Cockney English

A light-hearted look at English as spoken by Londoners (Cockneys)

During the 19th Century, the criminal underworld in London developed their own secret language.
Much of it was based on rhyming slang.
A few of the more common and interesting words and expressions are tabulated here.

Enjoy ...

Rhyming Slang

Expression Meaning Notes / Examples
have a butchers take a lookfrom butcher's hook = look
as in "take a butchers at that"
north and south mouth 
plates feetfrom plates of meat = feet
as in "you've got big plates"
boat race face as in "nice legs, shame about the boat race"
skin and blister sister 
trouble wifefrom trouble and strife = wife
as in "going home to the trouble"
dustbin lids kids / children 
whistle suitfrom whistle and flute = suit
as in "do you like the whistle?"
Adam and Eve believeas in "would you Adam and Eve it?"
Rosie Lea teaas in "I'd love a cup of rosie"
Mutt and Jeff deaf 
oily rag fag = cigaretteas in "I'm going for an oily"
jam jar car 
mince pies eyesas in "feast your mincers on this"
pen and ink stinkas in "cor! what a pen and ink"
porky liefrom pork pies = lies
as in "he's telling porkies"
Barnet hairfrom Barnet Fair = hair
as in "he's losing his Barnet"
Brahms pissed (i.e. "drunk")from Brahms and Liszt = pissed
Gregories glasses / spectacles from Gregory Pecks = specs
Titfer hatfrom tit for tat = hat
apples and pears stairs 
Jimmy urinatefrom Jimmy Riddle = piddle
borassic broke / skintfrom borassic lint = skint
as in "can't go out, I'm borassic"
two and eight state as in "he's in a bit of a two and eight"
Bertie Woofter gay manfrom Bertie Woofter = poofter
China mate / friendfrom China plate = mate
as in "how are you, my old China"
Khyber buttocksfrom Khyber Pass = arse
rabbit and pork talkas in "Don't rabbit so much"
tea leaf thief 
potato mould coldas in "it's a bit taters in here"
dog and bone phoneas in "you're wanted on the dog and bone"
loaf headfrom loaf of bread = head
as in "Use your loaf"
brown bread dead 
battle cruiser boozerboozer = pub = public house (a place to drink)
elbows and knees trees 
gold watch ScotchScotch = whiskey
pride and Joy boyTake the pride and joy to the match
current bun SunI'm going out to get a bit of current bun
dicky shirtfrom dicky dirt = shirt
pots and pans hands 
Peckham Rye tienamed after a place in London
Hampstead Heath teethnamed after a place in London
jugs earsfrom jugs of beers = ears
Errol Flynn chin 
almonds socksfrom almond rocks = socks
ones and twos
rhythm and blues
daisies bootsfrom daisy roots = boots
bird prisonfrom bird lime = time as in "doing bird"

Other London Slang

Expression Meaning Notes / Examples
leave it out stop it 
the filth the police"look out it's the filth"
doing porridge serving a prison sentence 
beak judge"going up before the beak"
screw prison officer"the worst thing about porridge is the screws"
fence handler of stolen goods 
gladrags best clothes"get your gladrags on; We're going out"
nark police informer "he's a copper's nark"
grass up to inform on "I was grassed up"
nonce sexual offender 
snout tobacco 
sussed out found out "I was sussed out by the filth"
rumbled found out"We've been rumbled"
stitched up set up"We've been stitched up"
loan shark unofficial money lender 
bother a fight"Are you looking for bother?"
guv boss 

© 1997 KryssTal

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Slang in the English language.

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