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Quiz: Cockney Rhyming Slang

Updated on November 23, 2016
Gloriousconfusion profile image

I love a good quiz - but of course it has to be about things I know, so no good if it's sport or celebs. I still do pub quizzes with friends

Here's my London Cockney quiz - let's see how you do!

How's your knowledge of English, as spoken by the local Londoners......well, not all Londoners, just the Cockneys?

Rainy Day in London - Outside the Law Court, The Strand

Source

Here is an explanation to help you understand what Rhyming Slang is:

The History:

A Cockney is generally defined as someone who was born within the sound of Bow Bells,St Mary-le-Bow church being in East London, which, until recently, was an English working-class district.

Cockney rhyming slang developed in the Nineteenth Century as a secret way for people to communicate with each other, and was thus used mainly by people who had something to hide, such as thieves and smugglers. To some extent it is dying out, because the phrases used are no longer secret. However, people still like the idea of rhyming phrases, and new ones have recently developed, such as "Barack Obamas", meaning "pyjamas".

How it Works:

Basically, you take a pair of associated words (e.g. "Barnet Fair"), where the second word is to rhyme with the word you actually mean(e.g. "hair"), but then instead of using the word "Fair", you use the first word of the associated pair to indicate the word you originally intended to say. So, if a Cockney says "she's got a red Barnet" then in your mind's eye you think Barnet = Barnet Fair = Hair, so it means "she's got red hair".

Similarly, if the said Cockney says "She's had a lot of work done on her boat":

Boat is associated with "boat race", so the rhyme you need to find is: What rhymes with the second word "race"? And, of course, the word that rhymes is "face".

Thus you arrive at the meaning: "She's had a lot of work done on her face".

Here are some more Cockney expressions:

Would you Adam and Eve It?

The second word "Eve" rhymes with the word "believe", so the meaning is "Would you believe it?"

Confusingly, you can see from this that sometimes you don't use a shortened form of the phrase, i.e. a Cockney would not say "would you Adam it" , but would only use the whole phrase "would you Adam and Eve it".

Common expressions are "he's a tea leaf" meaning "he's a thief". And if you say someone is telling "porkies", think "porky pies" and you then get the meaning that he's "telling lies."

Simple, isn't it (I don't think!)?

Let's test your knowledge and understanding of Cockney in this Quiz


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Here is a Book About Language and Rhyming Slang

Muvver Tongue
Muvver Tongue

I have read it and really enjoyed it - it is very amusing if you are into dialects and the writer knows his stuff.

You can get it very cheaply now, if you don't mind second hand good-as-new books, as it has been in print for a long time.

In fact, it's tweep-tweep (I made that one up myself).

 

Cockney Rhyming Slang on YouTube -

You'll get the idea a bit more after hearing these

How do You Feel About Cockney Rhyming Slang?

Do you ever indulge in Cockney Rhyming Slang yourself?

See results

Did you learn something new? Would you like to add your comment, good, bad or indifferent? Please do - I love to hear from people

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    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 7 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      This is almost Australian! (Although I went through too fast and hit the wrong button on #8,. I know perfectly well what a porkie is- we even had a Prime Minister nicknamed Hawke and the expression changed to telling Hawkies here).

      Curiously, there are a couple of differences. A tea-leaf is a thief where I live and a titfer is something you wear on your head. I suppose it's not so very surprising that rhyming slang is deeply rooted in this former penal colony even if a couple of expressions have changed over time.:)

    • Gloriousconfusion profile image
      Author

      Diana Grant 7 years ago from United Kingdom

      This was not a Pommie aberration - a tealeaf is indeed a thief, and a titfer a hat - I must have just hit the wrong button when I was drafting the quiz, and I have now put it right, thanks to your puzzled observations!

    • PositiveChristi1 profile image

      PositiveChristi1 7 years ago

      I scored 100%, but I am a Londoner with Cockney grandparents so I was brought up with this stuff.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 6 years ago from Central Florida

      that was fun, though my answers were just guesses on the quiz.

    • ChaosAndCritters profile image

      ChaosAndCritters 6 years ago

      My father in law is a bloody Cockney... asked me once to ask my husband about his "Hampstead". Took me freaking forever to figure out HOW that had anything to do with TEETH! (Hampstead Heath)

    • makingamark profile image

      Katherine Tyrrell 6 years ago from London

      I scored 100% and am not a cockney but have lived in London for 30+ years. Interesting to see how may I used routinely! Nice lens - thimbs up.

    • Gloriousconfusion profile image
      Author

      Diana Grant 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      @Virginia Allain: Yes, guessing is part of the fun. My partner is really up on Cockney slang, and some of the things he says are quite mystifying for a moment, as I run through the alternatives in my mind - I'm sure he makes some of them up just to fool me!

    • Gloriousconfusion profile image
      Author

      Diana Grant 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      @ChaosAndCritters: What about this one, for the time: Chinese dentist - toof hirty (two thirty)

    • Gloriousconfusion profile image
      Author

      Diana Grant 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      @makingamark: ...and thumbs up too! Are you sure you didn't have a butcher's first?

    • BuckHawkcenter profile image

      BuckHawkcenter 6 years ago

      This was so much fun! After I took the quiz I discovered why I got so many wrong. I got a great chuckle from this and I love to chuckle. Angel Blessed* and featured on Angelography!

    • Gloriousconfusion profile image
      Author

      Diana Grant 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      The mind boggles! What did you find out?

    • Gloriousconfusion profile image
      Author

      Diana Grant 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      @oneskms: Well done - I'm an Essex girl and I certainly would have difficulty with understanding a Northern accent, except my son-in-law is a Scouser, and that has been an eye-opener, when he has a bit of fun with us and talks Scouse slang.

    • Gloriousconfusion profile image
      Author

      Diana Grant 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      @BuckHawkcenter: Thanks so much for Angel Blessing and being featured on Angelography - I shall now have a look.

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 6 years ago from New Zealand

      Fun Quiz. I would have thought New Zealand English was more similar. I only got 50%.

    • Gloriousconfusion profile image
      Author

      Diana Grant 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      @RhondaAlbom: Yes, but maybe you're too posh - this is the language of blue collar workers and wheelers and dealers - a sort of code so that the other side won't understand what they are saying!

    • profile image

      fReEdOmLiFe 6 years ago

      This is a great lens. Thanks for making it. Very informative. I gave you a thumbs up.

      I like your lens.Thanks for the recommendations.

      --------------------------------------

      Kitchen microwave review

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 6 years ago

      I only got 10% - pretty bad but I'm American - give me a break! At least I tried it.

    • Stazjia profile image

      Carol Fisher 6 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

      A really good light-hearted quiz, very enjoyable. I got them all right but I've lived in London and written about cockneys so it would be embarrassing to get any wrong.

    • mivvy profile image

      mivvy 6 years ago

      Lovely quiz, I had 80%, geat fun and I learnt a lot

    • bt55 profile image

      bt55 6 years ago

      7 out of 10, 1 I got wrong I should have remembered, the other two I had to guess. My Mother used a couple of the sayings and we got a good serving of British television back home in New Zealand, so wasn't too hard.

    • pumpnut lm profile image

      pumpnut lm 6 years ago

      This was a hard one. Got a bit of help from Cary Grant.

    • profile image

      tssfacts 6 years ago

      Great fun didn't do as well as I thought I should have.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Very informative read, thanks for putting up this lens.

      -----------------------------

      Penrith Carpet

    • pinkrenegade lm profile image

      pinkrenegade lm 5 years ago

      I learned new slangs.

    • firstcookbooklady profile image

      Char Milbrett 5 years ago from Minnesota

      Well. I scored 1 of 10. "I say, Tally ho, chop chop... " [that's modified slang for my score[tally] is not very high [chop, chop] ... i think i'm learning. [smile]- until i hear different, of course...

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 4 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      I've seen Cockney rhyming slang before and it always tickles me that this is common Australian everyday speech :-)

    • peterb6001 profile image

      Peter Badham 4 years ago from England

      awight luv?, cheers me old china, that was blinding! Some goldies in there.

    • IrisHoppenbrouw profile image

      IrisHoppenbrouw 4 years ago

      Fun idea. Did very badly on the quiz, but enjoyed the lens even more. :)

    • Ahdilarum profile image

      Ahdilarum 4 years ago

      Scored only 4/10

    • Gloriousconfusion profile image
      Author

      Diana Grant 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      @Ahdilarum: perhaps that's because you're posh

    • Arachnea profile image

      Tanya Jones 3 years ago from Texas USA

      I'm fascinated with cockney slang.

    • Lynn Klobuchar profile image

      Lynn Klobuchar 3 years ago from Minneapolis, Minnesota

      I learned quite a bit. Thanks for the primer.

    • profile image

      Colin323 3 years ago

      10 out of 10! Who's a clever boy, then! Mind you, I lived in east London for 30 years.

    • Gloriousconfusion profile image
      Author

      Diana Grant 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      @Colin323: Good on yer, mate!

    • profile image

      anonymous 2 years ago

      I did a lot of guessing and somehow got six right. Very interesting to see how different people use language.

    • Gloriousconfusion profile image
      Author

      Diana Grant 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      @anonymous: Makes you think, doesn't it?

    • profile image

      Olivia 21 months ago

      Got one right by guessing.....oh my!

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 7 months ago from Brazil

      I spent 20 years in the UK, so I scored 100%, although some of those I hadn't heard. I still use many of phrases, especially with my kids. Now that I am in Brazil on a farm, I'm usually cream crackered.

      I think it's important to keep nuances in languages going. Thanks for the history of it and giving me some new phrases to use.

    • Gloriousconfusion profile image
      Author

      Diana Grant 5 months ago from United Kingdom

      I was just reminded of another one today - did you know that slang for Scots is "sweaties" - think "sweaty socks". A bit unflattering, but, there you are, I didn't make it up myself, just pointing it out.

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