British Slang 101





Hello everyone, cheers from London!

I’m still getting used to using that word, ‘cheers‘. I’ve learned that the term is synonymous with ‘let’s toast our drinks’, ‘thank you for holding the door’, and just ‘thank you’ in general. Since I’m a native English speaker from the United States… I never assumed that I’d encounter any language barriers whilst abroad in London. I was wrong. So, here’s the unofficial FEA Guide to British Slang 101, complied of some of the slang words that I’ve encountered since living in the United Kingdom.

The unofficial FEA Guide to British Slang 101:

Photo Credits: Pinterest

Lie In: this is a commonly used word that basically is a synonym of our American English phrase ‘sleep in’. It means to lay in bed and sleep later than usual. (It was Sunday so she could lie in all afternoon.)

Pissed: honestly this is one of the most confusing differences in our vocabularies (along with ‘taking the piss’, described below). While most American English-speakers would assume that this word is the equivalent of being ‘pissed off’, it actually refers to the state of being drunk. It doesn’t refer to being angry, rather you could refer to a friend at the pub as being pissed. (Wow, Sandra is dancing on the table right now… she must be pissed!)

Ring: here in the United Kingdom, you would ring someone on the phone not ‘call’ them. Try saying ‘give me a ring’ to the next Brit you meet. (James, mom says to give her a ring about 6 o’clock tonight.)

Punching: one of my favorite terms, which is more commonly used by the young people in the United Kingdom. If someone is ‘punching’, that means that they are ‘punching above their belt’, or in other words the person they are talking to or dating could be thought of as more attractive than them. (Tom is really being ambitious right now. He’s talking to Jacob – the hottest boy in school – Tom is definitely punching.)

Mug: a really easy one heres: someone who is a ‘mug’ is simply a really gullible person. (Jason just paid him 20 quid for those tickets, but Tianna only paid 10 quid. Jason’s such a mug.)

Uni: short for university, Brits would say they went to ‘uni’ like Americans would say we went to school. School here is just for kids. (Trisha goes to Oxford, such a good Uni, she must be a smart gal!)

Taking the Piss: one of the hardest culture gaps for Americans to grasp is the British sense of humor. Obviously it’s very different and is primarily based on irony, sarcasm, and ‘taking the piss’ on others. I promise this has nothing to do with a #1 (tried to keep it PG here), but rather refers to ‘making fun of someone’. (Are you being serious? […] No, I’m just taking the piss!)

So, there you have it folks… try using some of these words on your next trip to London… and who knows, you might even be able to blend in as a local. (Ok – I’m just taking the piss – your American accent will give you away in an instant! Haha.)