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Posted on June 9, 2017
Updated on September 3, 2020
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Cockney Rhyming Slang: Meanings

London cockney rhyming slang words, expressions, meanings, translations, explanations and origins, and Australian rhyming slang expressions

Where does the Cockney Rhyming Slang Originate from?

Cockney rhyming slang is a significant and colourful presence in the English native language. Many Londoners and British people will be surprised to learn that some of the best known English expressions originated from cockney rhyming slang. 

Cockney rhyming slang is an amusing and interesting part of the English language. Originating in London's East End in the mid-19th century, Cockney rhyming slang uses substitute words, usually two, as a coded alternative for another word. The final word of the substitute phrase rhymes with the word it replaces, for example, the cockney rhyming slang for the word 'look' is 'butcher's hook'. Commonly only the first word of the rhyming slang is used, for example, 'butchers' means 'look', whereby the original meaning can be difficult to guess, and in many cases, these single slang words are now widely used by people who are unaware of the cockney-rhyming origins.

The Emergence of the Cockney Rhyming Slang

Rhyming slang began 200 years ago among the London east-end docks builders. Cockney rhyming slang then developed as a secret language of the London underworld from the 1850s, when villains used the coded speech to confuse police and eavesdroppers. Since then the slang has continued to grow and reflect new trends and wider usage, notably leading to Australian rhyming slang expressions, and American too. Many original cockney rhyming slang words have now entered the language and many users are largely oblivious as to their beginnings. 

About this Guide

This cockney rhyming slang listing is not a full dictionary, it shows the most common expressions and meanings, with cockney rhyming origins, and examples of more recent rhyming slang expressions. If you are easily offended, avert your eyes from the rude ones. Many are also very 'politically incorrect' and/or of a discriminatory or insulting nature, so usage other than for reference, and certainly in day-to-day communications, should generally be avoided. Explanations of old and new interesting or amusing cockney rhyming slang not listed here are always welcome - send missing interesting old or new common cockney rhyming slang expressions, meanings and origins.

Common Expressions

For example, the following slang expressions are very commonly used, and yet people do not generally realise they have cockney-rhyming origins:

  • Scarper = go, or run away - originally 'Scapa Flow' = Go
  • Bottle = courage - originally from 'Bottle and Glass' = Arse (suggesting a high tolerance of fear, alluding to the tendency of great fear to induce defecation, as in 'pooing your pants')
  • (and in turn from this) Aris = backside or bottom - (from 'Aristotle' = 'Bottle', from 'Bottle and glass' = Arse - which is an example of a secondary slang)
  • Rabbit = talk, chatter - from 'Rabbit and pork' = talk
  • Bread = money - from 'Bread and honey' = money
  • Porky = a lie or fib - from 'Pork pie' = lie

There are many more examples of common slang words which are actually cockney-rhyming slang, in the listing below.

Meanings and Definitions

This is not a full list of all cockney rhyming slang expressions and meanings - just a selection of the more interesting expressions, including many that have entered everyday language. How many of these commons expressions did you know were originally derived from cockney rhyming slang?

  • Adam and Eve - believe ('would you adam and eve it?')
  • Alan Wickers - knickers (of more recent origin, as featured in the film 'Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels': "keep yer alan's on...")
  • Apples and pears - stairs
  • April (April in Paris) - Aris (from Aristotle - Bottle, from Bottle and glass - Arse)
  • Aris - arse (from Aristotle, see above, or Bottle)
  • Attila (Attila the Hun) - two-one (2i, an upper 2nd class UK university degree)
  • Barnet (Barnet fair) - hair
  • Barney (Barney Rubble) - trouble, now also means argument
  • Basil (Basil Fawlty) - balti (curry)
  • Battle Cruiser - Boozer (public house - apparently used in the film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels - 'Battle and Cruiser' and 'Battleship and Cruiser' are other versions, all dating back to the 1930s, first recorded, pre-dated by actual usage)
  • Berk or Burk (Berkeley Hunt/Berkshire Hunt) - (yes you guessed it - now you know what you're really saying when you call someone a Berk - sources vary as to whether Berkeley or Berkshire came first. Burlington Hunt is another less common version)
  • Bird (bird lime) - Time (prison)
  • Boat (boat race) - face
  • Bobble (Bobble hat and scarf) - laugh ("you're having a bobble", ie., you cannot be serious)
  • Bottle (Bottle and glass) - arse (also meaning courage, from the allusion to loss of rectal control under pressure)
  • Bowler Hat - Cat
  • Brahms (Brahms and Liszt) - pissed
  • Brass Tacks - Facts ('let's get down to brass tacks')
  • Brassic (boracic lint) - skint (penniless - skint is a shortening of 'skinned', a metaphorical reference to having nothing)
  • Bread (bread and honey) - money
  • Bristols (Bristol Cities) - titties (breasts)
  • Brown Bread - dead
  • Bubble (Barf/Bath) - laugh ('you 'avin' a bubble?..')
  • Bubble (and Squeak) - Greek (a Greek person), or a magistrate or judge (beak) or wife (based on rhyming bubble with trouble, from trouble and strife)
  • (Buckshee is not cockney rhyming slang for 'free', as some sources suggest, including here previously. I am grateful to Huw Thomas for pointing me in the right direction about the actual origins of Buckshee.)
  • Bull and cow - row (argument, not row of beans or row a boat)
  • Butcher's (butcher's hook) - look ('give us butcher's..')
  • Canoes - shoes
  • Chalfonts (Chalfont St Giles) - piles (Haemorrhoids)
  • Charlie (Charlie Hunt) - (yes you guessed it again - remember it next time you call someone a right charlie)
  • Chewy toffee - coffee
  • China (china plate) - mate ('me old china')
  • Christmas crackers - knackers (testicles)
  • Christmas crackered - knackered (worn out, exhausted, broken, etc)
  • Cloud seven - heaven
  • Cobblers (cobblers awls, or cobblers stalls) - Balls (testicles, 'you're talking cobblers')
  • Coco/Cocoa - say so (see variations below)
  • Cream crackers/crackered - knackers/knackered (testicles/worn out - also producing the expression 'creamed' meaning exhausted or beaten)
  • Crust (crust of bread) - head
  • Daisy Roots - boots
  • Deep sea diver - fiver (five pounds, especially a five pound note - see money slang)
  • Desmond (Desmond Tutu) - two-two (2ii, a lower 2nd class UK university degree)
  • Dickie Bird - word
  • Dickie Dirt - shirt
  • Ding dong - sing song (now evolved to mean argument or fight)
  • Dipstick - prick (bet you never knew that was rhyming slang)
  • Dirty Den - ten pounds, particularty a ten pound note (see Dirty Den in the money slang page)
  • Dog and bone - phone
  • Donald Duck - luck (or fuck)
  • Douglas Hurd - third (third class university degree) or turd
  • D'Oyly Carte - fart
  • Duch (duchess of Fife) - wife ('me old Duch')
  • Duke of Cork - talk
  • Dunlop Tyre - liar
  • Dustbin lids - kids
  • Earwig - twig (understand, to catch on - now evolved to mean eavesdrop)
  • Elephants (elephants trunk) - drunk
  • Farmers (farmer Giles) - piles (haemorrhoids)
  • Flounder and dab - cab (taxi-cab - seemingly becoming popular again - this slang originated in the mid-1800s when it would have referred to a horse-drawn cab)
  • Flying duck - (yes you guessed it - and now more commonly evolved back to give the expression 'couldn't give a flying fuck')
  • Frog and Toad - road
  • Gary (Gary Glitter) - Bitter (the beer, as in 'a pint of Gary', first recorded 1980s), also Shitter (as in backside or anus - later, from the 1990s, presumably after Gary Glitter's conviction for child pornography offences.)
  • Geoff Hurst - first (a 1st class university degree)
  • German band - hand (particularly used in plural: 'Germans' for hands - apparently German bands were commonly seen in London in the early 1900s - I am grateful to C Isaacson for confirming that 'Germans' was a common expression for hands in 1950s London)
  • Greens (greengages) - wages (money)
  • Ginger (ginger beer) - queer (homosexual)
  • Gipsy's (gipsy's kiss) - piss (urination - this is the noun sense of a piss rather than verb 'to piss'. First recorded in the 1970s the original usage was for example "I need a gipsy's" although more recently usage can drop the apostrophe-S, so that the word gipsy stands alone to mean piss, and the full expression is inaccurately interpreted as 'gipsy kiss'. Other less common cockney rhyming slang kiss associations meaning piss include French kiss, cuddle and kiss, ta ta kiss, and goodnight kiss.)
  • Grumble (and grunt - also groan and grunt, growl and grunt) - the unmentionable - not generally used as an expletive or reference to the female anatomy, but typically as a term for women or one's wife or partner. Cassells states usage is first recorded in the 1930s.
  • Half inch - pinch (steal)
  • Hampstead Heath - teeth
  • Hampton Wick - dick or prick (penis - unusually both words of the slang, hampton and wick, have become popular single-word slang terms, and have spawned secondary rhyming slang terms - such as Lionel Hampton - incidentally Hampton Wick is an up-market riverside 'village' area in the SW London borough of Richmond upon Thames)
  • Harry Wragg - fag (cigarette, including a cigarette containing marijuana, as referred to in the Kinks' song 'Harry Rag' - Harry Wragg was a successful British jockey in the 1930-40s and later trainer, 1902-1985)
  • Hillman Hunter - punter (customer - Hillman Hunter was a car from the 1960s)
  • Hit and miss - kiss or piss
  • Holy ghost - toast
  • Irish (jig) - wig
  • Iron (iron hoof) - poof (homosexual)
  • Jack Jones - alone, (on your own - 'On your Jack')
  • Jacob's (Crackers) - knackers (testicles)
  • Jackanory - story (tall tale)
  • Jam jar - car
  • Jimmy (Jimmy Riddle) - piddle (see more explanation at the cliches origins section)
  • Jimmy Choos - shoes (very recent slang, probably since 1996 given the launch of the Jimmy Choo shoe brand in that year, prior to which Jimmy Choo was a couture shoe-maker in London's East End.
  • Joanna - piano (cockney pronunciation of piano would be 'piana')
  • J Arthur (J Arthur Rank) - wank (masturbate)
  • Jodrell Bank - wank
  • Joe Soap - dope (stupid man)
  • Kettle (and hob) - watch (fob watch - Ack M Kelsey - 'Kettle' means 'watch'. A fob is actually a small pocket in the waistline of the trousers or in a waistcoat, in which a pocket-watch would be kept, often connected and secured via a fob chain. The anachronistic nature of the association today provides an example of how language evolves from something recognisable into something seemingly illogical. For the same reason in years to come people will wonder why we say the 'telephone is ringing', or why flushing the toilet is referred to as 'pulling the chain'.)
  • Khyber (Khyber Pass) - arse
  • Lady Godiva - fiver (£5 see money slang - and especially see how the related 'commodore' = £15)
  • Lionel Blairs - flares (flared trousers)
  • Loaf (loaf of bread) - head ('use your loaf')
  • Marbles (marbles and conkers) - bonkers (mad - probably the root of the expression 'lost your marbles' meaning gone mad)
  • Merchant banker - wanker
  • Mother's ruin - gin
  • Micky/Mickey/Mike/Michael (Micky Bliss/Mickey Bliss) - Piss (according to Cassells and other reputable sources this is probably the origin of 'taking the micky/mickey'. If you know or can suggest who Mickey Bliss/Michael Bliss/Mike Bliss was - the 1940s or earlier, please let us know - Separately, Mick in this sense might instead be a shortening of the medical word 'micturation' meaning urination, and again I would be grateful for any reference supporting this derivation)
  • Minces (mince pies) - eyes
  • Moby Dick - sick
  • Mutton (Mutt and Jeff) - deaf (originally from an American fictional pair of bungling characters called Mutt and Jeff, popularised by the cartoonist HC 'Bud' Fischer in the 1930s)
  • Nellie Duff - puff (breath, evolved into 'not on your nellie' - puff being breath, and breath being life)
  • Nelson Mandela - Stella (the lager beer, typically 'a Nelson' would equate to a pint of Stella - relatively recent slang)
  • Niagara Falls - balls (testicles)
  • North and south - mouth
  • Nutmeg - leg (leading to the soccer term 'nutmeg', meaning to play the ball between your opponent's legs)
  • Oily rag - fag (cigarette - first recorded in 1930s)
  • Old bag - hag (horrible woman - bet you never knew that was rhyming slang)
  • On the floor - poor
  • Orchestra stalls - balls (testicles)
  • Oxo (Oxo cube) - tube (the London Underground train system)
  • Peckham (Peckham Rye) - Tie (as in necktie - incidentally Peckham Rye originally referred to the parkland in the Peckham area of South-East London, now within the Nunhead and Peckham borough, London SE15. Much of the parkland remains. Peckham is derived from Old English peac and ham, basically combining peak meaning hill and ham meaning homestead. The Rye part derives from Middle English rithe and Old English rith, meaning stream.)
  • Pen (pen and ink) - stink
  • Plates of meat - feet
  • Pipe (pipe and drum) - bum
  • Pipe your Eye - cry
  • Plate (plate of ham) - Gam (perform oral sex, from the French term, Gamahucher)
  • Pony (pony and trap) - crap
  • Poppy (poppy red) - bread (- money, from Bread and honey)
  • Porky (pork pie) - lie (fib)
  • Rabbit (rabbit and pork) - talk
  • Radio (Radio Rental) - mental (an offensive reference to someone with mental disability or educational/learning difficulties, or less offensively a reference to a person behaving unconventionally or madly, or a situation which is strange or weird or bizarre - Radio Rental is a slight distortion of the UK company name Radio Rentals, a popular provider of TV rental services in the second half of the 20th century)
  • Raspberry (raspberry tart) - fart (evolved to include 'blowing a raspberry' with the tongue)
  • Raspberry ripple - cripple (today completely offensive, although interestingly prior to the mid-1900s the word 'cripple' was not considered an especially offensive term - unless of course directed as such - otherwise it was a correct acceptable word for a person unable to walk properly due to physical handicap)
  • Razzmatazz - jazz (evolved to mean general excitement)
  • Richard the Third - turd
  • Rhythm 'n' blues - shoes (shortened to 'rhythms' - in use since the 1980s)
  • Rosie (Rosie Lee) - tea ('cup of rosie')
  • Rubber/rubber dub (Rub-a-dub-dub) - Pub (or club)
  • Ruby (Ruby Murray) - curry
  • Sausage and mash - cash
  • Scarper (Scapa Flow) - go, run away (also derived from Italian slang, parlyaree, where the word 'scarpare' means to escape)
  • Sherman tank - wank
  • Skin and blister - sister
  • Sky rocket - pocket
  • Sweaty Sock - Jock (referring to a Scottish man - insulting)
  • Sweeney Todd - Flying Squad (The Sweeney was a big TV police series in the 1970s)
  • Syrup (syrup of fig) - wig (leading to 'golden syrup' meaning a really awful wig)
  • ta-ta - (au revoir - goodbye. Au revoir is French for goodbye. Note this particular rhyming slang is not substantiated and is included here purely for its interest value in having possible cockney rhyming slang connections or influence. Ta-ta meaning au revoir and goodbye via rhyming slang is suggested or inferred by some sources to be a possible origin or contributory factor in the development of the ta-ta or tar-tar slang for goodbye. The precise origins of ta-ta and similar variations, such as tatty-bye, are unknown, and the cockney rhyming link is not proven and likely to remain merely a possibility. Ta-ta meaning goodbye was first recorded in 1837. Ta-ta has other possible links with the theatrical expression, normally shown as ta-dah. Ta-ta is also mainly linked with nursery slang because it is easier for very young children to say than goodbye. Interestingly the ta-ta expression is very popular in India (thanks L Knight) and although evidence generally suggests that it came to India from England in colonial times, this still leaves English origins unresolved. If you are able to shed any useful light on this matter - i.e., any possible cockney rhyming connections between ta-ta and au revoir and goodbye, or Indian origins - please get in touch.)
  • Taters (potatoes in the mould) - cold
  • Tea leaf - thief
  • Tiddly (tiddly wink) - drink (now evolved to mean drunk)
  • Thora Hird - third (3rd class university degree)
  • Threepennies/Thrup'neys (threepenny bits) - tits (see money history and slang for more about thrup'ney bits)
  • Titfer (Tit for tat) - hat
  • Toby jugs - lugs (ears)
  • Tod (Tod Sloane) - on your own, also alone ('on your tod' means on your own)
  • Toe rag - slag (originally meaning a girl of easy virtue, but now evolved to mean an unpleasant person)
  • Tom (tomfoolery) - jewellery ('Tom' now means any stolen goods)
  • Tom and Dick - sick
  • Tom (Tom Tit) - shit
  • Trolley (trolley and truck) - yes you guessed it... used in the verb sense of fornicating, rather than the oath expletive form (according to Cassell's this also gave rise round 1910 to the naval slang expression of 'trolley-oggling' referring to voyeurism - see also 'off your trolley')
  • Trombone - phone
  • Trouble (trouble and strife) - wife
  • Turkish bath - laugh
  • Two and eight - state ('in a right old two and eight')
  • Uncle Dick - sick
  • Vera Lynn - gin (or skin, meaning cigarette rolling paper)
  • Weasel (weasel and stoat) - coat
  • Whistle (whistle and flute) - suit
  • Wick - prick or dick (penis - from Hampton Wick)

(Thanks for contributions: Lyndon, Daryle, AP, F Miller, G McLaughlin, R Sennah, M Kelsey, C Isaacson, P Morris, N Sutherland, C Gunderson, R Anderson, C Foster, S Barnard, P Lavery, S Philpott, P Virtue, A Crofts, R Lane, W Harrison, H O'Mahony, N Chamberlain, R Reece, J Martinez, P Burden, P Robinson-Griffin, T Inglis, S Liscoe [micturation/micky connection], I Barlex.)

Variations and Rhyming Slang 'Secondaries' and 'Tertiaries'

These more complex constructions are worthy of special explanation.

  • Apple - Piss (derivation: Apple and Pip - Sip. Sip has long been backslang for Piss)
  • Aris - Arse (derivation: Aristotle - Bottle. Bottle and Glass - Arse)
  • April - Arse (with anxious or frightened connotations, derivation: April in Paris - Aris. Aristotle - Bottle. Bottle and Glass - Arse)
  • Bunny - Talk (derivation: Bunny - Rabbit. Rabbit and Pork - Talk)
  • Charlie - Berk (derivation: Charlie Smirke, a leading English jockey from the 1930s-50s - Berk. Berk, from Berkeley Hunt (see above), and see more explanation at the cliches origins section.
  • Cocoa/coco - say so (derivation: unusually uses the rhyming part of coffee and cocoa or tea and cocoa; coco is a distortion, perhaps because people think it relates to Coco the Clown)
  • Colin - Todd (from Tod Sloane - alone, or on your own - thanks N Halsey for reminding me that Colin Todd was well-known England international and club footballer in the 1970s) If anyone has more information/dates/regional usage for Colin Todd meaning 'on your tod' please let me know.
  • Flash/flashy - a show off, showy dresser (derivation: Flash of light - sight - 'what a sight he looked')
  • Grass - informant (derivation: evolved from original Grasshopper - copper - a policeman)
  • Hampton/Wick (Hampton Wick) - prick or dick (penis - see main Hampton Wick entry above - Hampton and Wick each became strongly established slang from the one slang phrase, giving rise - no pun intended - to the jocular names for the male member, Hugh Jampton [ huge hampton], and Lionel Hampton [after the famous vibes-playing jazz musician]. The Hampton Wick slang also lead to expressions to 'dip your wick' [to have sex], and 'get on your/someone's wick' [cause annoyance]. Hampton Wick is an old village riverside area of SW London in the borough of Richmond upon Thames.)
  • Macaroni - crap (to have a crap - derivation: Macaroni - pony. Pony and trap - crap. Also means £25 - 'A Pony' being the old English slang phrase for this sum of money.)
  • Poppy - money or cash (derivation: Poppy red - Bread. Bread and honey - money.)

(Thanks to N Halsey, S Hartill, Adam, and J Saunders for contributions)


Australian Rhyming Slang

Australian Rhyming Slang

Some of these Australian rhyming slang expressions have origins in England. Many have Australian origins. If you know other Australian rhyming slang expressions please send them to us.

Adrians (Adrian Quist) - pissed (drunk) (Adrian Quist 1913-91, Australian tennis champion of 1936, 1940 and 1948, and prolific doubles winner - including ten consecutive Australian championships with partners Jack Crawford and Don Turnbull, 1936-40 and 1946-50, either side of the 2nd World War. In all Quist won 17 majors including doubles at Wimbledon, US, French and Australian.)

  • After darks - sharks
  • Al Capone - phone
  • Almond rocks - socks
  • Annalise (Annalise Braakensiek, Australian glamour model, pronounced Brak-en-sak) - 'crack, back and sac' (hair removal from intimate male body parts by waxing)
  • Asteroids - haemorrhoids (piles)
  • Babbler (babbling brook) - cook
  • Barry/Bazza (Barry/Bazza Crocker) - shocker (something awful or shameful - after Australian comedian Barry Crocker, who became a household name in the 1960s-70s. He also sang the original Neighbours soap opera theme song, and is credited with the expression 'technicolour yawn' meaning vomit, among many and various other comedic achievements.)
  • Bat and ball - stall (a car - quite separately 'bat and ball' are used in the sense of someone taking away or losing his/her bat and ball, being a metaphoric allusion to a childish huff or departure from a group activity or cause)
  • Bag of fruit - suit
  • Barney (Barney Rubble, the Flintstones character) - trouble
  • Bib 'n' bub - pub
  • Billy lids - kids
  • Billygoat - tote
  • Blood and blister - sister
  • Blundstone (Blundstone Boot is a workman's boot) - ute (Australian and NZ abbreviation of a workman's 'ultility vehicle' - either a sedan/saloon car comprising cab and flat-bed or tray back, or a more rugged US-style 'pick-up' small truck.)
  • Bob Hope - soap/dope (marijuana)
  • Bowl of fruit - suit
  • Brace and bit - shit, or arguably more commonly tit (breast)
  • Brittos/Britneys (Britney Spears) - beers
  • Bulli pass - arse (Bulli is pronounced Bull-eye)
  • Butchers (butchers hook) - crook/look (Larry Hall, Oct 2007 says: "...Butcher's hook in Australian rhyming slang means only crook (in turn meaning sick, off-colour, hung-over), as in for example, '...Struth I'm butchers, I'm as crook as Rookwood...' - Rockwood being the oldest and major Sydney cemetery. Butcher's hook is never used for 'look' as it is in Cockney slang; Captain Cook is used for 'look'...")
  • Captain Cook - look
  • Cat's hiss - piss
  • Cheese and kisses - missus (wife or girlfriend)
  • Charlie (Charlie Wheeler) - woman (sheila)
  • Comic-cuts - guts
  • Country cousin - dozen
  • Dad 'n' Dave - shave
  • Daptoes (Dapto Dogs) - wogs (offensive racist term - Dapto is a Dog track in NSW - the following additional information is provided by Larry Hall, October 2007: "...I was raised in Dapto; a town notable only for its greyhound race-track. The weekly event was known simply as the Dapto dogs. The derogatory term 'Dapto dogs' was used only as a slang euphemism for 'wogs' meaning Mediterraneans, not for blacks. Also 'chockoes' - chocolate frogs. MacRobertson’s chocolates made a small chocolate frog for kids named 'Freddo' so freddo-frogs, or freddoes for short, also became a derogatory term in the post-war immigration period for Italians, Greeks, Yugoslavs, etc...")
  • David Gower - shower (as in a bathroom or changing-room shower - David Gower, English cricketer and great batsman, played many times against Australia. Many will remember him also for notoriously 'buzzing' the field of play flying a Tiger/Gypsy Moth biplane while his team-mates batted against a Queensland side towards the end of England's 1990-91 tour.)
  • Dead horse - (tomato) sauce
  • Dickory dock - clock
  • Dig in the grave - shave (for example, "a dig in the grave in Gawler Place" - Gawler Place is face - thanks J Tan)
  • Dog and bone - phone
  • Dog's eye - pie
  • Dry rots - trots (diarrhea)
  • Ducks and drakes - shakes
  • Ducks and geese - police
  • Eau de cologne - phone
  • Fiddly-dids - quids
  • Gawler Place - face (Gawler Place is a well known thoroughfare in Adelaide - a small yet main traverse of the retail area of the city - thanks J Tan)
  • Gay and hearty - party
  • Germaine Greer - ear
  • German band - hand (particularly used in plural: 'Germans' for hands - this slang originated in England, among some others in this list)
  • Gin sling - ring (eg., phone ring)
  • Ginger Meggs - legs
  • Goose's neck - cheque
  • Gregory Peck - cheque/neck
  • Grey-nurse - purse (a grey-nurse is a type of shark)
  • Ham and eggs - legs
  • Hammer (hammer and tack) - back
  • Hard hit - shit
  • Harold - bolt (run away - Harold Holt, Australian Prime Minister who disappeared while swimming)
  • Henry - turd (Henry the Third, a variation based on the more common Richard the Third)
  • Hey-diddle-diddle - middle; piddle
  • Hoffman brick - dick (penis)
  • Horse and cart - fart
  • Horse's hoof - poof (offensive term for a male homosexual)
  • I suppose - nose
  • Jam tart - heart
  • Jack and Jill - bill (restaurant bill)/pill (contraceptive)
  • Jatz crackers - knackers (testicles - the wife of a hen-pecked husband is said to have his jatz crackers in her grey-nurse (meaning purse - grey-nurse is a type of shark)
  • Jimmy Britts - shits
  • Jimmy Dancer - cancer
  • Joe Blake(s)/Joey Blake(s) - snake/shake(s)
  • Joe Hunt - (unmentionable)
  • Johnny Bliss - piss
  • Johnny Horner - corner
  • John Hopper - copper (policeman)
  • King Hit - shit
  • Lemon lime - good time
  • Lemon squash - wash
  • Lionel Rose - nose (Lionel Rose was Australia's first Aboriginal world champion boxer. He became Bantamweight champion in 1968.)
  • Liz - poo (Liz Two, referring to Elizabeth the Second - and which apparently gives rise to the wonderful expression 'drop old Liz off at the pool', meaning go to the toilet.)
  • Loop-the-loop - soup
  • Mal Meningas - fingers ( Mal Meninga was a prominent rugby league footballer in the 1980s and 90s.)
  • Mallee root - prostitute
  • Metric miles - piles (haemhorroids)
  • Mickey Fritt - shit
  • Mickey Mouse - grouse
  • Mollo/molly the monk - drunk
  • Moreton Bay fig - wig (Moreton Bay is the large bay near Brisbane. It was originally Morton's Bay, named by Captain Cook in 1770 after James Douglas, Earl of Morton, the Past-President of the Royal Society, but the spelling changed by about the 1880s. Ack TW)
  • Mort's dock - cock (penis - Mort's dock was a shipping berth in Sydney harbour for loading export wool from the major wool dealers Elders, Smith, Goldsborough, Mort Ltd., ack Larry Hall.)
  • (on the) Murray Cod - (on the) nod (on credit)
  • Mystery bags - snags (sausages)
  • Nanny-goat - tote
  • Near and far - bar
  • Ned Kelly - belly
  • Niagaras (Niagara Falls) - balls (testicles)
  • Noah's Ark - shark
  • Now is the hour - shower
  • Oliver Twist - pissed
  • Onka (Onkaparinga) - finger (thus Onkaparingas - fingers - Onkaparinga is the brand name of a high quality Australian wool blanket, ack L Hall.)
  • Optic nerve - perve (pervert)/look (have a look)
  • Oxford scholar - dollar
  • Pat Malone - alone (on my own/on your own)
  • Piccadily - chilly
  • Pig's ear - beer
  • Pot of good cheer - beer
  • Red hot - pot (of beer)
  • Red hots - trots (horse-racing)/(diarrhea)
  • Reginalds (Reg Grundies) - undies (underwear)
  • Rhodes scholar - dollar
  • Rifle range - change
  • Rodney Hogg - Bog (toilet or related verb meaning - Rodney Hogg was an Australian fast bowler who played in tests 1978-85.)
  • Rubbity-dub - pub
  • Sandy McNab - cab
  • Saint Louis Blues - shoes
  • Seppo/Septic tank - yank (apparently a more popular modern alternative to 'tin tank')
  • Siralash - cash
  • Snake's hiss - piss
  • Snag sanga - sausage sandwich (not rhyming slang although it looks like it could be; snag is from snags/snaggers - sausages, probably derived from snag meaning snack)
  • Soda roll - goal
  • Soldiers bold - cold
  • Spanish dancer - cancer
  • Squiz/Squizz/Squizzy - look at - glance at or inspect something discreetly (as in 'have a squiz' or 'have a squizzy' - thought by some to derive from rhyming slang 'little crook' meaning look, after Squizzy Taylor, a notorious Melbourne-based gangster. According to Wikipedia (Feb 2010) Taylor was once a jockey and so was conceivably a little man. He was certainly a crook. Joseph Leslie Theodore Squizzy' Taylor, 1888-1927, was nicknamed Squizzy because of a droopy ulcerated left eyelid, and apparently because he ran in a 'squizzy' manner, (for which I'd be grateful to receive explanation). Squizzy Taylor seems to have become well known in Australia by about 1915. According to Cassells, squiz is Australia and New Zealand slang dating back to the 1910s, and could additionally or instead derive from the word squint, or a combination of squint and quiz. The squint/squiz meaning could of course could be a simpler single reason for Squizzy Taylor's nickname - logically a drooping eyelid equates to a squint - and nothing to do with the way that he ran. Squiz is also an earlier (than 1910) Devonshire expression meaning 'examine critically', and is proposed by Cassells as a possible origin of the Australian slang, which is much less exciting than the gangster connection. The different spelling of squizz appeared later in Australia/NZ in the 1930s. Like other uncertain origins, squizz and its variations may owe their popularity to more than one source, so even if the Squizzy Taylor 'little crook' rhyming slang derivation theory is not the ultimate explanation, the story arguably helped reinforce usage and wider adoption of the slang. Further to this, I am grateful J Wyatt, who informed me [Mar 2014]: "...I live in Melbourne, Australia, and Squizzy Taylor is well remembered as a violent gangster, and many here would associate the term 'squiz' with him; I always thought it referred to the way he looked at people, not a physical condition. Squizzy was a jockey for a while, he dressed stylishly, and was behind several murders. He died after a shoot out with a rival in Carlton...")
  • Steak and kidney - Sydney
  • Sticky beak - peek
  • Stiff shitty - city
  • Stock and die - pie, or arguably more commonly tie (neck tie)
  • This and that - hat
  • Tin lids - kids
  • Tin tank - yank (see also septic tank)
  • Titfer (Tit for tat) - hat
  • To and from - pom
  • Tom Tits - shits (diarrhoea)
  • Trams and trains - brains/drains
  • Tray bits - shits (diarrhoea - in pre-decimal currency days a tray bit or trizza, trizzy was a three-penny coin - see the slang money page glossary of slang money words)
  • Trizzy bits - shits (diarrhoea - see tray bits - a trizzy bit was slang for a threepennny coin)
  • Uncle Willy - silly
  • Wally (Wally Grout, Australian wicket-keeper) - shout (turn to pay, normally to buy a round of drinks)
  • Warwicks (Warwick Farm) - arms (arm)
  • Werris (Werris Creek) - leak (a pee, noun, as in urination, e.g., 'I need a werris...' - Werris Creek is a mining town in inland New South Wales, Australia.)
  • Williamstown piers - ears (Williamstown is a port town in the state of Victoria boasting a number of historically significant piers)
  • Woolly woofta - (offensive term for a homosexual)
  • (No) Wucking Furries - (no flipping worries - polite version - actually this is a spoonerism rather than conventional rhyming slang)
  • You beaut - ute (utility vehicle - predates Blundstone by 50 years, ack Larry Hall)
  • Young and old - cold

Zubrick - prick (penis - possibly related to Arabic? If you know please contact us.)

American Rhyming Slang Expressions?

American Rhyming Slang Expressions?

Apparently other rhyming slang expressions originated in the USA, although seemingly usage is rather less common than in the UK and Australia, to say the least. This one below is suggested (ack RH) as having originated in 1930s USA. Know any more?

  • Oily rag - hag

If you want to learn more about cockney rhyming slang, the Cockney Rabbit book below is highly recommended. For additional entertainment try the excellent free online translation site at where you can translate phrases and emails into cockney rhyming slang (as well as other slang styles). It's a very full dictionary of Cockney rhyming slang, written with humour and lots of useful side information about the roots of these wonderful cockney rhyming words and meanings.

See also the cliches origins section on this website for other amusing and interesting derivations, definitions and origins of expressions and words. See also cockney money slang, money history and other money slang expressions, meanings and origins in the money slang article.

If you have suggestions or queries about Cockney rhyming slang, Australian rhyming slang or American rhyming slang please contact us.

(Thank you for contributions: B Criddle, P Hosford, K Mitchell, C Scott, S Yates, T Webster, R Harland, J Brown, J Cox, D Cart, LF, J Duffield, N Laws, K Cooper, G Foley, C Donnolley for the squizz/Squizzy Taylor suggestion, Jay, T Caldwell, J Tan, and particularly thanks to Larry Hall for his many contributions and several helpful corrections.)

See also