Cockney Rhyming Slang

Cockney Rhyming Slang is a specialised form of slang used in the East of London. It is a kind of antilanguage where words are replaced by phrases that rhyme (sound the same): North and south = mouth Adam and Eve = believe Sometimes, the last word is dropped.

Why is Cockney Rhyming Slang called so?

A Cockney is a Londoner; the original definition was someone born near enough to hear the bells of Bow, which meant people in the east of the city. The word Cockney means the egg of a cockerel (male hen) and was meant as an insult, implying dishonesty in business deals by trying to sell non-existent or low quality goods, or so the story goes. The term is now used happily and proudly by the people of the east and north of London, who regard themselves as the 'real' Londoners in a very cosmopolitan city where a lot of the population have come in from other areas of the country or abroad.

As well as having a distinctive pronunciation and many grammatical features, the language of London is most notable for its Rhyming Slang. This consists of using a phrase that rhymes, sounds the same, as the word you want to say, so 'telephone' becomes 'dog and bone'. Unfortunately, many of the phrases then lose the second word, making it very hard for the outsider to guess the original meaning; 'rabbit' for 'talk' comes from the phrase 'rabbit and pork', but few would be able to guess it.

A lot of the original rhyming slang appeared among the market traders in the east end of London in the 19th century, but it is still used and new words and phrases are being invented all the time. At the moment, it is very fashionable to use famous people's names, so the DJ Pete Tong is used meaning 'wrong'- 'thing's have gone Pete Tong'.

Here is The List of Cockney Rhyming Slangs beginning with

Haagen Dazs: (UK) Haagen Dazs = arse (bottom, butt)

Hairy chest: (UK) Hairy chest = best I did me hairy chest.

Hairy knees: (UK) Hairy knees = please

Half inch: (UK) Half inch = pinch (to steal)

Hampstead Heath: (UK) Hampstead Heath = teeth

Hank Marvin: (UK) Hank Marvin = starving Hank Marvin was a guitarist in the 1960s.

Harry Potter: (UK) Harry Potter = squatter (someone who occupies a house or flat without paying any rent)Harry Potter is a fictional character.

Harry Ramp: (UK) Harry Ramp = tramp (homeless person) Harry Ramp is a name in a song about a tramp.

Harry Wragg: (UK) Harry Wragg = fag (cigarette)The Harry Wraggs are Partick Thistle Football Club

Hat rack: (UK) Hat rack = back (part of the body)

Hell for leather: (UK) Hell for leather = Weather

Cockney Rhyming Slang Index

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