Cockney Rhyming Slang

As promised, here’s my second blog about slang. This time I’m going to talk about Cockney Rhyming Slang; the origins are uncertain but some believe that it may have started to give Londoners in the east end of London a sense of community, others think it was used to make it difficult for outsiders to understand their conversations. So, what is Cockney Rhyming Slang?

Cockney Rhyming Slang is a short phrase where the last word (which is often a noun) rhymes with the word that it represents.  So, once you know this you could probably guess what some of these phrases mean when you hear them.  Some rhyming slang is less commonly used than others, for example:  if you heard someone say:

‘I’ve just walked 2 miles and my plates of meat are killing me’ Plates of meat are, of course, feet.  Unfortunately, it isn’t always that simple because the most popular slang is usually abbreviated: so the speaker would say ‘my plates are killing me’

So here are some more popular examples that you might hear people use, especially if you are in London.

  1. Use your loaf (loaf of bread  = head) Think
  2. Let’s have a butcher’s (butcher’s hook = look)   Let me have a look
  3. I’m on the dog (dog and bone = phone)     I’m on the phone
  4. She’s got a lovely boat (boat race = face)    She’s got a lovely face
  5. She’s my skin (skin and blister = sister)   She’s my sister
  6. Fancy a cup of rosie? (rosie lee = tea)     Would you like a cup of tea
  7. Let’s go for a ruby (ruby murray = curry)       Let’s go for a curry
  8. I’m on my jack (jack jones = on my own)     I’m on my own
  9. I’m boracic (boracic lint = skint)      I’ve got no money
  10. Don’t tell porkies (pork pies = lies)       Don’t tell lies
  11. I’ve just had my barnet done  (Barnet fair = hair)   I’ve just had my hair done
  12. Hello my old china (china plate = mate)   Hello mate!
  13. He’s moby dick (moby dick = sick)    He’s sick
  14. It’s all gone Pete Tong (Pete Tong = wrong)    It’s all gone wrong

Well, that’s just a few to get you started.  If you’d like to find more rhyming slang then you can click here.

By Heather

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