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How to Rhyme Cockney Slang Like a Local

London Travel
by Stacy Ullenes Dec 23, 2014

YOU MAY not know that there’s pretty much a whole other language that exists for those born and bred in London, but there is, and it’s called Cockney rhyming slang.

Widely used in the 19th century by working class men and women living in East London, Cockney is still prevalent today. Most people refer to Cockneys as those born within hearing distance of the ‘Bow-Bells’ — the church of St. Mary-Le-Bow, located in Cheapside in the City of London.

Here’s a short guide to help you throw down some slang like a local on your next visit to London.

1. Barney rubble = Trouble

Example: “He’s only gone and got himself in a bit of barney rubble.”

2. Jam jar = Car

Example: “We’ll just take the jam jar.”

1. Boat race = Face

Example: “What’s up with your boat?”

2. Barnet fair = Hair

Example: “Nice barnet.”

3. Dog and bone = Phone

Example: “Just reach me on the old dog and bone.”

4. Bubble bath = Laugh

Example: “You’re having a bubble, mate.”

5. Apples and pears = Stairs

Example: “Up the apples and pears for bed.”

6. Brown Bread = Dead

Example: “He was brown bread by the time the old bill got there.” (Old Bill = Police / Cop)

7. Hank Marvin = Starving

Example: “Let’s eat now, I’m Hank Marvin!”

8. Trouble and Strife = Wife

Example: “Nah, I left the trouble and strife at home.”

9. Jimmy Riddle = Piddle (to urinate)

Example: “Just nipping for a Jimmy Riddle” or “Jimmy.”

10. Rub a dub = Pub

Example: “Meet you in the rub a dub.”

11. Frog and toad = Road

Example: “I’ll meet you down the frog and toad.”

12. Two and eight = State

Example: “Don’t get yourself in a two and eight.”

13. Tom dick = Sick

Example: “I’m feeling a bit Tom Dick.”

14. Adam and Eve it = Believe it

Example: “Can you blooming Adam and Eve it?”

15. Bob hope = soap

Example: “Smells like you need a bit of bob hope, mate”

16. Lady Godiver = Fiver (i.e five pounds / dollars / insert currency here)

Example: “It’s only a Lady Godiver — bargain”

17. Jack Jones = on your own

Example: “Look at you all on your Jack Jones” or “on your Jack.”

18. Ruby Murray = Curry

Example: “Meeting the boys for a pint and Ruby Murray.”

19. Butcher’s hook = Look

Example: “Let’s have a butchers, mate.”

20. Loaf of bread = Head

Example: “Why don’t you just use your loaf?”

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