10 Weird Phrases English People Say

Although English is the most common language on the planet, there are some very strange idioms that the English use that just don’t make sense to any other countries. Below is a list of 10 phrases the English use that make other nationalities turn to Google to translate.


1. “Bob’s your uncle”

To everyone else in the world it means ‘Ta-Da!’. English people use it to point out when something is obvious, wether you have an uncle named Bob or not.


2. “Knees up”

Having a ‘knees up’ is the English way of saying having ‘a party’. It possibly originates from a time when dancing involved lifting one’s knees up and is strongly linked to  another name for a party; a shindig.


3. “Chin wag”

Wagging one’s chin is another way of saying, ‘having a chat’. Usually used when referring to a gossip type of chat, or a catch up, this phrase is exactly what it says on the tin!


4. “Get stuffed”

Rather then telling some one to F-off, the British prefer to insult someone by telling them to ‘get stuffed’. They don’t specify what they would like you to be stuffed with, that’s up to your own imagination.


5. “A total cock up”

Cocking something up is the same as messing something up, ruining something. When Brits have used the phrase enough, they can always opt for another…’ making a pigs ear out of it’.



6. “Nice one”

This means, ‘thats great’ or ‘thank you’. If you hold a door open for a Brit, if you give a Brit the correct change or if you demonstrate a specific talent in front of a Brit, you will probably be praised with the phrase, ‘nice one!’.


7. “I’m chuffed to bits”

This means, ‘I am very pleased with what’s happened’. Another way Brits can say this is ‘I’m made up’. Eother way, they’re happy.


8. “I’m not being funny but…”

And they’re not being funny, they use this as a way to soften an insult. The phrase ‘I’m not being funny but…’ is always followed with something like ‘this service just isn’t good enough’ or ‘if you continue to treat people like that, no one will want to be around you’.


9. “I’ve got the hump”

This bizarre phrase means they are annoyed. If someone is sulking for whatever reason, it is safe to say that they’ve got the hump with you.


10. “The dog’s boll*cks”

The “B” word is usually understood be foreigners, so to refer to something with this phrase is surprisingly a good think. The dogs boll*cks means something is the best there is.


By Hannah Jones

Hannah is a Manchester based writer who has spent many years studying and working in the field of journalism and psychology. Hannah enjoys swimming, meditation and dog walking. Her favourite quote is, 'If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you.'

1 reply on “10 Weird Phrases English People Say”