There are tons of “kinds” of English that is spoken the world over. Each English-speaking country has its own unique vocabulary, pronunciation and grammar structure. So, while you speak English, there are some words, pronunciations and sayings that you may not be familiar with. While you don’t need to practice any of these phrases, its sort of fun to be able to get an inside look at the lingo of England. That way, you can keep up with conversations and not have to interrupt to say “sorry, what?” every couple seconds. Here are a few phrases that will keep you in the know.


Popular phrases


“All right?”


This is used a lot around London and the south to mean, "Hello, how are you"? You can say this to a complete stranger or someone you know. The normal response would be for them to say "All right"? in return. It’s always said as a question and may sometimes be expanded to "all right mate"?




If someone tells you that you're barmy they mean you have gone mad or crazy. For example, “you'd have to be barmy to visit England without trying black pudding!”




If you’ve got a big interview coming up, chances are you’ll be struck with a case of the collywobbles. This fun expression describes the extreme queasiness or stomach pain that can be brought on by stress, nervousness or anxiety.


“Brass monkeys”


Perhaps the most obscure British term on this list, ‘brass monkeys’ is used to refer to extremely cold weather. The phrase comes from the slightly inappropriate expression, ‘it’s cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey’. So when you see the temps dip, be prepared to hear, ‘You need to wear a coat today, its brass monkeys outside.’




To be fagged means to be disturbed, bothered or interrupted. If you were focusing on a show or reading a sign, you wouldn’t want to be fagged.


“Her Majesty’s pleasure”


This is a way to describe someone being put in prison or being incarcerated. You may see a tabloid mentioning a local celeb is at Her Majesty’s pleasure, which simply means, they’ve been sent to prison.




This is one of the more amusing British slang terms in this list. “Scrummy” is used as a delightfully effusive term for when something is truly delicious and mouth-wateringly good. For example, if you had a delicious meal at the pub, you could say “dinner at Shakespeare’s Head was absolutely scrummy. I wanted to go back for seconds”.


“Sweet Fanny Adams”


This essentially translated to “nothing at all”. So, you may hear someone saying, “I thought I had a chance at winning the arm wrestling competition, but I ended up with Sweet Fanny Adams”.


Now that you’re an expert in British accents a few of the popular phrases used throughout the country, you are ready to hit the ground running. Protect your British break with cover from Cover-More.


Image courtesy of Flickr user Matt Brown