while practicing for an athletic event (US: track suit or sweat suit) tuppence : two pence, also infantile euphemism for vagina. cf twopenn'orth tuppenny-ha'penny : cheap, substandard turf accountant : bookmaker for horse races turn-indicator : direction-indicator light on a vehicle (US: turn signal) turn-ups: an arrangement at the bottom of trouser-legs whereby a deep hem is made, and the material is doubled-back to provide a trough around the external portion of the bottom of the leg. (US: cuffs) twee : excessively cute, quaint, or 'precious' twonk : idiot. Probably a portmanteau construction of twat and plonker twopenn'orth, tuppenn'orth, tup'en'oth : one's opinion (tuppenn'orth is literally "two pennies worth" or "two pence worth", depending on usage); (US equivalent: two cents' worth, two cents). cf tuppence


uni : short for university, used much like US college up himself : (informal) someone who is stand-offish, stuck-up, snobby. "He's a bit up himself." up sticks : (US: pull up stakes)


verger : someone who carries the verge or other emblem of authority before a scholastic, legal, or religious dignitary in a procession; someone who takes care of the interior of a church and acts as an attendant during ceremonies. verruca : a wart which occurs on one's foot. Called a plantar wart in USA vegetable marrow : a gourd-like fruit (treated as a vegetable) (US: squash)


wage packet : weekly employee payment (usually in cash) (US: paycheck) wally : (informal) buffoon, fool; milder form of idiot. Now considered an old-fashioned word. See muppet. WC : toilet (short for Water Closet). (US: bathroom [DM], US old-fashioned, Canada washroom). See also loo. washing up liquid: dish washing, "the dishes": "it's your turn to do the washing up"; hence washing up liquid: dish washing detergent (US: dish soap, dishwashing liquid) way out : exit. Used primarily on signs Wellington boots, wellies : waterproof rubber boots, named after the Duke of Wellington. (more common in the US now) welly : (informal) effort (e.g.: "Give it some welly" to mean "put a bit of effort into an attempt to do something"); also the singular of "wellies", for Wellington boots welly : (slang) condom; stems from "Wellington boots" which are also known as "rubbers" whilst *: while (US and UK), (archaic in US) whinge : (informal) complain, whine, especially repeated complaining about minor things (e.g. "Stop whingeing" meaning "stop complaining"); a different word from whine, originated in Scottish and Northern English in the 12th century. Hence whinger (derogatory), someone who complains a lot. As in "My wife Kerry is always whingeing about the state we leave the house in". white pudding : oat and fat sausage often eaten at breakfast, common in Ireland and Scotland witter : (informal) to continue to talk trivially about a subject long after the audience's interest has gone. "He wittered on." wibble : (informal) to talk at length aimlessly wide boy : see spiv, above wing mirrors : the external mirrors on a vehicle – though no longer normally attached to the 'wings' (US: fenders) but to the doors (US: sideview mirrors, side mirrors) winkle * : (slang) another childish term for a penis (US: winkie) wobbler, wobbly (to have or to throw): (informal) tantrum wonky * : (informal) wrong, awry, not straight or stable; shaky, feeble (usually applied to furniture)


Y-fronts: men's briefs with an inverted-Y-shaped frontal flap; originally a trademark (US: jockey shorts/briefs; US slang: tighty whities) yob : lout, young troublemaker (thought to be from boy spelt backwards) yomp : to move on foot across rough terrain carrying heavy amounts of equipment and supplies without mechanised support (army slang popularised by the Falklands war). Also used informally for any walk across rough ground.


zed : last letter of the alphabet, usually called "zee" in United States


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