From the Archive: London Lingo – A London Word Slang Dictionary – Words Unique to London

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In honor of this week’s London themed themed T-shirt: Londoner at Heart – we’ve pulled this article from the archive featuring many words that are unique to London.

One thing you’ll notice when you travel to London are all the strange words they use to describe things. Sometimes they make sense, sometimes they don’t.

Rather than pull together a list of British Slang words (which we’ve done already on Anglotopia) we thought it would be fun to put together a list of words you’ll usually only hear in London.

Now, there will be some words used elsewhere but I tried to capture words that when I hear them – I think of London.

So, here’s your guide to some useful London Lingo or as I like to just say: London Words.

  • Tube = London Underground Network
  • The Knowledge = The cumulative knowledge of London’s black cab drivers that they have to learn to be licensed. They have to learn every street in London.
  • Boris Bus = Boris Johnson’s key platform of replacing the old London Routemaster bus.
  • Red Ken = The name of London’s former Mayor Ken Livingston who leaned VERY far to the left.
  • The Standard = What some call the Evening Standard – the evening paper dedicated to London.
  • The City = The City of London – the square mile bit of central London that goes back 2 thousand years.
  • Square Mile = The City of London also
  • Congestion Charge = Tax on all cars entering the central London congestion charge zone.
  • Silicon Roundabout = Area around Old Street that’s a hub for new media and tech companies.
  • Council Estate = Public housing
  • The Blitz = Period in 1940 when London was bombed by the Nazis
  • M25 = The Orbital Highway that encircles London
  • Westway = Elevated Highway in West London
  • Mind the Gap = Watch your step when stepping from a train to a platform.
  • The Palace = When someone says the Palace they’re almost always referring to Buckingham Palace, the Queen’s official residence in London.
  • Buck House = Buckingham Palace
  • The Tower = Tower of London
  • A-Z = A popular London map guide that’s indispensable to locals and long term visitors (extra note – Londoners will say ‘A to Zed’).
  • GMT = Greenwich Mean Time
  • Cockney = Someone born within earshot of the bells of St Mary-le-Bow
  • Offy = Convenience Store that sells alcohol
  • Off License = Convenience Store that sells alcohol
  • Take Away = Cheap to go food.
  • Crossrail = New cross London underground railway line currently under construction.
  • Bobby = London Policeman
  • Clip Joint = A club that claims to be a strip club but usually comes with £100 bottles of water. Avoid.
  • Zebra Crossing = Pedestrian crossing.
  • Home Counties = Generic name for the counties around London which are: Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Dorset, Essex, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Middlesex, Oxfordshire, Surrey and Sussex.
  • Nappy Valley = Areas of London with high birthrates like Battersea.

Did we forget something? What word makes you think of London? What’s your favorite one? Let us know in the comments!

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There’s still two days left to get our exclusive London T-Shirt – Londoner at Heart. Available in Men’s, Women’s, Long Sleeve, V-neck, Hoodie and Tote bag starting at $16.99. Click here to order now.