British Slang

On the other side of the pond, they speak a different form of English than we do over here in the US and it seems rather foreign to me.  Meghan Markle the newest member of the British royalty is probably learning many of these weird and wacky words and expressions.  The new Duchess of Sussex is a native American having been born and raised in Los Angeles, California.  Meghan’s mother is African-American, while her father is a Caucasian of Dutch-Irish decent and she says that she is proud to be a mixed race woman.  Like everyone else, to become a British citizen she will have to pass the “Life in the U.K. test”, a 45 minutes test comprised of 24 questions about British traditions and customs, according to the government’s website.

When you take this test, you might get a multiple choice question similar to this, Roast beef is a traditional food of which country? A) Wales, B) England, C) Scotland or D) Northern Ireland.  I spent a week in London and the last thing that British people should brag about is their food, unless you are inclined to eat breakfast three times a day, however it is probably better than having to eat any Klingon food.  The traditional full English breakfast includes bacon (traditionally back bacon), fried, poached or scrambled eggs, fried or grilled tomatoes, fried mushrooms, fried bread or buttered toast, and sausages (also called ‘bangers’).  Black pudding, baked beans and bubble and squeak (cooked cabbage fried with cooked potatoes and often meat) are also often included.

At the top of British cuisine is fish and chips, which is deep-fried, battered and dipped in malt vinegar.  I have had Beef Wellington before and I guess that is British along with an abundant amount of other meat pies and Shepherds pies and they are very edible.  I have never tried Yorkshire Puddings but many people say that it is the shit, meaning that it is good.  They can make a good scone, but why would anyone want to eat sheep’s head soup, blood pudding or spotted dick?  I have eaten haggis when I was in Scotland which actually tasted better than I thought it would, but who wants to eat something that is looking back at you?  I don’t think that I would ever go around singing, “the best part of waking up is having a sheep’s head in my cup”, but this mystical soup is actually served for breakfast.

Blood pudding is a thick sausage which has a black skin and is made from pork fat and pig’s blood and it is another name for black pudding.  The name alone has prevented me from trying this, as I am not too keen on eating blood.  Spotted dick is a British pudding, made with suet and dried fruit (usually currants and/or raisins) and it is often served with custard, but when I hear spotted dick it makes me think about venereal disease.

Language is always changing, and new words are often added.  A lot of the time, these words are slang.  Slang is informal or casual language and is commonly used, particularly by teenagers and young people.  It can be hard to navigate and learn British slang, but the key is exposure seeing and hearing the language and then it is always changing and there are trends that appear and disappear which is enough to make you lose your temper.

In Great Britton a group of people might be referred to as nobs, meaning that they are rich or come from a much higher social class than you do and this is just a vulgar, slang a variant spelling of the word knob, just as sleek is a variant of the word slick.  A British person might say, “I couldn’t find my headphones and I think that someone may have nicked them.” Here nicked is used as a verb and it has nothing to do with a guy’s name or carving a notch in something.  If a British person says that someone is a nutter, they are describing a mentally ill person, or someone who is fearless, tough and cruel and here in the US we would just call them a nut.  You also might hear someone say, “I’m not really hungry now, I will probably just nosh on something and eat a real meal later.”

Written for, for Daily Addictions by rogershipp prompt Abundant, for FOWC with Fandango – Temper, for Sheryl’s A New Daily Post Word Prompt: Sleek, for Ragtag Community Navigate, for thehouseofbailey Destination Dreams Scotts Daily Prompt Native, for Teresa’s Haunted Wordsmith Three Things Challenge, where the three prompt words are “nicked, nutter and nosh” and for Word of the Day Challenge Alternative haven for the Daily Post’s mourners! Prompt Mystical.

22 thoughts on “British Slang

  1. I am a Btit, a cockney, a native of the East end of London. Sorry to disappoint, but I never ate black pudding at home, it was more something for those living in the north of England. However I have been living in Switzerland for 50 years (swiss husband) and the Swiss eat blood sausage, also the Germans, it is cooked and ok to eat, no problem. I have learned that every country has its own food, either you get used to it or starve. Thank goodness the Americans invented the hamburger because almost everyone eats them, even the Indians, although they do not eat beef as it is deemed as being sacred in their religion, but thank goodness for checken.

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    1. Thanks for your kind words, but I am the first to admit that I am far from being a genius. I have no idea where I rank on the intelligence scale, but I do try hard to write coherent posts.

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  2. I’m a Brit (with parents who moved here). I’ve never had a full English breakfast let alone black pudding (sounds gross!). You should look up London slang, it’s even more complex (and entertaining!).

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    1. I did enjoy the full English breakfast as well as the full Scottish breakfast and I know that they enjoy eating a hearty breakfast in Germany. I should learn more British slang, but as I said in my post the best way to do that is being there.


  3. I’ll bite. Roast beef is a traditional food of which country? I’d say Scotland because my dad’s people came from there and he loved his beef roast. Near as i know, we never ate lamb — and certainly NOT haggis.
    I read British novels betimes and pick up a few words that way. I’ve heard of “bangers and mash” and “mushy peas” which don’t sound all that appealing. 😦 “Clotted cream” sounds like curdled to me, but apparently is just thick and delicious.
    Don’t look for corn across the pond, either on or off the cob. I read about an American who lived in England awhile and when she saw a farmer selling honest-to-goodness corn on the cob, she bought six cobs. There were pathetic small things, but still… Next day she went back and bought six more — and found out she’d bought half of his corn harvest. 🙂
    Well done with the prompts again!

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    1. Thanks, the prompts are what they are and they make the story develop. No corn, that really sucks and I think the correct answer is Ireland for the Roast Beef, but I could be wrong as I know the Irish eat corned beef.


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