Zed, Crikey, Knackered, and Nesh: Deciphering British English

April 30, 2014

Zed, Crikey, Knackered and Nesh: Deciphering British English - Sweet and Savoring

When our English relatives visited two weeks ago, I loved having the opportunity to be the cultural minority without needing to travel anywhere. Our group consisted of Andy, his sister Liz, her husband Ian, plus me: three English people and one American. We had a great time together, whether we were traipsing all over creation or just hanging out playing Apples to Apples in the evenings.

The best part was learning some new vocabulary. Sometimes when I heard Liz or Ian say a new-to-me word or phrase, I had to stop and ask them to repeat it. Other times, I was able to glean the meaning, no interruption necessary. Some of these I was familiar with already, either from Andy saying them once in awhile, or from books/movies. Some, like nesh, were completely new to me.

British Words & Phrases and Their Meanings

Crikey: Akin to wow, oh my gosh, etc.

Cor blimey: Another exclamation of surprise

Knackered/shattered: exhausted (that was all four of us every night)

Nesh: Basically, this is the word I’ve been searching for to describe myself and my sensitivity to temperature. Adjective: wussy, lightweight.

All right, [name]? Hey, what’s up, how are you.

Slip road: Highway on/off ramp

Settee: Couch. (I always had this idea in my head that a settee was some formal, straight-backed piece of furniture, but nope, it’s a regular couch)

Chip Butty: A sandwich of English chips (what we’d call French fries), essentially. This was completely new to me!

Courgettes: Zucchini

Aubergine: Eggplant

Zed, Crikey, Knackered and Nesh: Deciphering British English - Sweet and Savoring

And a few words and phrases that Andy says fairly regularly, but I hadn’t heard before I met him:

Zed: the letter Z

Bob’s your uncle: That’s it/everything’s done

Happy as Larry: Very happy (this may have originated in New Zealand)

Cheap and cheerful

Higgledy-piggledy: In disarray, scattered, a mess.

Full of beans: Energized, awake, ready for action

Washing-up liquid: Dish soap

Washing powder: Laundry detergent

Damp squib: A let-down, disappointment, anti-climax (one of my favorites)



This is the last post in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge for April. Today’s theme was Z for Zed. I did it! 🙂

You Might Also Like

  • Marjie Murter Walenta May 1, 2014 at 3:53 am

    Crickey, I am knackered, my apartment is higgledy-piggledy and I could really go for chip butty, but overall, I am cheap and happy as Larry, especially since I a had the fine privilege of reading your blog! Great stuff!

    • Christy May 1, 2014 at 10:20 am

      Haha! Thanks for the laugh, Marjie 🙂

  • Sophie Bowns May 1, 2014 at 6:02 am

    I’m proud to be British. Chip butty anyone? 😛

    • Christy May 1, 2014 at 10:27 am

      Ian ordered it when we went to the Chip Shop in Brooklyn, but apparently it wasn’t up to par, sadly!

  • Rachel May 1, 2014 at 9:06 am

    This list is fantastic! It’s so interesting to see how expressions are different even though we all speak “English.”

    I’ve worked with a couple of people from Canada who use many of these, especially “Zed.”
    Rachel recently posted…K-Couple Photo-Filled WeekendMy Profile

  • cantaloupe May 1, 2014 at 10:52 am

    I will never get used to “zed” for “z,” despite the fact that everyone here uses it. I mean, it totally makes sense because it doesn’t get confused with other letters anymore, but like… it still weirds me out, haha.

    • Christy May 1, 2014 at 6:14 pm

      I don’t think I’ll get used to it either! Andy says ‘Zed Zed top’ for ZZ Top, and it’s just too odd.

      • Andy May 2, 2014 at 4:14 pm

        I’m being ironical dear 🙂
        ‘Zee’ ‘Zee’ Top is about the only acceptable use of your version of Zed imo

  • Crystal May 1, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    Love it! I knew quite a few of those, but I’ve never heard of “courgettes”!

    • Christy May 1, 2014 at 6:34 pm

      I think that’s the one I was most familiar with beforehand, ha!

  • Stephanie May 1, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    I barely knew any of these – but I did know zed. Found you through Bloppy FB page.

    • Christy May 1, 2014 at 6:42 pm

      Thanks for coming by & commenting, Stephanie! 🙂

  • Deb Rothaug May 1, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    Congratulations on making posts all the way from A to Z! This was a fun one, too, I like knackered…maybe cause it’s familiar right now!
    Love you!

    • Christy May 12, 2014 at 1:33 pm

      Thanks, Mom! 🙂

  • Frau Dietz (Eating Wiesbaden) May 2, 2014 at 10:24 am

    This is a great list – I’ve never heard of nesh, though – is it short for something? Where are your English folk from? Perhaps it’s a regional one…

    Very much enjoying having a root around your blog – thanks for finding me! 🙂

    • Christy May 12, 2014 at 1:34 pm

      My husband’s family is from the Midlands- Leicester/Birmingham etc. I first heard nesh from my sister-in-law but I found it on that list I linked to above!

  • vishalbheeroo May 4, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    I use damp squib quite often and loove ur list. Congrats for completing the challenge and what a Zany post to end..The Great English Battle.

  • Ask Away Friday with Bold Fit Mom - Sweet and SavoringSweet and Savoring January 22, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    […] places I would love to travel to and most likely will next are London, England, and Cardiff, Wales. Andy is from the UK and went to university just north of Cardiff, so he’s talked about it a lot and I can’t […]

  • %d bloggers like this: