Glossary of Britishisms
arse: derrière, also used as a verb as in, to make an arse of yourself – to embarrass yourself
bin: something rubbish (garbage) is kept in – rubbish bin.
blag: talking your way out of something, or faking something.
bless: an affectionate, sweet exclamation but like all English words, it can be used sarcastically
blank/to be blanked: to not register someone/ to look through them
blue: blue sheets of paper given to write lines on, the most minor punishment but very time consuming. Older girls regularly get younger girls to perform this task for them in exchange for sweets.
bollocks; literary means testicles but used to mean useless, nonsense, ridiculous
bottle out: loose your nerve (chicken out). Bottle is another word for nerve so you can also lose your bottle.
bursar: schools financial account manager.
champagne socialist: a rich person who pretends to have left wing politics while enjoying a luxurious lifestyle (i.e.; champagne)
chav: a common person who may or may not be minted (rich)
common: vulgar, of low social status. NB: you can be rich and still common.
cosh: (verb & noun) a heavy stick or bludgeoning implement. To be under the cosh is to be under pressure
crisps: potato chips
cupboard: storage closet
cut: to cut someone is to ignore them, look right through. See blank.
Daddy’s plastic: Parental credit cards.
DPG’s: Daddy’s Plastic Girls: girls who are defined by their limitless credit card spend. dressing down: telling off
Emotional thumb screws: A play on “thumb screws” which were a medieval form of torture, which involved a bolt screwed slowly through the victim’s thumb.
En suite: master bathroom attached to bedroom
Exeat: weekends in which pupils attending boarding school go home (in the case of overseas pupils alternative arrangements may be made), usually every three weeks.
fancy: (v) to find someone attractive
Febreze: spray used to remove odours from clothes.
fit: (adj) the only word used by posh girls to describe a cute, hot, attractive boy. Girls use the word fit, to describe hot boys, but a girl would NEVER compliment other girl by referring to them as fit – she would say, stunning. However boys describe cute/hot girls as fit.
Gated: to receive “a gating” is to not be permitted o leave the school grounds on weekends.
gherkin: small pickle.
glandular fever: mononucleosis
Gypo: derogatory, racist slang for Gypsy.
high table: the superior or senior table in communal dinning.
hissy-fit: mild temper tantrum.
Hon: as in The Honourable Georgina Smart-Arse – child of a life peer, baron or viscount
Hoodie: sweat shirt with a hood.
House Mother: a woman in charge of a dorm house.
HRH: His (or Her) Royal Highness.
It Girl: An attractive society girl with a large media profile.
Jelly Babies: Soft brightly coloured sweets (candies) shaped like babies.
kit: equipment and outfit for specific event or activity.
Lady: As in Lady Portia Doo-la-la-lee. Daughter of a duke, marquis or earl. A female life peer or wife of a life peer are also titled Lady
leg it: make a run for it
listens: mobile phone messages that you let others listen to. In school if you have a popular “listen” you might charge the listeners the cost the service provider charges for the call.
Litter Duty: picking up litter (garbage) from the school grounds
loo rolls: rolls of toilet paper.
Lower Sixth: year before the final year at school (17 years of age).
mad: eccentric, unconventional or unreasonable, out there!
madly: very, as in “madly late”.
marmite: a black salty spread for toast or bread made of yeast and high in Vitamin B.
mental: see mad
mobile: cell phone
neck: to neck is to gulp as in, neck your vodka, juice etc.
necking: as in neck, i.e.; she was necking her vodka, juice etc.
OTT: Over The Top, outrageous/extreme behaviour or style.
pikey: an insulting reference to someone’s lack of background or education/ see pleb.
piss-take: tease, to make fun of someone, either maliciously or fondly
pleb: (n) short for plebeian – common people lacking breeding and education, no connection to wealth. Rich plebs are madly common.
plebbie: (adj) for pleb (see above).
point: as in making a point in an argument
prat: idiot, fool
pull: to make out, kiss etc
queue: wait in a line
quad bikes: a four wheel rough road motor bike, very fast, very dangerous and fabulous for driving around your estate – especially in the mud!
quid: slang for pound/British currency
registration: pupils are marked off to ensure all are present
random: seemingly haphazard, illogical, unreasonable or irrational occurrence or idea. See mad
readies: slang for folding money, actual notes.
refectory: large canteen where meals are served
rinsed: to totally decimate your opponent in sport or verbal debate.
rip, as in to rip it out of someone:equivalent to taking the piss.
Rubbish: garbage. Also slang to take the piss or tease.
rusticated: a very serious suspension from school in which the pupil is not even offered the convenience of school work to carry on with at home. This would mean on return to the school the pupil would be further disadvantaged by having to catch up.
safe: sorted/okay etc (pleb expression)
slack down: to disrespect someone, ignore their instructions
Sloane: posh, snooty girl (named after Sloane Street and Square, an upscale area in Knightsbridge/Chelsea London)
slut: can mean either a slapper or someone who is madly untidy.
smart: sassy. Can also mean fashionably attired.
Snog-age: (pronounced corsage) to tongue kiss, long and hard.
social: interschool dance (girls and boys).
sorted: No problem
speakers: as in “non speakers”. Not speaking to someone.
spliff: a marijuana joint.
spots: Pimples (zits)
stick: a hard time; to give someone stick is to tease them – also short for walking stick.
Sun-In: A peroxide based spray which is sprayed in to produce blonde streaks in hair.
suspended: to be sent home from school with school work, less harsh than a rustication
taking the piss: to tease someone, rip it out of them, see piss take.
term: The school year begins in September. Three terms make up the school year: summer term is before the summer holiday. Winter term is before Christmas and Spring term is between Christmas and Easter.
ticked off: told off, reprimanded. Although you can also be ticked off a list.
toff: snobby aristocrat
trackie bums: sweat pants
tuck: snack foods you are allowed to bring to boarding school – junk food
tuck in: pig out
Valley Girl: Girl from the valley area of Los Angeles.
wind up: to tease either gently or nastily.
wholemeal: whole wheat, used to describe decent middle class people.
Years: girls start boarding at age 11 (Year 7) and the “years” go up to year 11 (age16). Year 11 is when girls sit their GCSE’s an exam which will define the subjects and number of subjects they can study for their A-levels which they prepare for in the final two years and sit in the final year. The final two years are referred to as the lower sixth and upper sixth ages 17 & 18.
Zimmer frame: a metal frame on wheels used to assist elderly people walking.