Liverpool is the UK’s fifth largest city, and its locals are called Liverpudlians – and, more popularly, Scousers.
The word “scouse” comes from the word “lobscouse,” which is a type of stew that was bought to Liverpool by Norweign soldiers. The stew has been a popular dish in Liverpool ever since.
Liverpudlians use this colloquialism themselves and do not find it offensive; in fact, they see it as a badge of honour. They proudly speak in their own unique way, using Scouse/Liverpudlian slang.
Origins of the Scouse accent
Out of the 56 regional accents in the UK, the Scouse accent is one of the most distinct. This is likely because, as a port city, Liverpool is a melting pot of different accents.
Liverpool developed as a port, trading particularly with Ireland. After the 1700s, it became a major international trading and industrial centre.
The city consequently became a melting pot of several languages and dialects, as sailors, traders, and migrants from other parts of Britain, Ireland and northern Europe came to the city.
Until the mid-19th century, the dominant local accent was similar to that of neighbouring areas of Lancashire. However, the influence of Irish and Welsh migrants, combined with European accents, contributed to a distinctive local Liverpool accent.
The first reference to a distinctive Liverpool accent was in 1890, when linguist Gerald Knowles suggested that the accent’s nasal quality may have derived from poor 19th-century public health. He speculated that the prevalence of colds resulted in a nasal accent becoming regarded as the norm. Eventually, it became part of the language.
Liverpool slang words
Scouse/Liverpudlian slang is sometimes referred to as Liverpool English because there are many words that are indigenous to the region. Here are some popular colloquialisms:
- Jarg – Means fake. For example, if someone is wearing fake designer trainers, a Scouser will say, “Your trainers are jarg.”
- Snide – Means someone is not being nice
- Webs – Means shoes
- Devvoed – Means devasted
- Bevied/bevvy – Means that you’re drunk
- Chocker – Means that you’re busy
- Swerve – Can mean to avoid someone or that you have been dumped by your girl/boyfriend. For example, “I’m gonna swerve that Tina; she gets right on my nerves.”
- Bifter – Means cigarette
- Sound/belter/boss – Means something or someone is good
- Eeyar – Means “here you are”
- Lacka – Means hair spray
- Bird – Means woman or girlfriend. For example, a lad may say, “I’m off to see me bird.”
- Scra – Means food
- G’wed – Means “go ahead”
- Ozzy – Means hospital