Cockney Rhyming Slang

Originating from the mid-19th Century East End of London, Cockney rhyming slang is now everyday speak all over the UK. To many it is a foreign language. But not for you - my brave students!!

Adam and Eve = believe ('would you adam and eve it?')

Alan Wickers = knickers (of more recent origin, as featured in the film 'Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels': "keep yer alan's on...")

Apples and pears = stairs

April (Aril in Paris) = Aris (from Arstotle = Bottle, from Bottle and glass = Arse)

Cobblers (cobblers awls or cobblers stalls) = Balls ('you're talking cobblers')

Brassic (boracic lint) = skint (penniless)

Barnet (Barnet fair) = hair

Boat (boat race) = face

Bobble (Bobble hat and scarf) = laugh ("you're having a bobble", ie. you cannot be serious)

Brahms (Brahms and Liszt) = pissed

Brass Tacks = Facts ('let's get down to brass tacks')

Bread (bread and honey) = money

Berk or Burk (Berkeley Hunt) = (yes you guessed it - now you know what you're really saying when you call someone a Berk)

Bird (bird lime) = Time (prison)

Bristols (Bristol Cities) = (breasts)

Brown Bread = dead

Buckshee = free

Canoes = shoes

Chalfonts (Chalfont St Giles) = piles (Haemorrhoids)

Charlie (Charlie Hunt) = (yes you guessed it again - remember it next time you call someone a right charlie)

China (china plate) = mate ('me old china')

Cloud seven = heaven

Crust (crust of bread) = head

Daisy Roots = boots

Desmond (Desmond Tutu) = two-two (2ii, a lower 2nd class UK university degree)

Dickie Bird = word

Dickie Dirt = shirt

Ding dong = sing song (now evolved to mean argument or fight)

Dog and bone = phone

Douglas Hurd = third (third class university degree) or turd

D'Oyly Carte = fart

Duch (duchess of Fife) = wife ('me old Duch')

Dustbin lids = kids

Earwig = twig (understand, to catch on - now evolved to mean eavesdrop)

Elephants (elephants trunk) = drunk

Farmers (farmer Giles) = piles (haemorrhoids)

Flying duck = (yes you guessed it - and now more commonly evolved back to give the expression 'couldn't give a flying f...')

Frog and Toad = road

Geoff Hurst = first (a 1st class university degree)

Greens (greengages) = greens (money)

Ginger (ginger beer) = queer (homosexual)

Half inch = pinch (steal)

Hampstead Heath = teeth

Hillman Hunter = punter (customer - Hillman Hunter was a car from the 1960's)

Hit and miss = Kiss

Holy ghost = toast

Iron (iron hoof) = poof (homosexual)

Jack Jones = alone, (on your own - 'On your Jack')

Jackanory = story (tall tale)

Jam jar = car

Jimmy (Jimmy Riddle) = piddle

Joanna = piano (cockney pronunciation of piano would be piana)

Joe Soap = dope (stupid man)

Loaf (loaf of bread) = head ('use your loaf')

Marbles (marbles and conkers) = bonkers (mad - probably the root of the expression 'lost your marbles' meaning gone mad)

Mother's ruin = gin

Micky (Micky Bliss) = Piss (the origin of 'taking the micky' - bet you never knew that)

Minces (mince pies) = eyes

Moby Dick = sick

Mutton (Mutt and Jeff) = deaf

Nellie Duff = puff (breath, evolved into 'not on your nellie' - puff being breath, and breath being life)

Nutmeg = leg (leading to the soccer term 'nutmeg', meaning to play the ball between your opponent's legs.)

North and south = mouth

Orchestra stalls = balls

Old bag = hag (horrible woman - bet you never knew that was rhyming slang.)

On the floor = poor

Oxo (Oxo cube) = tube (the London Underground train system)

Pen (pen and ink) = stink

Plates of meat = feet

Pipe (pipe and drum) = bum

Pipe your Eye = cry

Pony (pony and trap) = crap

Poppy (poppy red) = bread (= money, from Bread and honey)

Porky (pork pie) = lie (fib)

Rabbit (rabbit and pork) = talk

Raspberry (raspberry tart) = fart (evolved to include 'blowing a raspberry' with the tongue)

Razzmatazz = jazz (evolved to mean general excitement)

Richard the Third = turd

Rosie (Rosie Lee) = tea ('cup of rosie')

Rubber/rubber dub (Rub-a-dub-dub) = Pub (or club)

Ruby (Ruby Murray) = curry

Sausage and mash = cash

Scarper (Scapa Flow) = go, run away (also derived from Italian slang, parlyaree, where the word 'scarpare' means to escape)

Sherman tank = wank

Skin and blister = sister

Sky rocket = pocket

Sweeney Todd = Flying Squad (The Sweeney was a big TV police series in the 1970's)

Syrup (syrup of fig) = wig (leading to 'golden syrup' meaning a really awful wig)

Taters (potatoes in the mould) = cold

Tea leaf = thief

Tiddly (tiddly wink) = drink (now evolved to mean drunk)

Thora Hird = third (3rd class university degree - ack. Lyndon)

Titfer (Tit for tat) = hat

Toby jugs = lugs (ears)

Tod (Tod Sloane) = alone, (on your own - 'on your tod')

Toe rag = slag (originally meaning a girl of easy virtue, but now evolved to mean an unpleasant person)

Tom (tomfoolery) = jewellery ('Tom' now means any stolen goods)

Tom and Dick = sick

Tom (Tom Tit) = shit

Trolley (trolley and truck) = yes you guessed it

Trombone = phone

Trouble (trouble and strife) = wife

Two and eight = state ('in a right old two and eight')

Uncle Dick = sick

Vera Lynn = gin

Weasel (weasel and stoat) = coat

Whistle (whistle and flute) = suit

Cockney rhyming slang variations and rhyming slang 'secondaries' and 'tertiaries'

April = Arse (with anxious or frightened connotations, derivation: April in Paris = Aris. Aristotle = Bottle. Bottle and Glass = Arse)

Bunny = Talk (derivation: Bunny = Rabbit. Rabbit and Pork = Talk)

Charlie = Berk (derivation: Charlie Smirke, a leading English jockey from the 1930's-50's = Berk)

Cocoa = say so (derivation: unusually uses the rhyming part of coffee and cocoa or tea and cocoa)

Flash/flashy = a show off, showy dresser (derivation: Flash of light = sight - 'what a sight he looked')

Grass = informant (derivation: evolved from original Grasshopper = copper - a policeman)

Poppy = money or cash (derivation: Poppy red = Bread. Bread and honey = money.)

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