Although many of us know the odd Cockney rhyming slang, test yourself with this quiz to find out just how many phrases you know the meanings behind.
Cockney rhyming slang originated in the East End of London in the 1840s by market traders, costermongers and street hawkers.
To this day it remains a mystery whether or not the phrases came about as a linguistic accident or if it was developed intentionally.
Rhyming slang works as a way of obscuring the meaning of sentences with the first word of a phrase that rhymes with that word.
Cockney phrases have earned their way into the English wordbook as many are still used in London and all around Britain centuries after they were first invented.
Put your Cockney rhyming trivia to the test and quiz your understanding behind the terms (stock image)
Test your knowledge with these 30 Cockney rhyming slang terms below. How many do you know?
- Ruby Murray
- Prime Minister Robert Cecil
- Laurence ‘Larry’ Foley
- James Gordon Bennett Jr
- Adam and Eve
- Alan Whicker
- Apples and Pears
- Barney Rubble
- Brown Bread
- Bubble Bath
- Cream crackers
- Custard and jelly
- Dicky Bird
- Duke of Kent
- Gregory Peck
- Hank Marvin
- Holy Ghost
- Jimmy Riddle
- Mince Pie
- Mork and Mindy
- Pete Tong
- Rosy Lee
- Scooby Doo
- Sherbert dab
- Scotch Eggs
- Vera Lynn
- Tea leaf
- Syrup of Figs
- Salmon and trout
- Pork pie
Answers: Did you get all of the Cockney Rhyming Slang right?
A Ruby Murray, or a Ruby for short, is a popular expression for a curry which originated in London during the 1970s. The phrase ‘going for a ruby’ became so popular among people, that many restaurants named themselves ‘The Ruby’.
The original Ruby Murray was a popular Irish singer who earned seven top 10 hits in the UK during the 1950s
Ruby Murray (pictured) was a Northern Irish singer who was popular in the 50s, however, those who know their Cockney rhymes will always think of an Indian curry when they hear her name
Prime Minister Robert Cecil
‘Bob’s your uncle’ is a commonly known phrase among Brits to conclude a set of simple instructions or to indicate when something has been accomplished.
Its origin dates back to the 19th century to prime minister Robert Cecil as in 1887, Cecil elected his inexperienced nephew Arthur Balfour to the role of chief secretary for Ireland.
The controversial decision was criticised by many, and it then became a trend that all it took to achieve your goals, without any effort on your part, was to have Bob as you’re uncle.
However, there is no evidence to support that it did come as a result of a political slogan.
‘Bob’s your uncle’ is a commonly known phrase among Brits after originating back in the 19th century with prime minister Robert Cecil (pictured)
Laurence ‘Larry’ Foley
The phrase ‘happy as Larry’ is used to express when someone is incredibly happy or feels carefree.
A possibility behind the phrase refers to Australian boxer Laurence ‘Larry’ Foley. In the 1890s Foley won the biggest prize of around $150,000 and a newspaper in New Zealand had the headline ‘Happy As Larry’ and since then the phrase has stuck.
This phrase dates back to the 1890s when Larry Foley (pictured) won a huge sum of money following a boxing match. Did you guess that right?
James Gordon Bennett Jr
‘Gordon Bennett’ is an idiomatic phrase used to convey surprise, contempt, outrage, disgust, or irritation.
Its most commonly thought origin is from Scottish-born journalist and founder of the New York Herald James Gordon Bennett Jr. who was known for his mischievous playboy antics and passion for the daring.
Is it thought that because his scandalous antics were reported regularly in the news, his name became associated with shock and outrage
James Gordon Bennett (pictured) was a Scottish-born journalist is famous in the US for founding the New York Herald but is best known in the UK for his Cockney rhyming slang
Adam and Eve
The phrase ‘Adam and Eve’ is best known for rhyming with ‘believe’, however, some also use the word in relation to ‘leave’ too.
The phrase ‘Adam and Eve’ is best known for rhyming with ‘believe’. Did you know that? (stock image)
Alan Whicker was a popular TV journalist who was known to specialise in travel and culture programmes in the 1970s.
His documentary series, Whicker’s World, which ran from 1958 to 1994 on the BBC drew the attention of Monty Python and Benny Hill. Afterwards, Benny Hill created a parody of Whicker’s World that was called ‘Knickers World’.
Since, the phrase ‘Alan Whicker’ has often been referred to as the rhyming slang for ‘knickers’.
The name of TV journalist Alan Whicker (pictured) commonly refers to the rhyming slang for ‘knickers’
Apples and Pears
‘Apples and pears’ is the Cockney rhyming slang for ‘steps and stairs.
An example of the phrase would be to tell someone to get up the apples and pears when you’re telling them to go up the stairs.
‘Apples and pears’ is the Cockney rhyming slang for ‘steps and stairs. Did you get it right? (stock image)
While the first thing that may come to mind when you hear this phrase is the famous Flintstone character, it has a different meaning in the East End.
To many, the phrase ‘Barney Rubble’ means to be in ‘trouble’.
While some might think of the famous Flintstone character, Barney Rubble (pictured), to many, the phrase means to be in ‘trouble’
‘Brown bread’ is the Cockney slang word for ‘dead’.
For example, a person might say: ‘In the morning, you’re brown bread.’
Did you know that ‘brown bread’ is the Cockney slang word for ‘dead’? (stock image)
The words ‘bubble bath’ are the rhyming slang for ‘having a laugh’. But it can also be shortened to ‘ave’n a bubble’.
The words ‘bubble bath’ are the rhyming slang for ‘having a laugh’ (stock image)
The phrase ‘cream crackers’ or ‘cream-crackered’ is often used to express when a person is feeling ‘knackered’ or exhausted.
Someone who is especially tired would say that they are ‘cream crackered’ (stock image)
Custard and jelly
A phrase that might sound unusual to many is quite the common pairing in the UK. The words ‘custard and jelly’ rhyme with the abbreviation for television, which is ‘telly’.
In a sentence, one might say: ‘No one’s watching the custard’ which would mean ‘no one’s watching the TV.’
The words ‘custard and jelly’ rhyme with the abbreviation for television, which is ‘telly’
‘Dicky bird’ is a term which has two possible meanings, one is used in reference to or a small thing, as a dicky bird was a generic term for any small bird, such as a sparrow, which was commonly used in England in the 1700s.
However, it can also be used to refer to ‘word’.
‘Dicky bird’ is a term which means ‘word’ in the East End. Did you get your words right?
Duke of Kent
The Cockney rhyming slang for rent is the ‘Duke of Kent’, but it can also refer to the landlord of the property.
An example of the phrase in a sentence might be: ‘I can’t go to the pub tonight, I’ve got to pay the Duke of Kent.’
The Cockney rhyming slang for rent is Duke of Kent. Did you guess right? Pictured: Prince Edward, Duke of Kent
The term ‘Gregory Peck’ comes from the cockney rhyming slang which means ‘neck’.
Like many Cockney rhyming slang words, this appears to have been selected purely because of the rhyme and has no obvious connection to the American film star Eldred Gregory Peck.
The term ‘Gregory Peck’ comes from the cockney rhyming slang which means ‘neck’. Pictured: American film star Eldred Gregory Peck
Although many may think of Hank Marvin, the instrumentalist, vocalist and songwriter known for his role as the lead guitarist for the Shadows.
Many will remember the Cockney rhyme for ‘starving’.
If someone was extremely hungry, they might say: ‘I’m Hank Marvin’ or ‘I’m starving like a Marvin’.
Although many may think of Hank Marvin (pictured), the instrumentalist, those from the East End will use the name in relation to the Cockney rhyme for ‘starving’
The phrase ‘holy ghost’ is most commonly rhymed with ‘toast’.
But it is also used to express surprise or extreme shock, depending on how one might use it.
The phrase ‘holy ghost’ is most commonly rhymed with ‘toast’. How well do you know your rhymes? (stock image)
Jimmy Riddle does not refer to a person like some may think, but it is actually a play on words for ‘piddle’, which is another way of phrasing ‘urination’.
The phrase was believed to have originated around the late-1800s or the early-1900s and speculate that Jimmy functions as a generic first name.
Jimmy Riddle does not refer to a person like some may think, but it is actually another way of phrasing ‘urination’ (stock image)
It comes from rhyming slang in which ‘pies’ rhymes with ‘eyes.’
The term is used widely in London even to this day, and is sometimes used to describe a woman’s features.
The beloved Christmas staple mince pies have a different meaning in Cockney rhyming slang – did you get it right? (stock image)
Mork and Mindy
Many will know Mork and Mindy as an American television sitcom starring Robin Williams that aired from 1978 until 1982. However, others will recognize it for the slang for ‘windy’.
The series follows Mork, an alien on a mission to Earth to study human behavior, as he travels to earth where he meets up with Mindy. But did you know there’s another meaning behind the TV series’ name?
‘Pete Tong’ is commonly used in relation to the phrase ‘gone wrong’.
‘Pete Tong’ is used in relation to the phrase ‘gone wrong’, but did you get it right? (stock image)
Believed to have originated in the early years of the twentieth century, ‘Rosie Lee’ is rhyming slang for ‘tea’.
An example of how it is used: ‘I’ll put the kettle on and make us a cup of Rosy Lee.’
Did you know thay ‘Rosie Lee’ is rhyming slang for ‘tea’? (stock image)
This phrase originates from the children’s classic television programme where Scooby Doo is a cartoon dog who solves mysteries.
To use it would be to refer to the word ‘clue’, therefore if someome was confused they would say: ‘I don’t have a scooby doo what you’re talking about.’
The classic children’s classic television programme where Scooby Doo is a cartoon dog who solves mysteries brought about the popular phrase. Pictured: Scooby Doo
While ‘Sherbert dab’ is typically a nostalgic sweet treat for Brits, it is a play on words for ‘taxi cab’ for Londoners.
While ‘Sherbert dab’ is typically a nostalgic sweet treat for Brits, it is a play on words for ‘taxi cab’
In Cockney rhyming slang, Scotch eggs refer to a person’s ‘legs’.
Many know Scotch egg is to be a boiled egg wrapped in sausage meat, coated in breadcrumbs and baked or deep-fried, however, do you know the Cockney phrase behind the British snack?
Dame Vera Margaret Lynn CH DBE OStJ was an English singer and entertainer whose musical recordings and performances boosted the spirits of the nation during the Second World War.
However, the phrase Vera Lynn has two possible rhyming slang definitions, the first of which refers to ‘gin’ and the other is ‘skin’.
Dame Vera Lynn (pictured) was Britain’s wartime Forces’ Sweetheart, famed for her morale boosting song that inspired both troops abroad and civilians during the Second World War
‘Tea lea’f is a rhyming slang for a thief. If someone had lost something they might say: ‘Where’s my bag gone? You’ve got it, you tea leaf!’
Tea leaf is a rhyming slang for a thief in the East End – what a tea-riffic phrase (stock image)
Syrup of Figs
Syrup of figs is a commonly used slang phrase for ‘wigs’.
Syrup of figs is a commonly used slang phrase for ‘wigs’. Did you catch that rhyme? (stock image)
Salmon and trout
‘Salmon and trout’ is Cockney rhyming slang for ‘snout’, which refers to tobacco or cigarettes.
Although it might seem to be quite the unusual pairing, ‘salmon and trout’ is rhyming slang for tobacco or cigarettes (stock image)
In cockney rhyming slang pork pies, porkie pies, or just porkies, means ‘lies’.
In a sentence, a person might say: ‘You’re telling porkie pies’.
In cockney rhyming slang pork pies, porkie pies, or just porkies, means ‘lies’ – how many answers did you get right? (stock image)
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk