9 Words You Might Not Have Realized Are Actually Insults In Great Britain

It's funny when you meet someone who speaks the same language as you but you don't understand a word they're saying. As an Australian living in the US, this happens to me all the time. While I've always found it fairly easy to contextualize American English words I haven't heard before, for some reason American people are dumbfounded by Australian or British English words they don't know. They make a big scene and treat you like an alien, because what the hell is that word and how odd and cute is it that things exist that are not inherently American. That said, I love all my wonderful American friends very much. But that doesn't detract from the fact that Americans aren't great at "getting" non-American things.

I've also spent a stint living in London, and even between Australian and British English there are discrepancies. But of all the three English "dialects" (US, UK, Australian), I definitely think that the Queen's English is the most wonderfully colorful of them all. English people have a delightful way of describing things, and the level of creativity, especially in insults, is beautifully and uniquely nuanced in a very British way. So we're all on the same page, here are some words that are actually insults in Britain:

1. Cheeky

A "cheeky" person is an ornery person, or someone who is being rude.

2. Slag

You can "slag" someone off, which means to say nasty things about them, or you can call someone a "slag" which is a pretty British way to say "slut", but worse, because a slag suggests a certain level of grossness or tackiness as well. Like a basic slut.

3. Tosser

A tosser is another word for wanker (see below).

4. Wanker

A wanker, technically, is one who masturbates. It also means "asshole" or "idiot".

5. Knob

A knob isn't just a thing you use to open a door, it's a penis. If you call someone a knob in England, you're essentially calling them a dick. I particularly like the use of "knob head".

6. Nutter

Americans have Nutter Butters, British have straight up nutter. Calling someone a "nutter" means they're "bananas" or "crazy".

7. Muppet

Most people think "Jim Henson puppet" when they hear the word "muppet," but used as a British insult it means "useless" and/or "foolish".

8. Bell End

I kind of think this might be my favorite British insult of all time. It doesn't mean the end of the bell (what context do you even need that in?), but rather the end/head of a penis or alternately, a massive idiot.

9. Maggot

A maggot is a little disgusting larvae associated with rotting and trash, so you can imagine what it means when used as an insult.

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