49 British Phrases That Confuse Aussies

2 November 2016

Are you heading over to the land of tea, black pudding and Her Majesty? Don’t forget to familiarise yourself with the local lingo so you can blend in on arrival.

While we all technically speak English, the Brits sometimes have an odd way with words. See how many British phrases you can guess right, or just blaze on through the list and be content with the fact that you’re probably not going to understand a word anyone says when you get there (we’re kidding, you'll be fine).

High angle view of London's Westminster Bridge by Big Ben against the sky. Know the lingo when you go to Blighty. Photo: Getty Images.

1. All to pot: If something fails and is out of your control.

2. All right? “Hello, how are you?”

3. Anorak: Someone with a very strong/obsessive interest in a niche subject.

4. Any road: Used up North, meaning anyway.

5. Argy-bargy: A quarrel or argument.

6. Barmy: Crazy, insane.

7. I’m off to Bedfordshire: Going to bed.

8. Best of British: Good luck.

9. Bimble: An ambling walk.

10. Blighty: Britain.

11. Blimey: My goodness.

12. Blinkered: Narrow-minded.

13. Blow me: An exclamation of surprise aka “blow me down”.

14. C of E: Church of England.

15. Chuffed: Pleased.

16. Clanger: A mistake.

17. Collywobbles: Nervousness, butterflies in the stomach.

18. Crease up: To laugh heartily (so one’s face creases up).

19. Damp squib: Something that fails.

20. Fiver: £5.

21. Flannel: A face washer.

22. Fit: Good-looking.

23. Gammy: Injured or painful.

24. Giddy kipper: An overly excitable person.

25. Gobby: Offensively outspoken.

26. I’ve got the hump: To be mildly annoyed.

27. At Her Majesty’s Pleasure: To be in prison.

28. Knees up: Party.

29. Know your onions: To be knowledgeable.

30. Mad as a bag of ferrets: Utterly and completely insane.

31. It’s monkeys outside: It is very cold.

32. Naff: Unfashionable.

33. Nosh: Food.

34. Pants: Rubbish, eg "The date was totally pants."

35. Scouser: Someone from Liverpool.

36. Shufflebutt: A restless, fidgety person.

37. Snookered: Defeated/thwarted.

38. Sod it: I give up.

39. Sprog: A child.

40. Toff: An upper-class person.

41. Tosh: Rubbish/nonsense.

42. Tenner: £10.

43. Wazzock: An annoying person.

44. Wonky: Not right.

45. What are you like? Who do you think you are?

46. What time do you call this? Why are you so early/late?

47. Scrummy: Delicious.

48. Skive: To chuck a sickie or avoid doing something.

49. Skint: Broke.


Visit your local Flight Centre store or call 131 600 for more advice and the latest deals on travelling to the UK.


Sam Aldenton

Sam Aldenton is a Flight Centre travel writer, digital content creator (read: takes photos/videos with her iphone and sometimes a real camera) and former retail and youth trend forecaster. When she's not off discovering the world’s best pizza (an obsession picked up from her 4-years in New York), she makes her home in Brisbane, Australia. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram at @samaaldenton.