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royal wedding british slang

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.


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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    It takes money to make money. The Roal wedding stimulates the economy. American citizens have been robbed by their president and they don,t even realize that. What are we getting in return for the $,oo National Debt.. Your great-grand-children's grandchildren will still be paying for it. But then, stupid is as syupid comes, eh. Blame it on our public school system.

  • Beth

    I am completely appalled at the fact that as an American Woman and a classy lady at that we were called sluts. That is complete and utter rubbish. Please have some class and keep your nasty comments about Americans to yourself. Please remember what god commanded. Love thy neighbor as thyself. Does that ring a bell. It should. And by the way, just because your British doesnt give you the right to think you are better than your fellowman.

  • June

    Have you ever been to Boston and then Alabama? We have our own different language in different parts of our country.
    And Diana was an attractive person, but not beautiful. Elizabeth Taylor was beautiful. That word is thrown around so freely. Kate is lovely. And the Royals are plain looking, but I hope the newly weds will be happy. Who cares what they look like.

  • Courtney

    Everyone has their own opinion of what is beautiful.

  • Tom

    I could care less about this assinine wedding. Too bad people in this country dont know history, we fought to get away from this crap. I wonder if the descendants of the people the Monarchy has murdered thru the centuries will be invited?People are idiots to give creedance to this, and the English are bigger idiots for paying for it. Go elope, and save the people of your country $15 MILLION dollars!

  • J.R.P.

    The American public does care about the royal idiots...and I used to care. Now I do not, they didn't invite our President but did invite that Bechkham jerk...a definite slap in the face.

  • Sandy


  • MC

    my English "trouble" of 20+ years calls it a "hen do" and "stag do"

  • david

    For all of you cooing and gushing over this crap - gedda life.

  • 29 Comments / 2 Pages

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