13 Common Phrases Used In England Today

Introduction

Let me show you 13 common phrases used in England today.

These phrases are very popular and if you are in England, you are likely to hear them on a regular basis.

I will go through all of these phrases one by one, explaining the origin, what each phrase means and some examples of how to use the phrases in context.

Are you ready?

Let’s dive in…

13 common phrases used in England today (1)

Cheers

Meaning: The word cheers is used to say thank you but also as a toast when raising a glass of wine or other alcohol to others. It is also used to say goodbye.

Origin: It is widely believed that the word cheers comes from the Old French word chiere, which means face or facial expression.

It was used to wish someone well.

Over time, the word changed to the current form of cheers.

How to use it:

As I said before, the word cheers is used in England to express thanks, to say goodbye or as a toast.

Let’s look at some ways to say cheers in context.

Hey could I borrow your pen for a second?

Sure, here you are.

Cheers.

Right, I have to get going. Nice to see again, cheers!

See you next time, cheers!

(In a bar or at a restaurant — raising a glass)

All the best to you, cheers!

Cheers!

Cheers!

13 common phrases used in England today (2)

Bob’s Your Uncle

Meaning: The phrase Bob’s Your Uncle means there you go, or it’s as simple as that.

It is used to describe something that should happen or is easy to do.

Origin: The origin is not entirely clear, but the phrase is often attributed to the British prime minister Robert Gascoyne-Cecil (“Bob”). Gascoyne-Cecil gave his nephew, Arthur Balfour, a high-ranking government position, and this coined the phrase Bob’s Your Uncle, meaning that everything is alright or easy to do — if Bob is your uncle!

How to use it:

Let’s look at how to use this phrase in a simple conversation.

(Two people are talking about how to get from London to Exeter by train.)

It’s very easy. You go from Paddington Station to Bristol Temple Meads. Then change and take the train down to Exeter. You change trains once, and Bob’s your uncle.

That sounds very simple. Cheers!

13 common phrases used in England today (3)

Taking The Mickey/Taking The Piss

Meaning: Taking the mickey or taking the piss (a more vulgar term) means you are making fun of someone or teasing them.

Taking the mickey can be seen as all in good fun, just making a joke with someone.

But taking the piss can mean the person on the receiving end is angry or offended.

Origin: Both of these phrases are British slang. The origin is not very certain, but taking the mickey could refer to Taking The Mickey Bliss.

Bliss is Cockney rhyming slang for piss.

How to use it:

Let’s look at two ways to use both of the phrases.

John told me he is applying for the job of regional manager.

He must be taking the mickey… He doesn’t have the right experience for that position.

The boss has told us we all have to work overtime unpaid this weekend…

He must be taking the piss. We did that last month.

13 common phrases used in England today (4)

Bloody Hell

Meaning: Bloody hell is a mild form of swearing or curse word used to express surprise, anger, frustration, shock, or sadness.

Origin: It is believed that the phrase Bloody Hell is a contracted form of By Our Lady — in reference to the Virgin Mary.

By Our Lady over the years became shortened to Bloody.

Hell is just an exclamation of surprise or frustration.

How to use it:

As I said before, Bloody Hell is used to express many different emotions. Let’s look at some in context.

Oh bloody hell, it’s raining again!

Steve! Bloody hell, I haven’t seen you for ages!

(At the train station)

Bloody hell, that was the last train. How can we get home?

Bloody hell, this movie is pretty scary, right?

13 common phrases used in England today (5)

Gutted

Meaning: To be extremely disappointed or upset about something.

Origin: The literal meaning of gutted is to remove the organs from a body.

But in the context that it is used, it means to be very upset about something. So upset that you feel you have been gutted!

 

How to use it:

Here are some ways to use the word gutted in context.

 

(Someone applied for a job but was unsuccessful)

I didn’t get that job I applied for. I’m so gutted!

 

(Someone loses some money while gambling)

Gutted! I thought I was going to win that round…

 

(Someone is deceived by another person)

You should have seen John’s face when he found out — he was gutted!

13 common phrases used in England today (6)

Chuffed/Chuffed To Bits

Meaning: This is the complete opposite of gutted. Chuffed/Chuffed To Bits means very pleased or happy about something.

Origin: The origin is not very clear, but the phrase has been around since the early part of the 20th century.

 

How to use it:

Here are some ways that you can use Chuffed/Chuffed To Bits in context.

 

I got that promotion I applied for — I’m so chuffed!

 

Mike won the game of pool in the pub tournament. He was chuffed to bits!

13 common phrases used in England today (7)

Lost The Plot

Meaning: Lost The Plot is used to express being confused, losing track of what is happening or losing a sense of reality.

Origin: This phrase comes from the literary or movie world, where the word Plot refers to the storyline.

Plot is related to the person’s own life story.

 

How to use it:

Let’s take a look at how to use Lost The Plot in context.

 

I think Craig has lost the plot. He quit his job, bought a guitar and wants to join a band.

 

My dad lost the plot when I told him that I wasn’t going back to university…

13 common phrases used in England today (8)

Blimey

Meaning: the word Blimey is used to express shock or surprise.

Origin: The word Blimey is a contraction of God Blind Me. This was a phrase that started in the mid-19th century to express surprise or shock.

How to use it:

And here are some ways to use the phrase.

Blimey! It’s Mark. I haven’t seen him in a long time.

Blimey! Look out for that car. He nearly hit us.

Blimey! I got top marks in that test…

13 common phrases used in England today (9)

Gobsmacked

Meaning: It simply means very surprised or astonished.

Origin: The word Gob is British slang for mouth. And the word Smacked means to hit or beat.

So when you say Gobsmacked it means so surprised that your mouth has been hit so hard it is open wide.

 

How to use it:

 

When I heard the news about Phil, I was totally gobsmacked.

 

I walked in the room and saw all my old friends waiting for me — I was gobsmacked!

Cheeky

Meaning: The word Cheeky is used to describe being a little rude, or playfully impudent or bold.

It is often applied to someone’s sense of humour.

Origin: The origin is unclear, but it has been around since the 19th century.

 

How to use it:

 

No, you can’t go watch TV before doing your homework. Don’t be cheeky.

 

Mike can be very cheeky sometimes. But he’s got a good sense of humour.

 

Lisa made a cheeky remark in the meeting, but it got the boss’s attention.

13 common phrases used in England today (11)

Ticked Off

Meaning: Ticked Off means to be annoyed, angry or upset.

Origin: The phrase probably comes from the idea of marking items off a list. With each tick showing completion.

In this context, it means to be angry or annoyed.

 

How to use it:

 

When I found out what time it was, I was so ticked off.

 

I got home and found that I had no food in the fridge. I was really ticked off.

 

I got delayed at work and got home very late. I was so ticked off about it.

13 common phrases used in England today (12)

Sorted

Meaning: Sorted means everything is in order or arranged perfectly.

Origin: Sorted is a common slang phrase that has been in use since the mid-20th century.

 

How to use it:

 

I’ve finished all the reports and filed all the documents in the right folders.

Sorted.

 

So, I will meet you at ten am and we can go to the train station by taxi.

Sorted!

13 common phrases used in England today (13)

On The Ball

Meaning: If we describe someone as being On The Ball, it means they are alert, attentive or well-prepared.

Origin: This phrase likely comes from the world of sport, particularly football, where being ‘on the ball’ means you are playing at a high skill level and performing well.

It has been in common use since the early 20th century.

 

How to use it:

 

I’m glad to see Nathan is joining us at the meeting. He is usually on the ball.

 

You really need to be on the ball when doing this project. Or we could end up making some mistakes.

Conclusion

So there you have it.

Thirteen very common phrases used in England that you can start using today.

Try to practice these phrases out loud in your everyday life. Look at the examples, and adapt them in the right context to talk about your own life.

Good luck!

Did you like this guide? Was it useful?

Why not sign up to my mailing list? I can send you regular articles and guides by email.

Sign up below…

Leave a Reply

Scroll to Top