Cock

CockRS 2I’m a native English speaker – actually, that’s not quite accurate – American is my first language – English is my second language.

I’ve already posted about some of the more colorful British slang, but no discussion is complete without a quick lesson in Cockney Rhyming Slang (CockRS).

Cockneys hail from the east end of London – nowhere near Buck House – so you won’t catch the Queen using any of these phrases – though maybe Prince Phillip…

CockRS simply replaces a common word with two or sometimes three words, the last of which rhymes with the word it’s replacing. Don’t ask me why, I’m sure there is a quaint origin story. The thing to remember is that the slang phrase has absolutely nothing to do with the meaning of the word. CockRS isn’t supposed to make sense – it’s only language after all.

For example:

Rhythm & Blues = shoes — “I’m going out to buy some Rhythm & Blues” (to which my husband replies “Not again!”)shoes

Trouble & Strife = wife — “Don’t let the Trouble & Strife buy any more Rhythm & Blues.” This can also be replaced by “Her Indoors,” but that doesn’t rhyme with anything except “Do your own chores.”

Adam & Eve = believe — “Would you Adam & Eve it? The Trouble & Strife bought another pair of Rhythm & Blues!”

Brown Bread = dead — “My husband is Brown Bread if he calls me Trouble & Strife one more time.”

Simple. But we’re not done with the CockRS lesson yet because as slang matures, it also mellows.

In some CockRS cases, the last word is dropped – you know the word that actually rhymes with the word  it’s replacing (lazy ass Brits). So even if you understand CockRS, you may not realize that’s what you’re  hearing.

A “Ruby” is a curry — No one remembers who Ruby Murray was, but her name lives on in the cuisine of England.

“Butchers” means to look at something (“Butcher’s Hook” = look) — “Have a butchers at that Ruby, mate!”

cockney

“Porkies” are lies or “Porky Pies” (Pork Pies are part of traditional English fare, but not all CockRS is about food).

Got it? Now it’s time for some advanced slanging (or slagging if you are critical of someone’s Cockney accent)….

Brahms & Liszt = pissed. Pissed = drunk. This is some serious slang-on-slang action. Classical music always makes the most ordinary affair seem elegant, but if you come across a pub named “Brahms and Liszt” it’s not for classical music lovers.

brahms and liszt
Come to the Brahms & Liszt and you can get pissed!

Cream Crackered = knackered. Knackered = Shagged out. Shagged out = tired. So, if someone says they’re “cream crackered” they’ve probably had a long day at work. If they say their car is ready for the “knackers yard” it’s ready to be put out to pasture. (Probably shouldn’t say this about the Trouble & Strife.)

Mutton is a bit more complicated. Mutt & Jeff = deaf. Make a contraction of “Mutt ’n”, then replace with a like-sounding word (Mutton). Being deaf has nothing to do with aging sheep.

Rabbit means to talk. (“Don’t keep rabbiting on about my Rhythm & Blues habit.”) It’s the shortened form of Rabbit & Pork which means to talk. Try as I might I can’t get “pork” to rhyme with “talk” — though my husband can.

It’s rare to encounter Cockney Rhyming Slang in the States, PBS doesn’t air these types of shows, but if you happen across Eastenders, here’s a handy Cockney Rhyming Slang translator.

I’m Jae and this message is the last Dicky Bird on Cockney Rhyming Slang.

Advertisements

Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s