U.K. Slang Decoded: For the International Students

Now that I’ve told you guys where I’m from, it’ll probably make a bit more sense to you when I say that U.K. slang was completely foreign to me when I moved there last September. Even though my country is a colony of Britain… the slangs we use are totally different. TOTALLY different.

So in this post, I decided to explain some of the words (have to figure out a few for yourself innit?) I’ve encountered this year, to give those of you moving or thinking about moving to the U.K. to little a bit of a head start.

  1. PENG (or pengers, peng ting) & BUFF (or buff ting) – another way for saying someone is fine, or attractive.
  2. CHEERS – thank you.
  3. MANDEM & GYALDEM – it literally means the ‘man dem’ or the ‘girls dem’, so a group of guys and girls respectively.
  4. WASTEMAN – simple way to call someone useless. I often use it in a friendly manner, but it can definitely be taken seriously.
  5. PEAK – when something is either really bad, or has gone really wrong.
  6. GASSED – to be full of yourself. Basically the way you feel after all your friends tell you ‘you slayed today’.
  7. ACTIVE – someone who is sexually active, or really sexually active. Depends on how it’s used.
  8. MAD TING – how you describe something that was crazy. Could be crazy good or crazy bad.
  9. CREASING (often used as “I’m creasing”) – usually what you text back to someone when they’ve texted something you thought was funny.
  10. MOTIVE or RAVE – other ways to say party.
  11. ‘IT’S CALM’ – It’s cool.
  12. FAIRS – another expression for saying it’s cool.
  13. INNIT (or is it?) – slang for isn’t it. Probably my most hated slang of them all.
  14. QUID – pound/£ (bear in mind words like fiver and tenner are also used to mean five pounds and ten pounds respectively)
  15. ‘TAKING THE PISS’ – Taking the piss could mean taking advantage of someone. So if someone borrowed money from you and hasn’t repaid you, they’re probably really taking the piss out of you.

Disclaimer: I might have butchered some of these meanings. To all my British friends, sorry! xx

Some words or phrases, although not slang can also be added to the list of things I had to become accustomed to when I moved.

Prime examples:

  • Instead of saying bathroom, they say toilet or loo.
  • It’s not a line, it’s a queue.


Key takeaway: Don’t be afraid to ask when you don’t know what a term means. And don’t feel obligated to use these terms either. The beauty of uni is that whilst you’re learning about other people’s culture, and slang terms, they’re trying to learn about yours too. 

peace & positivity

tally x


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