Sorry, could you repeat that, mate?
The capital of the North and industrial paradise of Manchester is known for its football, music and culture. But what’s even more famous than the Gallagher Brothers (sorry, lads)? The ever-so-charming Mancunian accent and dialect.
Much like London’s Cockney rhyming slang, Manchester has its very own dictionary of words, phrases and sayings – all passed down through generations of Mancunians.
And, if you’re eyeing up the city as your university destination, you’ll probably want to swot up on the lingo to truly feel like a local (albeit, adopted).
We’ve got a handy A-Z guide on all the Manchester slang and sayings to ensure you’re not lost in translation.
Are you team barm cake or roll?
Manchester slang & sayings
Your lifesaver, your bestie, your OTP — our guide to Manchester slang will be your partner in crime as you experience the city.
A rhetorical question.
Mancunians use ‘alright?’ as a greeting, instead of hello or hey.
If someone says to you “alright?”, they’re not actually asking you how you are. Just say “alright?” back to them.
An expression that simply means ‘and everything else’ or ‘etc…’
For example: “What are you up to today?” “I gotta clean my room, hoover the floor and that”.
Not to be confused with ‘hanging’ to mean hungover (elsewhere in the UK).
In Manchester, ‘angin’ means disgusting. As in “I’ve got an ‘angin’ hangover”.
To barm cake or not to barm cake, that is the question.
In the northern city of Manchester, barm cake means bread roll. “Can I have a buttered barm cake, please?”
And the southern way, the correct way, is bread roll. Don’t fight us on this…
A Mancunian way of saying something is rubbish.
For example: “My exam grade was bobbins”.
Come on, surely you know this one. It means a cup of tea.
“Fancy a brew?” — the answer is always yes.
A very apt adjective for a city whose symbol is a bee. Buzzing means excited.
As in: “Are you looking forward to going to uni?” “Mate, I’m buzzing!”.
A way of saying to scrounge or to ask for.
Like when your mate asks for some money. “Can I cadge 50p off ya?” “Mate, I’m skint”.
Chuddy means chewing gum.
“Got any chuddy on ya?”.
Be warned: opening a packet of chuddy around a crowd will give you at least four new best friends. Facts.
Fairly recognised across the UK, the Manchester slang ‘chuffed’ means to be very pleased.
“Are you happy with your gifts?” “I’m well chuffed, thanks!”.
Almost going hand-in-hand with chuffed, chufty badge is a phrase implying a metaphorical badge for doing something minor/the bare minimum.
“I finally finished reading that book” “You want a chufty badge for that?”.
No, this doesn’t mean RIP.
In Manchester slang, dead means very/really.
For example: “How was the show?” “It was dead good”.
Not only something you find outside in your garden.
In Manchester, if someone says “I’m going to deck you”— run. Deck means to hit or punch.
Dibble is used to refer to the police.
It derives from Top Cat’s adversary, Officer Dibble. Makes sense.
“The dibble arrested my mate yesterday”. Ooofftt, sorry pal.
If someone tells you to ‘do one’, they’re asking you to go away (or to f**k off).
“Homework on a Friday? Mr. Robbins needs to do one”
Not a typo or pirate sound.
Think of “Ee arr” as a northern version of ‘oi’.
It’s used to get someone’s attention. Like, “Ee arr, look at this for me”.
If you’re gaggin’, it means you’re thirsty.
“Can I have some water? I’m gaggin’ for a drink”.
Gaff is Manchester slang for a person’s home.
“I spent the night at his gaff”.
Don’t listen to someone if they ask you to follow them down the ginnel.
Ginnel refers to an alleyway or walkway, usually between buildings.
An easy one for ya. Gob means mouth.
“Shut ya gob and be quiet”.
Used to refer to underpants.
“Where are all my clean gruds, mum?”.
From underwear to trousers, if someone mentions your kecks, they’re talking about your trousers.
“Mate, is that mud all over your kecks?”.
Mad fer it
This Manchester slang means to be excited.
“You looking forward to it?” “Yeah, I’m mad fer it”.
Come on guys, this is easy.
Manc = Manchester.
Like the iconic Arctic Monkeys song ‘Mardy Bum’, mardy means moody or sulky.
“Look at her, she looks well mardy”. Yep, that’s me.
Not just a staple phrase in Manchester slang, mingin’ is used across various parts of the UK to mean disgusting or unpleasant.
“Ewww, that’s dead mingin” — in response to your uni flat kitchen after Freshers’ Week.
Not just a herb. Mint means very good.
“This bar is well mint”.
I definitely do a lot of this. To mither is to moan/annoy/irritate/bother.
“Will you stop mithering me, please?” “You have not stopped mithering all day”
To mooch is to wander around aimlessly.
“Fancy going for a mooch around the shops?” “Yeah, sound”.
If someone mentions nick, it’s either your pal or someone has stolen something.
To nick is to steal.
“I nicked a packet of sweets from the shop”.
Londoners, you should get this one.
Newtons is rhyming slang for teeth. How? Well, the Manchester slang for teeth derived from Newton Heath, which rhymes with teeth. Get it?
“Check out the state of his newtons!”. Wow, rude.
Nothing. Nada. That’s what it means.
“I’ve got nowt to do today.” I wish.
NQ stands for Northern Quarter — the trendier part of Manchester known for its alternative and bohemian culture.
A very cool place, basically.
Congrats! You’re a parent! Just kidding.
“Our kid” is Manchester slang for a term of endearment/affection, used for siblings or close friends mainly.
The opposite of nowt. Owt is Manchester slang for ‘anything’.
As in: “I’m off to the shops, you want owt?”.
We don’t mean your underwear.
Not just slang in Manchester, ‘pants’ — meaning bad or rubbish — is used across the country and is a staple phrase for many of us.
“How was your lecture?” “It was bloody pants”.
Not just a nickname for your grandad.
If you’re ordering a fizzy drink when you’re out and about in the city, opt for a ‘can of pop’.
Pop = Manchester slang for fizzy drink.
We bet you’ll be using this one often. Scran means food or snack.
“Shall we get some scran? I’m starving”.
Slang you hope won’t be used to describe you; snide means to be mean or be a tight ass.
“Stop being so snide and share your crisps with me”.
You must know this one. If anything is good, you’d say ‘sound’.
“You’re sound for sharing your crisps with me”.
Swear down is a verbal expression, commonly used to imply a statement of truth.
“Did you nick my last bag of sweets?” “No way, swear down”.
It hurts to write this but ‘tea’ is Manchester slang for the meal you eat at dinner time (your evening meal). FYI, if you visit anywhere down south of the UK, ‘tea’ is something you drink, and your evening meal is called dinner.
It’s complicated, we know.
“What’s for tea?” “Pie and mash”.
When someone doesn’t share their crisps with you, they’re being ‘tight’.
Tight is Manchester slang for nasty or stingy.
“Don’t be tight, share ya snacks”.
What did they cut your hair with, a knife and fork?
If you get asked this, I’m sorry to say, your haircut is terrible. Get it sorted ASAP.
Quick guide to Manchester slang and sayings
Screenshot this table so you can whip it out in times of need.
|Alright?||Hello||“Alright?” “Hi, alright?”|
|And that||Etc||“Just need to write, edit, reference and that”|
|‘Angin’||Disgusting||“This food is ‘angin”|
|Barm cake||Soft bread roll||“Can I have a barm cake please?”|
|Bobbins||Rubbish||“Manchester United were bobbins last night”|
|Brew||Cup of tea||“Fancy making me a brew?”|
|Buzzing||Excited||“Got a gig tonight, I’m buzzing”|
|Cadge||Scrounge/ask for||“Can I cadge a lift off you?”|
|Chuddy||Chewing gum||“Do you want a chuddy?”|
|Chuffed||Pleased||“I’m well chuffed with my exam”|
|Chufty badge||Metaphorical badge for doing something minor||“You cleaned your room? You want a chufty badge or something?”|
|Dead||Very/really (good)||“That song is dead good”|
|Deck||Hit/punch||“I’m going to deck you, loser”|
|Dibble||Police||“They’ve called the dibble, let’s run”|
|Do one||Go away||“The rain needs to do one”|
|Ee Arr||Try to get someone’s attention||“Ee arr, take a look at this why don’t ya?”|
|Gaggin’||Thirsty||“I’m gaggin’ for a drink”|
|Gaff||Home/place of residence||“Come round my gaff any time”|
|Ginnel||Alley/walkway||“It’s quicker to cut through the ginnel”|
|Gob||Mouth||“Shut ya gob”|
|Gruds||Underpants||“Where are all my clean gruds?”|
|Kecks||Trousers||“I like your kecks, where’re they from?”|
|Mad fer it||To be excited about something||“Are you coming to the party?” “Yeah, I’m mad fer it”|
|Manc||Manchester||“He’s from up north; he’s a Manc”|
|Mardy||Moody/sulky||“He’s being a right mardy bum”|
|Mingin’||Unpleasant||“That restaurant was mingin’”|
|Mint||Very good||“That song’s well mint”|
|Mither||To annoy/bother/irritate||“Stop mithering me!”|
|Mooch||Wander aimlessly||“Let’s go for a mooch around the park”|
|Nick||Steal||“I used to nick coins from mum’s purse all the time”|
|Newtons||Teeth||“Look at the state of his newtons”|
|Nowt||Nothing||“There’s nowt better than pizza”|
|NQ||Northern Quarter||“Fancy checking out NQ this weekend?”|
|Our kid||Term of affection/endearment||“We’re going to our kid’s for Christmas”|
|Owt||Anything||“Off to the shops, do you want owt?”|
|Pants||Rubbish||“That show was pants”|
|Pop||Fizzy drink||“Do you want a can of pop?”|
|Scran||Food||“I’m starving, shall we get some scran?”|
|Snide||Mean/nasty||“You were dead snide to him”|
|Sound||Very good||“It was a sound night out”|
|Swear down||Statement of truth||“I swear down, it wasn’t me”|
|Tea||Meal eaten at dinner time/evening time||“Mum, what’s for tea?”|
|Tight||Stingy/nasty||“Don’t be tight, give me a choc”|
|What did they cut your hair with, a knife and fork?||Your haircut is bad||“I got a haircut” “What did they cut your hair with, a knife and fork?”|
Worried about Freshers’ Week? Check out everything you need to know and how to make the most of it.