12 British phrases you need to know when studying in the UK
International students, this one’s for you!
To help you battle British slang, we’ve translated 12 common phrases you’ll hear a LOT during your time at uni in the UK.
Brits often add ‘-red’ at the end of any word to describe someone after one too many beers.
Example: “John got hammered at the pub last night.”
Refers to the burning end of a cigarette.
Example: “I’m going outside for a burn.”
An abbreviated term for aggravated or irritated.
Example: “Sarah got so aggy earlier when I told her I used up the milk.”
Describes something that is basic and simple in its function.
Example: “I didn’t do anything fancy for my presentation; it’s pretty bog standard.”
An abbreviated term for umbrella.
Example: “Ugh, look at the rain. I’ll grab my brolly.”
6. Cost a bomb
This phrase is often used when something is surprisingly pricey.
Example: “That new text-book cost me a bomb!”
7. Spilling the tea
‘Tea’ originates from drag culture and can be used on its own to mean gossip or news.
Example: “OMG, I need to spill the tea about last night!”
8. Have a gander
Take a look.
Gander means stretching your neck to see and is thought to refer to the long neck of a goose.
Brits will say this when they’re checking something out.
Example: “I need an outfit for tonight so I’m gonna have a gander in Primark.”
This is an exclamation.
You might hear fellow students say this to express their surprise or alarm about something.
Example: “Blimey! My lecture starts soon, I better get going!”
10. Sods law
This phrase sums up the idea that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong (eventually).
Example: “I was going to submit my essay but the WiFi is down! Sods law, I guess.”
11. The chippy
Any ‘Fish and Chips’ shop.
Your local chippy will sell a range of food other than chips (or fries), and it’s definitely worth a visit while you’re in the UK!
Example: “I’m gonna pop to the chippy, do you want anything?”
12. Glass of squash
A flavoured syrup or cordial that you dilute with water.
Very popular among British students, it’s similar to Kool Aid in America.
Example: “I fancy a nice glass of squash with my dinner.”
And there we have it – a handful of phrases to add to your vocabulary, and use at uni with your pals!
For more help with baffling British phrases, read our international student’s guide to British slang.