As most popular movies and TV shows are produced in the States, we non-native English speakers are usually more familiar with American expressions and idioms than with British ones.
In my opinion, it is a bit of a pity because the British have many funny expressions and idioms that would spice up and bring more humour into our conversations.
To fix this state of affairs, we have gathered 15 awesome British expressions with example sentences and their meanings in this post.
It pays off to at least understand these expressions, and if you are a more advanced English speaker, you can even try to work them into your conversations. When uttered by a non-native English speaker, they are sure to provoke astonishment, smiles and a warm atmosphere.
“full of beans”
= to have a lot of energy and enthusiasm
I got a good night’s sleep and woke up full of beans today.
“chuffed to bits”
= to be very pleased or thrilled by something
Ron was chuffed to bits when his team won.
= speechless, shocked, surprised beyond belief
Georgia’s colleagues were left gobsmacked by her speech.
“the bee’s knees”
= lovely, wonderful
Our holiday to Sicily is going to be the bee’s knees!
“Fancy a cuppa?”
= Would you like a cup of tea?
Fancy a cuppa, sweetheart?
“Bob’s your uncle”
= there you go, that should do it
Just peel the potatoes, fry them in olive oil and Bob’s your uncle!
“take a gander”
= take a look
Could you take a gander at that link I sent you?
= a fuss or commotion, often due to conflicting opinions
There was a bit of a kerfuffle at the press event.
“tell porky pies”
= tell lies
Stop telling me porky pies!
= I don’t believe you!
Don’t believe him, that’s rubbish!
“go to pot”
= go wrong
My writing went to pot because the office was so noisy.
= Damn it!
Blimey! You scared me.
“throw a wobbly”
= have a tantrum
Max threw a wobbly when he couldn’t find his phone.
“a few sandwiches short of a picnic”
= used to describe someone that is not very smart
My neighbour is a few sandwiches short of a picnic.
= to move over and make some room (for instance, on a sofa)
Budge up a bit!
Director, Learning Material & Customer Relations
Language loving coffee addict and communications professional haunted by eternal wanderlust.