British Phrases I’ve Learned From Karl Pilkington

Alrite—you could be reading this post for two reasons: Either you know who Karl Pilkington is or you’re just interested in expressions almost exclusively used in the UK. If it’s the latter, I do not jest when I say you’re definitely missing out on the comedy gem that is this chimp–I mean, Karl Pilkington, whose head is described to be a [insert expletive here] orange.  Just watch this:

Not convinced? Well, okay. I’m not writing this to persuade you into thinking Karl’s a really funny bloke. If you don’t find that head annoyingly round, though, then I’m cross with you.

Okay. *clears throat* As someone who’s not a native UK English speaker, I found many of Karl Pilkington‘s British slang a bit confusing at first. As I got to read more of his books, I’ve picked up the meanings of these phrases through context clues and research (but primarily, context clues). So without further ado, I give you a list of British expressions I’ve learned from the one and only KP, arranged randomly:

  • Knocking about / Faffin about – Messing around
  • Knackered – Exhausted
  • Knock [something] on the head – Stop doing something / Cancelling something
  • Chucking it down – Raining heavily
  • Gozzing – Spitting
  • Nip back – Go back/return
  • Nip out – Go out
  • Nick – Steal
  • Leg it – Run; hurrying up
  • Do [someone’s] head in – make someone angry or vexed
  • Drivel – (Well, we hear this from Ricky, not from Karl) Nonsense, balderdash, claptrap
  • Whinge – Complain in an irritating way
  • Having a laugh – Used when you question someone similar to “Are you kidding me?”
  • Bog standard – Typical; Something basic or ordinary (meant in a dismissive way)
  • Knobhead  – Same as d***head. I think Karl would call gozzing octopuses knobheads by default. And oh, you have to listen to this origin of Karl saying he could a knob at night:

This is my favorite remix version:

Please take note that this list will be updated as I listen to/watch/read more KP material =) Cheers!


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