Saturday, May 21, 2011

Jiggery-pokery and other favourite Britishisms

I've always been fond of a British accent and now that I'm in England I've noticed that I don't really 'hear' it anymore. My Fen is a Kiwi which resembles a British accent and I grew up with English and Scottish teachers so maybe now that I'm completely surrounded by it I just can't seem to hear it anymore. And I have to say that's sad.

But every now and again someone says something and it just makes me smile - because I still am an Anglophile at heart and I do love Britain and it's history, there's no denying it. So, for your amusement here are some of my favourite things heard lately:

Jiggery-pokery: deceitful behavior or thievery. I heard it on the BBC news and howled laughing. It makes the crime seem almost whimsical.

'He was murdered for his efforts. Ah, the poor chap' Followed by a chortle. I was watching a documentary on the BBC about the history of London. An upper crust professor from Cambridge University said this when describing a fellow who was killed for throwing eel carcasses into the sewer. Rather grisly but the way he described it was hilarious and eloquent.

'Blasted bloody duffer' This was used to describe the person who didn't shut the gate after himself by a neighbor. I heard her say it through the window. Try saying it three times quickly!

Arse about face: back-to-front. Someone told me X's shirt was arse about face and I nearly took offense until someone explained it was on backwards. Oopsie!

'Bloody nora!' This was shouted by someone who was surprised on a reality show here. Thought it was hysterical.

'A load of barmy rubbish' used to describe the royal wedding by a television presenter. Anti-monarchy I'm guessing.

Some of my favourite expressions:

Rumpy-pumpy = hanky panky
 Off your trolley - off your rocker
Naff - crappy or not nice
Sod all - means nothing - if you tip your waiter nothing - he's say you left sod all.

I could go on and on but I'm knackered.


  1. There are a couple that I find I use now-
    Mind your... step, self, head, what ever instead of Watch out.

    Pissed and or off your rocker instead of drunk.

    and referring to someone as being batty if they've lost it a bit in the head

    I like your list too.

  2. There are still so many phrases that 7 years later I still have never heard.

    None of those are ones I've heard in Scotland!

  3. Love it!

    I also love the word "pants" to describe something bad.

    Also, being an Aussie I have to be careful with words like "bloody" and "bugger." Back home we throw those words around like it's nobody's business, but here they are very much swear words.

    So I have no doubt I've offended many people. Bugger.

  4. Playing wily beguiled with something....somewhat less than honest dealings with other people's property, money, etc...

  5. My seven year old loves reading Enid Blyton and often expresses shock by saying 'golly gosh'. He also says something is 'jolly ...' meaning 'very'. I think it's adorable!

    When I was at uni I'd talk about 'having the hump' but my northern flatmate didn't know the meaning - is this a particularly English saying? Also 'having the willies'.

  6. When I moved to Nottingham and was greeted with a "Ay up!" or "you alright yoof!" I never knew how to respond.

  7. I've lived in the north of England all my life and the Geordie accent is one I still find difficult to understand at times, and their sayings are amazing (I think they are - I can't decipher them, but they have a certain resonance)
    eg. "Way ay, man, gan und be gettin yur marra"
    translates as "hey, go and get your friend" or
    "yer's taykin the piss man" translates "as are you joking?".

  8. I love 'happy as a sandboy'

  9. I live in the West Country where a favourite saying is 'gert lush' meaning something is really good. Try saying it with a deep 'r' and 'lush' like 'lersh'. It's wonderful. I rather like having the 'collywobbles' as well for when you are nervous about something. Great list!

  10. I love this - jiggery pokery is just great, I do hear myself using screaming ab dabs quite

  11. I think you're off your trolley! Ha!

  12. Good list...and I'm sure you will find 100s more. I use arse about face quite often!

  13. Big girls blouse!


Go ahead, make my day!