Speaking English in London

Thinking of taking a trip to London? Be careful. There’s a world of English that people speak in London that you may have never heard before. Prepare yourself with London’s most common lingo below!

Blimey! This is a popular expression to use when you are surprised. For example, “Blimey! The weather’s terrible today!”

Keep your hair on. Your hair isn’t really going anywhere. This expression really means stay calm. For example, “Keep your hair on. It’s an easy problem to fix.”

Pear-shaped. This is used to describe a situation that went wrong. For example, “I started my new job the other day and I was so nervous, it all went pear-shaped.”

Have it large. You say this when you plan on going out and having a good time. For example, “It’s Saturday! We’re gonna have it large tonight!” You can also say, larging it.

Bob’s your uncle. If someone says this to you, it doesn’t mean you have a long, lost uncle named Bob living in London. Londoners use this expression to announce that something is finished or OK. For example, “You just plug it in, turn on the power, and Bob’s your uncle!”

Dog’s dinner. When people say something is like a dog’s dinner, they’re saying it’s a mess. For example, “Your hair looks like a dog’s dinner,” means your hair is a little messy, not that their dog would like to eat it!

All over the shop. This expression has nothing to do with shopping. It describes a person who is disorganized. If someone tells you, “you’re all over the shop,” you should stop and think for a while. Londoners also say, all over the gaff.

Smashing. No, this is not about breaking things! It’s really used to describe something that’s good or great. For example, “Last night’s party was smashing!”

Hank Marvin. If someone says, “I’m Hank Marvin!” it isn’t his or her name. It really means that person is very hungry. For example, “What do you want to eat for dinner? I’m Hank Marvin!” This is an example of London’s rhyming slang – Hank Marvin rhymes with starvin’, which means hungry.

Let’s have a bubble bath. Don’t worry, Londoners aren’t really asking you to take a bubble bath with them. A bubble bath really means a laugh. They just want you to laugh along with them.

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