British Sayings We Love

One of the things I miss about home is the funny British sayings.  Here at Free People I get a lot of people confused when things like “I’m just going to pop over”, “He’s full of beans”, “I had to scarper”, and “you’re off your trolley” slip out of my mouth. I forget that they have no idea what I’m talking about, it makes me giggle slightly and them, too. There’s a certain amount of humor in the British sayings that make me like them a lot more; they’re a little cheeky, maybe it’s the twist of cockney in them that makes them that slightly more intriguing and puzzle-like.

Here are some of my favorite British sayings:

pop over/in – go to, stop by

scarper – to escape fast

chuffed as nuts – extremely pleased

cheesed off – annoyed

donkeys years – a long time

full of beans – someone has a lot of energy

not my cup of tea – not for me

off your trolley – crazy

piece of cake – easy

put some welly into it – put some muscle into it

Do you have a favorite British saying, we’d love to know!


  1. Love this! I’m from London, but whenever I go to visit family in America they have some difficulty understanding me! My favourites are ‘I’ll put the kettle on’ (I’ll make the tea), and ‘Bob’s your Uncle’ (You’re all set). Check out all my posts on British Adventures:

  2. Ah I do love some of our British sayings, I’m more aware of some of them now I have a French manager, ‘born in a barn’ completely baffles him. It’s also funny how people don’t die in England they ‘pop their clogs’ or ‘kick the bucket’ my granny used to ‘spend a penny’ & ‘powder her nose’.
    Love free people & regularly lust over bits. Roll on pay day so I can buy more :)

  3. Having been an anglophile for years, I have always loved the phrases “knackered” and “taking a piss”, although if you ask someone the latter in the states you tend to get some really confounded stares!

  4. Hmmm…. I’m American and we say “pop in,” “cheesed off,” “full of beans,” “not my cup of tea,” and “piece of cake.” At least in Nor Cal we do.

  5. i live in canada (and work at fp toronto!) and used to live in wales, where i picked up a few sayings… i tend to add the word “bloody” into my vocab wherever possible; still tend to say “knackered” when i’m sleepy; “pissed” when i’ve had a few glasses of wine; and i still call the garbage can a “bin”.

  6. ‘Allo’Allo!”
    I’m an American and I live with my English Fiance in the states and quite a few sayings have rubbed off on me in the past five years…some of my favorites are…

    “sorted” – take care of something or clean up
    “What are you like?” – usually said after a joke or if I’ve done something silly/simple
    “Anyone got the Lemon and Lime?” – Do you have the time (that’s about all the Cockney Rhyming I know…oh and “Apple and Pairs” – Stairs.
    Cheers! xx

  7. The first time I met my father in law he told me he was going out to the car to get a brolly and jumper out of the boot. My husband had to explain that he was getting an umbrella and sweater out of the trunk.

  8. I’m a Scot living in New York and love this post – some words and phrases I find my American colleagues get confused with –
    Lads – a group of men
    Lorry – a large truck
    Loo/Lavvy – the bathroom
    Trousers – pants
    Messages – Groceries
    it’s funny how words and phrases you have grown up with and feel completely normal are literally a foreign language to others!

  9. Going to international school gives me the op to meet lots of brits! All of my friends are english. Some of their words are sooo silly to me, and here they are.

    Aubergines – eggplant
    Lift – elevator
    fringe – hair bangs
    pants – underwear
    Scones (pronounced scons) – scones

  10. I am English and always find it really funny when Americans say sit on your Fanny, or Fanny-Pack. It has a totally different meaning here in the UK!

  11. I think british people r so cool im mexican american luv the language and im on new mexico i also luv when there is british singer they sing so cute like one direction :)

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