Bear Fan’s Guide to British Slang

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Chat up – To chat someone up is to try and pick them up. If you spotted a scrummy girly in a bar you might try to chat her up. Or a girl might try and chat up a chap!

Cheeky – “Eee you cheeky monkey” was what my mother said to me all the time when I was a kid. Cheeky means you are flippant, have too much lip or are a bit of a smart arse! Generally you are considered to be a bit cheeky if you have an answer for everything and always have the last word. My licence plate on my MX5 (Miata in American) was CHEEKY, which most Texans thought was something to do with bottoms – wrong!!

Cheesed off – This is a polite way of saying you are pissed off with something.

Chinese Whispers – This a good one. It refers to the way a story gets changed as is passes from one person to the next so that the end result may be completely different from what was originally said. Sound familiar?

Cock up – A cock up means you have made a mistake. It has nothing to do with parts of the male body.

Dodgy – If someone or something is a bit dodgy, it is not to be trusted. Dodgy food should be thrown away at home, or sent back in a restaurant. Dodgy people are best avoided. You never know what they are up to. Dodgy goods may have been nicked. When visiting Miami I was advised by some English chums that certain areas were a bit dodgy and should be avoided!

Dog’s bollocks – You would say that something really fantastic was the dog’s bollocks. Comes from the fact that a dog’s bollocks are so fantastic that he can’t stop licking them! Nice huh? Often shortened to just “The dog’s”.

Drop a clanger – When I asked a large lady on the tube if she would like my seat since she was so obviously pregnant, she took the seat then told me she was fat, not pregnant! Boy did I drop a clanger. You might make a gaffe. Either way it was horrendously embarrassing, especially as half the people on the tube had heard me!

Fag – Probably the most famous troublesome word for Brits in the USA. I even fell for it myself when I visited my first US supermarket aged 16 and asked how much the fags were. The lady gave me a horrible stare and pretended not to hear me. Little did she know I thought I had found a business opportunity to make money on cigarettes. Fags are expensive here!

Fagged – If you are too lazy or tired to do something you could say “I can’t be fagged”. It means you can’t be Bothered.

Fagging – Fagging is the practice of making new boys at boarding schools into slaves for the older boys. If you are fagging for an older boy you might find yourself running his bath, cleaning his shoes or performing more undesirable tasks.

Fanny – This is the word for a woman’s front bits! One doesn’t normally talk about anyone’s fanny as it is a bit rude. You certainly don’t have a fanny pack, or smack people on their fannys – you would get arrested for that! Careful use of this word in the UK is advised!

Flutter – I like to have a flutter on the horses. It means to have a bet, usually a small one by someone who is not a serious gambler.

Fruity – If someone is feeling fruity then they are feeling frisky. Watch out!

Get stuffed! – Even politer way to tell someone to get lost is to tell them to get stuffed. However, this is still not a nice thing to say to someone.

Getting off – This seems to be the objective of most teenagers on a big night out. Getting off with someone means making out or snoggingh them.

Goolies – If you have been kicked in the goolies, your eyes would be watering and you would be clutching your balls!

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