What is Cockney rhyming slang?

10 April, 2017 Languages Erin O'Neill



Cockney rhyming slang phrases are formed by taking an expression which rhymes with a word, and then using the expression instead of the word. For example, phone rhymes with dog and bone. Sometimes you won’t say the rhyming word, for example you won’t hear many Cockney’s calling their friend a China plate, but they will say my old China. The construction varies, and there aren’t set rules to follow.

Learning some Cockney rhyming slang is a good way to expand your vocabulary and knowledge of British popular culture. Because there aren’t really any set rules to follow, and the construction of sentences in Cockney rhyming slang varies so much, it is best to just memorise the phrases and the way they’re used. Here are a few examples of Cockney rhyming slang and how to use it properly:


Adam and Eve - believe

“I can’t Adam and Eve it!”


Apples and pears – stairs

“I nearly tripped down the apples and pears!”


Aunt Joanna – piano

“Give us a tune on the Aunt Joanna.”


Baked bean – Queen

“The baked bean’s on TV giving her Christmas speech.”


Barnet fair – hair

“Keep your barnet on mate.”


Brown bread – dead

“If you don’t tidy your room by the time I get back, you’re brown bread.”


Bubble bath – laugh

“I was only havin’ a bubble.”


China plate – mate (friend)

“Nice to see you me old China.”


Lady Godiva – fiver

“New takeaway’s opened up, main meal only a Lady Godiva.”


Teapot lids – kids

“It’s time to pick the teapot lids up from school!”


Do you want to win a four week English course with accommodation in London? Take a look at our COCKNEY RHYMING SLANG COMPETITION, made in collaboration with popular YouTuber, Korean Billy.

All our classes are now available online, click here to learn more.
Also try our One-to-One online classes, click here to learn more.
Enquire now
Please enter your first name
Please enter your last name
Please enter a valid telephone number
Please select your nationality
Please select your country of residence