Cockney Rhyming Slang

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Welcome to our new blog feature on slang words!

The English language is constantly evolving in creative ways, and this has always been the case. In these articles we will look at slang words and share their plain English meanings.

Cockney rhyming slang originates from the East End of London – the traditional definition of a Cockney is someone who is born within hearing distance of Bow Bells. 

In this dialect, words are replaced with rhyming phrases. However, the rhyming word from the phrase is often omitted when spoken.

For example: 

  • Barnet’ is short for ‘hair’ from the phrase ‘Barnet fair’.
    He needs to get that barnet cut. 
  • Butcher’s’ is short for ‘look’ from the phrase ‘butcher’s hook’.
    I’ll just have a butchers
  • 'Loaf' is short for 'bread' from the phrase 'loaf of bread'.
    Use your loaf.
  • 'Rabbit’ is short for ‘talk’ from the phrase ‘rabbit and pork’.
    I wish he’d stop rabbiting on.

Here are thirty examples of Cockney Rhyming Slang:

  1. Adam and Eve – believe 
  2. apples and pears – stairs 
  3. April showers – flowers 
  4. army and navy – gravy 
  5. bangers and mash – cash 
  6. Barnet fair – hair 
  7. butcher’s hook – look 
  8. bees and honey – money
  9. borrow and beg – egg
  10. box of toys – noise
  11. cut and carried – married 
  12. cuts and scratches – matches 
  13. day’s a-dawning – morning 
  14. dog and bone – phone 
  15. duck and dive – hide 
  16. dustbin lids – kids 
  17. fisherman’s daughter – water 
  18. give and take – cake 
  19. helter-skelter – air raid shelter
  20. in and out – snout 
  21. loaf of bread - head
  22. lump of ice – advice 
  23. merry-go-round – pound 
  24. on the floor – poor 
  25. pleasure and pain – rain
  26. porkies – likes (from ‘pork pies’)
  27. rabbit and pork – talk 
  28. rats and mice – dice 
  29. tumble down the sink – drink 
  30. weep and wail – a tale

How many more can you think of?

14 Jul 2020
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