Posts Tagged ‘Cockney Rhyming Slang’

How to speak with a London accent



 Abaat – approximately, or in the vicinity. 

Ant – I want.  Ant chips, ant money, ant work, ant to win X Factor.

Ayer-powt – the holiday starts and ends here if the flight isn’t overbooked and you haven’t forgotten your parse-powt.

Alma chizzit? – a request to establish the cost of an item.  ‘Alma chizzit for a taxi to the ayer-powt?’

Amant – a quantity of something.  ‘Kev bowt a large amant of gold on his trip to Doo-boy.’ (Dubai).

Annuva – additional.

Arf panda – a large hamburger.

Art attack – freaked out, as in ‘Don’t show this to Dave.  He’ll ‘ave a art attack.’

Arskt – enquired.  ‘Oi arskt ya to put mushy peas wiv me chips, not on the bloody fings.’

Awss – a four–legged animal ridden by jockeys in races. 

Ass – a domestic building in which people live.

Ass band – forced to stay at home by the rain, when ill or unemployed.

Bannsa – a person employed to deny access or eject troublemakers at a club. ‘Mike’s gone got izself a job as a bannsa.’

Barf – large plastic container filled with hot water in which a person ‘baves.’  Usually sited in the barf room.

Boaf  – the two. ‘Oi Kevin, ooja fancy most, Tracy or Sharon?’ ‘Whoa!  Boaf of em!’ 

Brought – purchased.  ‘Mick’s brought a new ass.’

Burf-dye – a celebration on the date of one’s birth. ‘Appy burf-dye to yer.’

Cancel – the administrative body within a town looking after the interests of its residents. ‘Oh me gawd Daryl, wive ad annuvva letta from the cancel.’

Cantafit – fake, as in money, watches, perfume, DVDs, sports clothing.

Choona – tinned fish.

Caught a panda – small hamburger (not as big as a arf panda).

C’nav – a request: ‘C’nav some vin’gar on me chips?’

Danstez – not upstairs.

Door-a – daughter.

Drekkun – what do you think?  As in ‘How many vodkas drekkun it’ll take before Darren pukes?’ 

Droive – operate or control a vehicle.  ‘If you’re droivin’ over to Kelly’s ass, c’nav a lift?’

Erz – belonging to her.

Eye-eels – high heels.

Eyebrow – cultured, intellectual, highbrow. 

Excape – get free from something.

Faazund – thousand.

Farva – a posh way to say Dad.

Fatcha – a reference to former prime minister, Margaret Thatcher.

Faye-fool – firm in adherence to promises or in observance of duty.  ‘Oi’d nevva cheat on yer darlin.’  Oil always be faye-fool, ‘cos I luv yer.’

Fank – thank.

Fing – thing.

Fink – thought process.

Fort – past tense of fink.

Froget – fail to remember.  ‘Don’t froget, ant a caught a panda not a arf panda.’

Frew – in one side and out the other, or, propelled through the air. ‘Who frew a cricket ball frew the winda?’

Garridje – a building where a car is kept or repaired. 

Gawon – go on. ‘Gawon Kevin, eat yer granny’s cabbage, it’ll do yer good.’

Haitchthe eighth letter of the alphabet.

Int – indirect suggestion.  ‘I gave Tony a sort of int that it was time for him to take a barf.’

Ja – do you, did you. ‘Ja like me new eye-eels, Tiffany?’

Jafta – is it really necessary? ‘Oi mate, jafta keep doin’ vat?’

Kaf – eating house open during the day.

Lad – noisy. ‘Jordan, turn that music dan.  It’s too lad.’

Laafe – what you lead if you’re not dead.  ‘Nan’s very ill.  She’s got, doctors, nurses, laafe-suppowt and stuff at her ass.’

Lafarjik – lacking energy. 

Leev it aht – to put something outside, or, stop it; don’t; no-way.  ‘Oi Britney!  Leev it aht, will ya?  I know yer muvva wants us to set a date, but stop goin’ on abaat it.’

Levva – material made from the skin of an animal.

Lotree – Costs £1 for a ticket to become a millionaire.

Maffs – the study of numbers.

Mass – a small cheese-eating rodent with a long tail.

Mill – food. Mickey was ‘ungry so he ordered a free cawss mill.

Munf – there are 12 munfs in the calendar year.

Muvva – a posh way to say Mum.

Narra – lacking breadth, with little margin. ‘Mum wonnid to come rand but changed ‘er mind.  That was a narra excape.’ 

Nartameen – do you know what I mean?  ‘Be careful.  Tasha’s farva is roofless.  Nartameen?’

Neeva – not one, nor the other.  ‘Did yer go back to Sharon’s ass or Tracy’s?’  ‘Neeva.’

Nevva – did not: ‘I nevva saw nuffink.’

New-cular pa – nuclear power.

Nowls – nails.

Nuffink – zilch.

Oaf – a solemn declaration of truth or commitment.

Oi – either first person singular, ‘Oi fink new-cular pa is a bad fing.’ Or a warning, ‘Oi!  Leev it aaht!  Vat’s me beer yer drinkin!’

Olladay – time taken away from home for rest and adventure.

Onnist – fair and just, without a lie. ‘I never did it, onnist.’

Ospi-dewl – where the sick are cared for.

Ov cawss – of course.

Pacific – specific.

Pa-fool – having much power or strength.

Paipa – tabloid news.

Pans an annsis – imperial weight system.  ‘Vis diet aint workin.’  I’ve put on 4 pans and 6 annsis since last munf.’ (Pounds and ounces).

Pitcher – art.   Kevin hung the baseball pitcher he’d picked up in Brooklyn above his bed.

Plammans – a traditional pub lunch of cheese, pickle and bread.

Prada – proud of.  ‘Ov caws I’m prada yer.’

Rand – circular, or a number of drinks purchased for a group in a pub.

Randeer – locally. ‘There ain’t much suppowt for a new sports grand randeer.  Everyone’s feeling lafarjik.’

Reband – period of recovery after rejection by a lover. ‘Oi woz desp’rat.  Oi woz on the reband from Jason.’

Roofless – without compassion.

Sand – noise vibrations. ‘Oi don’t like the sand of vat.’

Saan-widje – a filling between two slices of bread.

Sarf – a direction of the compass, opposite to norf.

Saw-tid – fixed, resolved, arranged, done. ‘It’s all saw-tid.  Dinner at the kaf ta-morra, and ven we’ll droive to the ospi-dewl to see Nan.’

Seevin – very angry. ‘I woz seevin when I got the letta from the cancel.’ 

Shaat – loud voice.  ‘No need to shaat.  I’m standin’ right next to yer.’

Ships – deep fried potato sticks served with fish.

Sir Vezza – Spanish for beer.

Ta-morra – the day following today.

Tan ass – a modern terraced house.

Teef – a set of hard, bonelike structures rooted in sockets in the jaws.

Tra-ziz – an outer garment for covering each leg from the waist to the ankles.

Toma-a – red vegetable used in ketchup.

Vat – that.

Ven – then.

Viss – this.

Wanned up – manual winding of a timepiece, or tension in a person. ‘I’m all wanned up at the moment.’

Wawazat? – excuse me?  ‘Wawazat?  Who scored the winnin’ goal?’

Webbats – requesting the location of something.  ‘Oi, Stacey, webbats you put me lotree ticket?  I fink I’ve got a winner.’

Will – wheel. Terry grabbed the will and avoided death.

Wevva – the state of the atmosphere, or, expressing doubt or choice between alternatives.  ‘On olladay, the wevva was so bad we were ass band.’  Or, ‘Del couldn’t decide wevva to ‘ave choona or ships in his saan-wije.’

Winda – a glass-filled opening between the inside and outside of a building.  ‘Shut the winda.  Everyone can hear yer shaating.’

Wiv – accompanying. ‘D’you want ships wiv yer caught a panda?’

Wonnid – needed, requested.  ‘Oi wonnid to know if Baz was in, so oi tapped on the winda.’

Wor-a-fantin – A jet of water for drinking or a garden ornament.  ‘Someone nicked the gnomes by the wor-a-fantin in Dot’s gardin.’

Woyn – Alcoholic drink made from fermented grapes, bottled with a screw-top.  ‘Oi Paula, webbats you put the woyt woyn?  Oi wonnid to take it over to Muvva’s for her burf-dye ta-morra.’

Yoof – teenager.  ‘Terry’s Mum looks very yoof-ful.’

Zajerate – to suggest something is better or bigger than is really is. ‘Craig, I must’ve told ya a fazzund times already, don’t zajerate.’

Yes, some people really do speak like this, still.

Extracted from The Oddball English by Annie Harrison.

OEfrontcover reduced (375 x 600)


More Cockney rhyming slang

Macaroni – pony (£25)     ‘Ten pigs’ ears (beers), that’ll be a macaroni’. Mae West – chest     ‘She’s all clothes pegs (legs) and Mae West’. Manhole cover – brother     ‘Tracy wants to know if you’ve got an attractive, unattached manhole cover’. Marbles and conkers – bonkers (mad)     ‘Pete’s marbles and conkers.  What does he see in Shazza – she a Jerry Springer’. Mariah Carey – scary     ‘Yeah, she’s a Jerry Springer (minger)  and I find her quite Mariah Carey too’. Marilyn Manson – handsome     ‘Blimey, you didn’t tell me your manhole cover was Marilyn Manson as well’. Market stalls – balls (testicles)     ‘I can’t win.  You’ve got me by the market stalls on this one’. Mars and Venus – penis     ‘He’s an astrologist alright.  He’s guided by his Mars and Venus in everything he does’. Merchant banker – wanker     ‘Oh, I thought you just looked weird.  I didn’t realise you were a merchant banker as well’. Meryl Streep – cheap     ‘Today, everything’s Meryl Streep.  All under an Ayrton Senna’. Mexican wave – shave    ‘Give me 20 minutes for a Mexican wave and a Brad Pitt and I’ll be ready’. Michael Caine – pain, stain     ‘You OK Dick?’  ‘No. I fell on me Khyber and now I’ve got a Michael Caine’. Mickey Mouse – house     ‘See you alligator at Dave’s Mickey.  Want a lift in my jam jar?’ Mickey Mouser – Scouser (Liverpool)     ‘Paul McCartney is probably the world’s most famous living Mickey Mouser’. Milky Way – gay     ‘I told you he’d turn out Milky Way’. Mince pies – eyes     ‘Tessa’s got lovely mince pies and amazing pegs’. Moby Dick – sick     ‘Rita’s off Captain Kirk (work) ‘cos she’s Moby Dick’. Mork and Mindy – windy     ‘Blimey it’s Mork and Mindy today.  I nearly lost my titfer’. (hat) Mum and Dad – mad     ‘A macaroni for that?  You’re bleeding Mum and Dad!’ Mustard and cress – dress     ‘Oh look, you’ve got a Michael Caine on your mustard’.   Extracted from The Oddball English by Annie Harrison.  

A little bit of Cockney rhyming slang to keep you guessing

  Extracted from The Oddball English, here follows some Cockney rhyming slang phrases.  A few words have been explained, but not all.  You’ll have to try to figure out what’s going on.
Mexican wave – shave ‘Give me 20 minutes for a Mexican wave and a Brad Pitt and I’ll be ready.’
Michael Caine – pain, stain ‘You OK Dick?’  ‘No. I fell on me Khyber and now I’ve got a Michael Caine.’
Mickey Mouse – house ‘See you alligator at Dave’s Mickey.  Want a lift in my jam jar?’
Mickey Mouser – Scouser (Liverpool) ‘Paul McCartney is probably the world’s most famous living Mickey Mouser.’
Milky Way – gay ‘I told you he’d turn out Milky Way.’
Mince pies – eyes ‘Tessa’s got lovely mince pies and amazing pegs.’
Moby Dick – sick ‘Rita’s off Captain Kirk ‘cos she’s Moby Dick.’
Mork & Mindy – windy ‘Blimey it’s Mork & Mindy today.  I nearly lost my titfer.’ (hat)
Mother-in-law – saw ‘The carving knife and the saw are both Keira Knightley elephant’s trunk.’
Mum & Dad – mad ‘A macaroni for that?  You’re bleeding Mum & Dad.’
Mustard & cress – dress ‘Oh look, you’ve got a Michael Caine on your mustard.’
Nanny goat – coat, throat ‘Wear your nanny, ‘cos it’s bloody soldier bold.’ (cold)
Native New Yorker – porker (fat person) ‘You can spot Sue a mile off.  She’s a native New Yorker.’
Nelson Mandela – Stella (Artois) ‘A pint of Nelson and some Jagger’s lips, guv.’
Nicole Richie – bitchy ‘Jan can often be Nicole Richie.’
North & south – mouth ‘Bloody Jabber the Hutt your north & south and listen.’
Nuclear sub – pub ‘We’re going down the nuclear for a couple of Nelsons.’
Obama – charmer ‘Oh Sharon, he’s gorgeous!  What an Obama!’
Obi-Wan Kenobi – mobi (mobile phone) ‘S’cuse me, I’ve got a Holy Grail coming through on my Obi-Wan.’
Oil tanker – wanker ‘Go on!  Overtake that oil tanker!’
Oily rag – fag (cigarette) ‘I’ve given up oily rags for now.’
Oliver Twist – pissed ‘Too many pigs’ ears and he’s Oliver Twist again.’
Osama bin Laden – garden ‘Graham’s in the Osama having a quick Bo Peep.’
Otis Redding – wedding You coming to Kev and Wendy’s Otis at the left in the lurch?’
OXO cube – Tube (London Underground) ‘I got Oliver Twist, so I left the jam jar and took the OXO instead.’
Paris Hilton – Stilton (type of cheese with mould running through it). ‘C’nav two Paris Hilton ploughman’s and two Britney Spears.’
Pattie Hearst – first (degree result) ‘I don’t Adam & Eve it.  Geoff’s current bun got a Pattie Hearst!’
Pearly gate – great ‘We had a pearly gate time at the London fogs last night.  I had three chicken dinners.’
Pie & mash – crash ‘Terry’s pie & mashed his jellied eels.’
Pig’s ear – beer ‘This battle cruiser serves the best pigs’ ears in the East End.’
Pieces of eight – weight ‘She’s worth her pieces of eight in gold, she is.’
Peanut butter – nutter (mad person) ‘Joey’s not David Blaine, just a bit of a peanut butter.’
Plates of meat – feet ‘Mind if I put my plates of meat on the kangaroo pouch?’
Pork chop – cop ‘Hannibal Lecter handed him to the pork chops for fare evasion.’  ‘Seems hairy muff to me.’
Porky Pig – big ‘Which one is Donna?’  ‘The Porky Pig one scoffing the Ruby Murray.’
Pride & joy – boy ‘It’s a pride & joy!  8lb 6oz.’
Puff Daddy – golf caddie ‘Bob’s Puff Daddy to some lemon squeezers every Saturday.’
Queen Mum – bum (backside) ‘Put your Queen Mum down here next to me.’
Quentin Crisp – lisp ‘Tony’s pride & joy’s got a bit of a Quentin.’
Rabbit & pork – talk ‘Meet you at the Colonel Gadaffi for a rabbit.’

Cockney rhyming slang. Can you Adam and Eve it?

Extracted from The Oddball English by Annie Harrison. Take a butchers (butcher’s hook – look) in this Captain Hook (book), which is  abaat Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (rhyming slang).  Next time you’re havin’ Britney Spears (beers) with your china plates (mates – friends) in the nuclear sub (pub), amaze them with your Cockney rabbit and pork (talk). Rhyming slang phrases are created by taking an expression, which rhymes with a word, and then using that expression instead of the word.  For example the word ‘look’ rhymes with ‘butcher’s hook’.  In many cases the rhyming word is omitted.  ‘Take a butchers at that haddock!’  (Haddock and bloater – motor, meaning car).  ‘Look at that car!’  See, it really is so simple! Cockney is the authentic accent and language of London, made famous in My Fair Lady, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Oliver Twist.  Rhyming slang has been evolving in the melting pot of London’s East End since the 16th century.  The ultimate kudos is achieved when a person’s own name becomes embedded in rhyming slang.  The list is topical and contemporary:  Keira Knightley – slightly, Johnny Depp – step, Beyoncé Knowles – sausage rolls, Osama bin Laden – garden.  However, rhyming slang names like James Blunt, Brad Pitt and Sigourney Weaver shouldn’t be used in polite company. Rhyming slang was invented by criminals and dodgy street traders to provide euphemisms for embarrassing conditions and to confuse the police.   ‘Would you Adam and Eve it?  The pork chops don’t ‘ave a didgeridoo abaat the tea leaf what left Little Red Riding Hoods in Bob’s jam jar.’  Translation:  ‘Can you believe it?  The police haven’t got a clue about the thief who left stolen goods in Bob’s car.’   ‘Ken’s jellied eels is off the frog and toad.  It’s got a dodgy Starsky and Hutch.  It’s skylarked aatside me skin and blister’s Mickey Mouse.  Now Ken has to Jimmy Savile on the OXO cube.’  Translation:  ‘Ken’s wheels (car) is off the road.  It has a bad clutch.  It’s parked outside my sister’s house.  Now Ken has to travel on the Tube.’   ‘Did ya clock the baked bean on the KY present and past black and white talking to all them dustbin lids?  She was wearin’ a purple mustard underneath a blue nanny goat, with matching rhythms and a Porky Pig titfer.’  Translation:  ‘Did you see The Queen on the television last night talking to the children?  She was wearing a purple dress, a blue coat with matching shoes and a big hat.’   David Beckham, Michael Caine and Ray Winstone are Londoners, but they’re also true Cockneys, each having been born within the sound of Bow Bells (St Mary-le-Bow church in Cheapside, east London).  Not surprisingly, of the 8.5 million people inhabiting the metropolitan sprawl of London, there aren’t many who possess the true Cockney birthright.  So the term ‘Cockney’ has been widened to include anyone with a vague London, working class accent. Films about Cockneys invariably involve gangsters.  This is because all true Cockneys are related to the legendary Kray twins, Reggie and Ronald, east London’s most notorious perpetrators of organised crime in the 1950s and 60s. WATCH THIS:  Spoof of organised Cockney crime gangs in London.   But visitors to England should watch out for ‘mockneys’.  This Cockney sub-species evolved around 20 years ago on the set of Eastenders (BBC soap opera set in the make-believe Cockney epicentre of Walford).  Mockneys don’t actually come from London, but they’re wannabe Cockneys.  Despite their affluent, provincial, middle-class backgrounds, Mockneys, like Jamie Oliver, Russell Brand, Guy Ritchie, Victoria Beckham and Mick Jagger speak with cool, matey, contrived psuedo-Cockney accents. WATCH THIS:   Harry Hill mocks a Mockney. WATCH THIS:   Cockney rhyming slang interviews.   Being English is a basic requirement for anyone who wants to speak like a Cockney.  Many a Hollywood septic tank (American – Yank) has attempted to mimic this London accent, and few have succeeded without sounding Uncle Willy (silly).  Dick Van Dyke’s portrayal of Bert, the cheerful London chimneysweep, in Mary Poppins, is textbook ‘how not to speak Cockney’.  It’s widely regarded as being the worst cinematic Cockney accent of all time. WATCH THIS:   Dick van Dyke as Bert in Mary Poppins, demonstrating a unique American version of Cockney. Here follow a few words and phrases taken from the lexicon of Cockney rhyming slang:
Adam & Eve – believe ‘You’ll never Adam & Eve it!  We saw the baked bean!’
Al Pacino – cappuccino ‘I like Al Pacino at the Colonel Gadaffi.’ (café)
Alligator – later ‘The band’s performing alligator.’
Apple tart – fart ‘Phew! Who’s appled in here?’
Apples & pears – stairs ‘I’m going up the apples to Uncle Ted.’
Austin Powers – shower ‘Bob’s taking a quick Austin before we go out.’
Ayrton Senna – tenner (£10) ‘Oi, can you lend us an Ayrton?  I’ll pay you back alligator.’
Bacon & eggs – legs ‘This table is wobbly.  It’s got two short bacons.’
Bag of sand – grand (£1000) ‘Pete won a bag of sand on the Derby.’
Bag of yeast – priest ‘Who’s the bag of yeast at Jim’s funeral?’
Baked bean – Queen (Elizabeth II) ‘The baked bean has more bees & honey (money) than anyone else in the country.’
Banana splits – shits ‘That Ruby Murray (curry) gave me the banana splits.’
Bangers & mash – cash, slash (urinate) ‘If you want to buy the jam jar (car) mate, it’s bangers & mash only.’ Or ‘Keith’ll be two minutes.  He’s just gone for a bangers & mash.’
Barack Obamas – pyjamas ‘We went to pick up Tommy and he was still in his Baracks.’
Barnet Fair – hair ‘The wind ruined Tracy’s Barnet, poor luv.’
Barney Rubble – trouble ‘Uh oh, here comes Barney Rubble.’
Barry White – shite ‘What did you think of the live music?’ ‘Barry White.’
Basil Fawlty – balti (type of curry) ‘One tikka masala and a Basil Fawlty please, guv.’
Battle cruiser – boozer (pub) ‘Which battle cruiser on Friday night?’
Beans on toast – post (mail) ‘Let’s have a butchers at the beans on toast.’
Bees & honey – money ‘Mick’s a happy man.  That building job landed him couple of bags of sand – plenty of bees & honey.’
Benny Hill – till ‘Fred wasn’t making any bees & honey.  Someone had their fingers in the Benny.’
Beyoncé Knowles – sausage rolls ‘A couple of hot Beyoncés and some chips please.’
Big brass drum – bum ‘That Natasha, she ain’t half got a big brass drum.’
Big Mac – sack (fired) ‘Gary’s at his Mickey Mouse (house).  He got the Big Mac on Wednesday.’
Bill Stickers – knickers (panties) ‘Terry’s girlfriend left her Bill Stickers in his haddock.’
Bin lid – quid (£1) ‘I’m a bin lid short for the OXO.’ (tube)
Bird’s nest – chest ‘The girls loved Burt’s hairy bird’s nest and solid gold medallion.’
Biscuits & cheese – knees ‘Her beauty made him weak at the biscuits.’
Black & Decker – pecker (penis) ‘Tony’s a randy bastard.  He can’t keep his Black & Decker in his Jekyll & Hydes.’
Black & white – night ‘I missed the bus and had to walk home in the black & white.’
Bo Diddley – tiddly (a bit drunk) ‘It only took three shandies to get Sharon Bo Diddley.’
Bo Peep – sleep ‘Sshh!  You’ll wake Kevin.  He’s cream crackered (knackered) and is having a Bo Peep on the kangaroo pouch.’ (couch)
Board & plank – Yank ‘Hey Pete, you can double the price.  A busload of board & planks just arrived.’
Boat race – face ‘What a miserable boat race.  Smile!’
Bob Hope – dope (cannabis) ‘The pork chops found Bob Hope in Darren’s jam jar.’
Bob Marley – Charlie (cocaine) ‘Well, they found Bob Marley in Gary’s.’
Bobby Moore – score (£20) ‘The Bob Hope will cost yer a Bobby Moore.’
Boiler house – spouse ‘I’ll ‘ave to check with the boiler first.’
Boris Becker – pecker (penis) ‘Sorted mate.  Put on this cricket box over your Boris to keep it nice and safe when you’re batting.’
Bottle of scent – bent (gay) ‘I always thought Tarquin was bottle of scent.’
Bowler hat – twat ‘He’s a complete bowler hat.  I’d like to punch his boat race.’
Brad Pitt – shit ‘What did you think of the film?’  ‘Brad Pitt.’
Brad Pitts – tits ‘There’s Maggie over there.  She’s the one with the big Brad Pitts.’
Brady Bunch – lunch ‘I’m starving.  What’s for Brady Bunch?’
Brahms & Liszt – pissed (drunk) ‘Charlie’s Brahms & Liszt again.’
Bridget Jones – alone (single) ‘Jackie split up with Kev.  She’s Bridget Jones again.’
Brighton Pier – queer (gay) ‘The Rose & Crown is a Brighton Pier battle cruiser.’
Bristols – tits (Bristol Cities – titties, from the football team, Bristol City) ‘It’s all girls with Bristols and bubblegums at this party!’
Britney Spears – beers ‘Trevor’s getting the Britney Spears in.  It’s his round.’
Brown bread – dead ‘You won’t be seeing Jim again.  He’s brown bread.’
Bruce Lee – key ‘Give me the Bruce Lees for your jam jar.  I’ll drive.  You’re elephant’s trunk.’ (drunk)
Bubblegum – bum ‘Get off your bubblegum and give us a hand.’
Bugs Bunny – money ‘Show me the Bugs Bunny or we’re Donald Ducked.’
Butchers hook – look ‘Blimey!  Take a butchers at Gary’s new Russian carving knife!’ (wife)