5 Iconic British Words Used In Everyday Speech

Hi from Speak More Clearly, it’s Maggie here!

Great you are here to learn about five iconic British words that are commonly used in everyday speech:


1. Bloke  /bləʊk/

This term is used to refer to a man or a guy. It’s a casual and colloquial way to describe an individual, similar to “dude” or “guy” in American English.

For example: I saw this bloke at the pub last night who was really funny.

Don’t forget to use the British ‘oe’ diphthong for this word.


2. Chap  /tʃæp/

Similar to “bloke,” “chap” is another British term for a man, but it often carries a slightly more formal or old-fashioned connotation. It’s commonly used in a polite and respectful manner.

For example: That young chap is always impeccably dressed.

Notice I said ‘chap’ with an ‘a’ as in cat vowel. It’s not /chahp/, but /chap/.


3. Cheers  /tʃɪəz/

While “cheers” is a word commonly associated with toasting a drink, it is also frequently used in British English to express gratitude or thanks. It can be used as a casual way to say “thank you.”

For example:

A: Can you pass me the salt, please?

B: Sure, here you go.

A: Cheers!

Make sure you say the medium length ‘ee’ vowel long enough especially if there’s a word following it. 

Go up in pitch on the ‘ee’ to make it longer. Please make a hand cue here of up- down motion as you say the ‘ee’ – like going up and down a slippery dip.

For example: Cheers mate!

If you are having trouble hearing or saying the difference between the short ‘i’ and longer ‘ee’, have a look in our British accent course for specific training and practise on how to make these two sounds so they sound different. 


4. Gutted  /ˈɡʌt.ɪd/

This word is used to describe a feeling of extreme disappointment or sadness. It’s often used in situations where someone has experienced a significant loss or setback.

For example: I was absolutely gutted when my favourite team lost the match.

Make sure you say the ‘ed’ /ɪd/ and don’t omit it.


5. Dodgy  /ˈdɒdʒ.i/

Is a versatile term used to describe something or someone suspicious, unreliable, or of questionable quality. It can refer to a person, situation, or even food.

For example:

I wouldn’t eat that sushi from the convenience store; it looks a bit dodgy.

That business deal looks a bit dodgy to me. I wouldn’t go through with it.

The /g/ is saying /j/ in dodgy said /dojee/.

These words are just a few examples of the rich and diverse vocabulary found in British English, and they add a distinctive flavour to everyday conversations in the UK.


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For more British pronunciation tips, check out this lesson on 4 most commonly mispronounced place names in British English.

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