English phrases that I’ve wholly adopted (for better or for worse)

England expat life
super american ashley
The most American picture of me I could find! Saluting the stars and stripes….at the American diner in Brighton.

Cheeky: this is really just the perfect word for that place just between being an asshole and being a joker. I often use it to describe students who are naughty but not in a way that makes me angry. Or like, when the dog is cute and begging, even though he’s already been scolded for it. (Also see: “cheeky chappy”, a cheeky little dude. Like Bruce!)

Bits and bobs: rather than the American bits and pieces. Not a big change, but I enjoy the alliteration.

Brilliant: to mean fantastic or really good. “The film was brilliant!”. Oh, that reminds me that in the UK, one says film, not movie. Twofer!

Alright (as a form of greeting): More like “Alright?”. Accompanied by “hiya”, these two phrases replace hello/hey/what’s up in a casual setting, like when you head into work or meet your friends at the pub. So it ends up going something like this

You, upon entering: Hiya!

Friend: Hiya! Y’alright?

You: Yeah, you?

Friend: Yeah, great, thanks, cheers!

(end scene)


Bums: purely as a form of light cursing, like, instead of saying “damn” I’ll yell “bums!”. Jon’s parents do this and it always makes me laugh, so I guess that’s how I got started.

White coffee: okay, this is obviously not slang, but I had to pick it up because that’s how you order coffee with any sort of milk around here! (Or regular milk, for that matter). Took me tooooo long to pick up on that.

Twat: the fun way to be offensive. Fairly rude.

Do (as in party): Leaving do=goodbye party, birthday do=birthday party, hen do=bachelorette, stag do=bachelor party, etc etc.

Faffing about: messing around, doing nothing in particular. Some English people also say fanny around, which is tooooo hilarious. And therefore I cannot say that one.

I’m sure there’s more, but I can’t think of any. And okay, it’s not all slang. But these are the things that I’ve noticed I say, without even really thinking about saying the American version (when there is one, that is). Oh how times have changed….Bugger it! Tomorrow we’re off to Newcastle, where I’m sure I’ll struggle to understand virtually everyone around me-and maybe I’ll pick up a few new terms. Hooray for the North!

4 thoughts on “English phrases that I’ve wholly adopted (for better or for worse)”

  1. Haha I can totally relate. Years of British friendships and relationships mean I pretty much always say flat, brilliant, alright, and end sentences with an upward intonantion (that’s alright, yeah?) — you’ll never catch me saying lift or trolley or pram though!

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