Common British Slang – Part 1

Here at Intrepid English, we love to help our students to understand all kinds of English. Whether it’s formal business English, phrases for exam preparation, or general conversational English. So, when Intrepid English student @tess asked us to teach her some common slang terms, I was more than happy to oblige.

What is ‘slang’?

Well, the word itself is a combination of the words ‘street’ and ‘language’ and it describes extremely new words that are in fashion. Many of these words enter into the dictionary eventually, but most of them are only used temporarily by the younger generation to talk about the current issues in their lives. 

What’s the best way to learn ‘slang’?

Usually, I encourage students to listen out for words and phrases around them, on the bus, in a shop, on TV or the radio. Note them down and discuss them with your Intrepid English Teacher. This is the number one best way to learn what is common slang now, as it evolves so quickly with new slang words emerging all the time.  

Today I’m going to explain some common British slang words and phrases, complete with their meanings and examples.

1. BAE (acronym)

BAE is a term of endearment, meaning “before anyone else,” often used between romantic partners, but it can also be used between close friends.

BAE, you’re the best.
You’re my BAE.

2. Banter (noun)

Banter is a word used to mean joking or teasing that is meant to be friendly but sometimes is a little bit personal.

Don’t get offended. It’s just a bit of banter.

She had good banter so I chatted with her for a while.

3. Blimey (exclamation)

Blimey is used as a way of expressing surprise at something, often used when seeing or looking at something unexpected and impressive.

Blimey! Look at the size of that diamond.

I saw his new girlfriend and I thought to myself – blimey, he’s done well.

4. Bog roll (noun)

Bog roll is an informal way of saying toilet roll.

We’ve run out of bog roll, I’ll get some next time I’m at the supermarket.

I hate it when you go to the toilet and someone hasn’t replaced the bog roll.

5. Budge up (phrasal verb)

Budge up is a way of asking someone to move to make room for you. This is common on public transport, and more often expressed with people you know.

Budge up, I’ve got no space.

He wouldn’t budge up on the bench so I ended up standing for the concert.

6. Cheeky (adjective)
Cheeky is used to describe something or someone that is a little indulgent, rude or naughty. Recently, it’s been used to make a suggestion seem like a quick but rebellious act.

He’s such a cheeky boy.

How about a cheeky drink after work?

7. Cheers (exclamation)
Cheers has two meanings, it is used when toasting drinks, but it also is another way of saying thank you.

Cheers for my birthday present.

I would like to propose a toast to our health, cheers!

8. Cuppa (noun)
Cuppa is another way of saying ‘cup of tea’.

I always start the day with a cuppa.

He takes his cuppa with 2 sugars; far too sweet for me.

9. Dodgy (adjective)
Dodgy is used to describe something that is illegal, dangerous, low-quality or unreliable.

We moved from the area because it can get a bit dodgy late at night there.

That guy’s been hanging around on our street for an hour. He looks really dodgy.

10. Fit (adjective)
Fit has two meanings, it can be used to mean that something is healthy and in good shape. It also means that someone is attractive or sexy.

She goes to the gym most mornings, she’s really fit.

Look at that guy, he’s fit. I’ll go and talk to him.

This blog was written and recorded by Intrepid English teacher, Jen.

Thanks for reading! Please visit my Intrepid English Teacher profile page to find out more about me and add me as a friend! 

If you enjoyed this blog, you’d love our ‘All Things Grammar’ Community. Come along and join in!  We love to help English learners, no matter where in the world they live, so please feel free to spread the love on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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