You have more than likely heard of cockney rhyming slang. Born East London in 1840’s, it was thought to have been used by street sellers and market tradesman. Although, some say it was used as a code by criminals to avoid being detected.
Now it has grown into a well-known dialect that is humorous, politically incorrect and interesting.
What is Cockney Rhyming Slang?
Rhyming slang is usually composed two nouns which make an idiom, metaphor or phrase in which the last word is intended to rhyme with the word that is actually meant. For example: “Slabs of Meat” means feet. However, in many cases the rhyming words are removed, making it difficult for anyone who doesn’t know the rhyme to know exactly what is going on. Another example: “Oh, my slabs don’t half hurt” meaning “my feet hurt”.
What is a Cockney?
The true meaning of “Cockney” was used to describe someone born within the radius that can hear the bells of Mary-le-Bow church, in Cheapside, London. Nowadays, it applies to most London born folk, especially in the suburbs and outer London boroughs, as they still have the Cockney accent. It is rarely heard with the Central London.
Is Cockney Rhyming a Thing of the Past?
No, quite the opposite. It still lives in today’s spoken language and is not only limited to the London area. Much of the UK understands and often use rhyming slang in their day-to-day conversations.
Is Cockney Rhyming Slang Evolving?
There is no doubt that Cockney rhyming slang is constantly evolving and developing. It changes to incorporate modern pop culture icons into their rhyming schemes, such as Ayton Senna – Tenner, a £10 note.
It has also evolved to incorporate new modern-day terminology, such as “Wind and Kite” as rhyming slang for Website.
Here are some examples for you to try out yourself. The format is “Rhyme”, “Meaning”, “What people actually say”.
Slabs of Meat – Feet – Slabs
Mince Pies – Eyes – Mincers
Old China Plate – Mate – China or Ol’ China
Apples & Pears – Stairs – Apples
Dog & Bone – Phone – Dog
Trouble and Strife – Wife – Trouble
Bangers & Mash – Cash – Bangers
Bees & Honey – Money- Honey
You are now set for a visit to the UK capital and be able to fit in with the locals. Don’t be shy and happily shout your new learnt phrases at the top of your voice. We are sure the neighbors will love it. You can walk around London having with a clear “Scooby Doo” (clue) about what is going on.
London is a great city to visit, with plenty going on. There are tons of local sport teams to go watch and enjoy. Feel free to check out online bookmakers such as ComeOn in order to spice up your matchday experience.
Enjoy London and practice your Cockney Slang!