Teacher Luke: The series about informal British expresions continues here.
British Slang Expressions (H to M)
Haggle – To haggle is to argue or negotiate over a price. Most people that wangle stuff are usually quite good at haggling. I just learnt that in the USA you dicker over a price, particularly for used cars!
Hard – After your 20 pints of lager, the curry or the doner, your average 20 year old feels hard. Since his male organ has no chance of working at this stage, hard clearly refers to something else – it means he is ready to fight anything or anybody or to take on any bet. This is the time to make fun of drunken lads by betting them they can’t jump off the end of the pier, hang on to the back of a bus etc.
Hiya – Short for hi there, this is a friendly way of saying hello.
Horses for courses – This is a common saying that means each to his own. What suits one person might be horrible for someone else. If my Dad was trying to understand why my brother had wanted to get his ear pierced he might say “Oh well, it’s horses for courses I suppose”!
Hump – If you have got the hump it means you are in a mood. If you are having a hump, it means you are having sex. Care is advised when you try using these words for the first time. It could be embarrassing!
Hunky-dory – My English dictionary tells me that hunky-dory means excellent. We would generally use it to mean that everything is cool and groovy, on plan, no worries and generally going well.
I’m easy – This expression means I don’t care or it’s all the same to me. Not to be confused with how easy it is to lure the person into bed!
Irony/sarcasm – The cornerstones of British humour. This is one of the biggest differences between the nations. The sense of humour simply doesn’t translate too well.
Jammy – If you are really lucky or flukey, you are also very jammy. It would be quite acceptable to call your friend a jammy b****rd if they won the lottery.
Kip – A short sleep, forty winks, or a snooze. You have a kip in front of the telly on a Sunday afternoon.
Knackered – The morning after twenty pints and the curry, you’d probably feel knackered. Another way to describe it is to say you feel shagged. Basically worn out, good for nothing, tired out, knackered.
Knees up – If you’re having a knees up, you’re going to a dance or party.
Knob – Yet another word for your willy.
Knockers – Another word for breasts.
Leg it – This is a way of saying run or run for it. Usually said by kids having just been caught doing something naughty. Well it was when I was a kid!
Left, right and centre – If you have been looking left, right and centre, it means you have been searching all over.
Love bite – You call them hickies – the things you do to yourself as a youngster with the vacuum cleaner attachment to make it look like someone fancies you!
Lurgy – If you have the lurgy it means you are ill, you have the Flu. Don’t go near people with the lurgy in case you get it!
Luvvly-jubbly – Clearly another way of saying lovely. Made famous by the TV show Only Fools and Horses.
Mate – Most chaps like to go to the pub with their mates. Mate means friend or chum.
Morish – Also spelt “moreish”, this word is used to describe desserts in my house, when a single helping is simply not enough. You need more! It applies to anything – not just desserts.
Mug – If someone is a bit of a mug, it means they are gullible. Most used car salesmen rely on a mug to show up so they can sell something!
More Teacher Luke’s English Podcasts
- Teacher Luke – A Cup of Christmas Tea with… Paul Taylor
- Teacher Luke – A Cup of Coffee with… Sarah Donnelly 2
- Teacher Luke – British Comedy: Ali G
- Teacher Luke – A Cup of Coffee with… Sarah Donnelly
- Teacher Luke – British Slang (H to M)
- Teacher Luke – The Talking Dog Story
- Teacher Luke – I’m leaving Podomatic… and moving to Audioboo.fm
- Teacher Luke – Google Questions
- Teacher Luke – British Slang (D to G)
- Teacher Luke – Backing Up Into The Cloud
Improve your listening skills: Luke’s English Podcasts
- Teacher Luke – English Podcasts Part 13
- Teacher Luke – English Podcasts Part 12
- Teacher Luke – English Podcasts Part 11
- Teacher Luke – English Podcasts Part 10
- Teacher Luke – English Podcasts Part 9
- Teacher Luke – English Podcasts Part 8
- Teacher Luke – English Podcasts Part 7
- Teacher Luke – English Podcasts Part 6
- Teacher Luke – English Podcasts Part 5
- Teacher Luke – English Podcasts Part 4
- L3: BBC Words in the News with transcript videos
- L3: The Business of English Video Series
- L4: Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!
- L4: Freakonomics Radio Podcast
- L3: BBC The Reading Group
- L3: Pride and Prejudice AudioBook
- L4: Fox News Sunday with transcript
- L3: VOA News transcript videos
- L3: CNN Student News with transcript
- Documentary Films with English Subtitles