Bookgasm: Cockney Slang

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Remember the book, Ripped by Shelly Dickson Carr? If you don't, let's refresh your memory with my review here. Anyway, here's another bookgasm post in which I will share to you what I have learned in that book particularly on the way of speaking. Ever heard of Cockney slang before? I'm surely a newbie here but I was pretty fascinated by how it was used by the characters (and of course, in the past by Londoners) in the book.
A disclaimer was written on the start of the book and also a brief introduction on the "language":
"In Victorian London, Cockney rhyming slang was used as a secret 'insider' language to confuse outsiders, especially peelers (the police) and toffs (the nobility or gentry). Cockney expressions have changed over time, but many remain exactly as they were in 1888, when Jack the Ripper terrorized London. The premise is this: A phrase that rhymes with the word a Cockney means is used to convey the word. The most famous example is "apples and pears". Often the rhyming word is dropped, so that "pears" (which rhymed with "stairs") is omitted, leaving only apples. "I'm climbing the apples."
Here are some Cockney Rhyming Slang:
Ankle and Foot - Soot
Apples and Pears - Stairs
April in Paris - Ass
Bacon and Eggs - Legs
Bag of Sand - Grand
Billy Goat - Coat
Boat Race - Face
Boiler House - Spouse
Bread and Honey - Money
Bricks and Pates - United States
Brown Bread - Dead
Church Pews - Shoes
Fife and Drum - Bum
Flip Flap - Trap/Mouth
Frog and Toad - Road
Grady Moore - Door
Ham Shank - A Yank, a U.S. Citizen
Harper and Queens - Jeans
Jellied - Eel Deal
Lamb to the Slaughter - Daughter
Loch Ness - Mess
Marbles and Conkers - Bonkers
Mince Pies - Eyes
Molly Coxer - Boxer
Mum and Dad - Mad
Noah's Ark - A lark/a fun time
Orchestra Stalls - Balls
Peas in a Pot - Hot
Petticoat Lane - Pain
Pony Trap - Crap
Pots and Dishes - Wishes
Raspberry Tart - Heart
Rattle and Pitch - Snitch/tattle/rat someone out
Rob Roy - Boy
Rosy Lee - Tea
Rum and Coke - Joke
Scapa Flo - Go
Shepherd's Plaid - Bad
Speckled Hen - Ten
Straw and Hay - Gay
Swinging Door - Whore
Tiger's Cage - Rage
Tit for Tat - Hat
Tripe and Fashion - Passion
Trouble and Strife - Wife
Turkish Bath - Laugh
Twist and Swirl - Girl

Some 19th century expressions to try:
Blimey! - Expression of surprise
Bobby - Police officer
Born on Wrong Side of Blanket - Born to parents who were not legally married
Chit - Girl/Female
Copped It - Croaked/Died
Cor Blimey! - Similar to Blimey
Extra Ready - Extra money
Little Kipper or Wee Nipper - Child
Mate or Matey - A friend
Old Boy - As in: "I say, old boy!" Form of endearment
Old Sod - A fool, an idiot
Peeler - Police officer
Scotch Warming Pan - Girlfriend
Toff - High Society
Take a Gander - Look at something
Top-Drawer - High quality
"Cockney accents can still be heard in London as well as all across England. But in the 19th century, a true Cockney--with the right to use the secret rhyming slang--was someone born within earshot of the church bells of St. Mary le Bow, the area in London where Jack the Ripper stalked his victims."
Hope you had fun learning these phrases and language with me!

Love lots, xx
Style Reader

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