all fur coat and no knickers

2013, December

i have now lived stateside for 2 years {well 2 years in january} and i have daily conversations with people about england, london, british words, the royal family and the fact that as brits we don’t really count ourselves as europeans {unless that’s just me}…i could go on.


but during one slightly long afternoon at work {i’m not sure i should admit this on such a public space, but oh well}, i stumbled on a plethora of british slang that i just had to share. i laughed out loud at some of them since i hadn’t used them in a very long time. but mostly reminisced and thought about how weird i must sound when i’m in full flow conversation with friends from home {ash i’m specifically referring to you!}.

all fur coat and no knickers is actually a berkshierism {i.e. from berkshire}, my friend used this phrase to describe her job! e.g. her role has a fancy title but it doesn’t mean much!

*these are taken from the article the very best of british from*

here are just a few. enjoy.

  • ace – if something is ace it is awesome.
  • aggro – short for aggravation, it’s the sort of thing you might expect at a football match. in other words – trouble!
  • all right? – this is used a lot around london and the south to mean, “hello, how are you”? you would say it to a complete stranger or someone you knew. the normal response would be for them to say “all right”? back to you. it is said as a question. sometimes it might get expanded to “all right mate”? mostly used by blue collar workers but also common among younger people.
  • barmy – if someone tells you that you’re barmy they mean you have gone mad or crazy. for example you’d have to be barmy to visit england without trying black pudding!
  • bees knees – if you want to say that something was fabulous, this phrase might come in handy.
  • bloody – one of the most useful swear words in english. mostly used as an exclamation of surprise i.e. “bloody hell” or “bloody nora”. something may be “bloody marvellous” or “bloody awful”. it is also used to emphasize almost anything, “you’re bloody mad”, “not bloody likely” and can also be used in the middle of other words to emphasize them. e.g. “abso-bloody-lutely”! americans should avoid saying “bloody” as they sound silly.
  • blooming – another alternative to the word bloody. you might hear someone say “not blooming likely” so that they don’t have to swear.
  • bob’s your uncle – this is a well used phrase. it is added to the end of sentences a bit like and that’s it! for example if you are telling someone how to make that fabulous banoffee pie you just served them, you would tell them to boil the condensed milk for three hours, spread it onto a basic cheesecake base, slice bananas on top, add some whipped double cream, another layer of banana and bob’s your uncle!
  • cheeky – cheeky means you are flippant, have too much lip or are a bit of a smart arse! generally you are considered to be a bit cheeky if you have an answer for everything and always have the last word.
  • cheers – this word is obviously used when drinking with friends. however, it also has other colloquial meanings. for example when saying goodbye you could say “cheers”, or “cheers then”. it also means thank you.
  • chin wag – this is another word for a chat. ycan probably tell why!
  • do – a party. you would go to a do if you were going to a party in the uk i.e. a bacerlorette party would be called a hen do or bachelor party a stag do.
  • donkey’s years – someone said to me the other day that they hadn’t seen me for donkey’s years. it means they hadn’t seen me for ages.
  • full of beans – this means to have loads of energy. *i only learnt this one a few months ago!*
  • gutted – if someone is really upset by something they might say that they were gutted.
  • hiya – short for hi there, this is a friendly way of saying hello.
  • horses for courses – this is a common saying that means each to his own. what suits one person might be horrible for someone else.
  • left, right and centre – if you have been looking left, right and centre, it means you have been searching all over.
  • on your bike – a polite way of telling someone to f*** off.
  • pear shaped – if something has gone pear shaped it means it has become a disaster. It might be preparing a dinner party or arranging a meeting, any of these things can go completely pear shaped.
  • porkiescockney rhyming slang. short for “porky pies”, meaning “pork pies”. rhymes with lies.
  • pukka – this term has been revived recently by one of our popular young tv chefs. it means super or smashing, which of course is how he describes all his food.
  • quid – a pound in money is called a quid. It is the equivalent to the buck or clam in america. a five pound note is called a fiver and a ten pound note is called a tenner.
  • rubbish – the stuff we put in the bin. trash or garbage to americans. you might also accuse someone of talking rubbish.
  • skew-whiff – this is what you would call crooked. like when you put a shelf up and it isn’t straight we would say it is all skew-whiff.
  • sod all – If you are a waiter in america and you serve a family of brits, the tip is likely to be sod all or as you would call it – nothing. because we don’t know about tipping.
  • taking the biscuit – if something really takes the biscuit, it means it out-does everything else and cannot be bettered. some places in america they said takes the cake.
  • taking the mickey – means making fun of someone. variations include “taking the mick” and “taking the michael”.
  • throw a spanner in the works – this is an expression that means to wreck something.

there was so much more. if you want to read a lot more than what i’ve shared find it here. i warn you, some of the words are a bit naughty! *insert winky face*




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