242. 11 Idioms Only Brits Understand (really?)

This is a slightly rambling and unprepared episode which I made up as I went along, and in the end I talked about a page I found on MatadorNetwork.com called “11 Idioms Only Brits Understand”. I don’t think that these are exclusively used by Brits, but nevertheless they are some pretty commonly used idioms, so I decided to talk to you about them in this episode. After that I ended up clicking on a few random YouTube videos, playing around with the cockney accent and listening to some music. Enjoy! [Download]

Small Donate ButtonHere’s the page from The Matador Network “11 Idioms That Only Brits Understand” (the idioms are also printed below)

The Idioms
1. Pop one’s clogs

You don’t get much more British than this. To pop one’s clogs is a euphemism for dying or death.

Example: “No one knew he was about to pop his clogs.”

2. That went down a treat

If something goes down a treat, then it was thoroughly enjoyed.

Example: “That cake went down a treat.”

3. Take the mickey

Us Brits love to make fun of and tease each other and that’s exactly what ‘taking the mickey’ means. You can also say ‘take the mick.’

Example: “Stop taking the mickey out of your brother.”

More like this 8 lies you tell yourself when you move to London
4. Itchy feet

This refers to when you want to try or do something new, such as travelling.

Example: “After two years in the job she’s got itchy feet, so she’s going to spend three months in Australia.”

5. At a loose end

If you’re at a loose end, it means you’re bored or you have nothing to do.

Example: “He’s been at a loose end ever since he retired.”

6. Another string to your bow

This means to have another skill that can help you in life, particularly with employment.

Example: “I’m learning French so I’ll have another string to my bow.”

7. As the actress said to the bishop

This is the British equivalent of ‘that’s what she said.’ It highlights a sexual reference whether it was deliberate or not.

Example: “Blimey, that’s a big one — as the actress said to the bishop.”

8. Bob’s your uncle (and fanny’s your aunt)

This phrase means that something will be successful. It is the equivalent of ‘and there you go,’ or as the French say ‘et voilà!’ Adding the ‘and fanny’s your aunt’ makes you that much more British.

Example:

A: “Where’s the Queen Elizabeth Pub?”
B: “You go down the road, take the first left and Bob’s your uncle — there it is on the corner!”
9. Cheap as chips

We love a good bargain, and when we find one we can’t help but exclaim that it’s ‘as cheap as chips.’

Example: “Only a fiver for a ticket — cheap as chips mate!”

10. Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves

This is one that our grandparents have told us our whole lives. If you take care not to waste small amounts of money, then it will accumulate into something more substantial.

11. Nosy parker

This is for all the nosy people of the world. A ‘nosy parker’ is someone who is extremely interested in other people’s lives.

Example: “Stop being such a nosy parker! They’re having a private conversation!”

Gritty Brit Flick

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11Idioms

  • Tolkacheva Uliana

    I love the idiom Bob’s your uncle, but little did I realise that there is the extension of the phrase! So, thank you, Luke!