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’.
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.