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AGESTRAD cockney-rhyming-slang

Cockney Rhyming Slang (CRS) is a linguistic phenomenon believed to have originated from the East End of London during the mid-1800s. Put simply, it is the replacement of words with different words or phrases which rhyme with the original. From around 1840 the so-called ‘Cockney’ population of London began to use it to communicate with each other, however, it is still unknown why Cockney Rhyming Slang was invented. It may have been a form of hiding the real meaning of what they were saying when in the marketplace or for criminals hiding the meaning of their conversations from police. It could also have been a way of excluding outsiders such as non-locals or simply a sort of bonding technique within a group. The replacement phrases are usually made up of two but often the second word in the phrase is left out and only the first word is said.

There are hundreds of examples of CRS. Here are some commonly known ones and their definitions:

Apples and Pears=Stairs

Aunt Joanna=Piano (pronounced ‘pianna’)

Dog and Bone=phone (later addition)

Trouble and Strife=Wife

Bees and Honey=Money

Bird Lime=Time (in prison)

Tea Leaf=Thief

Porky Pies=Lies (He keeps telling porkies)

Artful Dodger=Lodger

Jack Jones=Alone (He went to the pub all Jack)

Baker’s dozen=Cousin

Barnet Fair=Hair

Rabbit and Pork=Talk (Rabbiting on)

Weasel and Stoat=Coat (Don’t forget your weasel)

Lemon Lime=Crime

Bricks and Mortar=Daughter

Cod and Plaice=Face

Dogs Meat=Feet




Stephanie Orton