12 words and phrases you’ll only hear in London

Do you ever watch SBTV and wonder what on earth they’re on about? Or meet a cockney and wonder what his obsession with pears is?

Fear not, here’s a guide to words and phrases you’re likely to hear whilst in the smoke.

1. Peak

“Oh, right I’ve got this one. The peak of a mountain is the top of it, so this must mean something good, like, ‘this £8 pint of craft beer is peak’. What? It’s negative, like when something is unfortunate? Well that makes no sense”.

Use it in a sentence: “There’s a tube strike again this weekend, it’s so peak”.

2. Bossman

Us Londoners know a thing or two about respect. And every Londoner knows that it would be hugely disrespectful to refer to the owner of a chicken shop or newsagent as anything other than bossman. It’s like meeting the queen and saying ‘alright darling’. This one is best utilised if you’re after a free hot wing or don’t want to break a fiver for your can of KA.

Use it in a sentence: “Four thigh pieces bossman. How’s business?”.

3. Lock arff

This one is actually kind of what you’d expect, thankfully. Popularised by Section Boyz‘ breakout song of the same name, the term refers to something being blocked off or shutdown. Sometimes it can be a road, something it can be a person. You’ll have to ask Section Boyz.

Use it in a sentence: “Road get lock arff”.

4. Mandem

The mandem are those slightly ropey guys you’d rather not be hanging out with. Unless you’re one of them, in which case you probably don’t know you are in fact one of the mandem. According to Urban Dictionary it derives from the latin ‘mandemulus’. I wouldn’t mention that to the mandem.

Use in a sentence: “The mandem are rolling out tonight”.

5. Madting

Yep, you’ve got it. If something’s mad and… well, a thing, then it’s madting. Because saying the letter H is far too much effort.

Use in a sentence: “The finale of Breaking Bad was a madting”.

6. Roadman

This one’s essential. Generally found in a big puffy jacket, a roadman knows his area (or ‘ends’) inside out. Or, if you ask google, it’s someone who is employed to repair or maintain roads. That’s now what it means.

Use it in a sentence: “Does he think he’s a roadman or something?”.

7. Peng

You might associate this one with the insufferable The Only Way Is Essex, but peng has its origins in London. Use it to refer to food, a person, clothing – literally anything you like the look of.

Use it in a sentence: “The nachos at Weatherspoons are so peng”.

8. Blower

The look of sheer panic when you tell a northerner to “pick up the bleedin’ blower” is truly something to behold. By northerner I of course mean anyone north of the M25. And by blower I mean phone.

Use it in a sentence: “Your mum’s on the blower”.

9. Brown bread

Why is your cockney vet telling you your beloved childhood pet if brown bread? Oh.

Use it in a sentence: “The Queen is Brown Bread is my favourite Smiths album”.

10. Lump of ice

I’m asking you what to wear for my job interview, why do you keep offering me a lump of ice? I don’t want any ice. Oh.

Use it in a sentence: “She totally went against my lump of ice”.

11. Lit

Ok, you might have heard this one outside of London, but we’re claiming it. If something is lit or ‘going off’, then you’re probably having the time of your life.

Use it in a sentence: “This party is lit mate, get down here”.

12. Dench

A product of the London grime scene, dench is the success story of London urban slang and we’re all very proud of it. Popularised by Lethal Bizzle, the term generally refers to someone who has bulked up well after some hard work in the gym, amongst some other things. If someone’s particularly beefy you can actually refer to them as Judi Dench. I’m not even kidding.

Use it in a sentence: “Remember Toby, that weedy kid from sixth form? Apparently he’s dench now”.

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Main photo: Wikimedia