Common UK Expressions: 30+ Sayings the British Are Known For

, Staff Writer
Updated August 16, 2021
Tea pot Common UK Expressions
    Tea pot Common UK Expressions
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If your friend said to you, "Well that game really takes the biscuit," would you have any clue what they were talking about? If you were up on your British sayings, you would. To keep you in the know, investigate a few fun and cheeky U.K. expressions to add to your vernacular.

Brilliant British Sayings to Enjoy

The United Kingdom is known for its rich and unique accents. But it has some fun sayings too. From "ol' blighty" to "cheeky," you can find some spectacular British slang not enjoyed in the United States. Dive into a few brilliantly British sayings you might use at your next party.

  • That really takes the biscuit. (That is really surprising/annoying/the worst.)
  • I'm chuffed to bits! (I'm so pleased.)
  • That's rubbish. (That's ridiculous/not true.)
  • Fancy a cuppa? (Would you like some tea?)
  • She's such a chav. (She's such a lower-class person.)
  • That's manky. (That's dirty or disgusting.)
  • I've dropped a clanger. (I've made an embarrassing mistake)
  • What a cock up. (What a big mistake.)
  • Don’t bite my arm off. (Don’t be overly excited to get something.)
  • Did she bottle it? (Did she lose her nerve?)
  • She’s such a curtain twitcher. (She’s a nosy neighbor.)
  • You made a dog’s dinner out of that. (You made a mess out of that.)
  • Don’t fanny around. (Don’t procrastinate.)
  • It looks like we have the full monty. (Looks like we have everything we need.)
  • What are you going on about? (What are you talking about?)
  • It’s half-past four. (It’s 4:30.)

Posh British Expressions

Do you have dreams of sounding like the queen? Then, it's time to explore some posh British sayings.

  • She's a good egg. (She's someone pleasant, trustworthy)
  • I've got myself into a bit of a sticky wicket. (I find myself in an awkward or delicate situation.)
  • Pip, pip, my friends. (Goodbye, my friends.)
  • Hello, old bean! (Hello friend!)
  • She is as keen as mustard to get started. (She's very eager to get started.)
  • Pardon my French. (Excuse my swearing.)

Common UK Expressions to Try

Like American English, British English has many unique slang phrases and expressions that you'll commonly hear on the street. While "snog" or "blimey" might sound a bit odd to you, it's all part of common slang to Brits. Never get lost again by checking out these fun expressions.

  • That’s not my cup of tea. (That’s not to my liking.)
  • I guess he finally popped his clogs. (I guess he finally died.)
  • You really did pull a blinder in the meeting. (You achieved something difficult in the meeting.)
  • She’s a few sandwiches short of a picnic. (She’s not very smart.)
  • Sod off! (Get lost.)
  • I have to spend a penny. (I have to go to the bathroom.)
  • That party went all to pot after I left. (That got out of control after I left.)
  • Have a gander at what she's doing. (Have a look at what she's doing.)

Fun British Sayings to Add to Your Vocab

You can't forget about British idioms when looking at slang. Idioms just make things more fun! You can even give these British sayings a try at the dinner table.

  • Budge up. (Move over and make some room.)
  • That must have cost a bomb! (That must have been expensive.)
  • What a load of codswallop. (What a load of mistruths.)
  • Oh, keep your hair on. (Oh, calm down.)
  • Put a sock in it. (Shut up/stop talking.)
  • Are you up for it? (Are you willing to do it?)
  • Don't go in there; it's absolutely chock a block. (Don't go in there, it's very busy.)
  • Well, this assignment has gone pear-shaped. (Well, this assignment has not gone to plan.)

More Expressions and Sayings

Don’t stop now! You'll be a true Brit once you learn some unique slang terms to push your British vernacular. It will be bloody brilliant. You might even be gobsmacked!