Conquer These 15 British Slang Words [VIDEO]

August 5, 2012 1:49 pm

The United Kingdom is a place famous for its culture, its history, and of course its “Bangers and Mash.” What many people tend to forget is that the English language was born and developed over centuries in Great Britain.

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Trust us though, just because Robert Pattinson and Christian Bale‘s accents make most women swoon, doesn’t mean you’re going to understand common British lingo. Below are 10 sayings that you may have heard at the 2012 Olympic Games.


Hosted and Produced by: Susan Peters
Shot and Edited by: Jocelyn Rubin

1. “Taking The Mickey” 
If your team or Olympian is being completely demolished on their sporting field, or in their arena, this is a saying you will certainly hear. “Taking The Mickey” is a reference to someone taking harsh ridicule or mockery.

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2. “Knackered”
To be an Olympian requires hours of fitness training and daily practice. The longest single competitor event at the games is the triathlon, which consists of a 500m swim, a 40km bike ride and a 10km run. “Knackered” is a term that refers to extreme exhaustion, or to be completely tired—like one would feel after completing an Olympic triathlon!

3. “Leg it
Jamaican running champion, Usain Bolt knows how to “leg it,” so does the U.S.’s long distance runner Shannon Rowbury. “Leg it” is a saying commonly shouted at athletes to “run fast,” or to “get going!”

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4. “Done Up Like A Kipper”
Athletes can get pretty heated in the midst of competition. It’s not uncommon for fights to break out in sports like water polo or soccer, those athletes that get into it  can be referred to as “done up like a kipper,” meaning they were beaten up.

5. “Footie
No we are not referring to the toe-stepping game “footsy” you played in elementary school. “Footie” is the slang term for soccer or rugby in the U.K.

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6. “Absolute Tosh”
If a referee makes a call that does not sit well with you why not ditch your usual outcries and replace them with this gem of a saying. “Absolute Tosh” is another way of saying that something is absurd.

7. “Off Your Trolley”
This saying refers to someone who is crazy. We are still in the process of figuring out what a trolley has to do with sanity…

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8.  “Put Some Welly Into It
Put some muscle into it!

9.  “Nancy Boy”
This is another saying that you may hear spectators yelling at the opposing team. “Nancy Boy” is another term for saying someone is “soft,” or not tough.

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10.  “Taking The Biscuit”
If something really takes the biscuit, it means it out-does everything else and cannot be bettered. Similar to the saying “takes the cake.”

11. “Chuffed”
To be Proud. The announcers might reference the action of an athlete and how proud he/she should be of it.

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12. “Daf or Daffy”
Crazy or foolish. This could be said if an athlete takes an unusual risk that has good or bad consequences.

13. “Fancy”
We have all heard this, but this doesn’t revolve around attire or glam get-ups. It means to like, or appreciate.

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14. “Ace”
Picture them saying, “That jump was an ace!” It means awesome or cool.

15. “Rubbish”
The commentators might flatter the athletes with “Aces” and “Fancies” but if they don’t perform their best, it could be considered garbage or, “That’s crap!”.


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