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Some Notes on UK Slang and Swearing


This is not intended to be an exhaustive guide to UK slang and swearing. It is simply a glossary of UK-specific references to be found on this website, such as slang, swearing and road markings, that it occurs to me may fail to convey their full meaning to readers who are not from these shores. Especially Americans, because they don't understand a lot of things, including really obvious things like not wanting to die doesn't make you a communist and black people aren't there for cops to use for target practice, but also other people who don't know British shit. So, for example, it assumes that you know what "fuck" means, but not where you might find yellow lines in the UK. It's also really out of date because I keep forgetting it's here so there are probably lots of things on this site that ought to be listed on here but aren't.


Bog The thing you sit on to have a crap. Or the room it's in.

Bollocks Literally, the testicles. Figuratively, means "nonsense", "preposterous", "ridiculous", with some implication that the utterer of the nonsense should have known better. Like "don't talk crap". Strangely, saying that something is "the bollocks", or "the dog's bollocks" (as opposed to just "bollocks") means it's really good.

Bloody Generic English swear word. Can be used anywhere you might say "fucking" (except in the literal sense), but not so strong. It has declined with time - it used to be as strong as "fucking" but now is rather less so; indeed not that many people use it any more; people say "fucking" instead.

Can't be arsed Can't be bothered. Unwilling to put the effort in. Unwilling to think about putting the effort in. Unwilling to think about thinking about putting the effort in... but entirely willing to think "fuck this, let's do something else". Or "...let's do nothing".

Chicken's tits Means "oh for fuck's sake", only not so strong.

Dead and chewed Generic expression of negativity, applicable to any situation regardless of its objective significance. Going to make a pot of tea and finding you've only got enough tea to make half a pot is dead and chewed. Genocide is also dead and chewed. Tony Blair is dead and chewed. Margaret Thatcher was dead and chewed. Not being able to fix something because it's been made so that you can't get it apart without destroying it is dead and chewed. You get the idea...

Fag Cigarette. Fag end: cigarette butt. Fag packet: packet/carton of cigarettes. It doesn't mean "homosexual" unless the context is decidedly American.

Fanny Cunt. Not arse. (Nor ass.)

Fuckwit Extremely stupid person. Someone who is not only living proof that the human species descended from an ape-like ancestor, but that that ancestor descended from something else, which descended from something else, which descended from something else, all the way back until you get to something which is fucking stupid. Like blue-green algae. The character Terry Fuckwitt in Viz is actually quite intelligent for a fuckwit.

Monkey metal Crappy brittle aluminium- or aluminium/zinc-based casting alloy. Weak, wears rapidly, strips or seizes threads (or both at the same time), corrodes badly. More generally, any crappy metal with these properties.

MoT Annual government roadworthiness test for motor vehicles. Stands for "Ministry of Transport"; should strictly be "MoT test" but everyone just calls it "the MoT".

Neptune's kiss The phenomenon where some of the kinetic energy of a turd entering the bog water is transferred to kinetic energy of the water itself, causing a blob of cold, pissy water to retrace the turd's line of fall in the reverse direction and insinuate itself into your closing ringpiece.

Number plate License plate.

Pan baffle Folded paper or other such item laid on top of the water in the bog before having a shit, in order to prevent Neptune's kiss.

Ringpiece The anal sphincter.

Saddle Bicycle seat.

Shite Variant of "shit". Means "shit", both literally and figuratively. But it's more complicated than that. It's perhaps slightly less rude and slightly more humorous, and perhaps the other way round, depending on the context. It's really hard to explain. Best I can say is look at the places where I've used "shite" instead of "shit" and work it out for yourself. :-)

Spunk Sperm. Semen. Jizz. Spooge. Man yogurt. Whatever you like to call it. The white stuff that comes out of the end of your cock when you have an orgasm. (Assuming you have a cock that is.) Americans seem to use the word to mean something like "vim" or "gumption", which is sort of appropriate I suppose given that Liquid Gumption bath cleaner looks a little bit like spunk, only it's more like runny exhaust paste really, and Vim is a gritty powder which isn't like spunk at all, but anyway what happens is Americans write stuff about someone or other being "full of spunk" and then we snigger at it. And Ecover washing up liquid looks exactly like spunk and it probably is.

Tomorrow's World Weekly TV show that demonstrated the latest cool inventions (some of them were more impressive than others). Usually quite fun to watch, but sadly no longer running.

Twat Cunt, both literally and figuratively. Not so strong though. Rhymes with "cat", but sometimes pronounced to rhyme with "pot", perhaps for humorous effect or perhaps just as a personal idiosyncrasy. The way the meaning of this word is delicately alluded to in early editions of Chambers is quite entertaining, as is the misuse of the word by innocent Victorian poet Robert Browning, who thought it meant nuns' headgear.

Yellow lines are found painted along the edges of the road in urban areas to indicate parking restrictions. They do not run along the middle of the road! The lines down the middle of the road are white. The thick sort of masticky paint stuff road markings are painted with stands proud of the tarmac and makes a smooth surface. This makes them good for cycling along as it reduces rolling resistance, but makes them dangerous to motorcycles, particularly in the wet.




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