10 expressions to get you into British culture

If you go to UK to improve your English, or even just for a holiday, these 10 expressions might help you recognise some popular British sayings.

You might think you know the meaning of some of them, but the different situations where you can use them and their double meanings might just surprise you!

  • Cheeky: is a word used by English people to describe somebody who says something insolent or irrelevant in an amusing way. You might say “Don’t be so cheeky!”
  • Fancy: If a friend invites you for a drink, there isn’t a big chance you’ll hear the question: “Would you like to go out for a drink?”, instead, they are much more likely to say: “Fancy a drink?
  • Knackered: Do you feel extremely tired or exhausted? Then you might say: “‘I am absolutely knackered!
  • Being funny: Being funny” can mean so many different things. As you probably know, it can mean something is comical, but a smell can also be funny: “it smells funny in here”. This means it doesn’t smell very nice, or there is a weird smell. Also the British expression: “ I am not being funny but…” is used to soften a complaint which follows the phrase.
  • Smash it!: Apart from its literally meaning (e.g. “I smashed a glass”) this expression can mean “Go for it!” or “to achieve/win something”. For example, if you have an exam and you feel pretty nervous, your friend might tell you: “Good luck! Smash it!”. On the other hand, if your friend gets a good mark, you might say “He smashed it!”.
  • Nice one!: British people will use this expression both sarcastically and sincerely. When being used sincerely, it can be used to express feelings of gratitude, recognition and likeability… But sarcasm? Imagine your friend spills a drink. You might say “Oh nice one!” – in this context, it loosely means “That was silly…
  • Dodgy: When you hear the expression “this looks a bit dodgy!”, remember it is nothing about dogs!. It actually means that something doesn’t look very honest, legal or simply “not right”.
  • Loo: You will be surprised how many words you will find for bathroom and loo is one of them! Loo, toilet, washroom, bathroom, ladies’, men’s… the list goes on.
  • Bloody: Don’t worry, it’s not a violent word… it has nothing to do with “blood”.Bloody” is a common word to give more emphasis to the sentence, mostly used as an exclamation of surprise. Something may be “bloody marvellous” or “bloody awful“. Having said that, British people do sometimes use it when expressing anger…
  • Boss: You might know the meaning of this word as your supervisor or person in charge at work, but it also has another meaning: you can say that something is “boss” to say something is extremely cool: “Dude, that’s so boss”. Also, if someone achieves something with a high level of success, you can say that they did it “Like a boss”.


So there you have it – as if the English language wasn’t complicated enough. Listen out, and enjoy! 😛


See you on busuu

Leave a Comment:


  1. nemat

    very good words.very easy and intersting to learn.thanks to .

    • Anna - busuu

      Thanks! 🙂

  2. Aliucha

    Oh Thanks for all that knowledge I have now

  3. Aliucha

    I love it thanks

  4. Edgar Borrero

    Really Very , very nice these new words that I learned today in English language of busuu courses , Thank you dudes

    • Anna - busuu

      Thank you for your kind words! 🙂

      Continue learning with busuu!

  5. c

    Hi guys,
    “bloody marvellous” : marvelous please, with 1 l only

    • Anna - busuu

      It could be a good idea for a blog post!
      Marvellous (UK)/ Marvelous(US)

      Thanks! 🙂

  6. Tiziana Fragner

    Always HAPPY to receive your interesting news-letter !!!!!!!!!!
    THANK YOU !!!!

    • Anna - busuu

      Thank you for your kind words!! 🙂
      Glad you like it!:)

  7. Jean Njari

    I highly appreciate your information on English skills. Go ahead

    • Anna - busuu

      thank you!! 🙂


    I love english language and your newletter…. thank you..

    • Anna - busuu

      Thanks for your nice words!

      Continue your language learning with busuu! 🙂

  9. Rosi

    Nice….I like it….thank you

  10. Shahlo

    Thanks a lot. I’m sure these expressions will be very usful for all of us.

  11. Lorna

    Hi, great expressions, I hope you send us more, thanks

  12. Rosimeire Vieira

    Thank you very much!

  13. Martha Castillo

    I like study with bussu, I apreciate that nice words

  14. Erum asif

    Magnificient , informative and helpful
    Send us more words

  15. Victor

    You smashed it, like a boss!!!

  16. Basil muhsin

    Nice .. Thanx

  17. !!!

    I face problem with speaking I know all verbs grammars because my study but for speaking I can not Please can you help me to get out of this problem I being embarrassed when talking english with my own language in the same time when I explain thing to my teacher ?????????

  18. Andre

    Oh, Nice one… Sorry, it’s a joke. Thanks

  19. Raimundo

    Very interesting. I want more. I’d loved. Thanks.

  20. Yahia

    Je suis satisfait de ces informations vraiment je suis heureux

  21. Moha

    I like it,that’s very kind of You!!!

  22. Carlos Mir

    Thanks a lot for your help.

  23. Vagner

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  24. Oksana

    That was very fine and useful information, thank you very much!

  25. Tussy

    Muchas gracias
    Very good words
    I’m going yo study its
    Thanks Busuu

  26. Jorge

    Nice one,for learn these expressions thanks.

  27. Dler Karem

    It is bloody marvellous.

  28. Aurora Viu

    Very interesting and utility words
    . Thanks.

  29. Paulaom

    I think a good and important one is: Cheese, as something sentimental, maudlin, melodramatic, corny. It could be also learned at: http://www.lingua-online.com

  30. Jess

    Not being funny here mate, but I think it’s a bit cheeky that some people fancy reading these bloody blogs about us british people. If I wasn’t so knackered i’d smash it, and these dodgy people reading this on the loo should all go to their boss and resign, and i’d bet he’d say ‘Nice one, cheerio!’.