45 Essential British Slang Words for English Learners

For people outside of the UK even the word ‘slang’, might be unusual, so to clarify, ‘slang’ refers to the casual use of words that have been newly created and are usually spoken only by select groups of people.

Slang in Britain flourishes, from North to South or East to West you’ll find an interesting mix of English and regional dialects, sometimes heavily influenced by international culture (heighted by internet culture).

You can easily find yourself puzzled by the quick retorts of youth, or the savvy lingo expressed by the professional and even by the old pensioners outdated observations.

Thankfully, we’ve devised a guide to popular slang, the following table reveals the meaning behind the words.

45 Essential British Slang Words for English Learners

No.Slang WordsExplanation
1Any road“Any road” is another way of saying ”anyway”. It is commonly used up North. Instead of saying anyway, they say “any road”!
2All rightThis is technically a form of greeting. It is used a lot in London and the south to mean “Hello, how are you”. It is usually said as a question. Sometimes it gets expanded to “All right mate“? You would say it to someone you knew or a complete stranger. The normal response would be  to say “All right” back to speaker.
3Ace This is used a lot in Liverpool. If something is ace, it means it is awesome!
4AnalWhen someone is being anal about something, he is choosing to be an asshole. He is choosing to be tight and strong minded like the anal sphincter. Therefore, you tell him: ”Don’t be anal”.
5AssThis means your buttocks, your backside, but mostly a donkey!
6ArseThis word means the same as ass, but is much ruder. It is used in phrases like “pain in the arse” (a nuisance) or I “can’t be arsed” (I can’t be bothered) or you might hear someone say “a half arsed attempt” meaning that it was not done properly.
7AyeIt means yes. It is commonly used in Scotland. It was used in the film ”Brave Heart”
8BladderedWhen a Brit say you are Bladdered, they mean you are drunk.
9BallisticIt is used in informal settings to describe anger and rage. E.g.  He went ballistic ( meaning he went mad)
10BlokeAnother word for male
11BarmyIf someone tells you that you’re barmy they mean you have gone mad or crazy. For example you’d have to be barmy to visit England without trying black pudding!
12BeastlyYou would call something or somebody beastly if they were really nasty or unpleasant. Most people would consider you a snob  if you used this word. People like Fergie can get away with it though.
13BlindingIf something is a blinding success – it means it’s a great success!
14BlinkeredSomeone who is blinkered is narrow minded or narrow sighted – they only see one view on a subject.
15BloodyOne of the most useful swear words in English. It is used for emphasis. E.g.  “bloody awful” or “bloody hell”. “bloody brilliant “. It is used to emphasize almost anything!
16BollocksThis is a great English word with many excellent uses. Technically speaking it means testicles but is typically used to describe something that is no good (that’s bollocks) or that someone is talking rubbish (he’s talking bollocks).
17Bugger all If something costs bugger all, it means that it costs nothing. Meaning it is cheap. If you have bugger all, it means you have nothing.
18CheersThis word is obviously used when drinking with friends. However, it also has other colloquial meanings. For example when saying goodbye you could say “cheers”, or “cheers then”. It also means thank you.
19ChipsFrench fries. it is basically a deep fried finger length potatoes eaten in the UK not to be confused with American potato chips-  these are known a crisps in the UK
20Chat upTo be flirtatious, that is, to speak to someone with the intent of eventually engaging in sexual intercourse with them. Generally conducted in a relaxed, playful and outstandingly obvious manner.
21CrackingAnother word for good. Usually said without pronouncing the last “G”. If a girl is cracking it means she is stunning.
22DearIf something is dear it means it is expensive. E.g.   Don’t you think flights to Nigeria is are dear.
23DodgyBad quality and untrustworthy. If someone or something is a bit dodgy, it is not to be trusted.
24DIYIt is Commonly used in Britain as a short for do it yourself.
25Excuse meTechnically, it is used when addressing a stranger, when interrupting or disagreeing with someone, or to request repetition of what has just been said.
26FancyLike or desire.  In America it means to like someone in a sexual way, to want to be with them,  to want to go out with them. In Britain, fancy means the same but it also means ‘want’ E.g.   Do you fancy a cake? Technically, fancy is used for both people and food. Geezer – old man
27GrubFood. E.g.  I’m hungry, Let’s get some grub
28GuttedThis is a very common slang in Britain. It means to be sad or upset. E.g.  like when you fail your driving test!
29Jolly GoodVery good. E.g.  a Jolly good fellow
30DaftBasically means stupid, insane, nuts, moronic, asinine
31KnackeredTired or sleepy; exhausted. E.g.  I am feeling a bit knackered today.
32LoadedThis has nothing to do with loading a van. It simply means ‘rich‘. When a Brit says that guy is loaded, it means he is rich!
33LoonyMad, crazy
34On aboutThis is a very handy one to know. It means what are you talking about?
35One offA one off is used to describe a one-time event that is never to be repeated.
36Piece of CakeWhen something is exceptionally easy. E.g.  He makes that dance look like a piece of cake
37PissedAnother word for Drunk Posh – High class, sophisticated.
38PukeVomit Quid – A pound in English money.
39SmashingIf something is smashing, it means it is terrific.
40TaA slang word for Thank you.
41Taking a PissThis has nothing to do with Urine. It basically means making fun of someone.
42TwatA  word used to insult someone who has offended you. It means a person who is a stupid and lacks good sense of judgement. It is also a slang for female genitals.
43Up for itTo be available. When a Brit say they are up for it, it means you are willing to come along. E.g.  You up for going down the pub?” “Yeah mate, i’m up for it” Uni : short word for university
44WankerThis is a derogatory term used to describe someone who is a bit of a jerk. It actually means someone who masturbates and also has a hand signal that can be done with one hand at people that cannot see you shouting “wanker” at them. This is particularly useful when driving.
45Wind upThis has a couple of meanings. If something you do is a “wind up” it means you are making fun of someone. However it you are “wound up” it means you are annoyed.

For more slang words, please visit Slang Dictionary from idiomsandslang.com
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