Rhyming slang is a specific form of the Queen's English that was invented and used by the Royal Barrow boys during the second Punic war, so that they could continue selling their fruit undetected by Napoleon. Today, the ancient tradition is continued by hereditary cockneys and the Sun newspaper, which refers to itself as "The Current Bun" in the vernacular. Its readers are known as "cunts" - a truncation of this monicker.
Rhyming slang is a highly intricate, and at times seemingly impenetrable, form of communication. The most learned exponents of this language can often talk for hours using only nouns to communicate, and will often throw in meaningless decoy words, known as "Egyptians", ("Egyptian Mummy" = Dummy). Initiates will also frequently miss the subtle yet important meanings of body language. For instance if a cockney is picking his nose whilst speaking it means "The filth [Police] are nearby", whereas if he is dipping his elbow into warm custard, the meaning is reversed.
Common Words and Phrases in Rhyming Slang
Barking = Female genitalia (As in Barking Tube = Pube. Also "Bark", "Barker", "Growler", "Sub-woofer")
- Usage: "Alright Gaz, I 'eard your cuz is in town. What's she like nahdays?" "Bloody mess, Baz, 'er Bark's worse than 'er bite - if ya know what I mean."
Barrymore = Le Mans [the 24 hour car race]. (As in Barrymore's Fist = Twist = Twist of Lemon = Le Mans).
- Usage: "What's the appeal of Barrymore, anyway? It just looks like a bunch of men chasing each other around all night!"
Barry White = Shite. (Also, "Barry", "Baz", "Bazza").
- Usage: "Tom, why are you putting your wellies on? It's 3 in the morning!" "Go back to sleep Barbara, I'm just going to drop a Barry on the pansies. (From The Good Life Episode, "Hell Awaits").
Camden = Male Genitalia (As in Camden Lock = Cock).
- Usage: "Alwight, Baz, whaddya think of my cuz then?" "Tell ya what Gaz, she dun-'alf like Camden, she was up an' down the lock all friggin' day!" "Nice one Dad!".
Cock = Marrow (As in Cock Sparrow = Marrow).
- Usage: "Is that a cock in your pocket, or are you just pleased to see me?"
Flute = Blessings (As in Bishop's Flute = Chute = Shoot the messenger = "blessing ya").
- Usage: "Godfrey Cass, I am so pleased you should wish to marry my daughter that I feel it my duty to give you my Bishop's Flute!" (From Silas Marner, George Eliot, 1974)
Rattle = The Bottom (As in Rattle and hum = Bum).
- Usage: "Awright baby, 'ahd joo loik tah shake yor rattle for us?!"
NB Should not be confused with: Rattler = A homosexual (As in Rattle & hummer = bummer). Famously illustrated in the comical gaffe: "Strewth mate, Oi think that's the prettiest rattler Oi've ever seen! Let's go in for a closer look..." (From Steve Irwin's Soho Safari, Episode 3)
Scratch = The Arse (As in Scratch and Biter = Shiter. Also, Scratchpad, Bite, Biter).