Do you live in the UK and want to catch what British people are saying? Do you want to understand British TV shows like “Peaky Blinders”, “Sherlock” or “The Office”.
Then learning British slang phrases will help!
While many British people understand and use American slang due to the influence of US culture, the UK has its own unique slang words and expressions.
In this post, you'll discover 67 British slang phrases that will help you impress your British friends. And help you understand their conversations better!
Top 10 British Slang Phrases
Don't have much time? Want to learn the top British slang words you’ll hear all the time in the UK? Check out this list for the top ten.
This is a great place to start a list of British slang phrases as you’ll hear it all the time in the UK. If someone says “alright?” with a rising intonation, they’re asking “how are you?”.
B. Yeah, not bad. You?
“Bird’ is British slang for a woman. It can also refer to a female partner or girlfriend.
Have you met his new bird yet?
“Bloke” is British slang for a man. Americans would say “dude”.
Who’s that bloke over there?
You use “bloody” to emphasise what you're saying – a bit like “very” but more offensive! You often use it when you're angry.
It's bloody cold out there today!
In all parts of the English-speaking world, people say cheers as a toast before drinking. But in British English “cheers” can also mean “thank you”.
A: Here’s that book you asked to borrow.
You’re probably familiar with “hi”, but in the UK people often say “hiya” instead.
A: Hiya, you alright?
B: Hiya! Yeah, fine thanks. You?
“Lad” is a bit like “bloke” because it refers to a man, but in this case, a young man.
Those lads next door make a lot of noise don’t they?
In British English, you can refer to your friends as your mates. So your best friend is your best mate.
We've been mates since primary school.
When Americans say they’re “pissed” they mean they’re angry. But when British people are “pissed”, they’re drunk!
I was so pissed last night, I can’t remember anything about it.
10. Pissed Off
In British English, if you’re “pissed off” then you’re angry.
My bird’s pissed off because I’m going out with my mates tonight, instead of staying at home with her.
British Slang Phrases About Love & Relationships And Having Fun
These slang words are all about what you might do with your mates, or your bird or your bloke.
A “bash” is a party.
Are you coming to my birthday bash next Saturday?
A “do” is also a slang word for “party” in British English.
Example: We’re having a do to celebrate the end of term. You can come if you want.
If you have a chinwag, then you have a nice long conversation with a friend.
I had a good chinwag over the phone last night with my best mate.
If someone is dishy then they’re good-looking.
Where can I meet a dishy bloke in this town?
“Fit” is similar to “dishy”. You can think of it as a synonym for sexy. Americans would say “hot” instead.
His new bird is pretty fit, don’t you think?
A knees-up is another way to say party in British slang. But a “knees-up” does tend to be a particularly loud and energetic one!
That was a fantastic knees-up last night! I danced until 5am!
This is a variation of “mate” which is especially common in Scotland, but you’ll hear it in other parts of the UK too.
Of course I’ll help you – we’re pals!
This can be a noun or a verb and it means to kiss or a kiss with tongues!
I hear you snogged him at the party last night!
This is the British slang word for “sex”! It can be a noun or a verb.
We decided not to shag because we were both too pissed.
British Food And Drink Slang
British food has a bad reputation. But there are a surprising number of British slang phrases that refer to food and drink. Here's a tasty selection!
A “bevvy” is any kind of alcoholic drink.
I had too many bevvies at the pub last night and I don’t feel great this morning.
This word refers to any type of alcoholic drink, from beer to whisky to wine.
Did you remember to buy some booze for the party?
This is where you go if you want to order that classic British dish, fish and chips. The standard English word is “fish and chip shop”. But most people call it the chippy.
I don’t feel like cooking tonight – let’s get something from the chippy!
A “cuppa” refers to a “cup of tea”. That’s because in fast speech “cup of” gets reduced to “cuppa”.
Would you like a cuppa?
This British slang word refers to food in general.
I’m starving – have you got any grub?
You can use “nosh” the same way as “grub”.
The nosh they serve at that pub is pretty disgusting.
This is short for off-licence, in other words, a shop where you can buy alcohol.
I’m going to pick up some beers at the offie – do you want anything?
27. On The Lash
This slang expression refers to going out to get drunk.
Are you going out on the lash again tonight?
“Plonk” refers to cheap wine that’s usually not very good quality.
Can you pick up a bottle of plonk at the offie?
If you go to the pub with your mates, you’ll be expected to pay for a “round”. This means it’s your turn to go and buy drinks for everyone.
It’s your round mate. I’ll have the same again.
This British slang word means “sandwich”.
I love a bacon sarnie in the morning!
Much like “plonk”, “vino” refers to cheap wine.
I’ve bought some vino and I’ve ordered a pizza for tonight.
British Slang Adjectives
Many British slang phrases are colourful adjectives that describe a whole range of emotions.
32. Can’t Be Bothered
If you “can’t be bothered” then you don’t have the energy or enthusiasm to do something. People also say “can’t be arsed” which is more offensive so be careful who you say that to!
I can’t be bothered to go out on the lash tonight.
If someone is cheeky then they are disrespectful, but usually in a funny way.
She was so cheeky to the teachers at school. Once she even told the maths teacher that the dog ate her homework!
If you’re “chuffed” then you’re really happy. If you’re especially “chuffed”, then you can say you’re “chuffed to bits”.
I’m so chuffed to hear you’re getting married.
This British slang word means “silly” or “stupid”.
How could you be so daft!
“Dodgy” means “dishonest” or “illegal”. In American slang, people would say “shady”.
He lost most of his savings by investing in dodgy deals.
This word means “shocked” or “surprised”. So shocked in fact that you can’t speak!
When she told me the news, I was gobsmacked.
This is another British English slang word that means “drunk”.
A: What did you get up to this weekend?
B: I got hammered Saturday night and spent Sunday in bed.
You’ll hear this word all the time in the UK – it means “tired”.
I’m knackered so I’m going to bed. Goodnight!
This British slang word means “annoyed”.
She was a bit miffed with me because I didn’t reply to her text.
You might get “lairy” if you go to the pub and have too many bevvies. It means that you’re behaving in a loud and excited way.
Those lads are getting too lairy – I think it’s time to leave.
Like “hammered”, “plastered” means drunk.
We’re going to go out Saturday and get plastered.
“Wasted” is another slang word meaning “drunk”.
I can’t be bothered to go out and get wasted tonight.
In British slang, something “rubbish” is something low quality or not true.
He was talking rubbish last night because he was pretty wasted.
British Slang Phrases To Insult People
Be careful with these British slang phrases – you use them to insult people! So avoid using them, but be aware that you might hear them when you're watching British TV shows.
A chav refers to a person, often a young person, who dresses, speaks and behaves in a way that suggests they’re poorly educated and from a lower social class.
Nobody wanted to buy Burberry clothes when chavs started wearing them.
People often use this slang insult for a man who’s is stupid or not very nice.
What did you just say to me, you old git?
A “twat” is someone stupid or unpleasant.
Did you just call me a twat?
A “minger” is someone ugly. There’s also an adjective, “minging”.
Have you met her new bloke? He’s a bit of a minger.
A “mug” is someone stupid who can be fooled easily.
Who do you think I am, a total mug?
If you’re a “muppet” then you’re stupid.
What have you done now, you muppet!?
A “prat” is an “idiot” or “stupid person” in British English slang.
When he’s hammered he behaves like a complete prat.
52. Slag Off
If you slag someone off, you insult them.
Apparently she’s been slagging me off to everyone – I’m so pissed off.
British Slang Phrases For Work And Money
Finally, a surprising number of British slang phrases are to do with work and money. Then again, it's not so surprising as most of us need to work and earn money to live!
If you bodge (up) a job or botch it, then you do it badly.
You've really botched this up – we're going to have to start all over again.
54. Crack On
This is one of several British slang phrases on this list that's also a phrasal verb. If you crack on with something, then you start or continue doing it after a break with lots of energy and enthusiasm.
Let’s crack on with the meeting so we can go home early.
This slang word is a bit like bodge.
It was a complete cock-up
“Dosh” means money.
Could you lend me a bit of dosh so I can go out this weekend?
57. Faff Around
If you “faff around” then you avoid doing work by doing silly things. In American English, you would say “goof off” or “slack off”.
Stop faffing around and get back to work.
This is British slang for a five-pound note.
I found a fiver on the floor!
In British English slang, the “gaffer” is the boss.
Stop faffing around, the gaffer’s coming!
In British English, “graft” means “work”. You often see it in the expression “hard graft”.
I’m looking for people to work for me who aren’t afraid of hard graft.
This British slang word simply means “money”.
She’s earning plenty of moolah in her new job.
If you’re “minted” then lucky you, you’re rich!
Have you seen the size of that house? They must be minted!
This British slang word means a “pound”.
Can I borrow a few quid?
This is slang for a ten-pound note.
Could I borrow a tenner to buy a bottle of plonk?
If you’re “skint” then poor, you, you’re out of money!
I can’t come out tonight because I’m skint.
66. Skive (Off)
People who “skive off” skip school or work to do something else.
I hated school and used to skive off all the time.
And finally, not surprisingly, someone who “skives off” is a “skiver”, in other words, someone who is absent from work without permission.
Absent again is he? What a skiver!
Immerse Yourself In British English To Learn British Slang Phrases
So there you have it – 67 British slang phrases to help you better understand British speakers or impress your British friends!
This list is a great starting point for learning common British slang phrases. But the best way to learn and remember British slang is to immerse yourself in British English.
Pay attention to the slang words your British friends use or the ones you hear in the TV shows you watch. You may hear British slang phrases that weren't included in this post, such as slang specific to certain regions.
Also, make sure you follow the rules of StoryLearning by reading short stories in English. As you immerse yourself in English through books, you'll see these British slang phrases again and again. And you'll learn them fast!