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?
Image: Flashpop / DigitalVision / Getty Images

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

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Bob's your uncle If you hear a Brit say "Bob's your uncle," what do they mean?
It's kind of like saying "voila!"
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."
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.

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bog standard 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.
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.
I think it means that something is sloppy.
In England, it means that everything's wet and swampy.

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knackered How is a British person feeling when they say they are knackered?
Angry
Energetic
Tired
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.
Goofy

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

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crusty dragon Which part of your body would be the location of a "crusty dragon?"
Foot
Stomach
Nose
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.
Buttocks

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off to Bedforshire Where is someone going if they are "off to Bedfordshire?"
Bedford
The countryside
The linen store
To sleep
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.

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

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dog's dinner When you go out looking like the "dog's dinner," how are you dressed?
Dapper
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.
Casual
Ready for exercise
Pajamas

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off his trolley 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.
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.
It's the way Brits say that someone has been fired.

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

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made redundant 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.
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.

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knees up 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
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.
Netflix and chill
Go hiking
Workout

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

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know your onions 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
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.
Watch your back
Get to know the kitchen layout

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

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a bit dodgy If something is "a bit dodgy," what's it like?
Questionable
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.
Perfect
Automotive
Sweet

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a total nutter How is someone behaving if they are being "a total nutter?"
Crazy
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.
Nice
Hangry
Nosy

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give us a bell 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
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.

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

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

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

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spanner thrown in the works 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.
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.
A person has let you down.

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splashing out What would a Brit be doing if they were "splashing out?"
Overspending
"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!
Going swimming
Gaining weight
Taking a bath

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

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

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a bit dishy How does someone look if they are "a bit dishy?"
Scary
Older
Attractive
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.
Sleepy

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

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cheesed off 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.
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.

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

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chin wag You're asked to go out for a "chin-wag." What are you going to do?
Chat
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."
Drink
Eat
Get a facial

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bite your arm off "Bite your arm off" is a way to express what feeling?
Anger
Hunger
Exhaustion
Excitement
"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?

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best of British What is meant by saying "best of British" to someone?
Good riddance
Good luck
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."
Goodbye
Good morning

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

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

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