10 UK Slang Words You Need to Know

Anna·24 September 2022·4 min read
10 UK Slang Words You Need to Know

The UK is home to some of the most well-known accredited universities which is why there are currently over 600,000 international students currently studying in the UK. If you’re planning on joining the growing population of international students, there are a handful of slang words you might find helpful to know. Each area in the UK is home to different variations of slang and some might be more common in certain areas.

Below is a general list of UK slang words that you might encounter during your studies.

1. Peak

The word peak has a negative connotation in the UK. The term often refers to something being bad, or just negative in general.

2. Pissed

If you’re from the United States, pissed most commonly means mad or angry. In the UK, however, pissed refers to being incredibly drunk. If you’d like to say you’re angry you would use ‘pissed off’.

3. Gutted

If someone says they’re gutted, it means they’re extremely disappointed or upset.

4. Quid

This one can be particularly helpful to know. The word quid is interchangeable with pound, the English currency. So saying, ‘I’ve got ten quid’ is the same as ‘I’ve got ten pounds’.

5. Knackered

In simple terms, to be knackered means to be extremely tired. You might be quite knackered after staying up all night to finish that essay you waited to the last minute to write. (We’ve all been there)

6. Uni

This one’s quite common so you probably already know it, but uni is short for university. It’s important to note that college and university are not the same in the UK and therefore not interchangeable terms as they are in other countries, such as the United States.

7. Chuffed

Chuffed is a term used by Brits that means feeling happy or proud, either for themselves or other. For example, you’d probably be quite chuffed to get a high mark on that essay you stayed up all night to finish.

8. Alright?

This one’s a bit confusing. The term alright is commonly used as a greeting in the UK. You could hear it from a stranger or someone you know well. It’s essentially the UK version of ‘Hi. How are you?’ They aren’t actually asking you if you’re feeling alright. The common response is ‘Alright, yeah’ or even ‘Alright, you?’

9. Dodgy

If someone says they find something dodgy, it means it seems suspicious, low-quality, or unreliable.

10. To Sack Off

‘To sack off’ is to avoid doing something or to give up doing something - normally something that you didn’t want to do in the first place.

It’s more than likely that you will encounter more words or phrases that you aren’t familiar with, or have a different meaning than you’re used to, when you move to the UK. But that’s part of the fun of moving and studying abroad!