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Illustrations: Dom Oliver
Illustrations: Dom Oliver

The A to Z of Northern slang

Our A to Z of Northern slang words is ideal for getting your language skills spot on in the North

Rob Martin
Written by
Rob Martin

Alright mate? Headin' to Manc?

We've put all of our Northern slang terms in one place for you so that you can brush up on your vocab. If you need help pronouncing any, the 'read more' button will take you to a video so you can hear how to say the word and how it is used in context.

Sorted! Innit!

A is for 'angin

Adjective. ˈaŋ-gin. Definition: 1. A sick feeling that comes after consuming too much alcohol or food at an earlier time. 2. Something so unpleasant to see, smell or taste that you feel slightly sick. Usage: "I can't eat this. I've had six Vimto milkshakes and I feel 'angin." Synonyms: rough, minging, gross.

B is for Brassic

Adjective. ˈbra-sik. Definition: Having no money. Very poor. Usage: "Come on, borrow us 17p for the vending machine, will you? I'm proper brassic." Synonyms: skint, broke.

C is for Clocked

Verb. ˈkläkt. Definition: To see something of interest. Usage: "I've just clocked two dogs shagging in your back yard." Synonyms: spied, seened.

D is for Dibble

Noun. ˈdi-bəl. Definition: One or more members of the police force. Usage: "Peg it mate. Dibble's coming." Synonyms: rozzers, coppers.

E is for Eggbound

Adjective. ˈāg-bau̇nd. Definition: To be constipated, usually from eating too many eggs. Usage: "Mum. Mum. I'm on the bog and I'm proper eggbound." Synonyms: bunged-up.

F is for Fod

Noun. ˈfäd. Definition: The part of the face above the eyes. Origins: Shortening of the word forehead. Synonyms: slaphead, billy-big-bonce.

G is for Gip

Verb. ˈgip. Definition: To be disgusted to the extent that results in a small unintentional vomit. Origins: Onomatopoeic. The sound made as bile rises into the mouth. Synonyms: vom.

H is for Hopalong Cassidy

Proper noun. ˈhäp-ə-ˈlȯŋ ka-sid--dē. Definition: The name given by an adult when referring to a child who has an impediment to walking. Commonly used about sprained ankles or stubbed toes. Origins: Refers to the fictional cowboy hero created in 1904 by Clarence E. Mulford. Contrary to popular belief, the original Hopalong Cassidy did not have any problems walking. Synonyms: limpy-joe.

I is for Innit

Interjection. 'ən-ət. Definition: A meaningless noise used to add emphasis to the end of a statement or question. Origins: Shortening of the term isn't it, although it is rarely used in this context. Synonyms: y'knar worra mean, eh eh.

J is for Jammy

Adjective. ˈja-mē. Definition: Having good luck, albeit undeserved. Origins: From the popular biscuits Jammie Dodgers, which were named after the Beano character Roger The Dodger (a child famed for his ability to avoid chores and homework). Workers at the first Jammie Dodger factory in the mid 20th century were called 'jammy' due to their good fortune at working closely with delicious jam. Synonyms: flukey.

K is for Kip

Noun. ˈkip. Definition: A deep state of rest during which your eyes are closed and you become unconscious. Origins: Factory workers in the 19th and early 20th century would return home after a days shift to eat a large plate of kippers which would send them to sleep with a full belly. Also relates to the Danish word for a boarding house, 'kippe'. Synonyms: bobos, zone out.

L is for Lady Muck, Lord Muck

Proper noun. ˈlā-dē mək ˈlȯrd mək. Definition: A haughty person with ideas above their station. Origins: The early 20th century socialite, Lady Norah Docker lived what was considered scandalous life for the era. 'Lady Docker' became a common term to describe someone who considered themselves high class despite evidence to the contrary. Over time the word 'docker' developed into the more derogatory word 'muck', and the term was used for both men and women. Synonyms: peas above sticks, Mr/Mrs Fancypants.

M is for Muggins

Noun. ˈməg-gənz. Definition: Someone who is lumbered with thankless tasks, usually used about oneself and followed with the word 'here'. Origins: Adapting the term for street robbery, 'mugging', to refer to someone so malleable it is easy to take their time and possessions. Synonyms: joey, gimp.

N is for nobhead

Noun. ˈnäb-ed. Definition: An irritating person who is oblivious to how they are perceived. Origins: Someone so abrasive and unaware of their surroundings, a penis could be drawn on their forehead without them realising or being told about it. Synonyms: wazzock, dipshit.

O is for Our Kid

Noun. ˈär kid. Definition: The brother or sister of the speaker. Origins: Came from the need to denote ownership of a sibling, implying that they can order them to do things they would not do for others. Synonyms: me bredren.

P is for Pleb

Noun. ˈplɛb. Definition: A boy going through puberty who has yet to grow pubic hair. Origins: A conflation of the words 'pubes' and 'less'. Used exclusively by teenage boys to insult their peers. Synonyms: pyebless.

Q is for Quebbin'

Verb. ˈkwi-ˈbin. Definition: A state or feeling of extreme fear. Origins: Mostly limited to St Helens, it comes from the noise made by a quivering sphincter during times of grave danger. Synonyms: cacking it, fritnin.

R is for Rank

Adjective. ˈraŋk. Definition: Something deeply unpleasant to see, smell, taste, consider, etc. Origins: Something of a very low status. Related to the Swedish word 'rank' which means thin and weak. Synonyms: grotty, honks.

S is for Scran

Noun. ˈskræn Definition: A considerable amount of items to eat. Origins: From the Dutch word 'schranzen' which means to consume excessively. Synonyms: munch.

T is for Tight

Adjective. ˈtīt. Definition: Not wanting to share possessions or lend money. Origins: An adaptation of the Biblical term 'tight-fisted' (Deuteronomy 15:7-8). Usually followed by the word 'arse' to imply someone so miserly they won't even release a fart. Synonyms: snidey, sly.

U is for Undies

Noun. ˈən-dēz. Definition: Clothing worn next to the skin under outer clothes. Origins: A shortening of the word 'underwear'. Synonyms: gruds, underkecks 

V is for Vicar's Collar

Noun. ˈvi-kərs kä-lər. Definition: The thin band of tobacco at the end of a cigarette before it reaches the end. This part is undesirable due to its proximity to the plastic filter tip. Origins: The white band of the cigarette paper resembles the detachable collar worn by members of the clergy. Synonyms: scrag end, shady dockers.

W is for Wrong Un

Noun. ˈrȯŋ ən. Definition: An unsavoury person who should be avoided. Origins: Tonal emphasis on 'wrong' implies a deviant nature. 'Un' is a shortening of 'one'. Synonyms: creep, Herbert.

Y is for Yay Big

Adjective. ˈyā bɪɡ. Definition: The size of an object, used in conjunction with hand gestures to demonstrate the appropriate width. Origins: 'Yay' comes from the Middle English word 'yea', which means 'truly'. Over time it has come to mean 'this', referring to the space between one's hands. Synonyms: bout yon big.

Z is for Zonked

Adjective. ˈzɒŋkt. Definition: Exhaustion from overuse of drugs or alcohol. Origins: An adaptation of the word 'zone' to suggest one's mental state is in a different time zone. Synonyms: cabbaged, zoned out.

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