Cockney English and Irish Slang



A pound note (or quid) was twenty shillings also known as twenty bob.

A shilling, or bob, was worth twelve pennies and the sixpence coin was called a tanner.

A half-crown was a large silver coin worth an eighth of a pound.

A two-bob coin was called a florin by the upper classes.

A guinea is worth one pound and one shilling. There is no coin or note at that value, but it was used in professional fees.




Aeriated — angry.

A quiet word — could mean a chat, a warning or a beating: ‘I want a quiet word’ is menacing.

All dolled up — in your best clothes.

Any road — Liverpool for anyway.

Bee’s knees — excellent.

Berk — as in a right berk — an idiot.

Bint — girl (possibly available).

Bizzies — de bizzies — Liverpool for police.

Bleeder — fellah.

Blimey/Blow me — mild exclamation.

Bog, bogs — toilet.

Bottle someone — hit with a bottle.

Bookie — someone who took street bets on the ponies (races); illegal in 1963.

Bugger off — go away (not nice). However: ‘He buggered off’ = he left, neutral.

Bunk off — play hooky — miss school.

Butcher’s, have a, dekko, shufti — from butcher’s hook meaning look.

Cacked themselves — here it means laughed uproariously.

Cack-handed at — bad at something.

Chipper: feeling chipper — happy, full of energy.

Chippy — fish and chip shop; carpenter.

Choked — displeased or disappointed.

Chuffed pleased; the opposite of choked.

Clobber — clothes.

Clock someone — put his lights out — punch him.

Cockles — tiny clams in a shell. Take-away food (see Winkles).

Cocoa/Co-co: I should cocoa — give me a break. Rhyming slang from ‘I should say so’ in an ironic tone.

Collywobbles, to have/get — become fearful.

Cop as in ‘It’s not much cop’ — no good.

Cop a good one/ cop a good feel — foreplay.

Cop it — get killed.

Coppers, bluebottles, bogies and rozzers — police. There are other, less cuddly names too!

Coronation Street — incredibly long-running British soap opera.

Cost a bomb — expensive.

Cotton on — realize/understand.

Crackling: a nice bit of crackling — either a nicely built girl or the crispy skin of a pork roast(!).

Crisps — Potato chips.

Daft — silly.

Dead — very, as in dead clever.

Dekko, a — butcher’s, shufti — a look.

Dog’s breakfast, a — a mess.

Demobbed — see Mobbed out.

Dropped off his trolly — gone crazy.

Duff — no good.

Duff up — beat up.

Dunno — short for ‘don’t know’.

Fag — ciggie; cigarette; see Ginger.

Fair do’s — the schoolboy equivalent of societal give and take.

Flush — having money.

Flutter, have a — bet.

For yonks/ages/donkey’s years — for a long time.

Gadding about — messing about — doing silly (or illegal) things.

Gander, have a — have a look.

Gawd (love us etc) — informal expletive derived from ‘God’.

Gee-gees — ponies, horses (as in racing).

Get a rise out of someone — make him annoyed (for a joke).

Get lost — go away.

Get up someone’s nose — annoy someone.

Ginger or ginger beer — queer or gay.

Give over — you’re kidding.

Given a hiding/ duffed up/ done over — to be beaten up.

Gordon Bennett! — same as blimey! An exclamation or expostulation.

Goolies — privates.

Green Badge — see Knowledge.

Have a dekko/ butcher’s/shufti — have a look.

Have a go at someone — admonish or hit.

Het up — angry.

His Nibbs — the boss, unflattering.

How’s your father, to do some — sex.

Hump, to have the — to be annoyed or in a bad mood.

Humungous — huge.

In a tiz — a bit annoyed (often used as an understatement).

An ‘in’, as I have an in with the Old Vic — a useful connection.

Jammie — lucky, as in Jammie bleeder — lucky fellah.

A johnny — a condom.

Knackered — lit: castrated; idiomatically, dead tired.

Knowledge, The — incredibly difficult exam that London cabbies take to get a Green Badge that allows them to drive a cab.

Kray twins — South London gangsters who loved their mum.

Larry the Lamb — Jolly character from a radio series.

Lay — caper/crime.

Leave it out — I don’t believe you, give me a break.

Leery of — nervous about, afraid of.

Little blue twists of salt — you salted your own crisps (potato chips) in 1963. The salt came in a twist of blue paper. It was very lucky to get two in your packet — dunno why.

Lolly — money.

Lug something around — carry something heavy or unwanted.

Lug hole — ear.

Manky — yukky, unpleasant.

Mobbed out — demobbed. Let out of the Army.

Nick — verb: to steal; noun: police station/prison.

Nobbled — poisoned or given go-slow juice (race horses).

Nosh — food.

Off his trolley, gone — nuts, crazy.

Oik — ignorant or uncouth person. Someone different from you.

On yer tod — alone.

Palaver — fuss.

Parky — cold, as in parky weather.

Pillock — an idiot.

Poncy — effeminate (a ponce was also a pimp).

A pony = twenty-five pounds.

Pickled egg — exactly that: scrumptious. Sold from huge jars on pub counters.

Plimsolls — rubber shoes/trainers.

Porkie pie — lie.

Poufy — queer, gay, effeminate.

Pow-wow — discussion.

Pukkah — Indian Army term meaning high class/ in good order.

Pull the other leg/one — I don’t believe you.

Raspberry — nasty sound made by vibrating the lips — sign of disapproval.

Rasher — slice of bacon.

Salty — rude.

Sarnies — sandwiches.

Scarper — run.

Screw it! — Forget it.

Scumbag — nasty person.

See a man about a dog, have to — go for a pee.

Sexton Blake — fake, used as a verb or noun.

Shirty — rude.

A shufti, a butchers, a dekko — a look.

Shut it — be quiet.

Skive (off) — avoid work.

Slag someone off — be rude about someone, usually behind their back.

Spring for — pay for.

Steptoe and Son — Sanford and Son in the US. TV series about rag-and-bone men (dealers in used items/junk).

Stone — unit of measurement for people’s weight = 14 pounds.

Stroppy — angry.

Suss (out) — understand, discover, check out something.

Ta — thank you.

Ta-ra — Liverpool for bye.

Tea leaf — thief.

Teddy boy — 1950s-early 60s fashion for young men to have long side-burns and wear knee-length jackets, drain-pipe trousers and winkle-picker (pointed) shoes.

The other half — another drink, also your wife.

Toddle-off , bugger off — saunter away.

Ton, as in do the ton — 100 mph.

Tooled-up — carrying firearms.

Touched — (by God) mad/crazy.

Top-hole — excellent in posh.

Turn-up (for the book) — a surprise

Twat — idiot.

Waffle — to waffle on about something, to talk too much about it.

Wind someone up — make someone angry.

Wind-up — a trick or attempt to anger someone.

Wigging — a telling off, a reprimand.

Wonky — not set right, as in my front wheels are a bit wonky. A wonky smile is a lopsided one.

Wotcha — Hi, as ‘Wotcha, Mikey’.


Catholic jargon:

Canon — senior priest.

Mortal sin — you’re going to hell.

Venal sin — a little one, you need to confess.

Incense thurible — a brazier on chains used to make clouds of incense.

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