Learn Liverpool slang

The Great British Mag content team updated the article Learn ‘Scouse’ or Liverpool slang on 19 December 2020

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.
  • 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