W.C.: n toilet. A currently-used acronym which stands for the not-so-currently used term “water closet.” This term stems from a time early in toilet development when they were nothing more than a carefully waterproofed cupboard filled halfway up with seawater. Not to be confused with a “W.P.C.” (Woman Police Constable).
waffle: n, v banal or rambling conversation. You might describe your CEO’s yearly speech to the employees as nothing more than waffle, and likewise you could accuse him of waffling. Brits do describe those cross-hatched baked batter things as “waffles,” but they don’t really eat them all that much.
waistcoat: n vest. An odd sort of article of clothing worn over your shirt but under your jacket, often with a bow-tie. In the U.K., “vest” means something else, as usual.
wally: n dimwit; dunce. In a friendly sort of a way. You’d never leap out of your car after someone’s smashed into the back of it and shout “you complete fucking wally!”
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.
washing up: n washing the dishes: Let me help with the washing up! washing up liquid dish soap.
waster: n someone who just sits around watching television and spending their income support on dope. Presumably derived in some way from “time-waster.”
wazzack: n idiot. When I originally put this on my website I spelled it “wazzak.” I received emails variously informing me that it was spelled “wazzock” or “wuzzock.” I then received one from a chap who claimed to have invented the word in South Somerset when he was seven and that “wazzack” was in fact the correct spelling. And the one I got from a chap in Nottinghamshire claiming that he invented it and it was spelled “wassak.” Why must society be like this? Why must we all lay claim to something? I put the two people in touch via email and they have subsequently fallen in love.
wean: n Scottish child. Derived from the colloquial Scots “wee ‘un” (little one).
wee: 1 adj Scottish small: That’s an awfully wee car - are you sure you’ll all fit in it? In a loose sense it could also be interpreted as meaning “cute” in the “cute and cuddly” sense. You could tell someone they had a “nice wee dog,” but might meet with more curious glances if you used it in a more serious scenario: “Well, Mrs. Brown, I’m sad to tell you that you have a wee tumour on your cerebral cortex.” 2 v urinate: Back in a minute, I’m going to have a wee.
wellies: n Wellington boots. Look it up. It can’t be far.
Wellingtons: n rubber boots; galoshes. A contraction of the term “Wellington boots,” which was the inventive name given to boots made popular by the Duke of Wellington. The further abbreviation “wellies” is also in common use.
welly: n Scottish (when talking about automobiles) stick; punch: If you give it some welly you’ll hit fifty through the corners! This may or may not be related to the “wellington boot” definition.
wetting the baby’s head: n an evening in the pub celebrating the birth of a new baby. The event generally involves only the father and his mates, whilst the wife sits at home in a state of exhaustion surrounded by fresh nappies: Are you coming out on Friday? We’re wetting the baby’s head down at the Four Coachmen.
what’s up?: interj what’s wrong? While this means something akin to “hello” in the U.S., Brits use it to mean “what is wrong with you?”
whinge: v whine: Ah, quit whinging, for heaven’s sake! whinger someone particularly partial to whinging.
whip round: n passing the hat. A collection of money - usually a somewhat impromptu and informal one. You might have a whip round for Big Mike’s bus-fare home but you probably wouldn’t have one for his triple heart bypass. Unless you were using it as an attempt to bring a spot of humour to an otherwise morbid situation in the sort of way my wife doesn’t like me trying to do.
wholemeal flour: n whole-wheat/whole-grain flour. I’ve no idea about food; I hope it’s not apparent. I just type what people tell me like a big unpaid secretary.
wicked: adj cool; awesome: Jim’s got a wicked new car stereo. A little bit eighties. Okay, a lot eighties.
wife-beater: n beer with high-alcohol content: Give me a gin and tonic and a pint of wife beater. Brits do not use the American definition of the term (a ribbed, sleeveless undershirt).
willie: n penis. The film Free Willie attracted large optimistic female audiences when it was released in the U.K. That could either mean audiences of large optimistic females, or large audiences of optimistic females. Either way it’s a lie. Of perhaps more amusement to Brits was the 1985 American film Goonies, which featured a group of children who found a secret pirate-ship commanded by a fearsome pirate named One-Eyed-Willie. Or how about the Alaskan car-wash company, Wet Willies, who offer two levels of service named Little Willie and Big Willie? Seems something of a no-brainer.
windcheater: n windbreaker. Cheap-looking waterproof jacket.
windscreen: 1 n windshield (of a car). 2 n one of those things that you put up on a beach that stops the sand from blowing in and stops those inside from noticing that the tide is coming in.
wing: n fender. The metal part of a car that covers the front wheel and joins onto the bonnet. Perhaps it derives from the time when cars were made which could fly.
wizard: adj cool; awesome: Wow! That’s wizard! A bit eighties. I have to emphasise here that just because words are in the dictionary doesn’t mean to say I use them on a regular basis. As far as I’m concerned it has a similar aura to “Bitchin’!”
wobbler: n fit of anger. throwing a - same sort of thing.
wobbly: n Used in the same way as “wobbler.”
wonky: adj not quite right. You might say “My plans for the evening went a bit wonky”; you would not say “I’m sorry to tell you, Mr. Jones, but your wife’s cardiac operation has gone a bit wonky.” The American English word “wonk” (an expert in some particular subject) is not used in the U.K.
woofter: n homosexual. Yet another term for a homosexual, in case the Brits needed some more.
woolly: adj ill-defined; vague: We gave up halfway through his presentation... it all seemed a bit woolly.
wotcher: interj howdy; hey there. A form of greeting, rather more familiar to Victorian schoolboys than anyone more contemporary. Harks back to a time when “cock” meant something like “mate,” but nowadays marching into a bar and greeting someone with “wotcher, cock!” is unlikely to make you more popular.