How they say it in the United Kingdom

How we say it in South Africa and how they say it in the United Kingdom
How they say it in the UK

I’m sure you have seen many posts on social media where people have posted and commented on words used in the United Kingdom compared to words used in South Africa. So let’s have a look at how they say it in the United Kingdom as opposed to how we would say it in South Africa.

Although these words are used in the United Kingdom, some are only used in specific areas.

You will be unfamiliar with some of the words and expressions, but in time you will soon get used to them. So we have put together a list, to make you familiar with how it is said in the United Kingdom, which should make life a little easier for you.

How we say it in South Africa and how they say it in the United Kingdom

  • Robots = traffic lights
  • Bakkie = pick up
  • Takkies = trainers
  • Prestik = blue tac
  • Koki pen = felt tip marker pen
  • Pen = biro
  • Pants = trousers
  • Underwear = pants
  • Naartjie = satsuma
  • Friend = mate
  • Oh shame = oh bless
  • Braai = barbeque
  • Supper = tea
  • ATM = cash machine
  • Bread roll = cob or bap
  • Swimming costume = swimsuit
  • Cafe = Corner shop
  • Swimming pool = Swimming baths
  • Isn’t = Innit
  • Guy = geezer
  • Sick = poorly
  • Mielies = corn on the cob
  • Goodbye = cheers
  • Jersey = jumper
  • Tea = brew
  • Sosatie = kebab
  • Cell phone = mobile phone
  • Gumboots = wellies
  • Tobacco = baccy
  • Chips = crisps
  • Bar = pub
  • Cinema = pictures
  • Lounge = front room
  • Slip = receipt
  • Packet = bag
  • Circle = roundabout
  • Hello = Ey up duck, you alright

British slang words and phrases

Explore the uk

UK has around 40 different dialects of English, each with their own accents and slang.


An arse is your rear end (not to be confused with an ass, which is a donkey). But it can also be a reference to an annoying person


Banter is a playful and friendly exchange of teasing remarks.


Meaning crazy.


This is often referred to when people go out and spend a weekend of partying and drinking.


Usually referring to a man. Eg: “He is a great bloke”.


Short for “brother”, this London street slang is used to refer to a male friend.

Bugger all

Meaning nothing. Eg: I did bugger all today.


A multi-purpose word which can be used as a toast, to thank someone or even say goodbye.


Many people in the UK refer to a fish and chips shop as a chippy.


Chuffed is a slang word in the UK for feeling happy about something. Eg: “I was chuffed with the pay increase I got”.


This can mean someone who is un trustworthy, or can also even refer to food may have made a person ill.


Dosh is often a slang word used in the UK for money.


A cigarette in the UK is often referred to as a fag.


A five pound note is often referred to as a fiver.


A slang term for the national sport—football.


A mouth.

Gordon Bennett!

This is often used as an expression of surprise.

A grass

Someone who tells tales on others.


You will hear this used a lot in the UK, especially in London. Innit is the slang term for isn’t it.


Meaning a short period of time. Eg: I’ll be back in a jiffy.

Knackered or cream crackered.

Means being tired.


Meaning very nice or lovely.


Mate in the UK means friend or buddy.


Meaning someone is wealthy, has a lot of money


Tasteless or cheap looking.


Is slang in the UK for being arrested.


This is slang mainly used in London for someone or something that is attractive and desirable.

Pigs ear

This is often the slang term used when someone has made a mess of something. Eg: He has made a right pigs ear of that.


A beer. Beer is drunk in pints in the UK.


Someone who is acting silly or annoying.


Porkies is the slang word used for lies. Eg: He is telling porkies.


To be without money.

Taking the Mick

This is slang for mocking. It is also known as taking the Mick or taking the Michael.


In the UK this is slang for a ten pound note.

The local

A pub that may be your closest or just your regular favorite.

About Expressions and slang in the United Kingdom

Fun facts

Why do British people say bloody?

Why do the British say innit?
“Innit” is an abbreviation of “isn’t it” most commonly used amongst teenagers and young people. This phrase is used to confirm or agree with something that another person has just said.

What does Bob’s your uncle mean?

“Bob’s your uncle” is a phrase commonly used in Ireland, United Kingdom and Commonwealth countries that means “and there it is” or “and there you have it”. Typically, someone says it to conclude a set of simple instructions or when a result is reached.

Get The Sack

Thought to originate from when an employer would hand a sack to an unwanted tradesman. The sack would have been used by the tradesman to load his tools into as he subsequently left to search for a new job.

As Mad As A Hatter

The Mad Hatter is of course a fictional character immortalized by Lewis Carroll in his famous Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The phrase however is believed to originate from the Leicestershire area of the East Midlands of England. In a more fashion conscience age, Leicester was a renowned manufacturing center for the hat industry and the expression derives from an early industrial disease.

In the poorly ventilated workshops of the 1800s, it was impossible for hat makers to avoid inhaling the fumes from the mercury used in the felt curing process. Over time this heavy metal accumulated in the body, gradually affecting both kidney and brain. Still known today as ‘Mad Hatters Syndrome’, typical symptoms of mercury poisoning include trembling or ‘hatter’s shakes’, loosening of the teeth, distorted vision, slurred and confused speech, memory loss, depression, and hallucinations.

What is London accent?

The term Cockney is applied as a demonym to people from loosely defined areas of London; to East Enders or to those born within the sound of Bow Bells. The Cockney dialect in the form of speech used in those areas, and elsewhere, particularly among working-class Londoners.

Here is a guide to London slang