It’s Valentine’s Day next week, so the next three Fraser’s Phrases will concentrate on matters of love and romance, as relayed through the medium of British slang, and that means we have to spend a little time thinking about sex. As with all idiomatic language, the most fertile ground in all of British slang concerns the things people are most coy about, which means sexual practises and intimate parts of the body.
With that in mind, we’ll be talking about sex in a future post, and finish on a nice snuggly love p0st next week, but for today, it’s time to look at some of the many, many British names for those areas of the anatomy which are most closely associated with the physical act of love.
By which I mean we’re talking about goolies and fannies. Turn away now if you’d rather we didn’t, some of this is resolutely NSFW.
Space does not permit the astonishing range of British terms which have been cooked up for the male genitals, but some of the best ones include the Austin Powers-sanctioned meat and two veg (named after a reduced version of the British roast dinner, the kind of thing you’d eat on a Tuesday night), goolies, packet or (drumroll) the wedding tackle.
And that’s before you factor in the names for the male member, from the cute (willy, winkle, percy) to the overly descriptive or gross (bellend – also used as a term of abuse – tonker, pud). And the testicles get the same treatment, being fairly commonly called cobblers, bollocks, knackers or even love spuds.
When I was a child, the willy was also called a robin, which made Batman a very confusing TV show indeed.
For the ladies, the pickings are somewhat slimmer, and far less cute. There’s fanny, which you probably know doesn’t mean what it does in America, and its corresponding rhyming slang, Jack and Danny (not widely used, but not as made up as it sounds either).
Then there are the kiddycute terms – front bottom, tuppence (archaic, but still rather grand for all that), round Mary’s mum’s (not common, but genuinely used) – and the out-and-out grotesque – quim, minge, clunge.
Breasts get a far friendlier deal of it. Although the universal boobs is the most common term these days, some of the greatest hits of the past include knockers, baps, thruppennies (rhyming slang, where thruppeny bits = tits), top bollocks (a personal favorite), and that staple of ’70s sketch comedy Bristols (rhyming slang, where Bristol City = titty). The British TV presenter Gok Wan, star of How To Look Good Naked, made his name referring to breasts as bangers, which is odd given that bangers is also British slang for sausages, and sausages are far more willyish than they are bapsy.
All of which goes to prove that when it comes to biological euphemisms, the British have never been afraid to call a spade a utilitarian digging tool. And proud of it!
Do you have any biological slang you’d like to share with the class? Tell us here: