Key Phrases for the UK

Key Phrases for the UK

A few examples of words that overseas visitors may not be familiar with:

  • Wee – small (Scotland, Northern Ireland, some English people), can also mean to relieve yourself (England)
  • Loch – lake (Scotland)
  • Lough – lake (Northern Ireland)
  • Aye – yes (some parts of Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and North England)
  • Poke – ice cream served in a wafer cone (Northern Ireland); a paper bag, especially one containing chips or sweets (Scotland)
  • Downing Street – used to refer to the Government (similar to White House referring to the President of the United States)
  • Cymru (pronounced ‘Cum-ree’) – Wales (Wales)
  • Cockney rhyming slang is not a language but a collection of terms, some local and temporary, others so long-lasting that they are used by many people who don’t realise that they are rhyming slang. Example of the latter: “raspberry” for the derisive noise called “Bronx cheer” in the US – derived from “raspberry tart”, rhyming with “fart”.

Are they cookies or biscuits

They say things a little differently in the UK…

  • Biscuits – cookies
  • Cash machine/cash point – ATM
  • Cinema – movie theatre
  • Chips – fries, which may be “french fries” or thick-cut traditional British chips
  • Crisps – potato chips
  • Fag – cigarette (only used colloquially)
  • Lift – elevator in building; the offer of a ride in car
  • Lorry – truck
  • Motorway – expressway or freeway
  • Nappy – diaper
  • Queue – line
  • Return ticket – round-trip ticket
  • Take-away (in ordering food) – to-go
  • Toilet or Loo – washroom/restroom/bathroom/lavatory (a bathroom is where you have a bath/shower, not where you relieve yourself in British English)
  • Torch – flashlight
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