Tag Archives: british english

My 10 Favorite Examples of British Slang

Union Jack flag
Image: Union Jack British Flag by Pete Linforth via Pixabay

From time to time, I enjoy sharing the wonderful peculiarities of British English I encounter during everyday life over here in the U.K. A few years back, I singled out that inimitable term, trouser tenting, to capture that moment in the morning when a gentleman might be – how to say? – more alert, aroused or otherwise excited.

Having just hit my 14th anniversary living in London, I long ago accustomed myself to the myriad ways in which Britain and America truly are – as George Bernard Shaw once put it – “two countries divided by a language.” The word “quite” for example, which means “very” in the United States, means “not very” when used here. (She’s “quite nice” means she’s just OK.) In a similar vein, if you “table” a motion in the UK, that means you’re opening it up for discussion. In the U.S., to table something is to remove it from consideration.

Still, it is the everyday differences I enjoy most. Here are ten of my favorite examples of British slang you might want to think about incorporating into your linguistic arsenal:

Read the rest of this post over at Better After 50

Friday Pix: Recommended Reading For The Weekend

On Friday, I point you towards some recommended reading around the blogosphere:

1. In case, like me, you’re still missing the Olympics, I give you Mo Farah Running Away From Things.

2. I loved this essay by James Gleick about the rise of autocorrect.

3. From The Huffington Post’s Lisa Belkin, a lovely meditation on parenting.

4. Well, I’ve lived in London for 6 years and I’ve never heard of #5, but otherwise, this BBC America piece on 10 Things Brits Say…And What Americans Think We Mean is right on the money.

5. Finally, if you’re a Tim Minchin fan – and even if you’re not – have a listen to this fabulous interview with the barefooted, piano-playing comedian on BBC Radio 4. He is surprisingly astute about comedy, fame and agnosticism.


Have a great weekend, everyone!