London slang

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London slang is a mixture of words and phrases originating in the city and around the globe, commonly spoken in London. It reflects the diverse ethnic and cultural makeup of the city's population.

As London occupies a dominant social, cultural and economic position within the United Kingdom, slang originally unique to the city has spread across the UK. Conversely, slang from outside London has migrated in along with people seeking work in the capital. Cockney rhyming slang and Multicultural London English are the best known forms of London slang.

Origins[edit]

Slang can infiltrate almost any element of daily life. For instance, London slang about money is believed to have been imported from India by returning servicemen during the nineteenth century. The terms monkey, meaning £500, and pony, meaning £25, are believed by some[who?] to have come from old Indian rupee banknotes, which it is asserted[by whom?] used to feature images of those animals. Banknotes with such denominations were issued by Bank of Bengal, Bank of Bombay and Bank of Madras and some other private banks between 1810 and 1860[citation needed]. However the true origin[1] of these terms is uncertain. Another money slang word, nicker, which means £1, is thought to be connected to the American nickel. Wonga, which describes an unspecified amount of money, may come from the Romany word for coal, wanga.[2]

Modern influences[edit]

In 2005, Professor Sue Fox from Queen Mary, University of London concluded that Cockney rhyming slang was dying out because children in London are greatly exposed to words and phrases from outside cultures.[3] Teenagers especially are incorporating into their vocabularies new words borrowed from outside the UK. This new slang is also influenced by new technologies, especially mobile phone SMS (short message service) or text messages. While "dat" and "dere" may be of Afro-Caribbean origin along with many other terms, their use in text messages as easier-to-key options to "that" and "there/their" cement them as slang in common usage.

The large number of immigrant communities and relatively high level of ethnic integration mean that various pronunciations, words and phrases have been fused from a variety of sources to create modern London slang. The emerging dialect draws influences from diaspora communities present in London, such as Caribbean speech.[4] This form of slang is mainly spoken in Inner London,[4][5] and most areas of Outer London. Although the slang has been highly influenced by black caribbean communities, youth of all ethnicities in London have adopted it.[6] Popular slang words include:

Adjectives

  • "Bait" (obvious/well known)
  • "Bare" [bɛː/ɓɛː (latter for further emphasis)] (Generic intensifier)
  • "Batty" (homosexual)
  • "Buff" (strong)
  • "Butters" (ugly)
  • "Buzzin'" (significantly active/popular)
  • "Clapped" (ugly/nasty)
  • "Dead" (insignificant)
  • "Dry" (dull or boring)
  • "Gassed" (to be overwhelmed of yourself (connection to the word "gas" because it means you are full of gas) or overwhelmed because of something else)
  • "Mad" (crazy)
  • "On tap" (to have an object readily available or easily obtained)
  • "Peak" (Serious/unfortunate)
  • "Peng" (attractive)
    • "Pengting" (an attractive person)
  • "Piff" (attractive)
    • "Piffting" (an attractive person)
  • "Popping" (active/popular)
  • "Spun" (messed up)
  • "Vexed" (angry)
  • "Wassy" (weird)
  • "Washed" (Lame)
  • "Waste" (useless)
  • "Woke" (aware)

Interjections

  • "Ahh" (A generalised exclamation)
  • "Ayy" (expression of approval)
  • "Dunnno"/"Donnno" ("of course", also an expression of approval)
  • "Inni'"/"Innit" (slang for "isn't it?")
  • "Nah" (exclamation of disbelief at the enormity of someone's action or statement)
  • "Oh my days!" (A generalised exclamation)
  • "Safe" (Expression of approval and also used as a parting phrase)
  • "Wagwan" (slang for "what's up?")
  • "Yana" (slang for "you know")
  • "You get me?" (slang for "do you understand me?", usually shortened to "ygm")

Pronouns

  • "Man" (First-person singular, third-person singular and general plural)
    • "Mandem" (a group of males)
    • "Them Man" ('They' or 'Them', in the masculine form)
    • "Us Man" ('We' or 'Us', in the masculine form)
  • "Gyal" (First-person singular, third-person singular and general plural)
    • "Gyaldem" (a group of females)
    • "Them Gyal" ('They' or 'Them', in the feminine form)
    • "Us Gyal" ('We' or 'Us', in the feminine form)

Nouns

  • "B" (a close friend or brother, often used as a form of address)
  • "Badders" (a person skilled at sexual acts)
  • "Balls" (used when something is untrue or not going to happen)
  • "Bars" (lyrics)
  • "Big ups" (credit to)
  • "Blud" (a friend, often used as a form of address)
  • "Bread" (money)
  • Br-
    • "Bredrin" (a close friend or brother, often used as a form of address)
    • "Bruv" (a close friend or brother, often used as a form of address)
    • "Brudda" (a close friend or brother, often used as a form of address)
    • "Bredda" (a close friend or brother, often used as a form of address)
  • "Business" (a situation or something to attend to)
  • "Caps" (bullets)
  • "Cred" (credit)
  • "Creps" (shoes)
    • "Crep check" (the inspection of one's shoes)
  • "Crumb" (money, small amount)
  • "Cunch" (the countryside or any town outside London)
  • "DMs" (messages, name originated from Twitter)
  • "Dome" (head/brain)
  • "Donk" (unintellingent person)
  • "Dough" (money, large amount)
  • "Ends" (Neighbourhood)
  • "Fam" (Short for "family", can refer to "friend")
  • "'fit" (outfit)
  • "G" (a friend or gangster, often used as a form of address)
  • "Gas" (untruth)
  • "Get up" (set of clothes and accessories)
  • "Gimp" (unintellingent person)
  • "Ion" (slang for "I don't")
  • "J-bag" (a promiscuous female. Shortened form of Jezebel)
  • "Jezzy" (a promiscuous female. Shortened form of Jezebel)
  • "Look" (appearance)
  • -man (non-gender specific)
    • "Bad-a-man" (a person who thinks they are big or intimidating)
    • "Batty boy" (a homosexual male (gay))
    • "Batty gyal" (a homosexual female (lesbian))
    • "Batty man" (a person who is homosexual)
    • "Big man" (a popular or famous person)
    • "Boss" (the person in charge)
    • "Bossman" (the person in charge)
    • "Roadman" (a person who spends a lot of time on the streets and smokes weed, can also be used as a general slur)
  • "Rudeboy" (a male that is explicit)
  • "Rudegyal" (a female that is explicit)
    • "Sideman" (an irrelevant person)
    • "Skengman" (a gunman)
    • "Topboy" (the most significant person of a group of people)
    • "Topman" (the most significant person of a group of people)
    • "Wasteman" (a person that is considered useless or low in terms of society)
  • "0161 Manny on the map" (used to refer to Manchester, originated by Bugzy Malone)
  • "Medders" (a person who takes part in consuming and/or dealing drugs)
  • "Myth" (used when something is untrue or not going to happen)
  • "Nan" (grandmother or old female)
  • "Neek" (nerd/geek)
  • "Nitty" (a person who takes part in consuming and/or dealing drugs)
  • "Nonce" (unintelligent person)
  • "OG" (original/original gangster)
  • "OT" (out of town)
  • "Pen" (prison, derived from the word "penitentiary", a synonym for jail)
  • "Po-po" (police)
  • "Punani" (vagina)
  • "Qwengers" (a promiscuous male)
  • "Rep" (reputation)
  • "Riddim" (rhythm, usually used to refer to a grime track)
  • "Shank" (a knife)
  • "Sistren" (a close friend or sister, often used as a form of address)
  • "Skeng" (a gun – evolved from its original meaning of 'knife')
  • "Sket" (a promiscuous female)
  • "Ting" (ting)
  • "Truss" (trust)
  • "Uck" (oral sex)
    • "Uckers badders" (someone skilled at giving oral sex)
  • "Waste" (useless)
  • "Wifey" (wife)
  • "Yard" (house)
  • "Younger" (younger sibling, often used as a form of address)

Verbs

  • "Bun" (to destroy, from to burn)
  • "Buss'" (to bust)
  • "Body" (to murder)
  • "Cap" (to shoot)
  • "Cop" (to obtain)
  • "Dip" (to leave)
  • "Drop" (to release a music track, to end someone/something, or to leave)
  • "F*** with" (to highly enjoy something, usually shortened to "fw")
  • "Gas" (to lie)
  • "Level" (to surpass someone in level of x (x usually being talent))
  • "Link" (to meet up with)
  • "Merk" (to kill)
  • "Mug" (to rob)
  • "Par" (to shut down a person or group of people)
  • "Rate" (to rate something highly)
  • "Rep" (to represent)
  • "Rinse" (to use fully/overuse)
  • "Rush" (to rape)
  • "Shag" (to have sex with someone)
  • "Shank" (to stab)
  • "Spit" (to rap)
  • "Splash" (to spend)
  • "Ten toes" (to be on foot)
  • "Truss" (to trust)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.businessballs.com/moneyslanghistory.htm
  2. ^ Chapman, Alan (25 July 2005). "money slang history". businessballs: glossaries/terminology. Retrieved 7 December 2010. 
  3. ^ "Trouble and strife for cockney rhyming slang". The Times. London. 22 August 2005. Retrieved 17 July 2007. 
  4. ^ a b "Cockney accent being swept aside in London by new hip hop-inspired dialect". 16 April 2006. Archived from the original on 26 September 2007. Retrieved 17 July 2007. 
  5. ^ "'Nang' takes over Cockney slang". BBC News. 11 April 2006. Retrieved 17 July 2007. 
  6. ^ "Black slang in the pink". 21 October 2005. Retrieved 17 July 2007. 

External links[edit]