It's a universally acknowledged truth that you can't spend any time in London without picking up a phrase or two of road lingo.
What is a roadman, you ask? I'll hand it to Urban Dictionary on this one...
Roadman: Roadman comes from 21st century slang, which describes a child (usually in their teens) as someone who knows the ins and outs of their area and the people in the area inside out; You will also participate in popular events such as pick up, drive (cruise), parties, etc.
London's infamous roadmen have their own language, but I'll let you in on a little secret. There's not much to it.
So whether you're a jaded mom trying to figure out what the hell your kid is saying, or just wanting to up your cool factor with a little local slang, when you read this little dictionary, you'll be in conversation.empty thingswith the best of them. You are welcome.
How to Speak the Roadman Language Like the Real Deal
Now, it can be very difficult to understand roadman language well.
If you want to sound natural, the key is not to overdo it: don't use too many slang words at once or you'll soundbait.
You'll find that a lot of roadman slang relies on repeating words and giving them a different meaning. You probably recognize many of the words in this dictionary, but do you know what roadman means?
Roadman's Jargon Dictionary
Roadmen basically have their own language. Keep an eye out for these words when visiting London.
Let's start with a phrase you'll hear a lot. 'Allow' means stop doing something or put something aside. Most of the time it is hired to 'get down'.
B - Plano
One of my favorites, 'bait' means obvious. If someone is being "bait" it means they are being obvious and annoying. A bit like someone trying to use roadman phrases without knowing what they mean.Bait.
B – Bruv
Another common word in London roadman slang. 'Bruv' is short for brother and is often used between men to address each other, whether they are brothers or not.
B - No
'Nu' is a small word that can be used in many contexts. It means 'really', but depending on the situation, it can also describe having a lot of something.
There are some spelling variations on this, you may also see it spelled as 'bookey' or 'booky' (note: pronounced boo-key).
'Buki' can be used to describe a strange or strange person or thing, i.e. 'bruv, that person is naked buki'.
B – Pssaro
Although somewhat controversial, "bird" is a very common way of describing women in roadman slang.
C - winches
'Chirps' is fun: it means talking to someone. If someone is trying to flirt with you, you can ask, "Are you trying to yell at me?"
C - clap your hands
The word 'clap' is mean but very funny. It's a way of describing someone who is less attractive to look at (aka butterz).
Be careful using this, you don't want to offend a roadman.
First introduced by grime artist Lethal Bizzle in 2012, "dench" can be used to describe anything or anyone that is good or attractive.
E - Finish
You will often hear a roadman say, "those are my extremes", it simply means this area is where they are from.
F - Family
'Fam' is one of the most common words in roadman slang. Similar to 'bruv', it is used to greet someone who is not necessarily familiar but very close.
F - Fresco
'Fresh' means new and is usually used to describe something positively. It goes perfectly with the next roadman slang.
G - Clothing
Clothing comes from the word clothing, which means clothes. You might hear someone say, "I like your clothes clean," which means you like your clothes new.
G - gassed
If you're excited about something, change that word to "gassed". I hope you're excited because you're learning roadman slang.
It is also used inargot cockney, 'geezer' can be used in a positive or negative context to refer to a man.
H - bass drum
Now we all know the word 'hype', right? It has a similar positive meaning to roadmen, but believe me when I say this word ison all sides.
The phrase "believe the hype" is a commonplace, meaning that something is really good and deserves all the praise it gets.
I am not
'Innit' is classic roadman slang that is all too easy to overdo. Literally, the word is a contraction of 'isn't it?' and is used at the end of sentences to affirm what you just said. Learning roadman language is easy, isn't it?
J – Chistos
As you can imagine, something that is 'joke' is very funny. Although it can also be used sarcastically to describe something that isn't really funny. Context is the key here.
G - Largo
This word is often used to describe tasks that are difficult or will take years to complete, i.e. 'nah this is so long family'.
It means kissing someone. If you go out for a night out in London, you might find yourself kissing someone after a few drinks.
M – Mandem
Men often use 'mandem' to describe their group of friends. Your crew is your command.
Nang is one of the slightly rarer roadman slang words, so you'd be forgiven if you have no idea what it means. It is actually something positive and means that something is good.
OR - Property
Ownership is a word that dates back to the 1990s among Internet hackers, but has since found its way into the roadman lexicon.
It means to dominate and is usually shouted when someone has been defeated in an argument or game.
To pair someone is to insult or ridicule them.
P - Ecl
'Peng' is one of those words that keeps popping up in videos where Americans guess UK slang... and for good reason. It's such a funny word, but it's so random.
It means attractive, it is usually used to describe a beautiful woman.
Somewhat confusingly, "spike" can be used to describe a situation that is either good or bad. Most roadmen will use the word negatively, i.e. "that's peak", although many places in the UK describe something positive as peak.
When you're in London, you're more attached to the negative meaning.
R – Reh Teh Teh
This one is fun. 'Reh teh teh' is used at the end of a list to mean etc.
R – Role com
If you 'roll with' someone, it means you spend time with someone. Although it can also be used figuratively to indicate that you get along with someone.
'Safe' is one of those roadman slang words that is completely nuanced. It usually means that something is good or great, but you can also use it to say hello or goodbye to someone.
Often paired with peng, i.e. 'she's a peng ting', it is literally just a contracted version of 'thing' and is often used by teamsters.
V - Molesto
While this word is not just used by truck drivers, it means anger and is often used as "why are you angry?" You can also ask someone, 'Are you trying to make me angry?' which means, are you trying to make me angry?
W - Wasteman
One of my favorite roadman insults. A 'waste' is someone who is acting silly or being annoying.
W - Chicote
In grime music, you often hear someone rapping about driving a "German Whip" which means a German branded car.
If someone is excited about their new car, they might say, 'bruv, take a look at my new whip.
There you have it, an A-Z (okay, technically A-W) of roadman phrases and slang that you can incorporate into your own chat to make it feel real. Try wearing something the next time you're out and about.
Looking for more London cultural guides?
Look at these...
Argot de rima cockney
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One of the most frequently used roadman slang terms is “fam.” It's used to greet someone you're close to but who isn't necessarily family, much like the word “bruv.”How do roadmen say hello? ›
Firstly, it's a means of greeting someone. The British tend to say 'hello'. The Muslims say 'Salum Wa Alaykum'. In the world of London roadman slang, we say 'safe'.What does my G mean? ›
'My G' is about his younger sister Gracie, who he calls 'G'. Aitch has two younger sisters, who are non-identical twins. Aitch new album 'Close To Home' 2022: release date, songs, tracklist and more.What is a Roadman in USA? ›
ˈrōdˌman, -mən. plural roadmen. : one who works at the building and repairing of roads and especially of logging roads.What is a new roadman slang? ›
- Example: 'Allow the messy hair' / 'Can I change the music? ...
- Example: 'You're being bait' / 'Don't bait me out' / 'Ignore them, they're just baiting you'
- Example: 'You're bare fit' / 'That's bare annoying'
- Example: 'What's up cuz? ...
- Example: 'You get me fam'
Luv is a written form of the word 'love', when it is being used as an informal way of addressing someone.Are you mad UK slang? ›
“Are you mad?” may be an American way of simply asking whether someone is annoyed, but in Britain translates as “are you insane?” or “crazy?” You have to use cross or angry in Britain, if you don't want to be sectioned (committed to an institution).How are U UK slang? ›
'Hiya' or 'Hey up' – these informal greetings both mean 'hello' and are especially popular in the north of England. 'What about ye?' is popular in Northern Ireland and is another way of saying 'How are you?' 'Howay' is popular in the north east of England and means 'let's go' or 'come on'.What does Buki mean? ›
Noun. buki. child, boy, girl, kid.What is a 63 slang? ›
Rule 63. (Internet slang, fandom slang, informal) The proposition that it is possible to find genderswapped versions of every fictional character, especially as fan art on the internet.
- Glow-up: Think of this term as a way of describing how someone improved from where they used to be.
- Slay: This word means to do something well or to do a good job.
- Bet: Bet is a way of saying “yes” or “OK” or “it's on.”
- Vibing: Gen Z is big on vibes.
What's your 20? is part of a system of radio codes called 10-codes. They developed in the late 1930s when police squads began using two-way radio to communicate. One was 10-20, meaning “location.” Asking What's your 20? emerged as a way to seek another's whereabouts.What does OG mean in slang? ›
ˌō-ˈjē variants or less commonly O.G. plural OGs also OG's or O.G.s or O.G.'s. slang. : someone or something that is an original or originator and especially one that is highly respected or regarded.What does GG mean? ›
(online gaming, slang) Good game; commonly used at the end of a gaming match; also sometimes used to end an argument. (slang) Good going; may be used genuinely or sarcastically.What does SMH stand for? ›
"Smh" is an abbreviation for "shaking my head," according to Merriam-Webster.What does Mad mean in Roadman slang? ›
It means “doing something crazy or random”.
You are moving mad, dude!”
For “peak” now means bad and, specifically, a “random” bit of bad luck, and any roadman, or rebellious teenager (are there other kinds?), understands this. Just like the word “sick”, which switched from meaning ill to something extremely good some while ago, “peak” has changed sides.What are the latest slang? ›
- Extra. This is another way of saying that someone or something is too much or over the top. ...
- Snatched. You don't have to worry if you hear your teen saying that someone or something is snatched. ...
- Finsta. ...
- Flex. ...
- Lowkey. ...
- Straight Fire. ...
- Shook. ...
UK slang. someone, usually a young man, who spends a lot of time on the streets and may use or sell drugs, or cause trouble: He thinks he's some kind of roadman.What are the 2022 slang words? ›
- On Fleek.
BAE is an abbreviation for baby or babe. BAE refers to a person's significant other. It can be used as a term or endearment or as an adjective.What is British slang for boring? ›
Dry – dull, boring.What is British slang for cool? ›
8. Dynamite/Wicked. Dynamite is used for awesome and cool. Wicked too is used to convey the same meaning.How do the British say crazy? ›
Not necessarily intended in a bad way, "bonkers" means “mad” or “crazy.” Used to mean if something is a bit stupid. It's not particularly offensive, just a mildly silly or foolish piece of UK slang. This term means to run away, usually from some trouble!What's a British word for crazy? ›
Barmy – Crazy or insane.How do Brits say angry? ›
You often hear Americans say that they are “pissed”, meaning that they are angry or annoyed. British people also use the phrase “pissed off”, which means the same thing.Is whatever a rude word? ›
The term is used either to dismiss a previous statement and express indifference or in affirmation of a previous statement as "whatever will be will be". An interjection of "whatever" can be considered offensive and impolite or it can be considered affirming.What do British call fries? ›
Chips (UK) / French Fries (US)
Meanwhile, Brits call fat strips of potato that are (usually) deep fried and eaten with plenty of salt and vinegar “chips”. In the US these are “French Fries”, or often just “fries”.
noun. wrangle [noun] an angry argument.What does Mackin a girl mean? ›
to flirt with or make sexual advances toward someone (often followed by on): They spend their nights macking on the ladies.
1. General. chano [m] CL teen. person of the lower social class, especially someone who has a liberal sexual conduct.What is a Roadman slang? ›
(roʊdmæn ) Word forms: plural roadmen. countable noun. Some people use roadman to refer to a young person who spends a lot of time on the streets in a group, and who may be involved in selling drugs. [informal, disapproval]What is a roadman slang UK? ›
UK slang. someone, usually a young man, who spends a lot of time on the streets and may use or sell drugs, or cause trouble: He thinks he's some kind of roadman.What words do gangsters say? ›
- bean shooter - a gun.
- beef - a problem or complaint.
- blow one down - to kill someone.
- bop - to kill.
- bruno - an enforcer; gangster tough guy.
- bump - to kill.
- button man - a hit man; killer for hire.
- can opener - safecracker.
It's impossible to talk about Grime aesthetic without mentioning the so-called Roadman Style, the 2000s British culture that has become one with grime music (a musical genre born in the same period as opposed to the U.K. Garage).What is the hottest British accent? ›
The Mancunian accent has been voted as the sexiest in UK, according to a new survey. People with the 'Manc' twang have this year been considered to be the most desirable, a survey by Best Casinos has now revealed.What is the nicest British accent? ›
So, want to know which region came top? It was the 'Welsh accent', whatever that is, with 20 points. This was closely followed by the Yorkshire accent, with a total of 15. The top five was rounded out by the West Country (13), Newcastle (10) and Northern Ireland (five).What is the thickest British accent? ›
People from Newcastle speak a dialect called Geordie, which is one of the strongest and most distinctive accents in England.