On the 4th of July, every American celebrates their independence from their British oppressors by blowing up large chunks of their country with high-grade explosives. Sure, independence came with some measly benefits such as centuries of freedom and prosperity, but is that really such a good thing? Since you’ve been gone, us British folks developed a whole complex lexicon with which to insult each other with. You defectors are really missing out.
However, being the benevolent master that I am, I’ve decided to produce a quick guide to try and bridge the gap between us. Think of this as a cultural exchange program; by the end of which you’ll be begging to be part of the empire once more. Allow me to enlighten you in the art of Great British swearing:
Acceptable Uses: “That wanker just nicked 10 quid”; “Joe is a massive wankstain”
Wanker and Wank are very versatile words that can be thrown around in almost any circumstance. It’s a swift, sharp sounding word which can be used endearingly, or if spoken with enough venom, can produce a weighty insult. The word “Wankered” is also a suitable term to describe a person’s state of inebriation, as in the phrase “I’m going to go and get absolutely wankered tonight”.
Acceptable Uses: “Don’t be such a tosser”; “Joe’s been tossing off into the septic tank again”
Tosser is a lighter version of Wanker and, as such, should only be used in jest. If used with vitriol, this swear word doesn’t have the required impact and can backfire on the user in most social situations. Take caution with this word and only use with close friends.
Acceptable Uses: “That skirt’s so short you can almost see her twat”; “Joe’s new hat makes him look like a massive twat”
Twat is another multi-use word with several different meanings. First of all, a twat can be an unaffectionate name for a woman’s vagina. Secondly, a person can be accused of acting like a twat if he or she is deemed to be behaving in a negative manner. Thirdly, if a person is acting like a twat, you are fully entitled to twat them, aka violently assault them with clenched fist.
Acceptable Uses: “I bet she has a ginger minge”; “Joe is such a minge bag”
Another derisory term for a lady garden, minge is a very particular word. Minge is an all-encompassing word which describes the internal and external parts of the vagina. I have once heard the term “minge bag” used, but it’s effectiveness as an insult was not fully diagnosed. What is a minge bag? How do you get them into a bag? What kind of bag is up to the challenge?
Acceptable Uses: “That meal was well minging”; “All the girls think that Joe is a minger”
Minger as a concept enjoyed brief popularity in the early noughties thanks to the success of mingers.com. The word quickly died out, but the term “minging” soon sprung up as an adjective to describe something that is an affront to the senses. For example, food from Little Chef should always be described as minging.
Acceptable Uses: "Joe is a massive fucking knobhead"; "A knobhead is Joe"
Taken literally, this can either mean a person who has a penis on their head, or a person who exhibits the same characteristics as the helmet of a circumcised phallus. Although the exact definition varies from place to place, the insult is used in a similar way. A knobhead is basically an idiot.
Acceptable Uses: “Let me in, I’m busting for a shite”; “Joe is an utterly useless sack of shite”
Shite is just a dirtier way of saying shit. It has all of the same application as the word shit, but rhymes with night. Feel free to throw it into a conversation for a little bit of variety.
Acceptable Uses: “Bloody hell fire”; “Joe can bloody well piss off”
A northern curse used in cases of mild or extreme anger. In the north of England, it is a common sight to see someone stub their toe and exclaim “bloody hell”. It’s a delightful little swear word that most children graduate to before they learn their first fuck.
Acceptable Uses: “Bugger my arse”; “Bugger off Joe, no one likes you”
Bugger is an odd word. It is usually delivered in a friendly, jovial circumstance, and is often used by adults towards children who are undergoing mischief. It’s common for a parent to say “you cheeky bugger” if a child does something rude or silly. However, buggery is also a term for anal sex. Quite how this word has become acceptable to say in front of kids is rather baffling.
Acceptable Uses: ”Joe’s wee bawbag is showing”
One from our Scottish cousins, bawbag is basically what it sounds like (bawbag=ballbag=scrotum). It can be used as an insult or, as I learned during a trip to Edinburgh zoo, can also refer to male underwear. It’s a lovely word that everyone should use.
This is just a small sample of what you’re missing. For more information, feel free to submit to the will of our great nation, and we will consider your request. If you have any questions about anything I’ve written, just send a letter to the Queen. She’s sure to pass it on when everyone in England goes to Buckingham Palace together for Sunday lunch. Tally bye!
P.S. If you see Joe, tell him he owes me a tenner.