Can You Pass This UK Slang Quiz?

By: Allison Lips
Image: Viktorcvetkovic / E+ / Getty Images

About This Quiz

American English and British English have a lot in common. There are also many words that they do not share. An American puts their groceries in the trunk of a car, while the British call the rear compartment the boot. Americans go on vacation, while the British prefer to go on holiday. At a fair, Americans eat cotton candy, but the British call it candy floss. 

Those are common words, but they are not slang per se because they are used as the proper terms for those items. Slang is informal. An example of slang would be a British person describing someone they are attracted to as "fit."

Some British slang comes from cockney rhyming slang, such as "butcher's hook," which means "take a look" and can be abbreviated to "butcher's." However, "Bob's your uncle," which currently means "there you have it" is not a case of rhyming slang. It may come from the time Robert 'Bob" Cecil unpopularity appointed his nephew as Chief Secretary of Ireland.

Are you a native British English speaker? Or are you an Anglophile with an affinity for British English? Do you think you're an expert on British slang? How many of the following words do you recognize? Take this quiz to find out how much you know about British slang! We promise you won't find it naff or rubbish! Maybe you'll even think it's brill! 

If you're out with your "mates," who are you with?

"Mate" is also used to address strangers in informal situations. The American English equivalent is "pal."

Why would you be "chuffed" about receiving a good grade?

"Chuffed" is often used in the phrase "chuffed to bits." The word originates from a 1950s dialect where chuff meant "plump or pleased."

Why would someone be concerned if you've "lost the plot?"

To "lose the plot" is to act in a disorganized or irrational manner. It can also mean to no longer understand a situation.

What does it mean to "kip" on a friend's sofa?

A "kip" usually takes place in somewhere that is not your own bed. It often refers to a nap.

Why would you be wary about something that is "wonky?"

"Wonky" can also refer to something that is not level. Another definition is something that is unsatisfactory.

If something is "dodgy," why would you not want it?

"Dodgy" entered English in the 1860s with the meaning of evasive or tricky. It also means anything that is not sound or reliable.

How does a "nutter" behave?

While Americans would say someone is a "nut," a British English speaker would say they are a "nutter." A "nutter" is someone who behaves strangely. It can also be used to describe someone who is insane, but that usage is offensive.

What does it mean to "nick" an item?

If you "nick" something, you may get "nicked." "Nick" is used to mean both "to steal" and "to be arrested."

If someone asks you for "quid," what are they referring to?

The origin of "quid" is not known for certain. However, the prevailing theory is that it comes form the Latin phrase "quid pro quo," which means "one thing for another."

What is someone feeling if they have the "collywobbles?"

"Collywobbles" is used to describe stomach pain. It can also be used in cases of extreme anxiety or nervousness.

Why would you not want to be involved with a "dog's dinner?"

A "dog's dinner" means the same thing as a "dog's breakfast." The phrase can also be used in "dressed like a dog's dinner," which means dressed inappropriately for an occasion.

If someone says their child is attending "uni," where is their kid?

"Uni" is a shortened form of university. It entered English in the late 19th century from Australia.

What are "bits and bobs?"

"Bits and bobs" can also refer to many different types of little jobs. Synonyms include hodgepodge and mishmash.

Why would you dismiss something that is "rubbish?"

"Rubbish" means worthless or untrue. It can also refer to trash as in "rubbish bin," which in American English would be called a trashcan.

When two friends have a "chinwag," what are they doing?

A chinwag can be about everyday life, such as gossip. It is a pleasant conversation.

If someone is "cheesed off" about something, how are they feeling?

"Cheesed off" can also mean disappointed with something. The origin is unknown, but it was first recorded in the mid-1900s.

If someone is talking a load of "codswallop," what are they saying?

Codswallop was first recorded in the 1960s. Synonyms include balderdash, claptrap, and baloney.

Why would someone consider "dosh" to be desirable?

In the 1950s, "dosh" began to be used. Synonyms for "dosh" include "moolah" and "cheddar."

What kind of media is a "gogglebox?"

The slang "gogglebox" dates to the mid-1900s. The word is also the name of a British reality show where people watch television and their reactions are filmed.

Why might you lay down if you're "knackered?"

Not only does "knackered" mean very tired, it can also mean broken or two old to use. The word is also used in Australia.

What does it mean for something to go "pear-shaped?"

The term "pear-shaped" likely originates as Royal Air Force slang. The phrase is mainly used in the United Kingdom, but can occasionally be heard in Ireland, Australia, and South Africa.

Why does a "skint" person have little of?

"Skint" means penniless. It was first record in the 1920s.

Why wouldn't teenagers want their parents to catch them "snogging?"

A "snog" is a long period of kissing and cuddling. The word was first documented in the 1940s.

What does someone who is "naff" lack?

"Naff" was first used in the 1950s. It can be used to be a lack of taste or in the phrase "naff off" to tell someone to go away.

Why would you be disappointed if your host served you "plonk" at a party?

"Plonk" is inferior wine. It was first used in 1930s Australia.

Why would you visit the "off-licence" for a party?

An off-licence sells alcoholic beverages that are consumed elsewhere. The word also refers to the licence that permits alcohol sales.

Why would someone describe another person as "all mouth and no trousers?"

"All mouth and no trousers" is sometimes said as "all mouth and trouser." An American may say all bark and no bite.

If two people are having an "argy-bargy," what are they doing?

In the early-1800s, argy-bargy was first used. It is a reduplication that comes from Scots and English dialect "argy," which means argue.

Why would you be impressed by a "corker?"

"Corker" can be used to describe a person or thing. It can also refer to a remark that cannot be argued with, so it ends a discussion.

What does it mean to "earwig?"

Earwigs are small insects with what look like pincers. They were once thought to crawl into human ears. This is where the slang comes from.

Why would someone be impressed if you "know your onions?"

"Know one's onions" means to be knowledgeable or skilled in a subject. Synonyms are to be a master or qualified in some subject.

Why would you get frustrated with a "numpty?"

A "numpty" is a stupid or ineffectual person. The word is of Scottish origin and was first used in the 1980s.

What does it mean to "skive" off school?

The meaning "to avoid school or work without permission" was first recorded in the late 1800s. It may be derived from the French word "esquiver," which means "to dodge or evade."

What are other people doing to you if you are "taking the mickey?"

"Taking the Mickey" comes from Cockney rhyming slang for "taking the piss." If you are teasing someone, then you would be "taking the Mickey out of" them. Sometimes people will substitute "Mick" or "Michael" for "Mickey."

What does it mean to "wag off" school?

"Wag off" means to be truant. It can also mean to waste time.

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!

Explore More Quizzes