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phrases

Britain is weird. If it’s not too cold, it’s too hot. If we’re not talking about the weather, we’re talking about the rain. If you asked someone what’s our most peculiar trait, they’d probably tell you it’s our odd choice of expressions. With so many strange, weird and wonderful British expressions to explore we’d thought it would be a great idea to put together a definitive list of the most unusual British expressions.

Here’s 9 of the weirdest phrases Britain has to offer.

1. You’re all bum and parsley

Scotland knows how to say it like it is, and own the “less polite” phrases in the English language. Know someone who’s a little too full of themselves? Bring them back to earth with the wit of the Scots.

youre-all-bum-and-parsley

What it means: A description of someone who is a loud know-it-all.
How you would use it in conversation: “You don’t know what you’re talking about; you’re all bum and parsley!”
Part of the UK typically used: Scotland

2. Happy as a pig in muck

Pigs and mud go together like a match made in heaven. So don’t take offense when a Yorkshire-person suggests you are a pig and like rolling in dirt, they’re actually being nice!

happy-as-a-pig-in-muck

What it means: Very happy
How you would use it in conversation: “If no one bothers him, he’s happy as a pig in muck.”
Part of the UK typically used: Yorkshire

3. Were ya born in a barn

No, we’re not talking about baby Jesus’ place of birth. Yorkshire residents use this expression if someone was to enter or leave a room and forget to do that crucial thing.

were-ya-born-in-a-barn

What it means: Close the door
How you would use it in conversation: “I just got it warm in here, were ya born in a barn?”
Part of the UK typically used: Yorkshire

4. Not give a monkey’s

This cheeky phrase captures the mischievous nature of these creatures. There’s debate over the missing word (a monkey’s what?).

not-give-a-monkeys

What it means: Be completely indifferent
How you would use it in conversation: “I don’t give a monkey’s about what your dream was last night Jessica.”
Part of the UK typically used: UK wide

5. It looks a bit black over Bill’s mothers

It’s claimed that Bill refers to William Shakespeare with his mother, Mary Arden of Stratford, stuck in the rain. Perhaps she’s sat humming away to Travis, “Why does it always rain on me?”

it-looks-a-bit-black-over-bills-mothers

What it means: The sky is dark with rain
How you would use it in conversation: “Ooh heck, it looks a bit black over Bill’s mothers that way”
Part of the UK typically used: Midlands

6. That’s the badger

If you were to exclaim this when not in the West Country you should prepare yourself for a few confused explanations -“That’s not a badger Colin…”

thats-the-badger

What it means: That’s exactly the one I was looking for
How you would use it in conversation: “That’s the badger! That’s the name I couldn’t remember!”
Part of the UK typically used: West Country

7. Bobs your uncle

A quintessentially British phrase typically used after explaining how to do something. There remains doubt however who’s Uncle Bob this was.

bobs-your-uncle

What it means: There you have it
How you would use it in conversation: “Just pull that handle, press the button, Bob’s your Uncle!”
Part of the UK typically used: UK wide

8. Making a right pig’s ear of something

Pigs do seem to get it hard when it comes to expressions. Despite it becoming a new fashionable food trend, if you’ve ever messed something up you’ll be sure to have heard this phrase before.

making-a-right-pigs-ear-of-something

What it means: Handle something badly
How you would use it in conversation: “She made a right pig’s ear of that presentation!”
Part of the UK typically used: UK Wide

9. You’re peckin’ me ‘ead

Ever get that feeling that a bird is tapping at your head? It’s likely someone is really testing your patience. Or a bird thinks you’re a tree. Either way, get out of there fast!

youre-peckin-me-ead

What it means: You are annoying me
How you would use it in conversation: “Would you give it a rest, you’re peckin’ me ‘ead!”
Part of the UK typically used: North West England


Our Top 9 weirdly funny British sayings infographic

Illustrated Guide To Weird British Expression

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There you have it, 9 of Britain’s weirdest phrases. We tried not to make too much of a pig’s ear of it, but if you don’t give a monkey’s, well, you’re all bum and parsley!

If you would like to add to our collection of weird British phrases then get in touch with us on Facebook and Twitter using the #SykesBritishSayings


Sources

McAlpine, F. (2014). 25 Scottish Saying That Will Get You Through Life. bbcamerica.com
BBC. (2014). Voices. bbc.co.uk
BBC. (2014). Voices. bbc.co.uk
Rubery, J. (2016). 10 British animal idioms and expressions. oxforddictionaries.com
Bentley, D. (2016). The 50 top words and phrases that say you’re from Birmingham or the Black Country. birminghammail.co.uk
Cork, T. (2016). The BEST 23 West Country words – but how many do you use? somersetlive.co.uk
Martin, G. (Date unknown). The meaning and origin of the expression: Bob’s your uncle. phrases.org.uk
Rubery, J. (2016). 10 British animal idioms and expressions. oxforddictionaries.com
Flannagan, E. (2016). Mancunian dictionary: The 50 top words and phrases that say you’re a Manc. manchestereveningnews.co.uk

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