10 Old fashioned and Timeless English Slang Words

Have you ever wondered how to speak English like a native?  Then you really need to get to grips with the English slang words.  Yes, the English have a lot of them and its only when you really know how to speak English confidently that you will be able to slip these slang words in quite comfortably.  However, don’t you think it would be even more fun to use old fashioned English slang words?  Timeless.  People don’t use them so much but they still understand their meanings and if you dropped them into your everyday conversation then you also will be considered as a British native speaker.

So, here we go…

  1. Crunch the numbers – This is what you say when you are trying to work out your finances.  Maybe you want to buy something expensive and don’t know if you can afford it.  Then you would go home and “crunch the numbers” (work on your finances) and see if they add up and you can afford it.  It’s also a great way to get out of being cornered into buying something with a busy salesperson.  You just say you need to “go home and crunch the numbers!” and that makes it easier to make your exit.
  2. Close – but no cigar – this is a sort of consolation response to your answer.  They are saying that its almost right, but not close enough to win the prize, often referred to as a cigar, for some bizarre reason.
  3. Good Egg – if someone refers to you as a Good Egg then do take it as a compliment.  It just means that you are a good person, a helpful person or just someone who is nice to be around.  Likewise, if you are grateful to someone for doing you a favour or a good turn you can say to them “You’re a good egg!” 
  4. Falling down Juice – this is another word for drinking something very potent or alcoholic.  It refers to anything which has the capacity to make you drunk very quickly.  This is why they say its “falling down juice”.  For example if you offered a drink to someone and they took a sip of it they may look at you and say “Wow = that’s falling down juice” meaning its very strong.
  5. Infra Dig – if someone says that the event is “infra dig” or they didn’t like Susie because she was “slightly infra dig” then it’s a form of snobbery.  It means it’s not quite good enough or doesn’t quite live up to expectations.  For instance, if you had a favourite restaurant and you invited a friend along they may look around the surroundings and say “oh, this is a bit infra dig” meaning it wasn’t very good or of a high enough standard for them. 
  6. Unmentionables – Just a silly word for underwear.  Originally it was a sort of sub text when someone needed to speak about underwear.  It was considered rude to mention it, especially in “polite circles” so they would say “unmentionables”.   As society moved forward the term was still used but now in a jokey way such as “oh did you see her unmentionables on the washing line”?   This could be termed as humour denigrating someone’s choice of underwear.
  7. Limp Lettuce – It’s another term used in a slightly sneering way.  For example “oh he was a bit of a limp lettuce” would mean that he didn’t have a lot of life in him or “his handshake was like a limp lettuce” meaning he didn’t grip your hand with a firm handshake.  It’s a very negative expression.
  8. As much use as a chocolate kettle – Just think what would happen if you heated water in a chocolate kettle.  It would melt and be absolutely useless.  Not fit for purpose!  And this is the analogy when you describe someone or something being as useful as a chocolate kettle.  It’s a play on words meaning the person or the item is useless and not to be relied upon.
  9. Hey Man!  This phrase relates to two meanings.  One is a typical greeting when you say someone, rather like Hello.  You would say “Hey Man!” when you passed someone you knew in the street.   It’s also a way of registering your interest in something.  For example, if someone showed you something you liked, or indeed if it was something you wouldn’t be sure about it becomes a term of expression.  Just a short phrase to gain the interest of the person you are communicating with.   “Hey Man, Not sure I really like that” or “Hey Man, that’s a pretty amazing painting”
  10. And finally…. One which stands the test of time – Cool!  It’s a word which can describe so much but usually it’s a word which means its “great”.   You will hear people say “it’s cool – all good” or “that’s a cool jumper you are wearing”.   It really means that everything is fine – no pressure – all great.

So there we have it.  Ten phrases or slang words which were very popular forty or firty years ago.  Some have stood the test of time, some not, but if you hear anyone say any of the above at least now you know what they are talking about…

Far Out! ?