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If you are moving to London, you might want to take a crash course in the English language. If you thought that English was spoken on both sides of the Atlantic, you might be in for a bit of a shock when you land at Heathrow and discover that what you thought was English is very different from the language that is being spoken. There is a lot of slang used by English people, and it might be helpful if you know about some of the most popular words and phrases that are used every day by people living in London. The best thing you can do when confronted with a word or a phrase that you don’t understand is to ask. No one will mind if you ask questions and most people will be impressed that you are trying to understand the local culture. It is better to ask than to assume something and end up getting it completely wrong.

It is not just individual words that can be confusing. British people tend to use entire phrases that can be confusing and sometimes nonsensical at times. Here is my super seven list of British phrases that all foreigners and people who are moving to London should know about.

  • Throw a Spanner in the Works: This means to really mess things up. When there is a spanner in the works, the whole operation is considered a disaster. If there has been a spanner in the works then some people might say they are…
  • Gutted: This means that they are devastated and really upset about something. If the reverse is true then they may say they are…
  • Chuffed or dead chuffed about something, this means that they are happy or proud of something, someone, or an event.
  • If you are All Over the Gaff, it means that you are disorganized, and confused, you might also say that someone has made a dogs breakfast of a task which may leave you saying something like…
  • Stone the Crows, which is an expression of surprise. If however you are all over the gaff and this translates into you falling on the street because you are carrying too many parcels from Sainsbury, you would have gone…
  • Arse over Tit, this means that you fell down; sometimes Londoners will say A over Apex if they don’t want to use the word ‘arse’. If you need to go and get yourself sorted out and spend a bit of time doing your own thing, away from people and without them knowing about it you might say that you are…
  • Going to see a Man about a Dog, this means that you are going somewhere or going to do something that is private.

There are hundreds of other words that you’ll hear that might not make sense to you just yet, but give it a few weeks and you’ll be sorted mate.

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