11 British slang terms to help you speak like a local

If you’re learning English in the UK or you’re planning to live there in the future, knowing some British slang can really help you to feel like a local. The UK has some particularly quirky slang phrases – you’ll often hear them out and about and in British TV programs and films.


Here are 11 British slang phrases you can start using:


1. Pop


Definition: To go somewhere local or close by, usually for a short amount of time. It can also mean to put something down.


Examples:I’m just going to pop to the shops or I’m just popping out now (to go somewhere) or Do you mind if I just pop my bag here? (to put down).



2. Nick


Definition: This has several uses as a British slang word. It can mean to steal, to get arrested, jail, or in good/bad shape.


Examples: Somebody nicked my bike last week (to steal), They got nicked for shoplifting (to get arrested), He spent last night in the nick (jail), or It's in pretty good nick for a second-hand coat (to be in good/bad shape).



3. Rubbish


Definition: Trash, or not very good.


Examples: Please can you take the rubbish out? (trash) or The play I saw last night was rubbish (not very good).



4. Skiving off


Definition: Avoiding going to something when you should go.


Examples:Dave wasn’t at work yesterday; I think he was skiving off.

Skiving off


5. Do


Definition: A party, celebration or gathering.


Examples:Are you going to Andrea’s birthday do tonight?



Group of friends with drinks


6. Chuffed


Definition: Really pleased.


Examples: I’m chuffed I won the prize or I bet you must be so chuffed with how the event turned out!



7. Pear-shaped


Definition: In fashion terminology, this means a person whose hips are the widest part of their body. In British slang, this phrase is used to indicate that something has gone wrong, or hasn’t gone quite to plan.


Examples: I forgot my lunch, my umbrella’s broken and now my hair is frizzy. It’s all gone pear-shaped!




8. Chockablock or chocka


Definition: Really busy or packed.


Examples: The Central line was chockablock this morning! or Sorry I’m late, the motorway was chocka.

Chockablock or chocka


9. Shattered


Definition: Very tired or exhausted.


Examples: I’ve been awake since 5 o’clock this morning, I’m absolutely shattered.



Tired woman at her desk


10. Peckish


Definition: Slightly hungry.


Examples: I’m not starving, but I am a bit peckish. Shall we have a snack?



11. Squiffy


Definition: Usually means tipsy, but can also refer to your eyes when they feel funny or wonky.


Examples: I’ve only had one cocktail and I'm squiffy already! (tipsy) or The graphics in the film made my eyes go squiffy (wonky).



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