Cockney Rhyming Slang

Published 31st May 2011
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According to a recent report by the BBC, Cockney is set to move east in the next 30 years, out of London and nearer to the surrounding counties. The London accent is expected to be replaced by one influenced by London’s multicultural population, many of whom are not native speakers of English. Professor Paul Kerswill from Lancaster University carried out the study which shows this move toward Multicultural London English, or ‘Jafaican’, if you prefer the slang term.

Apples and pears – stairs.

So, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at some Cockney Rhyming Slang, and I wonder how many of these words you know already… In fact, let’s have a little test – see how much of the text below you can understand (translation below):

‘Allo me old china – wot say we pop round the Jack. I’ll stand you a pig and you can rabbit on about your teapots. We can ‘ave some loop and tommy and be off before the dickory hits twelve.


Hello my old mate (china plate) – what do you say we pop around to the bar (Jack Tar). I’ll buy you a beer (pig’s ear) and you can talk (rabbit and pork) about your kids (teapot lids). We can have some soup (loop de loop) and supper (Tommy Tucker) and be gone before the clock (hickory dickory dock) strikes twelve.

I found this example on Jeremy Alderton’s Cockney Rhyming Slang website, where there is also a Cockney dictionary, and a FAQ section for particularly difficult Cockney phrases.

What’s your favourite Cockney rhyming slang term?

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