Stuff + Things,  Travel

Say what?!: Quirky British Words Translated

I recently made a new ex-pat friend from England*. We were chatting and the word “windscreen” came up about his car. He then said “That’s a windshield, sorry need to use the North American word!”.

I already knew this, but it made me remember that I had started a list of the British words and translations that I have learned and compiled over the years of visiting  my second favourite rainy place after Vancouver. Every time I visit the UK, I learn at least three new words from my Scottish friends. I also thoroughly enjoy seeing/hearing North American tourists trying to figure out what people are saying. (It took me a while, too!)

My British dictionary — quirky words translated. Image via Google.

So, on this rainy Vancouver day, here is a mini dictionary of quirky British words. But you’re on your own for the accents. That’s a whole other ball of wax.

(*Update (May 23, 2021): This was The Brit, and we were on I think our third date. As you may or may not have figured out from my subsequent content, it all worked out! 🙂 In late 2020, we decided to move to the UK — and I arrived at the beginning of May 2021 after The Brit came back in February to start his new job. With that, this list will continue to grow as I dive into ex-pat life in England.)

The Mini Dictionary of Quirky British Words

British WordNorth American TranslationHow It Would Be Used in the UK
Aubergine (vegetable)Eggplant
AyeYes“Aye, laddy!”
BiscuitCookieTea and biscuits
BonnetCar hood
BonnetHood (of car)
BonniePrettyA bonny lass
BootCar trunk
Bouffin’ (BOUGH-fin)Horrible, awful, inedible, disgusting“That’s bouffin’!”
Braw (like raw)Good“That’s braw!”
ChippyThe fish and chips shop; no real North American equivalent“I’ll grab something at the chippy”
ChipsFriesAs in fish and chips
ChuffedHappy, proudI was feeling rather chuffed with myself.
CrispsChipsAsk for chips and you’ll get fries
DinnaDon’t“I dinna ken”
DriechDamp, drizzly weatherPronounced dreek with with a rolled “r” and phlegm at the end. “It looked driech outside.”
FlatApartment (or the regular version of flat)
GitSilly, stupid, incompetent, or childish person“You git…”
GlenValleyThe glen was full of sheep and just one cow.
GrandGood“That’s grand”
HarMistPronounced like car; but if you’re not careful, this can sound like a lot like another, less complimentary word.
HiyaHello, hi
JuiceSoda, pop“I’ll have a juice, please.”
KenKnow or understand“I dinna ken”
LochLake or sea inletPronounced “lock” with some phlegm behind it.
LooBathroom, washroom
Mac(Intosh)Rain coat
MardySulky or moodyHe was feeling a bit mardy when he got home.
MinceGround meat
MinginHorrible, awful, inedible, disgusting“That’s mingin’!”
MuppetIgnorant, idiot or moronic person“What a muppet…”
Neeps’ n’ tattiesTurnips and potatoesA common Scottish dish
PantsUnderwearA highly recommended word to use otherwise, everyone will either look scandalized when you say pants, or just have a good snicker…
PitchFieldFootball/soccer or rugby (or Quidditch!) pitch
ProperReally“That was a proper good dinner”
PuddingDessertPronounced “puddin’ “
Rocket (vegetable)Arugula
ShagNot the kind of rug 😉I’m assuming Austin Powers has made this a fairly explanatory one. Ha.
SkitsUpset digestive system
SkunnertFed up or stuckHe’s skunnert or “I’m so skunnert”
SnogMake out (with someone)
SozSorrySometimes it means “sorry, not sorry”
Strop*Hissy fit, tantrumShe had a proper strop. *I LOVE this word!
TeaDinner; or just to be confusing, it’s also literally having a cup of tea“What do you fancy for tea?”
TrainersRunning shoes. sneakers
TrousersPantsTo be used instead of pants as everyone will look at you funny otherwise and snicker
WeeSmall, tinyThe dog was just a wee thing.
WelliesRain boots
WhingeWhine“Stop your whingeing and get on with it!”
Wind screenWindshield

We all smile in the same language.

~ Unknown ~

Leave a Reply