Can You Guess the Meaning of These English Slang Terms?

Do you think that if you travel to England, the literal land of English-speakers, you won’t face any language barriers in finding your way around? …Think again. Every culture has their own slang terms, and I’m sure there are many you use daily that would earn you a couple of blank expressions or turned heads on the street if you were anywhere other than your home town. Here are a few I came across in England that caused me to do a double take; see if any of them are familiar to you! 

You Alright? 

“Oi, you alright?” 

This is a classic greeting, much like “what’s up?” No one is trying to indicate that you look unwell, don’t worry. 

That’s Long 

“You wanna go gym later, bruv?” “Nah, mate, that’s long.” 

This essentially says fat chance, as in there is very little likelihood of you doing something because it just seems like too much effort – relatable. 

 

Knackered/Shattered 

“You coming out tonight?” “Nah, I’m proper knackered. I’m staying in.” 

Brits sure have a flair for telling someone they’re tired. Knackered definitely rolls off the tongue a little nicer than saying “I’m pooped.” 

Pengting 

“Ahh look at that pengting walking across the street there.” 

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You’d definitely receive some funny looks for busting this word out in Kamloops, but in the streets of London, it’s just another way of pointing out an attractive female.  

 

Rate That 

“She has really nice hair, I rate that in a girl.” 

This is just like rating something 10/10 to say it’s awesome, but without the 10/10 part. Maximum efficiency in getting the message across – I rate that. 

 

Skint 

“Hey, did you wanna go out for something to eat later?” “Sorry, I can’t, I’m bare skint right now.” 

Oh honey, if you’re skint then you are broke, broke, broke. Time to look for some help wanted ads, because you barely have 20 pence to your name.  

 

Taking the Piss 

“What are you on about, mate?” “Don’t worry, I’m just taking the piss.” 

Here in North America we’d probably say something more along the lines of “giving you crap.” I don’t know why bodily excretions are so heavily associated with joking around and giving someone a hard time, but there you go.  

 

Spice 

“Hey, have you seen the new girl in class?” “Oh yeah, man, she’s a spice.” 

This is another term for someone being attractive, and perhaps a touch more intuitive than pengting. Spice… spicy… hot… yes, this one makes sense.  

 

Stroppy 

“That customer I just worked with was awful, so stroppy.” 

Stroppy is not a word you want people to use to describe you. It is used to refer to someone who is difficult to deal with, dramatic, and sometimes just plain rude. This is the “I want to speak to your manager” type of person. 

Grafting (Scottish) 

“See Conor over there, grafting on that new exchange student.” 

If you’re getting your graft on, you are deep into flirting with someone. This is a less common term used in England, but frequent among Scots, especially when talking about a guy trying to get a girl to like him.  

What’s some of your favourite slang? Comment below with the interesting slang you’ve come across in your own travels!  

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