Do You Know These British Phrases Well Enough to Translate Them?

By: Teresa McGlothlin
Estimated Completion Time
5 min
Do You Know These British Phrases Well Enough to Translate Them?
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About This Quiz

If you haven't streamed a few episodes of "Doctor Who" or "Prisoners Wives," you've been missing out! If you have, you've probably found yourself occasionally wondering what on earth they are talking about. Americans and Brits might speak the same language, but the differences are as vast as the Atlantic. How well do you think you'll do when you try to decipher some of their most popular phrases?

Have you ever gone to "see a man about a dog?" Are you currently feeling "dishy," "dodgy" or "gutted?" Would you rather go "knees up" or "off to Bedfordshire" this weekend? Throughout this quiz, you'll be asked to act as a translator. When you see the British phrase, it will be your job to define it using American terms. Whether you're "jammy" or you simple speak fluent British, you might learn a new phrase or two! 

Do you think you know enough British phrases to make it through this quiz, though? Take your best shot at figuring out what they mean, and you'll feel "well chuffed" by the time you reach the last question. Will your results make you feel "over the moon," or will you need to book a flight for more practice? "Chivvy up" and find out!

budge up
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You're riding the train and someone asks you to "budge up." What do they want you to do?
Stand up
Scoot over
Pay for your ticket
Go out on a date
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Don't worry! You're not being accosted. When a Brit asks you to "budge up," it's their way of letting you know that you're taking up too much room. You are being asked to scoot over a little.

Bob's your uncle
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If you hear a Brit say "Bob's your uncle," what do they mean?
It's kind of like saying "voila!"
All Brits have an uncle Bob, so they're just mentioning it.
It means you've done something stupid.
I think it means that you need to see a man named Bob.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Not everyone in the UK has an uncle Bob. When you hear someone say that "Bob's your uncle," they are not actually referencing a person. It's another way of saying "presto" or "ta-da" or "voila."

bog standard
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Do you have any idea what's meant by the phrase "bog standard?"
It has something to do with the bathroom.
That's another way of saying that something is plain and ordinary.
I think it means that something is sloppy.
In England, it means that everything's wet and swampy.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

This is not a bog-standard quiz. No way! This quiz is far from unordinary or plain. When you hear a British person use the phrase, they are saying that something comes without bells and whistles.


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How is a British person feeling when they say they are knackered?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The use of the word "knackered" is another way to express one's exhaustion. After a long day of work, it's not uncommon to hear someone with a British accent saying that they are too knackered to go out for the evening.

I'm gutted
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What might a British person say when they are feeling deeply disappointed?
"I'm knackered."
"I'm cheeky."
"I'm gutted."
"I'm narky."
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Whether their team has lost the match or they're upset about losing their job, a Brit would say, "I'm gutted." Being "gutted" is a popular way to describe a feeling of sadness or disappointment.

crusty dragon
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Which part of your body would be the location of a "crusty dragon?"
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

We're sorry to be gross, but that's what the British say! Unless a "crusty dragon" has found its way to another part of your body, boogers usually remain in or near your nose. Hopefully, they make their way into your tissue.


off to Bedforshire
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Where is someone going if they are "off to Bedfordshire?"
The countryside
The linen store
To sleep
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Even though there is a place called Bedfordshire on the British Isles, "off to Bedfordshire" is another way of saying that it's time to go to bed, hit the hay or turn in for the night.

it's monkeys outside
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If "it's monkeys outside," what is the weather like?
Nice and comfortable
Sunny and hot
Freezing cold
Raining and warm
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

When something is crazy in the United States, we say that it's bananas. We're not sure how the Brits relate monkeys to cold weather. Nonetheless, "it's monkeys outside" means it's extremely cold.

dog's dinner
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When you go out looking like the "dog's dinner," how are you dressed?
Ready for exercise
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Being told that you look like the "dog's dinner" might not sound all that flattering. The Brits commonly use the expression when someone wears something that makes them look well polished, but not necessarily suitable for the occasion.


off his trolley
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What does it mean when you hear someone say that their boss is "off his/her trolley?"
It means that their boss is a lot of fun.
I'm sure it's another way of saying that the boss is nice.
It's how you say someone is nuts.
It's the way Brits say that someone has been fired.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Being "off your trolley" doesn't mean that you've stopped riding a shopping buggy around. According to the Brits, it means that someone has lost their marbles and gone completely insane.

see a man about a dog
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When you go "see a man about a dog," where are you going?
The animal shelter
The restroom
A meeting
The doctor
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Let's say you need to use the restroom or you want to go somewhere without giving out your location. The British have a phrase for that! Going to "see a man about a dog" is a way to dismiss yourself from a room discreetly.

made redundant
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Oh, no! You've been "made redundant." What has happened?
I've been broken up with.
I hurt myself and I'm laid up.
I was ousted from a club.
I have been let go from my job.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Donald Trump might like to walk around, saying, "You're fired." That's not how they do it in Britain, though. There, they say that you have been "made redundant." It's a nicer way of saying you've been fired, replaced or laid off.


knees up
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Your British friend tells you that they want to go "knees up" this weekend. What do they want to do?
Go to a lively party
Netflix and chill
Go hiking
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Everyone needs to blow off a little steam sometimes, and dancing is a great way to do it. Plus, saying that you're going "knees up" makes it sound like you're going to have a good time.

throw a wobbly
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What is a British person doing when they "throw a wobbly?"
The walk of shame
Getting in trouble
Having a tantrum
Spending too much money
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

If you've ever seen a toddler screaming, red-faced and in the middle of a tantrum, you've seen someone "throw a wobbly." Wobblies are not only meant for kids. The phrase is also used to describe adult meltdowns, too.

know your onions
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You've been advised to "know your onions" before going on "Hell's Kitchen." What does that mean?
Remember your recipes
Be informed and knowledgable
Watch your back
Get to know the kitchen layout
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

You might know your shallots from your scallions from your Vidalias, but that doesn't mean that you "know your onions." Knowing your onions implies that you are well informed or that you are an expert in your field.


well chuffed
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Your best friend is "well chuffed" about their birthday gift. Do they like it?
They love it!
I think it means that they are angry about it.
Chuffed means that the gift has triggered them.
Your friend thinks you're cheap.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

If your best friend is "well chuffed" about their gift, you have done a great job. The British commonly use the phrase to describe a sense of being pleased or happy with something. We're "well chuffed" that you're taking this quiz.

a bit dodgy
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If something is "a bit dodgy," what's it like?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

You wouldn't want to eat anything in your refrigerator that might be "a bit dodgy." Being "a bit dodgy" means that something is questionable. It could be used to describe anything from food to someone's behavior.

a total nutter
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How is someone behaving if they are being "a total nutter?"
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Being "a total nutter" doesn't have anything to do with peanuts or walnuts. For a Brit, the phrase "a total nutter" is a way to say that someone is acting in a weird or insane manner.


give us a bell
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Your friend says, "give us a bell." What do they want you to do?
Express my opinion
Give all of us a break
Make me a playlist
Give them a call
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Often times, British folks will replace the word "me" with the word "us." In this case, the phrase "give us a bell" means that your friend would like for you to call them when you can.

Her Majesty's pleasure
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If you're visiting someone at "Her Majesty's pleasure," where are you seeing them?
A concert
The grocery store
The library
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Unfortunately, you won't get to see the Queen when you go to "Her Majesty's pleasure." You'll be visiting a prison! The phrase is another way of saying that someone is being detained without the chance of parole.

horses for courses
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Can you correctly figure out what "horses for courses" means?
Horses are meant for racing.
To each their own
The bigwigs are at it again.
Of course, you can do that.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

In the United States, the phrase "a horse is a horse" means that something is exactly what it looks like. For Brits, "horses for courses" is another way of saying "to each their own."


sixes and sevens
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What does it mean when something is "sixes and sevens?"
It's all messed up.
There's a lot of things involved.
It's very childish.
Something doesn't add up.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Should something get messed up, the British say that it's "sixes and sevens." You might also hear them say that something is in "total shambles" or "shambolic." All three phrases mean basically the same thing.

spanner thrown in the works
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When you've had a "spanner thrown in the works," what has happened?
You've broken something and you need a wrench.
Your email box is full of spam.
Something has happened to cause plans to be changed.
A person has let you down.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

No matter how detailed your plans are, there's always a chance that you'll have a "spanner thrown in the works." The phrase means that something has happened to cause you to need to change your course.

splashing out
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What would a Brit be doing if they were "splashing out?"
Going swimming
Gaining weight
Taking a bath
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

"Splashing out" might sound like something fun, and, in the moment, it might be. However, the interest that compiles on your credit card balance when you overspend makes "splashing out" anything but fun!


spend a penny
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If someone is going to "spend a penny," where are they going?
The mall
The pub
The bank
The bathroom
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Whether they're going to the loo or the restroom, the Brits like to say that they are going to "spend a penny." They might dismiss themselves by saying they are "going to see a man about a dog," too!

put paid to
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When a Brit tells you that they've "put paid to," what have they done?
Paid off a bill
Put an end to something
Cashed their paycheck
Created an account
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

If your British friend has recently had rain ruin a footie match, they might say that the weather "put paid to" the game. It's another way of saying that something has been ended by something unforeseen.

a bit dishy
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How does someone look if they are "a bit dishy?"
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

When you translate this phrase, did you think of an attractive plate of food or a sink of dirty dishes? If you thought about a nice dish of Brussel sprouts, you were on the right track. "A bit dishy" is the way the Brits say that someone is good looking.


donkey's years
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Can you figure out how long "donkey's years" are?
A long time
A few days
A fortnight
A couple of hours
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

There's no actual specification of time meant when someone uses the phrase "donkey's years." If you overhear a British person saying they haven't seen someone in "donkey's years," they mean they haven't seen them in a long time.

cheesed off
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What do you think it means when a Brit is "cheesed off?"
They are hungry.
They've been stood up.
They have clocked out of work.
They are angry.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

There are a lot of British ways to express one's anger, but we can't use most of them here! However, we can use the phrase "cheesed off." Being "cheesed off" means that you are seeing red.

loo roll
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This one should be easy — what is the American equivalent of "loo roll?"
Paper towels
A spool of thread
Toilet paper
A sweet pastry
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Whether they use the phrase "loo roll" or "bog roll," Brits are talking about toilet paper. Sometimes, they even call it "lavatory roll." No matter where you go in the world, it's a necessity.


chin wag
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You're asked to go out for a "chin-wag." What are you going to do?
Get a facial
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

If you're asked out for "bants" or a "chin-wag," someone wants to chat. If your friend starts talking and doesn't stop for a long period of time, the Brits would say they were "waffling."

bite your arm off
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"Bite your arm off" is a way to express what feeling?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

"Chomping at the bit" and "biting your arm off" have very similar meanings. To the British, both phrases mean that someone is filled with great excitement. You're "biting your arm off" to know how well you've done during this quiz, aren't you?

best of British
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What is meant by saying "best of British" to someone?
Good riddance
Good luck
Good morning
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

When you are parting company with a British person, they might say "best of British to you." It's their way of wishing you good luck. It's short for the longer phrase "best of British luck."


the full Monty
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What do you think is meant by "the full Monty" treatment?
Going all out
Getting naked
Making something funny
Being skimpy
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

While Americans might remember "the full monty" treatment involving nudity, it's not what the Brits mean when they say the phrase. There, it means that someone is going above and beyond what's required.

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If a task is a "doddle," how hard is it?
Super hard
Difficult but doable
Not worth trying
Easy peasy
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Quiz taking can be difficult or it can be a "doddle." British folks use the word to describe something that is "easy peasy." "Easy peasy" is another phrase they use to describe simple tasks.

You Got:
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