And so everybody knows exactly what we are talking about here, here's a dictionary definition for you:
Scouse is the accent or dialect of English found in the northern English city of Liverpool and adjoining urban areas of Merseyside. The Liverpool accent is highly distinctive and sounds wholly different from the accents used in the neighbouring regions of Cheshire and rural Lancashire. Inhabitants of Liverpool are often called Scousers. Scouse is noted for a fast, highly accented manner of speech.
These days "Scouse Dictionaries" are available to buy in the shops, usually in places such as Burtons Menswear, on a shelf by the counter for impulse buyers, but they're just cash-ins and anyone who buys them needs their head seeing to. This is because a lot of Scouse words aren't really different words, more like regional pronunciations that are completely foreign sounding.
Did you know that Liverpool is one of the only English cities where the male and female versions of the regional accent sound different from each other? It's not so easy to prove it in the written word, so you will just have to take my word for it, but I am told from a source that I trust that it is true. The male version of Scouse is a lot broader and coarse sounding with a rough edge to it, the female version is more refined and rounded. Lately there has been a trend for Scouse girls to sound more like Scouse lads, which I don't like much. But maybe this is just because Scouse is becoming Scouser.
Here is the ever-growing list of good solid Scouse words:
- Abar - The correct way to pronounce the word "about"*
- Arlarse (often shortened to Aarlee, Auld-arse, Owlarse or even Old Arse)
- Auld - "Old" (pronounced "Arld")
- Baltic - Extremely cold weather
- Belter - The Scouse word for "Fantastic!".
- Bevvy - Beverage, alcoholic drink
- Bifter - A cigarette. Also in the phrase "Giving it the bifters", meaning "To do something really well".
- Bills - Underpants
- Bird - A girl. "Me bird" means "my wife". Often pronounced as "beard"
- The Bizzies - The local constabulary. The 5-0.
- Boss! - "Very good stuff!"
- Bouncer - To perform a U-turn. Example: "Eeh-ar taxi man lad, do a bouncer ere an' pull up next to thee offey."
- Bronzey - A suntan. "What do yer reckon of me bronzee then? I've just got back from a day in Sevvy Park and it was pure sunny all day!"
- Ciggy - Scousers don't usually say fag when they mean cigarette
- Crisp - Instead of saying a packet of crisps, some people say "a packet of crisp". (This one drives me round the twist)
- Cum-ed - The correct way to pronounce the phrase "come ahead" or instead of saying "hurry up"
- Devo'd - "Devestated"
- Divvy - A stupid or silly person
- Fillum - Instead of saying "Film", meaning movie
- Flim - £5, also called a bluey (see below for more info)
- Gerroff instead of "Get off me!"
- Giz - The correct way to pronounce the phrase "Give us"
- Gowed instead of "Go ahead"
- Goz - To take a look at something. As used in the phrase "Giz a Goz"
- Grace instead of 'Great'
- In a bit - Goodbye
- Jarg - Not fully authentic. Fake. Usually used when referring to knock-off goods from a spurious source.
- Kecks - Trousers
- Kidda/Kidder - Good friend
- Like - Every sentence can end in this word (even though it's probably better not to like).
- Meff - Trampish looking fellow
- Minty - Dirty looking, off, out of date, undesirable
- Mogger (ride on a bike)
- Mucker - A close friend. Somebody who isn't afraid to muck in and help out. Somebody just like you, me old mucker!
- Offey - Off licence. Liquor store.
- Or-ice The correct way to pronounce the word "Alright"
- Ozzy - The correct way to pronounce the word "Hospital"
- Plazzy Scousers (anyone from the Wirral peninsular) AKA Baconheads, Plazzies, "That" lot over the water, etc
- Queen - An older lady. Alright Queen!
- Raar - The correct way to pronounce the word "right"
- Rotter - A disreputable and dislikeable person.
- Scran - Food. "I'm dying for some scran, let's go and see if me ma's made our tea yet."
- Skint - To have no money - Also 'brassic", from the rhyming slang 'brassic lint'
- Skrag - For one woman to pull another woman around by the hair. Fighting. Short for "Skull rag".
- Slummy - Loose change (never called "Shrapnel" in Liverpool)
- Two Dogs Fightin' - Huyton
- Trainies AKA Trabs
- Togger - A football match (see below for more football related Scouse)
- Woolybacks (anyone from the east of Liverpool - Widnes or St Helens)
- Yewoh? instead of 'You what?'
Want even more Scouse words? Check out the comments at the foot of this page!
Scouse is an accent which has accents with the accent. As an example: In some parts of Liverpool the words "look", "cook" and "book" rhyme with "puke". In other parts of the city they would rhyme with "pluck". Yes, Scousers have accents within an accent.
Also, the word "nurse" often rhymes with "pierce".
"Two Dogs Fightin'" is what Scousers call Huyton. Or just Two Dogs.
Aigburth can be cheekily called as Egg Breath by people from other parts of the city. (See, Aigburth is pronounced as Eggbirth ...do you like the clever wordplay there?)
Another Scouse word is "Dixie" - meaning "keep a look-out" - as used in the sentence "Keep Dixie for us while I do this will yer?". It refers to the legendary Everton striker Dixie Dean (and so Dixie is rhyming slang for 'Dixie Dean is never seen'). He had a keen ability to get past the opposition's defence who clearly missed his presence - Dixie did manage to score 349 goals for Everton after all.
Another football-related Scousism is the word "Gary". Often pluralised to "Garys". I'd rather not go into the details of the meaning behind this slang word here, so why don't you go to Google and do a search for "Gary Ablett slang" and then perhaps report back your findings in a comment below? Nice one.
A five pound note is called a flim. Well, in Liverpool at least. Rumour has it this word is taken from a corruption of "flimsy", though I don't see the connection. Regardless of the origin though, if someone should ask you to "Lend's a flim?" at least now you will know what they are talking about.
The phrase "To go to town on..." is an obscure, but valid, Scouseism. It means "To give someone a stern telling off". Example - "I got home a couple of hours late from town and me auld man was sat up in the living room waiting room me, I got home from town only for that baldy ald get to go to town on me at 4 in the morning!"
Very similar to the above: "Down the banks". To give someone "down the banks" is to chastise them, often in an adjacent room to other people who can hear the pantomime being acted out through the adjoining wall.
Years and years ago, before Scousers were called Scousers, we had a different name: Wacker. Apparently there's an auld story about John Lennon telling a radio DJ in Texas that people from Liverpool are called Wacker. But you don't get that one used any more sadly. You also hear "ace" now and then, but mostly you hear "kid" or "lad" these days (see below for more about that). I prefer to be called plain old "mate". Liverpool women are often called "queen", but they're sometimes also referred to as "me tart" or quite often "me bird".
But there is a big sticking point over the word "mogger". It refers to giving someone a ride on your bike while you do the pedaling. Some people say "mogger" (mostly from kids in South Liverpool - Halewood, Woolton or Speke), but people from other parts of the city say "takey", "backy", "seater" or even "crossy" instead. I have always called it a mogger, but when this subject got a mention one night in work (in Liverpool) all of the lads laughed. So even some Scousers don't know what mogger means. I don't know where that word comes from, but when I was a kid and we played football on the school field I used to say "gizza mogger to the togger" to my mate Terry.
By the way, back in the day lads playing togger might well have used a casey. But not anymore (case footballs are a rarity in this day and age).
In Liverpool to "sag off" means to play truant, do they say that anywhere else but here?
"Sack it off": To finish something before it has come to a proper conclusion. "I sacked me bird off today." Very similar to being sacked from a job. The words "Jibbed" and "Spewed" also fit surprisingly well with this description.
Supermarkets in the region are usually preceded by the word "The". Thee Asda. The Sainsburys. The tescos. Thee Aldi. Is that just a Liverpool thing? I think so.
On a nice hot day the sun can be said to be "cracking the flags". Love this saying!
If you've done something wrong and you're in trouble for it, you might be worried that someone is out to "ring yer neck" for you.
Three sheets to the wind refers to craziness in Liverpool. I'm informed that it means to be drunk elsewhere.
Someone who is cross-eyed might well be referred to as having "One eye in Crocky and one eye in Tocky". Note: Because Croxteth and Toxteth are on opposing sides of the city. (Okay so it's not a very PC phrase, but still.)
Meal times: Lunch is dinner. Dinner is tea. Breakfast is still breakfast though. (This is a Northern thing, not just in Liverpool.)
If the colour suddenly drains from someone's face you might hear a Scouser say that they've "gone the colour of boiled shite". So we can assume, thanks to this well known Scousism, a pot of "shite" turns white when boiled. The more you know, huh?
While we're on the subject: Someone who is a tad forgetful (or gullible) may be referred to as a "soft shite".
Plazzes and Wools - No offense to any of my friends reading this who are from the outskirts of Liverpool (who I respect greatly but still comes in the plazzy bracket in a Scouse venn diagram) but: English people from outside Merseyside may not notice the difference, but people from Liverpool can spot a "Plastic Scouser" or a "Woolly-back" from a mile away. It's all down to the accent. A friend once put it this way: "The plaz accent sounds queer and the wool accent sounds inbred". Prime Example: The much loved Spice Girl Mel C, AKA "Sporty Spice" never was, and never ever will be, a Scouser. Sorry Mel, queen. Even though we love you... you're close but not quite. She's from Whiston which is just outside the city. Therefore she would be classed as a wooly-back by a Scouse. There are exceptions to the rule of course, but not many.
Professional Scouser: Someone that is well known (from on the telly maybe, usually a musician or comedian) who is from Liverpool. Their accent often becomes a stereotype and they use words such as "lorra lorra" as an attempt accentuate their Scouseness. Some professional scousers aren't really from Liverpool (Paul O'Grady is from Birkenhead, but he's funny enough so that's not so bad!).
While I'm on the subject of the Scouse accent outside our city: Scouse is one of the hardest English accents to fake. You hear actors on the telly who are playing a character from the city but the accent very rarely rings true. You can tell them a mile off. I think that people from Liverpool are very clued-up on accents, we can always tell if somebody has got a bit of a twang to them. It's because there are so many strains of Scouse, we can always spot a fake. Scouse is one of those accents that you have to live, day in day out, in order to make it stick. I know people from the city who move away and their accent changes over time, then when they come back to visit and they go home again people will hear their rejuvenated Scouse accent and then say to them "Oh, been back to Liverpool have you?". It must seem as though they've been home for a top up.
There are very few people from outside Liverpool who can pull off a really authentic sounding Scouse accent. The only one that I can think of off the top of my head is the ex-reds footballer Jan Molby.
Another thing, these days people still say la from time to time but now you are more likely to hear "lad" or "kid", although I hate getting called lad, it makes me so angry, especially kids who are younger than me. The latest one is to call your mates "lid" - this is a shortened version of "bin lid" which is rhyming slang for "our kid".
I heard a lady use the phrase "I just twigged onto what you meant there" recently. And if you haven't already twigged onto it, "twigged on" means the same as "caught onto" for some reason.
Here's another nice little example of how Scouse doesn't travel very well sometimes, courtesy of my mate Patchie. And I am paraphrasing here, but you'll get the point anyway: He was sat around a table at a bar with a group of work colleagues, some of them not from Liverpool. And one of the none-Scouse lads was trying some banter, the old "Scousers rob all the time" shtick or whatever. So Patchie spun around to him and pointed a finger, and he said "Oi! If you don't pack that in right now, I'm going to fuck you!". They didn't know that being told you are "gonna get fucked" in Liverpool means to be beaten up, it's nothing to do with the promise of a sexual encounter.
If someone in Liverpool turns up to their workplace early (at least half an hour earlier than expected) they will usually be greeted by a resounding chorus of "Why are you here so early? Did you shit the bed?" (This is used in other Northern England cities too, but it's such a good saying that it's worth mentioning on here!)
Oh and, by the way, Scousers *never* say "caaaaalm down" or "eh eh eh eh" - orice?