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royal wedding british slang
AP

By all appearances, Americans aren't much different than the cousins across the pond. We share the same taste in fast food chains, snarky sitcoms and soccer, er, football stars. And as for the royal family, well we have Brad and Angelina. So why do we sometimes get lost in translation?

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.

Capisce?

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.

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Watch: Prince William's Royal Wedding Hangover


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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


Royal Wedding Videos

  • bill

    What a stupid silly looking couple...Royal dog pooooooo....

    Reply
  • gregg

    i tend to agree- william has a very odd hairline and looks like he'll be bald soon- not to mention his Chicklet teeth.

  • Irene

    I agree even the queen and Prince Phillip are homily.Diana was a very beauitful woman both her sons takes after Charles family.

  • JIMMY DEAN

    I WONDER IF THE POOR ENGLISH PEOPLE KNOW THAT THEY ARE PAYING FOR ALL OF THIS WEDDING

    Reply
  • blackdeep

    And you think every time Mrs. Obama goes shopping you aren't paying for it? Get real.

  • Marc

    Black sheep, Obama's wife or any other first lady. Don't just pin point to her.

  • Alan

    From a one-time Londoner, the rhyming slang story is basically rubbish.
    Where used it is specific to East London, not the UK. Also it is very rarely heard these days except in dreadful soap operas e.g. "East Enders", where it, supposedly, gives a veneer of authenticity..

    One that I bet nobody gets : "Harry" . (= cigarette.)
    If someone does get it then they are a true Cockney.

    Reply
  • Anne

    East enders is rubbish

  • John

    Agreed. You think they could have spent some time on useful words. There's thruth to the phase two people separated by a common language.
    Why not words like lorry = truck, tram = streetcar, bonnet = hood, lift = elevator, petrol = gas, bangers = sausage, rashers = bacon, loo = toilet, barrister = lawyer, bikkie = cookie, bobby = cop, bog-roll = toilet paper, car park = parking lot, carriageway = roadway, round-about = traffic circ

  • PK

    Harry -- from Harry Hoofter = Poofter = Gay guy; you suck on a cigarette and there you go.

  • Geraldine

    you are so right, I grew up in North London,not the east end where cockney comes from, you are only a cockney if you were born within the sound of Bow Bells,and this is certainly not the "queens English"

  • Bernei

    That's right mate. Also the idiots obviously don't know what a Berk is.

  • bernie cooper

    Harry Wragg ( an old jockey)

  • Alan

    Yes they do. And every hotel in London is booked solid.

    Reply
  • Josef Zednefscu

    I am a 2nd generation American and one thing that I cannot understand is why the heck Americans and most spefically the Amerian Media cares so much about those royal creeps. We had a war to get away from these a-holes and yet Americans cant seem to get enough of them.

    Prince William is an ugly F-er that looks like he is getting the uglies from his dad. No hair or very little left, it looks like he got the bad genese. Prince Harry however! Wooof! He is a hottie. I wouldnt throw him out of bed. Would like to get a look at what is down under :P

    Harry baby. If you ever need a roll in the Bay Area, look me up :P yum

    Reply
  • kaden

    ROYALS DO NOT TAKE A ROLL IN THE HAY WITH LOOSE AMERICAN SLUTS PEDDLE YOUR WEARS IN THE USA

  • Annie Haverham

    @ Kaden Is that true? Then how do you explain Diana, Prince Charles, Fergie and Harry? All sluts. Not to mention all the other minor royals.

  • MIKE B

    THERE IS 20% UNEMPLOYEMENT IN ENGLAND, THE NATION IS IN DEBT, THEIR CURRENCY IS LOOSING VALUE AND THEY ARE BEING OVERRUN BY MUSLIMS. THIS WEDDING SHOULD BE THE LAST THING OF IMPORT TO THEM

    Reply
  • Tany

    And what's wrong with Muslims?

  • Alan

    COMPLETE RUBBISH. The March unemployment rate the in the UK was 7.8% vs 8.8% for the USA.

    Don't confuse unemploymebnt rates with EMPLOYMENT rates, which cover the whole population, including under 16's and pensioners.
    The EMPLOYMENT rate in the UK in March was 78% i.e. a TOTAL of 22 % not working . In the USA it was 64 % i.e. a TOTAL of 36 % NOT working
    .
    And as for currencies , why do you think thet the price of gold has rocketed? Answer : Because the world no longer trusts the US$.

    If you're going to slag my country please get your facts right before you do.


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