The most common British words or British English terms related to sex. Contrary to popular opinion, it turns out the British do actually have sex, and sometimes even with their clothes off.
bender: n 1 big drinking session (universal). 2 homosexual (rather derogatory). Be careful with this one. It possibly derives from the, erm, position classically adopted by male homosexuals. It’s a very old term, and predates female homosexuals.
boff: v shag (somewhat posh equivalent).
bonk: v 1 have sex: Did you hear that Howard’s been bonking his secretary for the last three years? 2 a clunk or bash (universal).
chat up: v make conversation with someone of the opposite sex with the intention of endearing yourself to them: Arthur spent the whole bloody night chatting up some bird in a wig. chat up line an opening gambit intended to attract the opposite sex. Given that opening lines have a near-zero chance of attracting anyone of the opposite sex, it’s a popular pastime amongst British women regurgitating the very worst chat up lines they’ve encountered.
cop off: v snog; French kiss: I could swear I saw Ian’s dad copping off with some woman at the cinema the other day. The phrase may be derived from a contraction of “copulate.” Of course, it doesn’t mean “copulate,” so perhaps not.
cottaging: v picking up gay partners in public restrooms. George Michael is possibly the most famous cottager in recent times. A peculiarly male trait, the term likely derives from the fact that public toilets used to look like nice little cottages.
Durex: n condom. In the U.K., Durex is a large (possibly the largest, I’m not sure) manufacturer of condoms, and the brand name once slipped into the language (no pun intended). The term is actually becoming less common these days. A very similar thing happened in the U.S. with “Trojan.” As an aside, Durex, to an Australian, is sticky-tape (a.k.a. Scotch tape). I don’t know if they use it as a contraceptive, and I don’t wish to think about it any further.
fancy: v be attracted to; have a crush on. Seen in contexts like, I really fancy that chap from the coffee shop or: Hey, Stu, I think that bird over there fancies you! Also has several other meanings which are universal.
fit: adj attractive, when used to describe members of the opposite sex. Very similar to “tidy.” A “fit bird” is a fine specimen of the fairer sex, and one described as “fit as a butcher’s dog” might be particularly nice.
get off: v make out: I just noticed Ian’s ex getting off with his brother! This must not be confused with the U.S. term “to get someone off,” which means, well, rather a lot more.
get your end away: v have sex: I think our dog’s been getting his end away with that St. Bernard down the street.
grope: n fondle (in a sexual fashion): As soon as the lights went out, Bob groped her and she kicked him in the nuts. I knew he’d do something like that eventually but I don’t think any of us expected him to do it at a funeral.
having it off: v having sex: Did you hear Jackie’s mum’s been having it off with that bald teacher with the limp?
how’s your father: n sex. Often used in the phrase “a bit of how’s your father” and generally accompanied by a knowing wink. It’s rather antiquated, but well understood.
knob: also occasionally “nob” 1 n penis. As well as referring to the part of the body, it can be used as an insult. 2 v screw; bone. This implies active use of said penis and is similar to “shag.” This word appears regularly in American place names, much to the amusement of Brits. Two British favourites are Bald Knob, Arkansas and Knob Lick, Missouri.
leg it: v run away; beat it: By the time we got outside the little bastard had legged it. I tell you, the next time he does that I’m going to take the thing around to his father’s house in a box and empty it on his front garden.
leg over: n sex: Bob’s off to the local again this evening for a few drinks - I think he’s still trying to get his leg over with the barmaid who works Thursdays.
nob: n member of the aristocracy or person of importance. A contraction of “nobility.”
poof: n homosexual. A mildly derogatory term for a homosexual - mild in the sense that homosexuals might use it themselves. Although based upon that I could easily say that “nigger” was a mildly derogatory term for an African American. poofy effeminate. An episode of Magnum PI, the U.S. detective show, features Magnum himself describing Zeus and Hercules as “poofy names for attack dogs.” Whilst in the U.S. this is taken to mean “fancy,” in the U.K. it would quite definitely mean “homosexual.”
poofter: n a simple derivation of “poof,” with exactly the same meaning.
pull: v hook up. The art of attracting the opposite sex: You’re not going to pull with breath smelling like that. on the pull a less proactive version of “sharking.” Single males and females are almost all on the pull but will deny it fervently and pretend to be terribly surprised when eventually it pays off.
randy: adj horny. One way of ensuring that Brits laugh at American sitcoms is to put someone in the program called Randy. Sentences such as “Hello, I’m Randy” have us doubled up on the sofa.
ride: v screw (in a sexual sense): Jim’s not coming out tonight, I think he’s staying at home riding that fat bird from the pub.
rodger: v hump. Rodgering is, well, shagging, and tends to also imply shagging of the arse variety. And I know it’s a name, but then so’s Randy. I used to work with a gentleman named Roger Tallboys.
romp: v the loving act of procreation. It’s a bit rough-and-ready - you would be much more likely to have a romp with your secretary on top of the photocopier than you would with your wife of thirty years in the marital bed. Not you personally, these are just examples.
shag: 1 v lay (sexual). Usually refers to the act of intercourse itself, except when used by a bloke giving his mates the details about what happened with that tidy bird he pulled in the club the night before. In this case, the term shag should be interpreted to mean anything between a peck on the cheek and a punch in the face. Brits find very amusing the use of the word “shag” in the U.S. to refer to certain dances. 2 adj shagged tired. In much the same way as most other humping words can be used: Spent the whole day hiking and now I’m completely shagged.
shark: v, hunt members of the opposite sex, with copulation in mind. The easiest way to spot someone who is sharking is to watch their friends, who will every so often hold one hand just above their head like a fin just to make the point. The difference between sharking and being “on the pull” is that sharking is slightly more proactive. If you’re on the pull you won’t say no; if you’re sharking you won’t take no for an answer. I was once told that “shark” in U.S. slang is, erm, a sexual technique. I then tried and failed to describe the act itself in polite terms, and have subsequently given up.
slag: 1 v -off have a go at; pick on: We gave Charlie a right slagging off when he turned up four hours late and covered in toothpaste. 2 n slut. A woman with very loose morals: I don’t think much of Derek’s bird... Ian thinks she’s a slag.
slapper: n slut. Person on the prowl for anything they can get. Anything. The word is applied more often to females, arguably because it is a built-in function of blokes and doesn’t deserve a separate word. Slappers wander around the dance floor looking for the drunkest blokes and then, when they’ve found them, woo them by dancing backwards into them “accidentally.” They are invariably spotted at the end of an evening telling the bouncer how lonely they are and trying to sit on his knee.
snog: v make out; French kiss: I had a couple too many beers and ended up snogging the bouncer.
spunk: 1 n semen. 2 someone with a bit of drive (universal).
tart: n 1 party-girl, he says, to put it delicately. A girl easier to party on than other girls. Much the same as a “slapper,” but slightly less extreme and a little more unisexual. Tarts spend hours perfecting make-up, hair and clothes before going out and waiting at the side of the dance floor to be pulled. At the end of the evening, there’s a tendency for the tarts to slide towards slapperdom, just to make sure all that lip gloss doesn’t go to waste. The word may or may not be derived from “sweetheart.” 2 small cake with a filling - perhaps jam or fruit. So, when in Alice Through the Looking Glass, the rhyme goes “the knave of hearts, he stole the tarts,” he wasn’t leaping off with his arms full of easy young ladies. 3 sour (universal).
tidy: adj a fine example of his/her gender: Did you see the tidy new bloke working in the sweet shop? Blokes rather like this word because it has a definite subtext suggesting dusting and hoovering.
toss: v masturbate. To call someone a tosser is to suggest that they are an accomplished onanist. The word was originally in use as tosser or “toss-pot” to describe a drunk (tossing one-too-many drinks back) but, as with most things, has become more gloriously sordid. give a toss give a shit.
totty: n attractive members of the opposite sex: Well, I’m definitely going there again. Wall-to-wall totty. Not said by me, of course.
vinegar strokes: n masturbation: It was terribly embarrassing really. We walked in, switched the light on and started singing “happy birthday”, only to discover that Billy was in the middle of the vinegar strokes.
wank: v masturbate. wanker n one who masturbates. Quite a rude word in the U.K. - perhaps one notch worse than “fuckwit” on the international offensiveness scale I’ve just invented. Interesting, therefore, that Adam Clayton of U2 managed to get away with using it in a Simpsons episode and that Phil Collins managed to use it in his 1984 Miami Vice cameo.