If you are a globetrotter or avid traveler, maybe you’re a linguist, or you just love to learn the local colloquialisms and slang from place to place, you may share our love for ‘Slang’.
The word ‘slang’ arose in the 18th century and referred to the language used by street tramps and thieves. Coming from nordic, it translates to ‘Sling the jaw,’ which means to abuse words, to take language and reformulate it into a new meaning which is used informally or as a form of secret k language. Slang is often funny, offensive, crude or creative, and we love finding out the different terms from around the world. We want to share with you some of the funniest slang words from around the world.
The home of the term slang, and to more slang than anywhere. British folks take pride in their use of slang, and you can hear different words from city to city. Slang is always evolving and changing from old generations to young, from rich to poor, and from different cultural groups. Here are a few examples of great slang to learn from the ‘old dogs’ of slang.
Bloody, Bloody heck, Bloody hell - A very common word in the lexicon of British slang, you will hear this everywhere in the UK, and you may even pick it up yourself. It’s less offensive than a classic swear word and can be used in almost every situation.
Bollocks - Bollocks has a few different meanings you can use. It is a slang term for ‘testicles’; you use it as a curse word to express dismay ‘Oh bollocks!’ or you can use it in mocking disbelief.
Pissed, Pissed off, taking the piss - 3 different terms, none of which involve urine. Pissed means ‘drunk’, pissed off meaning ‘angry’ and is shared with other countries, and taking the piss meaning to ‘make fun of; so you could say ‘He was pissed off coz we were taking the piss out of him while he was pissed.’
Knackered - A term meaning tired or exhausted.
American slang has become common around the world due to the massive reach of American pop culture. Words like ‘cool’ and ‘badass’ have become so well used that they may as well be added to the dictionary. Here are a few more American slang words you might want to learn.
Cheesy - Nope, not referring to dairy products, it means cheap or tacky, often used about bad music or terrible pick-up lines.
Piece of cake - Meaning ‘easy’ but unfortunately not a piece of cake to eat.
The Bomb - don’t worry, it’s not a bomb, it’s ‘the bomb’ meaning, it’s awesome!
Karen - Unfortunate for women of this name, this slang term has become internationally popular in the last years, it’s a term for a particularly entitled or demanding woman, often caught making a fool of themselves in public and posted on social media.
The blokes Downunder have come up with very creative slang, derived mainly from British English, they have their own unique Aussie take on slang. Here a few funny essentials if you.
Bogan - A redneck or uncultured person, often seen sporting a mullet flannel shirt and maybe a few homemade tattoos.
Fair Dinkum - Meaning true, real, or genuine.
Root - meaning sexual intercourse, In Oz, you shouldn’t use the term ‘i’m rooting for you’[ it can get confusing about your intention.
Bottle-O - Liquor store or beer shop.
The Irish are some well-travelled folks who have permeated their unique slang words around the world. Here are a few to help you next time you walk into an Irish pub.
Craic - Pronounced ‘Crack’ meaning banter or fun, ‘What’s the craic?’ translates to’ What fun things are happening?’
Feck - A slightly less extreme version of its more famous 4 letter ‘F’ word cousin.
Lethal - meaning great, for example, ‘Did you have a good time?’ ‘Yeah it was lethal’
Around the world
Where ever you are and whatever language you are speaking, there are bound to be a few local colloquialisms that can be fun to pick up. Here are a few fun slang words from around the world. But, before you go ahead and use an unfamiliar slang term, make sure you get the right context, you don’t want to end up insulting someone or getting in a fight.
Not my circus, not my monkey - From Poland, meaning ‘Not my problem’, quite a disheartening thing to hear if you are seeking assistance.
To have a wide face - Japanese means to have many friends. Also, to be more attractive to women, head to Japan if your head is wider than your friends.
To ride as a hare - A Russian slang term meaning to ride the train with no ticket. Apparently referring to the nervous shake the ticket-dodgers would show when an inspector comes along.
To let the frog out of your mouth - A Finnish term used when someone says the wrong thing.
Travelling around the world can be one of the most rewarding experiences, however, due to the recent pandemic and travel restrictions, it has become harder and more dangerous than the ease we had become accustomed to. If you are looking to jet-set across the world, make sure you keep up to date with travel news and restrictions. You don’t want to aratve in your destination of choice and find you’ve ‘ballsed-up’ and have to spend your ‘Vacay’ on the ‘Dog and bone’ and acting like a ‘Karen’ trying to fix your own ‘bloody mess’.
Let’s put this to bed
Around the world, slang is used for a variety of reasons, but usually, it’s a fun way to express yourself in a way that is unique to your area or country. Taking the language and ‘abusing’ it can be a really fun and creative way to use different languages. There are more ways to express and communicate than you will be taught in school, so pick up some of the local slang next time you find yourself in a new place.