The British may be speaking English, but because of the country's regional accents, dialects and idioms, many Americans may feel like they need a vocabulary lesson. To prep for Prince William and Kate Middleton's upcoming nuptials, here's a crash course for the royally confused.
The majority of U.K. folks don't practice proper "Queen's English" (except maybe the BBC broadcasters) or talk like blokes from a Guy Ritchie flick. Instead they inject their daily conversations with some form of rhyming slang -- tried-and-true phrases, such as "apples and pears," that may sound like total rubbish to a foreign ear, but are completely commonplace to the locals.
Evolving over centuries, these idiosyncratic sayings are like a second language. For example, a word like "stairs" is replaced by a phrase (usually two words) e.g. "apple and pears." The last word in the phrase (pears) will always rhyme with the common noun (stairs). Eventually, the rhyming word in the phrase is dropped, confusing outsiders even more. For example, "legs" becomes "bacon and eggs," which morphs into "She has such long bacons." Pardon?
Don Cheadle's Cockney character from Ocean's Eleven may have explained it best: "So unless we intend to do this job in Reno, we're in barney. Barney Rubble. Trouble!"
Originating in the 19th century, this "secret" language is believed to have been created by London street gangs to evade any eavesdroppers. Think of it as "LOL" for the hooligan crowd.
Although today's slang is not as extensive as yesteryear, the Brits are still inventing new word play. Wide-legged trousers a.k.a. flares are referred to as "Tonys," after former prime minister Tony Blair and beer is now known as "Britney," thanks to Britney Spears.
More royal wedding dictionary entries:
- horses for courses = stick to what you know best. Derived from the racing world; some horses race better on certain courses than on others.
- wife = trouble (wife > strife > trouble and strife > trouble)
- knees-up = dance party. The royal couple are planning a "knees-up" after the reception.
- stick and balling = polo
- hen party = bachelorette party
- stag party = bachelor party
- Berkshire = pronounced bahrk-sheer. Kate Middleton is from Buckebury, a village in West Berkshire county.
More Royal Wedding News:
Who Was Crowned the Most Beautiful Royal of All Time?
Watch: Prince William's Royal Wedding Hangover
Women Don't Envy Kate Middleton
Could Prince William's Future Daughter Be Queen?
Hat Designer Philip Treacy Creates Royal Wedding Must-Haves
Homeless Girl Gets Royal Wedding Invite from Prince William
Must Watch: Royal Wedding Dance Video
Kate's Royal Wedding Hair Style: "Down and Flowy"
Kate Middleton's Face Spotted on Jelly Bean
Off-the-Wall Royal Wedding Souvenirs
A Slice of the Royal Wedding: Papa John's Pizza Portrait
Top 10 Most Eligible Princesses