Moving to London

So you’re moving across the pond to London, eh? Think you’ll know what they’re talking about over there, do ya? Moving abroad even to a country with ostensibly the same language, can be pretty stressful. As George Bernhard Shaw is reputed to have once written: “America and Britain are two countries divided by a common language.”

Check out this blog post for some additional tips that will help a lot in your international move to the UK.

Once you’re living in London, don’t ever say you’re going to be wearing a vest to a meeting – because people will look at you pretty weirdly: a vest is a British undershirt: what you really mean is a waistcoat. And if somebody tells you to take a walk on the pavement, don’t think they’re trying to get you run down in the street; they mean a sidewalk.

When relocating to the UK, use this basic guide to common London slang to reduce culture shock. Start buffing up (learning) a bit now, and you’ll soon get the hang of it in time for your relocation:

  1. Bob’s your uncle”: well, no, maybe you don’t have an uncle called Bob (or even Robert if you prefer): it just means: “and there you have it!” It could be commonly used in the following sense: “Take the long end, tie it to the short end, pull them tight, and Bob’s your uncle!” – “You’ve done it – success achieved!” or “She slipped the officer 100 quid (pounds) and Bob’s your uncle, she was off the charge.” Nobody is really sure of its origins, but there are a number of interesting theories.
  2. Ta”: – thanks! The word is originally Danish because English language roots are really Danish or Jutland. The Danish word for Thanks is “tak”. With common usage the “k” was dropped to become “Ta”. Not to be confused with “ta ta” (you might actually hear it pronounced “ta-dah”) which means “goodbye”.
  3. “Naff”: It means uncool. For example, “That was a really uncool (naff) move, mate”
  4. Moreish – something is so good, you want more, as in: “That steak and kidney pie was bloody moreish…I think I’ll order another.
  5. Blimey, what a cockup!” – This common phrase translates to, “My goodness, what a terrible mistake”. Alternatives for “cockup” include balls up, bugger up or even more vulgar. It is used in a situation that is complicated, unpleasant, or difficult to deal with because of someone’s mistake. It has nothing to do with the male anatomy.
  6. Blimey” or “gorblimey” – an exclamation of surprise: “OMG” – originating way back in history as an oath “God blind me…”
  7. Taking the piss” or “taking the mickey Derived from Cockney Rhyming Slang: It means, “gently making fun of something or someone.”
  8. chuffed to bits”: This one means, “very pleased…” One possible origin of “chuffed” is left-over from the archaic description of a tubby rich man who’s just finished an enormous and delightful meal and can’t cram in another single morsel.
  9. Khazi” – aka “loo“: a toilet or lavatory. As in “it’s down the khazi“. Probably derived from Italian “casa – house”, also believed to be most commonly used in Liverpool, away from its cockney slang roots. “Loo” is from French “L’eau” “water”: draw your own conclusions.

And here is a bonus:

Down at the local had a great chin wag with me mate; he told me the trouble and strife and the god-forbids was climbing the apples and pears outside when they went arse over tit down on the floor; then this yob come over an’ helped ‘em up. Woudja Adam and Eve it?” Translation from Cockney rhyming slang: “Down at the pub, I had a great conversation with my friend, who told me his wife and kids were climbing the outside stairs when they fell down and this boy came over and helped them. Would you believe it?”

Good luck when moving to London mate: an’ while you’re at it, take a butchers at the London Eye, or the shops in Oxford Street…and the Best of British to ya’…


Written by Einat Mazafi
Einat Mazafi is the owner of NY International Shipping, an International Shipping and moving company based in New York. She is also a specialist in providing the best relocation solutions to clients worldwide.