An Introduction to Cockney Rhyming Slang
Today we are going to be taking a look at cockney rhyming slang, a form of slang which initially originated from East London, however has since grown in popularity throughout the UK and even to parts of Australia and the USA!
In cockney rhyming slang, the speaker will replace a word with a phrase that rhymes. So for example instead of saying: he’s up the stairs you would say he’s up the apples and pears. Most of these rhyming phrases contain just two or three words, however it is the final word that must rhyme with the word that you want to replace.
To make things even more difficult, in most cases the phrases are shortened to just the first word which does not rhyme with the targeted word. So for example the phrase I want to take a look at Jim’s new house would be I want to take a butcher’s at Jim’s new house. As you can see butcher’s has replaced look however it does not rhyme. This is because the full phrase would be butcher’s hook which does rhyme with look.
To see a good example of how Cockney Rhyming Slang sounds in practice, here is a great clip from the film Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels which is helpfully subtitled into regular English.
It is widely believed that cockney rhyming slang emerged out of the need for a ‘code’ for criminals in the east end of London so the police wouldn’t understand what they were saying. Many examples of cockney rhyming slang have found their way into common English in the UK so it is useful to get to know a few of the basics.
Clases de inglés Sevilla
Here are some of the most common examples of Cockney Rhyming Slang
Bees & Honey – Money
Can you lend me £10, I’ve run out of bees and honey.
In regular English: Can you lend me £10, I’ve run out of money.
Dog & Bone – Phone
I’ll call you on the dog & bone later on
In regular English: I’ll call you on the phone later on.
China Plate – Mate
Alright, me old China!
In regular English: Alright mate, (or Hello, my good friend.)
Trouble & Strife – Wife
Sorry I can’t have another drink, I’ve got the trouble and strife waiting for me at home.
In regular English: Sorry I can’t have another drink, I’ve got the wife waiting for me at home.
Barnet Fair – Hair
I need to get my barnet cut, it’s all over the place!
In regular English: I need to get my hair cut, it’s all over the place!
Hank Marivn – Starvin
I need to get something to eat, I’m proper hank at the moment.
In regular English: I need to get something to eat, I’m really hungry at the moment.
Jack Jones- Own
I’m on my Jack Jones so I’m feeling a bit bored.
In Regular English: I’m on my own so I’m feeling a bit bored.
North & South – Mouth
Shut your north!
Shut your mouth! (or shut up!)
Pete Tong – Wrong
It’s all gone Pete Tong.
In regular English: It’s all gone wrong.
Rub-a-dub – Pub
Fancy a pint down the rub-a-dub.
In regular English: Do you want a beer at the pub?
Scooby Doo – Clue
I haven’t got a scooby where you are.
In regular English: I don’t know where you are.