Understanding Mancunian Slang

29th November 2018

What did they just say!?

Anyone visiting Manchester, England would expect English to be spoken in the city and for the most part it is. But, like with many British regions, there is a distinct Mancunian dialect that can baffle first time visitors. The usage of certain words and phrases differs to areas even a short distance outside the M60 (noun; the car park that encircles the city).

As an adopted resident of the city I had to get my head round the dialect when I moved here. Now while still not fluent, I’m confident that I can tell my barm cakes from my Eccles cakes. It would have been helpful, however, to have a guide to Mancunian English when I first arrived. So we’ve put one together for visitors to Manchester.

With an awful lot of help from everyone in the office here at Manchester Sightseeing, this is the Mancunian to English phrasebook we have put together:

Mancunian Definition Usage
‘Anging, adj. Disgusting. ‘Tea was ‘anging tonight.’
Barm cake, n. Soft roll, usually sold at a chip shop. Also known as a chip barm. ‘Can I have a large chips and a barm cake, please?’
Bobbins, adj. Rubbish, worthless. Used in place of an expletive when children are present. ‘United were bobbins yesterday.’
Brassic, adj. Poor, skint. Derived from Cockney rhyming slang: ‘boracic lint’. ‘I can’t come out tonight, I’m brassic.’
Cadge, v. Scrounge. ‘Can I cadge 20p for the bus?’
Cock, n. Generic term of friendship, like mate or pal. ‘Alright, cock.’
Dead, adv. Very, really. ‘That’s dead good.’
Dibble, n. Police officer, derived from Officer Dibble of TV’s Top Cat. ‘You better do one, they’ve called dibble.’
Do one, v. An order suggesting one should get lost. ‘Do one, will ya?’
Gagging, adj. Thirsty. ‘I’m gagging for a pint.’
Ginnel, n. An alleyway between buildings. ‘He ran off down that ginnel.’
Gruds, n. Underpants. ‘I haven’t got any clean gruds.’
Kecks, n. Trousers. ‘I’ve got mud all over my brand new kecks.’
Mad fer it, adj. To be excited for an upcoming event. ‘Are you coming out tonight?’ ‘Yeah, I’m mad fer it.’
Mint, adj. Very good. ‘That’s well mint.’
Mither, v.

To moan or to whinge.

To irritate or annoy.

To bother.

‘Barry hasn’t stopped mithering the whole day.’

‘Will you please stop mithering me?’

‘I can’t be mithered.’

Nesh, adj. (Of a person) Soft or fragile; unusually susceptible to cold. ‘Don’t be so nesh, it’s not that cold.’
Newton Heath, n. Rhyming slang for teeth. ‘I’m having some trouble with my Newtons.’
Our kid, prn Term of endearment for a sibling or close acquaintance. ‘We’re going to our kid’s for Christmas.’
Scran, n. Food, snack. ‘I’m popping out for some scran.’
Skrike, v. To cry out, scream or yell. ‘Stop that skriking!’
Snide, adj. Mean, tight. ‘You were dead snide to Steve earlier.’
Salfords, n. Rhyming slang for socks (Salford Docks). ‘Pull up your Salfords.’
Top banana, interjection Used like ‘cool’ or ‘wicked’. ‘We won our football match yesterday.’ ‘Top banana, well done.’

We suggest keeping a copy of this guide with you at all times during your visit to Manchester, just in case.

We’d also love to hear anymore examples of Mancunian English that we have left out. Please get in touch with your suggestions.

Written by: Dan Bridges

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know. Thank you.

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