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18 Slang Expressions in Northern English (and How to Use Them)

by Tommy Walker May 31, 2018

English is undoubtedly the world’s universal language, but when it comes to the vernacular used in the North of England, it’s a whole different dictionary you’ll need to use. For many people outside the North, the accent is attractive, but it’s still confusing AF. When you check into a London Airbnb, your host may greet you differently than if you were further north, for example.

Here are some of the funniest expressions in Northern English for you to learn in case you ever make your way past London.

1. Mam

Yeah, we don’t say “mum” (or worse, “mom”) in our neck of the woods.

2. Like

We use “like” at the end of almost every sentence and we also have the habit of self-interrupting sentences with the word. Those who grew up in the North know the wrath of teachers and parents who tried to educate the habit out of us and failed horribly.

Example: “Where you going today, like?” and “I’m proper tired me, like.”

3. Doylem

Doylem” or “doyle”, is our way of calling you an idiot.

4. Well aye

When in agreement with someone, we will often bring out the phrase “well aye”. The basic translation is “well, yes”. “Well aye” is also commonly heard and used as a tool of reassurance.

A: “The Toon was purely belta on Saturday, like!” (The town really great on Saturday!)
B: “Well aye.”

5. Mint

Mint” derives from the phrase “mint condition”. In the North, you’ll hear it describe something that is great, fantastic, brilliant.

6. Offit

Offit” is used as a crude slang term for someone who is a sandwich short of a picnic.

7. Devoe’d

Used across the board in the North but thought to originate from Liverpool, “Devoe’d” is a shortened way of saying “devastated”.

8. Clamming

A word used in the Northeast to express hunger or a need for attention. You’ll commonly hear the phrases, “I’m clamming here, like” or “I’m pure clamming.

9. Belta or Beltas

Responding to an amazing situation or referring to something amazing.

Example: “She’s a belta, like.”

10. Buzzin

Obviously the short of “buzzing”, “buzzin’” is a word Northerners use when they are very happy. The more north you travel, the more often it will translate to “a little tipsy”.

11. Gadgie

Another word for a male adult.

Example: “See that gadgie at the front of the queue?”

12. Ey up!

A typical Yorkshire greeting. Will replace “Hello” nine times out of ten when in Leeds.

13. Croggy

If you give someone a “croggy“, you’re giving them a ride somewhere, whether it be in your car or on the back of your bike.

14. Yonks

Referring to something that will take a long time.

Example: “I was waiting in the chippy queue for yonks like.” (I was waiting in the queue in the chip shop for a long time.)

15. Tanking

When it is “tanking down“, grab your umbrella.

16. Paggered

When you are “paggered“, you are absolutely knackered, tired.

17. Tax

We all might be in agreement with this one. Using the word “tax” in the right slang context means “to steal”. It can also mean to take something quickly but not necessarily steal it.

18. Give your head a wobble.

Give your head a wobble” essentially means that you are disagreeing with someone and questioning what they are saying.


A: “Let’s go to the library.”
B: “Haha, give your head a wobble!”

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