Languages Magazine

British English Slang for Further English Language Learning

By Tlb

British English is really a fascinating kind of English. And as far as other varieties of English are concerned, call me bias whatsoever, but I think British English will always be the most sophisticated and enticing variation. This is why it is not a surprise that those people who want to learn English language or just improve their English skills choose to learn Learning English in England. They always find British English the “more suitable” language to learn.

 

English slang: Cheers

Cheers!! By RekishiEJ, via Wikimedia Commons

And since we focus on learning the British English, I think it would be part of the learning to learn its slang as well. So, here are the long lists of slang words in British English. Since there are more than hundreds known today, we’ll just name one word from A to Z. Are you ready? Be inspired!

 

All right

This is used a lot around London and the south to mean, “Hello, how are you”? You would say it to a complete stranger or someone you knew. The normal response would be for them to say “All right”? Back to you. It is said as a question. Sometimes it might get expanded to “all right mate”? Mostly used by blue collar workers but also common among younger people.

 

Cheers

This word is obviously used when drinking with friends. However, it also has other colloquial meanings. For example when saying goodbye you could say “cheers”, or “cheers then”. It also means thank you. Americans could use it in English pubs, but should avoid the other situations as it sounds wrong with an American accent. Sorry!

 

Excuse me

This is a great one! It’s what kids are taught to say when they belch in public. We are also taught to say “pardon me” if we fart out loud. Unfortunately in American “excuse me” means you are encroaching in someone’s personal space and you say “pardon me” when you don’t hear someone properly.

 

Gen

Gen means information. If you have the gen then you know what is going on.

 

Jolly

You hear people use this in all sorts of ways, but basically it means very. So “jolly good” would mean very good. A common exception is where you hear people say “I should jolly well think so!” which is more to emphasize the point.

 

Knees up

If you’re having knees up, you’re going to a dance or party.

 

Mate

Most chaps like to go to the pub with their mates. Mate means friend or chum.

 

Nice one!

If someone does something particularly impressive you might say “nice one!” to them. It is close the Texan good job that you hear all the time.

 

Read

If someone asks you what you read at university, they mean what was your major at school.

 

Tickety-boo

If something is going well with no problems we would say it is tickety-boo.

 

Twee

Twee is a word you would generally hear older people say. It means dainty or quaint. A bit like the way you chaps think of England I suppose.

 

Uni

Short for university, we would say we went to uni like you would say you went to school. School here is just for kids.

 

Watcha

Simply means Hi. Also short for “what do you” as in “watcha think of that”?

 

Yonks

“Blimey, I haven’t heard from you for yonks”. If you heard someone say that it would mean that they had not seen you for ages!

 

Zonked

If someone is zonked or “zonked out” it means they are totally knackered or you might say exhausted. When a baby has drunk so much milk, his eyes roll into the back of his head, it would be fair to say he was zonked!

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