Come Again? Translating British English

us-uk-flag-blend copy

A common belief for an American visiting the UK is that language isn’t a barrier – you speak English, they speak English. Right? Wrong!

One of the biggest learnings Andy and I have had during the past year abroad is that British English and American English are very, very different. It’s like another language in a way. I am not going to sit here and entertain the famous argument of whose English is real English (feel free to debate that in the comments section below) but instead, I want to highlight the ways in which British English is very different from the English Andy and I spoke back home.

Below are some common phrases heard/used here in the UK. Bold type is the British word/phrase. Italics is the American translation. Enjoy!

Hiya – Hi there

You all right? – How are you? *Note: The correct response to “you all right?” is always “yes”. It is asked as a greeting and not because anyone actually cares how you are doing. Do not, I repeat, do not go on and on about how you are not alright. Seriously, no one cares.

On the piss – Getting drunk

AceWhen something or someone is good, great and/or awesome

DaftWhen something or someone is dumb, stupid

LegendWhen something or someone is awesome, amazing

Cracking  – Similar to Ace. When something or something is the best

SmashingWhen something is really good, terrific

Gutted -When you’re extremely disappointed, really upset

Bloke/Chap – a guy

Bird – a girl

Wanker – an asshole, a jerk, a loser

Fit  – A good looking person

Grafter – A hard working person 

QuidWhat the Brits call their money (£££), similar to the American term “bucks”

Stag do/hen do – A bachelor party/bachelorette party

Fortnight – Two weeks time

I’m easyI don’t care, it’s all the same to me

To pinch (something) – To steal something

Not my cup of tea – When you don’t like something/someone

(What are you) on about(What are you) talking about

Taking the Mickey out of (something, someone) – Making fun of something or someone

Taking the piss out of someone – Making fun of something or someone

Made redundantto be laid off

Bintrashcan 

Trouserspants

Pantsunderwear

Wellysshort for Wellington boots (aka rain boots)

Willypenis

Wanking off – use your imagination 😉

What did I miss? There are so many British words and phrases that require American translation that I can’t think of them all! And, let’s not forget all the American terms the Brits have no clue about. I went first, now leave yours in the comments section below.

One thought on “Come Again? Translating British English

Share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s