How well do you know UK slang?

By: Abi Luftig
Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Oi! You reckon you're ready for this here quiz about British slang? Then come on in, it's going to be knees up for ya!

When you take a trip to the UK or in countries that are UK territories, you will be acquainted with the immediate changes in the English language over there, especially if you're more familiar with the American brand of English. Here's a handy travel tip: It's always a good idea to be prepared and brush up on how they speak English, before even landing.

For those who grew up Americanized, the stretch doesn't seem to be that far off. The main difference lies in how some common words are spelled. We say color, they say colour. We say organize, they say organise. Get the drift? 

But of course, more than the difference in spelling is the huge difference in the informal language that they use. Take for example some common slang interjections that sound like fun. Blimey, is that correct! Yes, if you paid attention to the Harry Potter film series, the Hogwarts boys say "Blimey!" a lot, especially Ron. Or how about "Rubbish!" That's a favorite term that the rebellious blokes like to use. We'll let you guess what that one means inside the quiz proper.

So, are you ready to ace this one? Have a gander. Cheers!

"Turn on the telly." What is a telly?

"Telly" is shorthand slang for a television set. Often, people use their telly to watch programmes on the BBC.

What is "rubbish"?

Rubbish is the U.K. term for garbage, which gets put into a bin instead of a trashcan. Rubbish can also be used as an adjective to describe being bad at something, such as, "I'm utter rubbish at sports - that's why I don't play."

If something is "bollocks," what is it?

It's not just part of the title of a Sex Pistols album telling you to never mind it, "bollocks" is a slang term for total BS nonsense. It can be used like, "That speeding ticket I got was total bollocks - I wasn't' going that fast!"

What is a ginger?

A ginger is a term for someone with red hair. Famous examples include Ron Weasley, Ed Sheeran, and Little Orphan Annie. Sadly, as all Whovians know, The Doctor has yet to be ginger.

It's totally buggered! What does "buggered" mean?

If something is buggered, it is worn out, broken and possibly ruined. If you run into your ex while on a date, your evening might be buggered. If your car gets a flat tire, it's buggered.

If someone asks you what you're "on about," what are they asking?

"What are you on about?" is a way of asking someone what they're talking about. It's usually said in casual conversation.

Fancy some chips? What are chips?

In the U.K., chips are French fries. They are served in pubs and restaurants but are also sold in greasy spoon places called "chippies." It's up to you whether you want to put vinegar on yours.

Ok, then, what are American potato chips called in the U.K.?

In the U.K., you can't ask for a bag of chips and get Lays. Instead, you need to ask for a packet of crisps. Try the prawn flavoured ones, they're ever so nice!

If you fancy a "biscuit," what food are you craving?

In the U.K., a biscuit (sometimes called a biccy) is a cookie. Types of biscuits include Jaffa Cakes, Jammie Dodgers, and Digestives, which are about as appetizing as they sound.

What is a "flat"?

In the U.S., someone rents an apartment. In the U.K., they let a flat.

If someone is "knackered," what are they?

If someone is completely exhausted and totally tired, they are knackered. You might be knackered after a hard day at work or after cleaning your flat.

What kind of tape is sellotape?

Sellotape is more commonly known in the U.S. as Scotch tape. It's believed that the name originated because of Scotch tape's similarity to cellophane.

If someone is your "mate," who are they?

A "mate" is a friend, and the word is used similarly to "buddy" or "pal" in U.S. slang. It's usually part of a greeting, such as "alright, mate?" to ask how your friend is doing.

If someone is "jammy," what are they?

While it sounds like they've gotten themselves into a sticky situation, being jammy is a good thing. Usually, it involves a bit of luck or a fluke, like winning the lottery.

What does “Are you having a laugh?” mean?

This expression is often used to convey incredulity, such as, "You think George Lazenby is a better Bond than Sean Connery? Are you having a laugh?"

I fancy some chocolate. What does "fancy" mean?

To fancy someone or something is to really want and/or desire the object of your fancy. It can be used with regards to inanimate objects, such as, "I fancy some chocolates," or a person on whom you have a crush, such as, "I fancy David Tennant."

If someone is "gobsmacked," what are they?

If someone is gobsmacked, they are so stunned that they bring their hand up and smack themselves in the mouth, aka gob. If someone told you you won the lottery, you would be gobsmacked.

What is a car park?

A car park is a dual-defined term, meaning either a flat parking lot or a structured parking garage. It's a somewhat dull term, but a necessary one.

If someone is "cheeky," what are they?

A person is cheeky if they are playfully rude or impertinent. If someone is an outright flirt, they are often called cheeky.

If someone is a "slag," what are they?

Slag is British slang for a tramp or a promiscuous person. In America, lower back tattoos are known as "tramp stamps," but in the U.K., they are called "slag tags."

If someone is "gutted," what are they?

Gutted is a common description for when someone is devastated and feel like they've been punched in the gut by shock and sadness. For instance, Luke Skywalker was gutted to find out Darth Vader is his father.

If you are "taking the p*ss," what are you doing?

To take the p*ss is to make fun of someone or something. A more polite version is "taking the mick" or "taking the mickey," but those are seldom used except around children and authority figures. Shows like "South Park" that openly make fun of celebrities take the p*ss out of them.

What is a courgette?

In the U.K., a zucchini is referred to by its French name, a courgette. This is one example of many French words making their way across the Channel into everyday British vernacular.

"I dunno, mate, that looks a bit dodgy." What does dodgy mean?

If something is dodgy, it's a bit dubious and suspicious. The word can be applied to situations, like every episode of Scooby Doo, or to edible things, like that pasta that's been in the fridge for three months and will probably make you sick.

You tosser! What is a tosser?

Be careful who you call a tosser! It often gets translated as "jerk" or "idiot," but it's actually closer to "a-hole" or "jackass."

If someone has "lost the plot," what's happened?

If someone has "lost the plot," they've become insane or senile. For instance, many people think that Britney Spears lost the plot when she shaved her head.

"You git!" What is a git?

A "git" is an idiot, usually one of a hapless nature. Other similar words are dimwit, plonker and dolt.

Ok, if U.S. underwear is U.K. pants, then what are U.S. pants known as?

What are called pants or slacks in the U.S. are called trousers in the U.K. This is true whether the apparel is casual or dressy.

What is a "jumper"?

While some in the U.S. mean a dress (or a song by Third Eye Blind) when they talk about a jumper, the term in the U.K. refers to a sweater. It usually refers to a pullover sweater, with cardigans being referred to as such.

If something is a bit "wonky," it is

If something is wonky, it's a bit wobbly and possibly broken. For instance, if your table leg is a bit wonky, you might want to put a book under it.

If someone is "chuffed," they are

If a person is pleased or happy, they might say they are chuffed. If they are extra happy, they are chuffed to bits. An example might be "I'm so chuffed you remembered my birthday!"

What is a "trolly"?

A trolly is a shopping cart to be used at grocery stores such as Asda or Tesco. As a way to stop people from stealing their trollies, some stores have rigged trollies to not work unless a pound coin is inserted.

What is a "snog"?

A snog is a kiss, but snogging is usually translated as making out. If you are well fit, people probably want to snog you!

What is "pavement"?

Despite "sidewalk" having a very solid explanation, Brits still refuse to use the word and call the paved strip on the side of the road "the pavement." They are still made of concrete, just like sidewalks.

If you've been "made redundant," what's happened?

Not an uncommon term in troubling economic times, U.S. workers might find themselves laid off, while their U.K. counterparts have been made redundant. It's still not fun, no matter it's called.

How do you say "thank you" in the U.K.?

There are multiple ways to thank someone in the U.K. "Thanks" always works well, but "ta" and "cheers" are used in more informal settings. Cheers for taking this quiz!

If someone has "skivved off," what have they done?

If someone has skivved off, they have played hooky to get out of going to school or their job. It is pronounced "skyved."

What is a "chav"?

A chav is the UK equivalent of a trailer park redneck. It's actually an acronym that stands for Council House And Violent, denoting that the person lives in the U.K. version of Section 8 housing. Chavs are often seen wearing Burberry hats.

If someone is "fit," what are they?

If someone is attractive, people might say they are fit, much like someone in the US. would be hot. If the person is really attractive, someone might describe them as well fit.

What does "pants" mean?

"Pants" can mean two things. As an adjective, it means something was lame and kind of crappy (as in, "ugh, that new Justin Bieber song is utter pants"). As far as clothing is concerned, pants is an abbreviation of "underpants," and is another word for underwear.

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