Cockney rhyming slang is a humorous slang first used by cockneys in the east end of London and now understood widely in London and throughout Britain. It was invented in London in the 1840s by market traders, costermongers (sellers of fruit and vegetables from handcarts) and street hawkers. It was probably first used as a […]
Have you ever heard this classic Cockney song, made famous by music hall comedian Gus Elen (pictured)? If not, have a listen cos it namechecks loads of places in and around London. The song comes from the early part of the twentieth century and it’s a real slice of life. Now, we need your help unravelling […]
Recently Mark Stevens of The True Football blog flagged up an interesting usage of the phrase “two-bob”. Apparently Spurs trainer Clive Allen called Arsene Wenger a “two-bob” after refusing to shake his hand. We reckon Allen was using his own shortened version of Two-Bob Bit. What do you think?
Sue writes asking about the derivation of the term “trolleys”. She knows the expression is used to mean underpants, but where the heck does it come from? We found out it’s quite a recent expression. Possibly originally from the Royal Navy, originating in the late 20th century and gaining popularity in the 70’s and 80’s. […]
Mike from the US writes with an interesting question: “I’m an American. I have a Master’s Degree. I speak 2 other languages besides English and I still have to watch Guy Ritchie and some other English movies with subtitles. Do people who use the Cockney rhyming slang all use the same celebrities’ names? Otherwise, do […]
BlimeyStrewth writes: 1/2 Lamb (and calf) 1 Lost (and won) 2 Bottle (of glue) 3 Holy (see) 4 Stand (in awe) 5 Scuba (dive) 6 Fiddle (-sticks) 7 Exeter (in devon) 8 Fartoo (late; another explanation is that “far” is supposed to be “four” and “too” is supposed to be two – four times two […]
Richard writes: “My mum used the phrases: HOW’S YOUR BELLY OFF OF SPOTS” and “HOW’S YOUR MOTHER OFF OF DRIPPING”?” What do these phrases mean?
Roberta writes: “This is a great dictionary and web site ! In the old days Cockneys – at least my Victorian Cockney ancestors- were all known by a nickname . My great uncles for example were known as Speck ,Missel and Banger . I was dubbed Topsy by my grandfather when I was born, and […]
Les Williams writes: “Why Bristols (city)and not London or Cardiff eg Perhaps Bristol planes?” Good question! The slang is Bristol Cities, and this comes from the football team. I’m talking about Bristol City here, not Bristol Rovers, right? That’s the main reason. Also there is a theory that it caught on because “Bristol” and “Breast” […]
More on Australian slang for money. (Don’t forget, Australian slang is closely related to Cockney slang for obvious historical reasons). Elise from Australia tells us: “A $20 is a Lobster A $50 is a pineapple A $100 is a spot $500 a monkey $1000 a gorilla. The colours of the $20 and $50 in Australia […]