Bloody Brilliant British Slang Terms Most Americans Won’t Understand

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A British accent is always so interesting to hear. Speaking like a true Brit isn’t just adopting an accent, it’s also about incorporating British slang.

British slang is an entire niche, with a variety of words used from city to city. It’s not as common as American slang – which has been unified through the domination of TV and film. When many of us Americans hear a few British slang words, we definitely don’t know what they’re talking about. British slang has an interesting list of words that we may think we know the meaning of but will be surprised to learn that we’re wrong and how much we have to learn about the British English language.

And if you fancy seeing what kind of words the British use in their vocabulary every day, then check out this list of slang terms, and you too can learn how to understand and speak like a true Brit.

Brits commonly use this as a greeting to welcome friends and family.

Someone who is full of energy. Almost to the point of being annoying.

For the British, chips are fried, thick pieces of potatoes. The American version are thinner and called fries.

The Brit’s name for a cigarette.

A way of describing someones silliness.

Off-colour describes feeling sick or under the weather.  Someone that looks off-colour doesn’t look well.

If you are having a string of luck, then the Brit’s will consider you to be jammy.

This isn’t to describe an invitation to the Queen’s palace. her majesty’s pleasure means to spend time in prison.

Calling someone on the telephone.

It’s a strange British term to describe when something is very good.

To steal or take something that doesn’t belong to you.

Happy, delighted, or thrilled.

When you stumble and fall down hard, you’ve gone arse over tits. Imagine literally flipping over so your butt is in the air over your chest. Now you get it.

This is the type of tobacco you drop into a rolling paper to make your own fags.

This is a delightfully British way of telling someone they’re out of their G-D mind.

Ooh boy, when you do something to get under the skin of a British person, they’re gonna tell you they’re cheesed off (which just means annoyed, so you can keep doing whatever you were doing).


To faff around is to lounge about, usually when there’s something important you should be doing. We might call it “lollygagging” or “dilly-dallying.”

A favorite past time of handsome villains trying to marry the princes of Disney movies, “gallivanting” means strutting around like you’re the cock of the walk.

We’re not talking about density here — to a Brit, when you’re “hard,” you’re ready to fight. You’re not takin’ no mess from nobody. If you value your own safety, avoid the hard.

You’ve got bad lines? It means you’ve got bad luck. Sorry brother.

A kip’s a short power nap. It’s great to grab a kip right after lunch.

The lurgy is a sickness akin to the flu. Avoid the lurgy!

The British military refers to civilian clothes as “mufti.” On the weekends, even these fine British soldiers get to change into their mufti.

“Mush” refers to your mouth. You’ll want to keep your big mush closed.

When something is not cool, or particularly lame, the Brits will describe it as “naff.”

To be narked is to be annoyed or, to use another one of those fine British pieces of slang we’ve learned, cheesed off.

This is an important one — you need nosh to stay alive. It means “food.”

This is an exceptionally British way to say nothing. I mean that literally. It means “nothing.”

A nut is a headbutt. If you’re in a pub, you’re hard, and a bloke steps up to you, a nut might be the move.

You go off your trolley, and buster, you’re crazy, insane, out of your gourd.

If you need someone to buzz off, you say to them “on your bike!” Because it’s a pretty mean and forceful way to tell them to leave, they’ll know to clear out.

When a plan goes off the rails, it’s gone pear-shaped.

Yet another verb for “to steal.” How many ways do the British need to communicate the act of theft?

Now, here in America, to be pissed means to be furious. In Britain, though? It means you’ve had a bit too much to drink.

Porkies are lies. Don’t tell porkies, especially not to your wife.

A prat is a jerk, but like, a little worse? “Prat” has just a touch of that swear word energy. It’s like damn — you could probably say it around your parents when you turn 15 and get away with it.

Porridge is prison. Avoid porridge! (Also avoid the food kind of porridge — it is dull and flavorless.)

This means delicious, and is a particularly British way of abbreviating “Scrumptious.”

When you’re snookered, you’re trapped. There’s no way out.

This means going to the bathroom. Apparently it used to cost a cent to use British bathrooms, and the phrase stuck around.

When you go out drinking, you go from sober to drunk. Being “squiffy” is the middle ground between those two states.

A mug is someone who believes anything or are very gullible.

If you really want someone to be quiet, this is the rude British way to do it.

Slang word for a British pound.

The Brits say “parky” to describe chilly weather.

Taking the biscuit means pushing your luck.

If you give something welly you’ve given it a really good go.

Snog is a British kiss.

A man. This is comparable to what Americans call a “dude.”

Run away, usually from trouble.

British slang for the toilet.

Gormless is someone that has no idea what is going on around them.

A person, usually male, who is very good-looking.

A very busy place.

Pants are what the British call their undergarments.

A harmless curse word used most by British grandmothers.

Being violently sick.

Knees up means to throw a very swanky party with lots of dancing, food, and drinks.

Money. Cash. All types of currency.