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Cockney Phrases

Cockney (Born within the sound of Bow Bells.)

Normally only the first word is spoken as in 'whistle' or 'barnet'. There are exceptions.

Bold is what is normally spoken

Adam and Eve

- believe (as in "Would you Adam and Eve it")

almond rocks

- socks

apples and pears

- stairs


- arse (aristotle = bottle = bottle and glass)

barnet fair

- hair


- c**t (Berkshire Hunt reduced to berk and used as an insult)

Butchers Hook

- Look (Lets have a butchers at the paper)

bird lime

- time = prison ("Jack is doing bird for theft")

borasic lint

- skint = no money

Brahms and Liszt

- pissed = drunk

brass tacks

- facts ("Lets get down to brass tacks")

brown bread

- dead ("he is brown bread")

china plate

- mate (can be said to a complete stranger)

cream(ed) crackered

- knackered = tired out

dickie dirt

- shirt

dog and bone

- phone (dog 'n' bone)

duck and dive

- skive, avoid work

Dutch (Street)

- to share (Going Dutch means everyone pays their bill)


- diddle = swindle

Flowery dell

- cell = prison or small room

frog and toad

- road

Ginger beer

- queer = homosexual

half - inch

- pinch ("He's half-inched me motah") (He has stolen my car)

Hampstead Heath

- teeth

Hampton wick

- prick = penis

J Arthur Rank

- wank = masturbate (also merchant banker)

jam jar

- motor car

jimmy riddle / jimmy riddle

- piddle = urinate


- piano

kermit the frog

- bog = lavatory

marbles and conkers

- bonkers = mad ("He's lost his marbles")

Mickey Bliss

- piss, deriding or making fun of as in 'Taking the Mickey'

mince pies

- eyes

mothers ruin

- gin

Mutt and Jeff

- deaf ("She's a bit mutt and jeff")

Nellie Duff

- puff = life ("Not on your Nellie")

north and south

- mouth (norf 'n souf)

peckham rye

- tie

plates of meat

- feet

plink and plonk

- vin blanc = wine (all wine is plonk, from bad french vin blanc)


- 25 ("That'll cost you a pony")

pony and trap

- crap = rubbish ("That's a load of old pony")

pork pies / porkies

- lies

rabbit and pork

- talk ("Can that woman rabbit!)

Radio Rental

- mental = A few sandwiches short of a picnic ("He is a bit Radio rental")

raspberry tart

- fart (blowing a raspberry = a rude and derogatory noise)

Richard the Third

- turd, shit

rip and tear

- swear ("He really let rip")

rock and roll

- dole now called social security (in USA a fight, as in "Lets rock")

Rosey Lee

- tea

Rub a dub dub

- pub

Ruby Murray

- curry

Scarpa Flow

- go ("Got to scarper")

sixes and sevens

- fix = difficulties ("We are all at sixes with this work")


- trousers (from striding along - walking)

Sweeny Todd

- (Metropolitan Police) Flying Squad normally called "The Sweeny"

syrup of fig

- wig ("That bloke is wearing a syrup!")

taters in mould

- cold (It's a bit taters today)

thr'penny bit

- tit

tit for tat

- hat

Tod Sloan

- alone ("I'm on me tod"). Tod Sloan was a jockey who was always out in front, in his own.

Tom and Dick

- sick

Trouble and strife

- wife

two and eight

- state = problems ("You are in a right old two and eight")

Whistle and flute

- suit

Actually the slang regarding Dutch is not true Cockney.
The British had so many wars against them that some insults came into the general language.
Insult 1 - the Dutch were so mean that they would never pay for anyone else (Going Dutch is paying for yourself).
Insult 2 - the Dutch were so cowardly that they needed alcohol to fight (a bit of Dutch courage is a drink).
Strangely the British actually like the Dutch, probably because a) the Dutch beat the English, and b) Most seem to speak English well.

General slang


- bribe


- abscond

cor blimey / strewth

- surprise (cor blimey is from God Blind me, whilst
strewth is from Lord's truth)


- money

dutch courage

- drink, alcohol

french letter

- condom (lettre anglais, if you are French)

going dutch

- share expenses

gone for a Burton

- dead eg "Where is Tom" "He has gone for a burton" (from an advert, during the war, for Burton Ales that had a missing character in the picture)


- governor = boss


- stolen ("I think this car's hot" could mean stolen or fast)


- comfortable, good (bad translation of an Indian word)


- love


- friend (possibly from Russian for Husband)


- police informant


- food (possibly from Russian for Knife)


- look at, see


- legs (varder those bulging lallies - look at those musclar legs)

bonnie palones

- girls

sorted (pronounce "sor-id")

- solved a problem

General Example

I was going for a ruby down the frog in the jar when the bone went. Cor blimey if it weren't the trouble. She'd had her barnet done and bought a new tit for tat now her plates were giving her jip. Well she gave me a real north and south full 'bout the porkies I told her 'bout the waitress that I had rested my mince pies on, so I puts on me new whistle and peckham rye 'nd we went down the rub a dub dub and she had a cuppa rosey and I had a jar. Sorted.

From Hancock's Half Hour.

copyright BBC


Sid James to the Lad 'imself (Tony Hancock)

I can't went to get into my pointed Italian two-tones and off down the High Street.
Makes you feel like a king. Clean Dickie dirt, new peckham, pair of luminous almond rocks, new whistle,
nice crease in my strides, barnet well greased up, and flashing my hampsteads at all the bonnie palones.

I didn't understand a single word you said but it sounded marvellous.

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