Arm= Chalk Farm
Army= Kate (Karney)
Arse = Khyber (Pass)or bottle and glass
Aunt= Mrs Chant
Bad= sorry and sad
Balls= cobbler's (awls)
Bank = iron tank
Bar= near and far
Barrow= cock sparrow
Beer= pig's (ear)
Beginner= Lilley & Skinner
Believe= Adam and Eve
Belly= Auntie Nellie
Bent= Stoke on Trent
Bill= Beecham's (Pill)
Bird= Richard the Third
Bitter= apple fritter
Boat= nanny goat
Boil= Conan Doyle
Book= Captain Cook
Boots= daisy roots
Boozer= battle cruiser
Boss pitch and toss
Bottle= Aristotle
Box= nervo and Knox
Braces= airs and graces
Brandy= fine and dandy
Bread= Uncle Fred
Broke= hearts (of oak)
Bum = deaf and dumb
Butter= stammer and stutter
Cab= sherbet dab
Cake= Sexton (Blake)
Candle= Harry Randall
Car= jam jar
Card= bladder of lard
Cash= bangers and mash
Cell= flowery dell
Chair= lion's lair
Chalk = Duke of York
Cheese= stand at ease
Cheque= goose's (neck)
Cigar= lardy-dar
Clock= dickory dock
Coach = cockroach
Coat= weasel and stoat
Cold = taters (potatoes in the mould)
Cook= babbling brook
Copper = grasshopper
Cork= Duke Of York
Corner= Johnnie Horner
Crap= pony and trap
Crash = sausage and mash
Cripple= raspberry ripple
Crook = babbling brook
Crown = Lousy Brown
Cupboard = Mother Hubbard
Curry= Ruby Murray
Dead = brown bread
Deaf= Mutt 'N (Jeff)
Diet= Brixton riot
Dinner = Jim Skinner
Dog= cherry (hog)
Dole= rock n' roll
Dollar= Oxford (Scholar)
Door = Rory (O'More)
Dozen= country cousin
Drink = tiddly (wink)
Dripping= Doctor Crippen
Drunk= elephant's trunk
Eyes = mince pies
Faces= airs and graces
Face= boat race
Fag = oily rag
Fanny= Jack N Danny
Fart = horse and cart
Feet= plates of meat
Fight = read and write
Fire= Anna Maria
Fish = Lillian Gish
Fist = Oliver (Twist)
Five= Jacks alive
Fiver = lady godiva
Flares Lionel’s (Blair)
Flower = April shower
Geezer = fridge freezer
Gin = Mother's ruin
Gloves = turtle doves
Go= scapa (flow)
Gravy= Army and Navy
Greek= bubble and squeak
Gutter = bread and butter
Gut= Newington (butt)
Hair = Barnet (Fair)
Hand = German (band)
Hat =tit for (tat)
Head = loaf (of bread)
Hell = ding-dong bell
Hill= Jack and Jill
Hot = peas (in the pot)
House = cat and mouse
Husband = old pot and pan
Jail= bucket and pail
Jaw = jackdaw
Jew = four by two
Jewellery = Tom Foolery
Jock= sweaty sock
Joke = Bushey Park
Judge= Barnaby Rudge
Kid = dustbin lid
Kidney = Sydney
Kipper = Jack the Ripper
Kiss= hit and miss
Knackered= cream crackered
Knee= biscuit (and cheese)
Knickers= Alan Whickers
Labour= beggar my neighbour
Lark = Bushey Park
Later= alligator
Laugh bubble bath
Leg = bacon (and egg)
Liar= holy friar
Lies = porky pies
Liver = cheerful giver
Lodger = Artful Dodger
Look= butcher's (hook)
Lunch = kidney punch
Magistrate = garden gate
Married = cash and carried
Matches= cuts and scratches
Mate = china (plate)
Minge= Edinburgh Fringe
Minute = cock linnet
Miss= cuddle and kiss
Missis = love and kisses
Money = bees (and honey)
Mormon = Jerry O'Gorman
Mouth = north and south
Nail = monkey's tail
Nark = grass (in the park)
Neck = Gregory Peck
Newspaper = linen draper
Nose= I suppose
Own= Jack Jones
Out of order= Alan Border
Park = Noah's Ark
Penny = Abergavenny
Phone = dog and bone
Piano = Joanna
Pickle = Harvey Nichol
Piddle = Jimmy (Riddle)
Piles= farmer Giles
Pill = Jack and Jill
Pillow = weeping willow
Piss = gypsy's kiss
Pissed= Brahms and Lizst
Pocket = skyrocket
Ponce = Alphonse
Pony = macaroni
Poof = iron hoof
Poor = on the floor
Pox = nervo and know
Prick = Hampton (Wick)
Pub = rub-a-dub-dub
Queer= ginger (beer)
Quid = teapot lid
Races = airs and graces
Rain = pleasure and pain
Rent = Burton (on Trent)
Right = Isle of Wight
Road = frog and toad
Row = bull and cow
Rum = Tom Thumb
Sack = tic tac
Sack= last card in the pack
Saloon = balloon
Saw = bear's paw
Scar = Mars bar
Score= Bobby Moore
Scotch = pimple and blotch
Scouts= Brussels’s (sprouts)
Sense = eighteen pence
Shave = dig in the grave
Ship = 'a penny (dip)
Shit = Tom Tit
Shite= Barry White
Shitter = Gary Glitter
Shirt= dickey dirt
Shoes = rhythm and blues
Shovel = Lord Lovell
Sick = Tom and Dick
Silly = daffadown dilly
Sister = skin and blister
Six = chopsticks
Sixty-six = clickety click
Skins= Vera’s (Vera Lynn)
Skint = boracic lint
Slash = pie and mash
Sleep = Bo-Peep
Slippers = big dippers
Sneeze = bread and cheese
Soap = Cape of Good Hope
Sock = almond rock
Son = currant bun
Song = ding-dong
Sparrow = bow and arrow
Soup = loop the loop
Stairs = apples and pears
Starving = Hank Marvin
State = two and eight
Still = Beecham's Pill
Stink = pen and ink
Stool = April fool
Stout = salmon and trout
Stranger =Glasgow Ranger
Street = field of wheat
Suit= whistle and flute
Sun = currant bun
Supper= Tommy Tucker
Sure = Bobby Moore
Swear = Lord Mayor
Table = Cain and Abel
Tail = Alderman’s Nail
Talk = rabbit (and pork)
Tale= Daily Mail
Tea = Rosy Lea
Teeth= Hampstead Heath
Telly = custard and jelly
Thief= tealeaf
Thirst = Geoff Hurst
Ticket = bat and wicket
Tie = Peckham Rye
Till = Jack and Jill
Time = birdlime
Titties= Bristol Cities
Tits = Eartha Kits
Toast= Holy Ghost
Toes = Bromley’s (By Bow)
Tool = April fool
Tote = canal boat
Tramp= paraffin lamp
Trainers= Claire Raynor’s
Trouble= Barney Rubble
Trousers = round the houses
Twenty-two = dinky do
Turd = Richard the 3rd
Umbrella = Auntie Ella
Wage = green gage
Walk = ball of chalk
Wank = Barclays Bank
Wash= Bob Squash
Watch = Gordon & Gotch
Watch= kettle (on the hob)=fob
Water = Fisherman's Daughter
Whisky = gay and frisky
Wife = trouble and strife
Wig= Irish jig
Wig = syrup of fig
Window = burnt cinder
Wood = do me good
Word = dickey bird
Yid = front wheel skid

Cockney Rhyming Slang is a slang most commonly used by British thieves and traders. Its origin is uncertain, but is thought to come from 19th century London thieves and traders. However, some people believe that it comes directly from East London thieves, who didn't wish to be overheard by the police. With most sentences sounding like gibberish to the casual listener, the code would be rather effective.

The problem in locating its origin, lies in the fact that it is mainly a spoken language. One theory on this lies in the idea that the fewer written logs, the harder the slang will be to break.

Now, some sources claim that it originally used to be a form of Pigdin English. These same sources also say that these days youngsters use the slang more as a joke.

"Cockney" is a derogatory slang word for working class Londoners, and the other two words form the name of the slang quite accuratly. The idea behind the slang is to use a word to rhyme with the word they actually mean. Now this is often taken to greater lengths by taking a popular name such as Brad Pitt, and having the word you want to use rhyme with Pitt. Then when talking in Cockney Rhyming Slang, simply use the first name, Brad. This oughtta confuse those blokes.

Example:
You go to your dentist's and he says:

"Let's have a butcher's at that north of yours, china."

Don't worry, all he's saying is:

"Let's have a look at that mouth of yours, mate."

Of course, I still wouldn't trust a dentist that talks to me in Cockney Rhyming Slang.. so.. RUN!
The example's words were chosen from the writeup at the very top.
If you'd like to hear this slang spoken rather convincingly, I recommend renting the movies Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels and The Limey. Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels has one scene with subtitles for the reason that the characters are speaking Cockney Rhyming Slang. The DVD for the movie, also contains a small tutorial on the slang. In The Limey, Terence Stamp, speaks the slang in almost throughout the film, but you can still somehow understand what he means.
Sources:
BBC Online - h2g2 - Cockney Rhyming Slang. http://www.bbc.co.uk/h2g2/guide/A649
Cockney Rhyming Slang. http://www.ac.wwu.edu/~morrelr/cockney.html
History of Cockney Rhyming Slang. http://www.fun-with-words.com/crs_history.html
While atesh's historical survey of it is probably accurate, none of the writeups here convey the contemporary status of rhyming slang. To an outsider -- to an American, say, who's merely aware that such a thing exists, perhaps from hearing snatches in films and TV -- we need to give some better idea of who uses what terms, and when.

Cockney rhyming slang is both a historical curiosity, and a living tradition. Some words have passed into general slang use among the rest of the British people, and indeed in other countries; whereas most of the words in gm_food's long list (above) are incomprehensible even inside Britain. In fact, Australia uses rhyming slang too and has its own, such as billy lid for kid.

There's always been slang, in both upper and lower classes: the romances of Georgette Heyer are full of glorious examples. In previous centuries low-class slang drew quite a bit from Romany and later from Yiddish. I don't know when rhyming slang arose; it doesn't strike me as common in nineteenth-century novels or Punch cartoons, so perhaps it became popular in the early twentieth century, since any cant has to keep up to date and remain obscure to outsiders.

So it's dynamic. A lot of the terms found in lists are dead: invented once, in fashion for a while, and forgotten. No-one actually uses them. Second, it's still alive, mainly for the amusement of Cockneys now rather than secrecy. ("Cockney" isn't derogatory, by the way.) It's common to hear new phrases pop up. The idea is that they should be fairly clever, but easy enough to work out. When you first hear "He gives me the Brads", you quickly think about filling two slots "Brad ----" and "He gives me the ----s", and should get the answer almost immediately. Obviously this isn't a traditional Cockney phrase. The films quoted above are loaded with newly-invented terms. With the recent death of Gregory Peck I saw several letters in newspapers about what he was rhyming slang for: to write someone a Gregory for £10, for example. This use must have arisen when he was young and prominent. But no-one actually says that one these days. This is why I'm going to give a classification of which ones seem to have entered the language on a more permanent basis.

Two final points before I classify them. Usually the rhyming part is dropped off, but not always. It varies phrase by phrase, and sometimes it's optional. So "that's a load of cobblers", never "a load of cobbler's awls"; but to call someone drunk you can say either "elephants" or "elephant's trunk", or indeed "Brahms" or "Brahms and Liszt".

Also, they don't substitute for the word generally, but only in one grammatical form or context: so "pickle and pork" means "walk", the noun, as in "go for a ...", but not as in "... quickly". I've indicated these contexts.

Here's my tentative classification of all the terms mentioned in the above writeups. So if you're an American tourist for god's sake don't tell a stranger you're going up the frog to buy some Uncle Fred.

1. So common in general slang that we might not even remember they're rhyming slang:

Or in other words, if you are a tourist and you say one of these, you won't sound ridiculous.

  • barney = fight, trouble ("a bit of a barney", not "a bit of barney"; ?from Barney Rubble)
  • berk = cunt (only as a mild insult, not usually understood to be "cunt" -- from either Berkshire Hunt or Berkeley Hunt, though in both these the syllable is pronounced "bark")
  • butchers = look (as in "to have a butchers at something"; from butcher's hook)
  • cobblers = balls (usually as "nonsense", rarely literal "testicles" -- from cobbler's awls)
  • loaf = head (usually in "use your loaf"; from loaf of bread)
  • rabbit = talk (usually "rabbit on"; ?from rabbit and pork)
  • scarper = go, flee, escape (from Scapa Flow, the harbour in Orkney)
2. Sometimes used, but we're invariably conscious they're rhyming slang and joking:

Not to be used by foreigners unless you've gone native!

Examples welcomed of terms that are actually in wide use, like the above. The condition is, I have to have heard it already. I'm sure other people will disagree with some of my classifications. Amendments cautiously welcomed.

3. The rest of them.

Forget it. Antique or obscure or spurious. Found only in long lists that are no real help to the contemporary visitor; or facetiously by people who like to be obscure; or coined for some new film that's trying to confuse audiences.

Salon des Réfusés
I've had other people /msg me with these, though I haven't heard them myself:
tWD offers skinner = sister (skin and blister)

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