Cheers! Speaking British Part 1 of 2

I have never heard one native Londoner say, “‘ello Govenor.” (and by the way, they hate it when you ask them to say it). You’d think speaking English would be easy but I found the Queen’s tongue a bit challenging at times. In fact, there was more than one occasion when my good friend, Sunir, would say something to me and all I could respond with was, “what?!” Thus began my “Daily British Lessons” from my mates in London. Below is a short list I collected on a wall behind my desk. Everyone in the office contributed to it, some more than others (Sunir, Paul, Becky, Laurie and Andy). But, I’ll let you have a look:

You fancy a chat?
Do you think I’m a pilchard?
I’m gutted. 
Are you pulling my plunker?
That’s a proper __________ (insert object).
You’re having a bubble?
Taking the piss?
-not to be confused with-
He’s pissed.
That’s the badger.
Bob’s your uncle.
Scamp it up.
I’m gobsmacked!

And then there’s the greatness of Cockney Rhyming Slang, which as a I understand it is just rhyming words with actual words. Including:

Feelin’ a bit Tom and Dick?
Call me on the ol’ dog and bone.
I need a kip.
Let’s have some Ruby Murray.
I’m feeling a bit Harvey Lee. (Hank Marvin)
Give us a tickle on the ol’ blower.
Strike me a light, me ol’ china plate.
Make us a cuppa Rosie Lee, you mug.
Ah, he’s a septic.

And finally, it’d be wrong if I didn’t recognize the Scots and my mate Andy Wise with his favorite expression:
Watcha cock!
(Which doesn’t mean what you think it means).

Now, this is titled "1 of 2" because we’re going to try some community participation. I’d like people to add comments to this page of what they think the expressions mean. NO cheating from Londoners and NO googling. I’ll follow up with the answers. Good luck.


  1. Ok. I'll nab the easy ones. Dog and bone is phone. The rest of the cockney has me Gobsmacked... Or punched in the kisser. This list is a proper pickle!


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