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British Slang You Need to Know

Updated: May 15, 2023

If you're new to the language, or just want to be able to communicate with the locals, it's important to know some of the slang used in Britain. In this blog post, we'll give you a crash course in British slang and teach you how to use it in your everyday life. So whether you're planning a weekend away in London or just want to sound like a real Brit, keep reading!


The word dodgy can be used to describe anything you’re a bit concerned about. It can be used to mean anything that’s low-quality, potentially dangerous or unreliable.

Example, “I don’t think that chicken has been cooked properly, it looks dodgy.”


This means toilet and is probably one of the most common slang words you will hear in Britain.

Example, “I’ll be right back, I just need the loo.”


Shattered is another way of saying very tired or exhausted, especially if you’ve been doing hard work or haven’t slept.

Example, “I’m shattered, I was up studying all night.”


Quid is another common slang word you will hear a lot in Britain and it means pound (£).

Example, “Can I borrow a few quid.”

collection of British pound coins


This word is also to do with money but this time it means you don’t have any.

Example, “I’m skint and I don’t get paid until next week.”


While cheers is used for a celebration toast with drinks, in Britain you can also use cheers as a replacement for thank you that is more informal.

Example, “Cheers for buying me a drink.”


If someone is gutted it means they are very disappointed or upset depending on the context.

Example, “The concert got cancelled, I’m gutted.”


Cuppa is possibly the most important British slang you could learn. It’s short for a cup of tea and is used daily by the majority of Britons.

Example, “Do you want to come over for a cuppa?”

cup of tea with biscuits


This word means in a short amount of time. It’s usually said with enthusiasm but not always.

Example, “I’ll be back in a jiffy.”


The word wonky has a few slightly different meanings depending on context. It can mean something doesn’t work quite right, something is unstable or something is not straight.

Examples, “I have a bit of a wonky knee at the minute.”, “Don’t sit on the wonky stool.” and “That shelf looks a bit wonky.”


Naff is used to describe something that is lacking in style or taste and is normally used after the phrase ‘a bit’.

Example, “I think wearing socks with sandals looks a bit naff.”


This is just another word for sleep, but is closer in meaning to the word nap.

Example, “I’m going to have a kip before we go out later.”

a cat sleeping on a white blanket


The word daft can be substituted for silly or foolish. While it’s mostly used in a light-hearted way it can come across as rude if you say it to a stranger.

Example, “Don’t be daft, I’m not going to the beach in winter.”


Do is often used as a replacement for the word party.

Example, “I’m going to a birthday do tomorrow.”


While gobsmacked is more commonly said among older people it is still a popular phrase. It means shocked, surprised or amazed and can be used in a positive or negative way.

Example, “I was gobsmacked when I won the lottery.”

If you enjoyed learning these British slang words and want to know more, we have the perfect course for you. Our General English course is great for those who want to learn about all aspects of life in the UK. We cover topics from basic vocabulary to conversation skills and everything in between. Sign up today and start learning the language that will help you communicate with anyone from anywhere in the world.

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