Preparing to Study in the UK? 30 British Slang Words You Should Know
You may have been working on Queens English accent for months, but that doesn’t mean you are ready to start your studies in the UK just yet.
Applications forms for the 2018 January intake is up for grabs, get your documents ready and there is still one more thing to brush up on.
British slang words and idioms.
Here’s a handy checklist of 30 typical British words and phrases that will help you understand your future classmates perfectly.
You are probably already aware of the differences between American English and British English, namely that certain words mean one thing in American English and something else in British English. Take for example, pants are trousers for Americans but underwear for Britons. A boot means a shoe in the US but refers to a car’s trunk in the UK. A holiday for Americans refers to public holidays such as Christmas and Easter, whereas a holiday for the Brits means a trip to Spain.
In addition to these words that have a double meaning, there are many English words that only exist in Great Britain. Make sure to check out this British lingo guide of words that are popular with students to ensure your smooth transition into university life in the UK.
Uni = University. Unlike Americans, Britons do not say they are attending “college”. Instead, they are going to “uni.”
Fresher = A first year student at uni
Fortnight = This means a time period of two weeks.
To let = “Rent”. If you are looking for a place to live near your uni, keep an eye out for “an apartment to let.”
Mate = A friend that could be either male or female. A male friend can also be called a “bruv,” which is short for brother.
Bruv = Brother
Blud = This comes from “blood brother,” but it actually refers to really good male friends. If your friend group consists of both guys and girls, you can call them “fam” instead, which is short from family.
Fam = family
Lad = An affectionate way to refer to a male friend, such as saying, “He’s a good lad.” A female version of this is lass or lassie, which refers particularly to a young woman.
Bloke = A man. Another word you could use for a man is geezer, especially if the guy in question is a bit posh – meaning fancy.
Spice boy = A young guy who is very into his looks and grooming. He gets pedicures and fake tans, and works out a lot to have visible muscles.
Bants = This is short from banter, which means a friendly and playful back-and-forth conversation. “We had some good bants at the student club meeting tonight!”
Buzzing = To be happy or excited about something.
Mint = Cool, brilliant. “That’s well mint that you passed the exam!”
Knackered = Exhausted. “I was knackered after the tough English class.”
Dosh = This means money. Other British slang words for money include wonga, dough, dollar and bread.
Nosh = Dinner. You can also say din-din.
Cheers = In addition to saying cheers when raising a toast, British people use cheers as a way of saying thank you. “Cheers for helping me catch up with the homework today.”
Taking the piss = This means to mock, ridicule or trick someone. “You are not the worst roommate of all times, even if I said so. I was just taking the piss.”
Well jel = Jealous.
Burning the midnight oil = To work on something, such as essay writing, late into the night well past your bedtime.
Burning the candle at both ends = Working hard on something while getting very little rest. “You’re going to get knackered if you keep burning the candle at both ends.”
Dynamite = Awesome and cool. “That’s dynamite that you passed the test!”
Fit = Someone who is not only in good shape, but is very attractive and a possible romantic interest. “My classmate is so fit!”
That’s sick = This can mean that something is amazing and cool, or that something is disgusting – it depends on the context and the tone that is used.
X = British people will often end their texts or emails with X, XX or XXX. It officially refers to sending someone a kiss, but is basically just a friendly way to greet someone. Putting XXX in the end of a message can be interpreted as flirting.
Gutted = To be devastated or saddened. “I’m gutted I didn’t get into the uni I wanted to.”
Mug = A fool or a pushover. If a classmate deliberately gives you the wrong reading material for a test, you can ask them, “Are you trying to mug me off?”
Ygm = Short from “You get me?”, meaning “do you understand me?” This is most often used in text conversations.
Gobsmacked = To be shocked and surprised. Gob means mouth in British English and to smack means to hit something. Thus godsmacked literally means the look of shock you would have on your face if someone hit you on the mouth. “I’m gobsmacked that you passed that class even though you didn’t even study one bit.”
Daft = Foolish, simple or stupid. “You shouldn’t leave all your reading for the night before the test. Don’t be daft.”
Row = A verbal fight or argument. “I got into a row with my flatmate because she left the dishes undone again.”
Looking for where to study in the UK? check out these “sick” schools
About the Writer: Mirva Lempiäinen is a US-educated freelance journalist from Finland. After calling New York City home for about a decade, she now resides on the French-Caribbean island of Guadeloupe.