45 Essential British Slang Words for English Learners
45 Essential UK Slang Words for ESL Students

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puzzled by the quick retorts of youth, or the savvy lingo expressed by the professional and even by the old pensioners outdated observations.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 Words Explanation
1 Any road “Any road” is another way of saying ”anyway”. It is commonly used up North. Instead of saying anyway, they say “any road”!
2 All right This 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.
3 Ace  This is used a lot in Liverpool. If something is ace, it means it is awesome!
4 Anal When 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”.
5 Ass This means your buttocks, your backside, but mostly a donkey!
6 Arse This 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.
7 Aye It means yes. It is commonly used in Scotland. It was used in the film ”Brave Heart”
8 Bladdered When a Brit say you are Bladdered, they mean you are drunk.
9 Ballistic It is used in informal settings to describe anger and rage. E.g.  He went ballistic ( meaning he went mad)
10 Bloke Another word for male
11 Barmy If 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!
12 Beastly You 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.
13 Blinding If something is a blinding success – it means it’s a great success!
14 Blinkered Someone who is blinkered is narrow minded or narrow sighted – they only see one view on a subject.
15 Bloody One 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!
16 Bollocks This 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).
17 Bugger 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.
18 Cheers This 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.
19 Chips French 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
20 Chat up To 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.
21 Cracking Another word for good. Usually said without pronouncing the last “G”. If a girl is cracking it means she is stunning.
22 Dear If something is dear it means it is expensive. E.g.   Don’t you think flights to Nigeria is are dear.
23 Dodgy Bad quality and untrustworthy. If someone or something is a bit dodgy, it is not to be trusted.
24 DIY It is Commonly used in Britain as a short for do it yourself.
25 Excuse me Technically, it is used when addressing a stranger, when interrupting or disagreeing with someone, or to request repetition of what has just been said.
26 Fancy Like 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
27 Grub Food. E.g.  I’m hungry, Let’s get some grub
28 Gutted This is a very common slang in Britain. It means to be sad or upset. E.g.  like when you fail your driving test!
29 Jolly Good Very good. E.g.  a Jolly good fellow
30 Daft Basically means stupid, insane, nuts, moronic, asinine
31 Knackered Tired or sleepy; exhausted. E.g.  I am feeling a bit knackered today.
32 Loaded This 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!
33 Loony Mad, crazy
34 On about This is a very handy one to know. It means what are you talking about?
35 One off A one off is used to describe a one-time event that is never to be repeated.
36 Piece of Cake When something is exceptionally easy. E.g.  He makes that dance look like a piece of cake
37 Pissed Another word for Drunk Posh – High class, sophisticated.
38 Puke Vomit Quid – A pound in English money.
39 Smashing If something is smashing, it means it is terrific.
40 Ta A slang word for Thank you.
41 Taking a Piss This has nothing to do with Urine. It basically means making fun of someone.
42 Twat A  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.
43 Up for it To 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
44 Wanker This 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.
45 Wind up This 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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Author: Nadal
Category: Editor Picks, English, Speaking, Vocabulary
Date: April 2, 2016
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