Common British Slang

British Slang

So many online lists include slang terms that are 80 years old, or simply ones we don’t use. I’ve created a short list of terms that I hear all the time.


“Alright mate, how’s it going?”

This is “All right?” meaning “How are you?” But it’s very casual. It’s good to use to acquaintances and people who aren’t super close friends. When we say this, we don’t usually expect a long reply.


“You lost my bag? Brilliant…”

“Brilliant” is an international word, but I included it because it’s so common in the UK. It can just mean “very good”, but we often use it sarcastically. When something bad happens, you can say “brilliant”.

Nice one

“You got a new job? Nice one mate!”

This is similar to “brilliant”. It means “good” but can be used sincerely or sarcastically.

Bugger All

“I’ve done bugger all today”

This is a little bit rude – not the worst word – but not so polite. It means “Nothing at all” but with a bit more emphasis. If you got no money for some work, you can say you got “bugger all”.

Cock Up

“There was a major cock-up at work today”

This one is a bit rude as well, but it means a big mistake. It can be a verb (I cocked up) or a noun (there was a cock-up). Have you ever cocked anything up at work?

Have a Gander

“Let’s go in this shop and have a gander”

A male goose is called a gander. Just like a goose would do, when you gander, you stick your neck out and look around. If you gander, you are being very nosy and looking around like a goose exploring.


“This new skatepark looks sick!”

“Sick” can mean ill or unwell (I feel sick). It can also mean “disgusting” (The way he treated her was sick).

In this slang term, it (confusingly) means “cool”. If someone invites you to go to the park, you can say “Sick, man, let’s do it!”

Fancy a Cuppa?

“Fancy a pint, mate?”

“Fancy” has a few meanings. It can mean “posh” or “upper-class”. It can also mean “to like” as a verb (I fancy this girl).

In the sentence above, it means “want”. 

“Cuppa” is short for “cup of tea”.

So “fancy a cuppa?” means “Do you want a cup of tea?”

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