60 Cheeky British Slang Words and Phrases

By: Alia Hoyt  | 
British slang
Fun road sign informing drivers in British slang that the road is closed and they should go another way. northallertonman/Shutterstock

It's no secret that the world is collectively obsessed with British people and British culture. The coronation of King Charles III fully illustrated that fact, as it is the most-watched television event of 2023 so far, a very British pleasure indeed.

Whether you're team Harry and Megan or fully support the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (or just really like Harry Potter), it's a safe bet that you've affected a British accent a time or two, even throwing some British slang words and phrases into your English language tool kit for good measure. If you feel a bit stupid saying "bloody" all the time and long to diversify your British slang phrases, here's an alphabetical rundown of some brilliant slang.


A to E


Ace — A synonym for awesome, ace is also a British slang word to describe someone who's good at something. "Andy Murray is ace at tennis."

Arse — An arse can refer to a person's literal butt, or can be used to describe a stupid person who behaves in an annoying way.



Bloke — This one is prevalent in Britain, as well as New Zealand and Australia. It's a simple alternative way to refer to a man, dude or guy.

Bollocks Used frequently in pop culture, but best not around grandmother as it is another way to refer to testicles. A "load of bollocks," means that something isn't true, and to "talk bollocks" is another way of saying "to lie."

Brilliant — Here's one that gets used all the time by the Brits to describe something that is wonderful. Think of it as the British equivalent of America's obsession with "awesome" or "cool."

Bugger all — British slang term for nothing, as in "I got bugger all done at work this week," or "There's bugger all in the pantry to eat."


Cheeky — If someone is described as being cheeky, that means that their dry sense of humor is showing. Also known as being a smartass, or someone who's not taking something seriously.

Cheerio — This does not exclusively refer to cereal in the U.K.; instead, it means good-bye.

Chuffed — This British slang word expresses delight at something. For example, "The fans were chuffed that England made it so far in the recent World Cup."


Dead — Another way of saying "very." For example, "This meat pie is dead delicious."

Dodgy — Remember how Hugh Grant went searching around the "dodgy end" of a London neighborhood to find his love interest in "Love Actually"? The word describes a place, person or experience that's a bit sketchy, even dangerous.


Eejit — A play on how the Irish say the word idiot. Same meaning, though.

Ends — A British slang word for the part of town or neighborhood that you're from.


F to K


Fag — Although this one is highly derogatory in the U.S., in Britain it simply refers to a cigarette.

Fit — A slang term meaning sexy or attractive.


Full of beans — Means that someone is full of energy and life.


Gaffer — A slang term meaning boss, in a professional sense.

Gobby — A person who talks a lot or is overly opinionated. This can be used negatively.

Grass up — To narc on someone to the police or other authorities.


Have a strop — Also known as a tantrum. "The toddler is having a strop because she didn't get more candy."

Horses for courses — This one means that all people have different preferences, so what works for one bloke might not be right for another one.


I've come over all peculiar — Said by someone who has gotten sick all of the sudden.

Innit — An abbreviated way of saying "isn't it." "Innit strange how I've come over all peculiar?"


Jar — A pint of beer.

Jokes — Another way to say fun or funny.


Knackered — A slang term meaning super tired.

Knees-up — This one is slang for a lively party that often involves loud music and other hijinks.

Knob — A common bit of slang that has two meanings. Sometimes it's a pejorative term for an annoying person and other times it's an alternative word for penis.


L to P


Lairy — When a person is being very loud or disruptive they are described as lairy.

Loo — A loo is the British way of referring to the toilet.



Minted — Wealthy. "That heiress is minted, mate."

Mitts — hands. "I'd love to get my mitts on a warm scone and cup of tea."


Naff — Used to describe something that looks cheap or tacky.

Nick — When someone nicks something, they steal it.


Odds and sods — The British version of "bits and pieces," as in, "The vase broke into odds and sods." Can also mean "odds and ends."

On the lash — Drink way too much alcohol.


Pip pip — An alternative way to bid someone farewell. "We have to leave. Pip pip!"

Pig's ear — A way to describe when something has been messed up. "There's so much trash in my car, I've made a pig's ear out of it."

Plonker — Someone who is dumb or irritating.

Porkies — An example of Cockney rhyming slang: pork pies are lies. It isn't good to tell porkies.


Q to U


Queenie — A nickname for Elizabeth II, the late Queen of England.

Queue — A line or to line up. As in, "Time to queue for Wimbledon tickets," or, "We need to get in the Centre Court queue."


Quid — One pound, as in the unit of currrency.


Rank — Used to describe someone or something that smells or tastes bad or is otherwise unpleasant.

Rugger — Another word for the sport rugby.


See a man about a dog — A way to say that you're going to the bathroom or somewhere else you don't want to specifically announce.

Shagged — Although this can refer to sexual intercourse, it can also mean that someone is just really tired.

Slash — Someone who goes for a slash is going to urinate. Although it gets the point across, it's not the most polite way to say it.

Snog — To kiss someone. Generally not in the most romantic way, however.


Take the piss — This can mean a few things, but they're all related. To take a piss can mean that you're not actually serious about something, like if you're goofing off during a pickup basketball game. Or, to say that you're taking a piss at something or someone could mean that you're making fun of or mocking them. "His friends were taking the piss out of him."

Tenner — A 10-pound note.

Tosser — An annoying person.


Uncle ned — Bed.

Under the cosh — A way for a person to say that they feel under pressure, like when a term paper is almost due.


V to Z


From the valleys — People from Wales, where there are lots of valleys.

Vino — Cheap wine.



Wanker — A very commonly used insult to describe an annoying or unpleasant person, but it also refers to someone who masturbates. This one is considered fairly vulgar.

Well in it — If someone is "well in it" then they are in trouble.


Xtra — Very good.


Yonks — A long time. If you haven't seen someone for yonks, it has been awhile.


Zebra crossing — The black and white striped pedestrian crossings in roadways.