Travel blog

British Words & Phrases Americans Don’t Understand

Posted by YMT Vacations on Aug 16, 2018 5:09:00 AM


While Americans and Brits claim to speak the same language, all it takes is five minutes in the pub to realize the English speak English in a very different way. From street talk to slang, there’s plenty of sayings that are sure to confound those of us from across the pond. Here are just a few common British words and phrases that will help us understand our British brethren a wee bit better:

Bits and Bobs—Odds and ends. As in, “I’m headed to the store for some bits and bobs.”

Bog Roll—Meaning “soft and moist,” a bog is slang for the bathroom. So a bog roll is, naturally, a roll of toilet paper.

It’s Brass Monkeys Out—Meaning it’s cold outside.

Brolly—When the weather is looking gloomy, brolly is the word for an umbrella.

Butty—A chip butty sandwich is made of white bread, butter, fries and tomato sauce.

Cuppa—In Great Britain this is never used to refer to a cup of anything else but tea.

Dosh—Cash or money.

Feeling Grotty—Feeling under the weather, sick.


Gobsmacked—Shocked or at a loss for words.

Jam Sandwich—Slang for a police car. Originally the cop cars featured a red stripe down the side of the vehicle which made the cars look like a jam sandwich.

Knackered—Tired, exhausted.

Loo—Slang for the restroom.

Old Blighty—Britain.

Rashers—Slices of bacon or ham.

Serviette—From a 15th century French word, this means a napkin or a towel.

Skint—Out of cash, broke.

Spend a penny—Going to visit the bathroom.


Toodle Pip!—Goodbye.

Practice your best Brit slang on the Essential Britain tour. Spend 8-nights exploring the culture, scenery and history of England, Wales and Scotland. Visit castles and take a train ride through the countryside, explore Stonehenge and the royal sites of London. For information and reservations, call your travel agent or YMT Vacations at 1-888-756-9072.

Topics: Europe, England