A Conversation for Cockney Rhyming Slang

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Post 1


Ruby = Curry (Ruby Murray)

Poppy = Money (Poppy Red -> Bread -> Bread & Honey -> Money)

Peckham = Tie (Peckham Rye)

Hampsteads = Teeth (Hampstead Heath)

Rabbit = Talk (Rabbit & Pork)

Even though rhyming slang is probably used less these days, it's never died out; and has certainly spread across the class system. People pick it up (either self-consciously or otherwise) and a great deal of it has become common parlance.

So keep your minces peeled and your shell-likes pinned back.....

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Post 2


DESMOND = a 2 - 2 score or uni result (from Desmond Tutu)

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Post 3


Ruth Randalls = Sandals

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Post 4


Cock Linnet = minute

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Post 5


Taking the Micky / Michael = Taking the Piss

From an English character called Michael Bliss.

Berk = Berkshire Hunt !!!

BTW, Cockney Rhyming Slang was/is London-wide, not just an East End language. It developed as a way for live-in servants to be able to communicate without incurring the wrath of their employers. It was not a way for criminals to arrange blags - not exactly the Enigma code. But when you lived 24/7 in your employer's household you could easily lose your livelihood if you said something disparaging about them. Rhyming slang was a way to chat with other maids, footmen, cooks etc, without losing your job.

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Post 6

Cynic Al

Some originals from my youth -

Pigs Ear - Beer
Deuce and Ace - Face

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Post 7


Captain Kirk - berk He's a right Captain

Frank Bough - off Right, we're doing the Frank

Bobby Moore - sure Are you Bobby?

Custard and Jelly - telly Anything on the custard tonight?

Brahms and Liszt - pissed Too many apples and he's Brahms

Rusty Bath - a half (beer) Just one more rusty for the Kermit*

Dustbin lid - Kid

*Kermit is 2nd phase cockney for road (from frog and toad)

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Post 8


Rhyming Slang has definitely been used across London for a long while. My father was born in Lambeth (South London) just before World War II; and, while I was growing up, I don't think he ever actually said "word", "car", "tea", "stairs", "socks", "suit" or "sleep", only the Ryming Slang for them. Most of those are already listed but here are some that I haven't seen, yet:
Little Bo Peep = sleep
Rub-a-dub-dub = pub
4-b-2 (as in a 4" by 2" piece of wood) = Jew
Tin tack = sack (as in "getting the push")
Salmon and trout = snout (tobacco)
Iron hoof = poof
Jury-rig = fr*g (to ruin something by fixing it badly).
Bye the way, he also used to label people "Berk" quite often. He never told me it was Ryming Slang; and I'm not sure I want to ask if he knows it is, now.

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Post 9


Another that I didn't see on the list was...

Cain & Abel = Table smiley - smiley

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Post 10


I'm not so sure that Berk would be an abbreviation of Berkshire Hunt, cockney rhyming slang is all about how it sounds and Berkshire is pronounced barkshire surely?

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Post 11


We now have Cockney cash points in the East End where we can withdraw our cash in English or withdraw our 'bangers and mash' in Cockney.

There's a few which havn't appeared on this yet:

Huckleberry Finn - pin
Fleet Street - sheet

Spekled hen - ten
Commodore - fifteen

The commodore one is very far removed as well, 15 quid = three fivers therefore three lady godivas, then think of the song, 'once, twice, three times a lady' by Lionel Richie and the Commodores!!!

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Post 12


Can anyone advise where the rhyming slang "shell likes" - ears, comes from?

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Post 13


That's another one my father used all the time. Strangely, it's not Rhyming Slang (it's not a rhyme), it's a straight-forwsrd similie. "Shell-like" is literally "like a shell": ears look like shells. By the way, I did ask him if he knew what the Slang "Berk" was derived from and he said he didn't know; and he didn't think anyone from London would have pronounced Berkshire as "Burksheer"; but as "Barksheer"; so it seems unlikely. Having said that, language and accents do change. In the 19th centuary, Londoners were known to substitute "v"s for "w"s (and vice-versa). If you've ever heard of it, you'll know that (the area) "Southwark" is pronounced "Suvark". This is both demonstrated and noted in Dicken's novels. Just after that, they were known to put "h"s in front of every vowel (which started a word); just the opposite of what we now expect: "dropping" "h"s (I know I'm sometimes still guilty of that).

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Post 14


Me n a couple of my Cockney mates over here in Australia (I'm not Cockney myself, but half my family live in UK or are UK-expats), well, the three of us lately been saying "tha' jus' giz me the Jimmies" (instead of sh!ts).....after the US actor Jimmy Smits. Anyone thinks that's a handy phrase?

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Post 15


one from my youth

J.Arthur Rank - having a J.Arthur

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Post 16


smiley - wow

It's good to have these suggestions - thanks for contributing to the Guide!

Keep 'em coming... smiley - smiley

smiley - fairy

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Post 17


Hope this is not "improper" by the Rules! but surely not nowadays...

Bristols = breasts (Bristol City / titties...)

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