If you’re moving to Manchester, the chances are you’ll bump into some Mancunians. Here are some of the most common Manc slang words that you’ll hear at some point during your time in the city (and that I, as a Manchester native, have grown up hearing and using!).
Maybe don’t use too many at once, or you’ll end up sounding like Perry in this clip!
Alright? /You alright? (Rhetorical Question): Hello
Mancs use this question as a greeting: just repeating it back is enough, you don’t have to answer!
“Alright?” “Hi, y’alright?”
And That (Adverbial Expression): Etc.
An expression I use a lot, this roughly means ‘and everything else’.
“Have you finished your essay?” “Yeah, I just need to do the formatting and that”
Angin (Adjective): Disgusting
I’ve learned that in other places around the UK to be ‘hanging’ means to be hungover, but in Manchester the word ‘angin’ (we drop the first ‘h’ and last ‘g’) can refer to anything from rainy weather to your dinner. Similar in use to ‘minging’.
“This gravy’s angin, it’s not thick enough – it’s basically water.”
Bap/Barm/Barm Cake/Breadcake/Bun/Cob/Muffin/Roll/Tea Cake (Noun): Bread
All the terms above are used in Manchester and can refer to the bread pictured below. The geographical spread of these terms (and others that show lexical, phonological or grammatical variation) was studied by the University of Manchester’s Linguistics & English Language department and can be seen on a map here.
“Can I have a chip muffin, please?”
Bobbins (Adjective): Rubbish
A classic example of a Mancunian colloquialism, if something’s bobbins it’s just a bit rubbish (pants has a similar adjectival meaning).
“Manchester United have been bobbins for years.”
Breakfast/Dinner/Tea (Nouns): The Different Meals of the Day
This has been a source of confusion for some of my housemates from down South. For many Mancunians, ‘dinner’ refers to your midday meal (what others would call lunch – we had dinner ladies in school, rather than lunch ladies) and ‘tea’, as well as meaning the hot drink, refers to your evening meal (what others would call dinner or supper); supper is a snack or meal you might have after your tea, but probably only something light.
“What’s for tea?” “Bogey butties”
Brew (Noun): Cup of Tea/Coffee
Nothing to do with cauldrons or anything else witchy that the word ‘brew’ often brings to mind; this is just shorthand for a hot beverage. Similarly, the verb ‘brew up’ means “to make a tea/coffee”.
“Do you fancy a brew? I’m brewing up” “Nah, you’re alright”
Butty (Noun): Sandwich
‘Butty’ refers to basically any sandwich with 2 slices of bread (i.e., not dead fancy ones, like club sandwiches).
“Can I have a chip butty with gravy, please?”
Buzzing (Adjective): Excited
Appropriate for a city whose symbol is the worker bee, Mancs are often buzzing about something. Sometimes it’s just used as an exclamation of excitement.
“I got a first on my exam! Buzzing”
Chuddy (Noun): Chewing Gum
This is another word that changes depending on where you are in the North, as shown on this map.
“Do you have any chuddy?”
Chufty Badge (Noun): Metaphorical/Invisible Badge for Doing Something Minor
My parents LOVE this one; they’ve used it so much throughout my life that I thought it was way more common than it actually is.
“I’ve cleaned up that drink I spilled” “So what? Do you want a Chufty Badge or summat?”
Dead/Well (Adjectives): Very
These adjectives are dead commonly used round here. Proper is also used in the same way, but that’s common all over the North.
“How was the film?” “Dead good”
“That pub quiz was well ‘ard!”
Do One/Swivel (Imperative/Exclamation): Go Away
‘Swivel’ is the newer of the two expressions and tends to only be used by teenagers and young adults – ‘do one’ is used much more.
“Those thunderclouds need to do one.”
Ee Arr (Idiom): Attempt to Get Someone’s Attention
Sounds very Northern, and a bit like a pirate (also used in Manchester and Liverpool to mean “here you are”, e.g., when something is being passed to you). Use this at the beginning of a sentence.
“Ee arr, have you seen this?”
Get Done (Verb): To Get into Trouble
Another one I didn’t realise was regional! Often used by schoolkids.
“Nah, put that down or we’ll get done; I don’t want a det.”
Ginnel (Noun): Alley/Walkway
Also seen in places like Leeds (according to this map), you’ll hear this a lot if you watch Coronation Street, which is set in the fictional town of Weatherfield in Manchester.
“It’ll be quicker if we cut through the ginnel.”
Kecks (Noun): Trousers
Pants are also commonly used in Manchester for the same meaning, as seen here, so, if a Manc comments on your pants they’re probably not talking about your underwear!
“I like your kecks, are they new?”
Leg It/Peg It (Verb Phrase): Run Quickly
Like bomb it, which I also use a lot, for someone who doesn’t run very often.
“We legged it and managed to catch that train.”
Let On (Verb Phrase): Acknowledge Someone You Know
You can let on to someone you’re passing in the street by exchanging a quick ‘alright?’!
“I saw him from school who didn’t like us.” “Did he let on to you?”
Mad For It/Madferit (Verb Phrase/Exclamation): [To Be a] Fan of/Excited About Something
Closely associated with Liam Gallagher (lead singer of the band Oasis), this phrase is synonymous with the Madchester era of the late 20th century. It can be used as a verb or simply as an expression of excitement.
“Britpop, I’m mad for it!”
Mint (Adjective): Very Good
Us Mancs have many words for things we find great, as you’ll see below!
“That’s mint, that!”
Mither (Verb or Noun): Annoy/Bother/Irritate, or an Annoyance/Irritancy
I didn’t know this was only in Manchester until I came to uni!
“Stop mithering me!”
“I can’t be mithered.”
“That’s a proper mither.”
Nick (Verb): Steal
This might be used elsewhere, but I’ve only ever heard Mancs say it.
“I used to nick sweets from the corner shop.”
[I’m] Not Being Funny: Preface
This is used to soften the statement that follows it, which may be potentially insensitive or offensive.
“I’m not being funny, but you need to get a grip.”
Nowt (Noun): Nothing
Stereotypically Manc, nowt and owt are two sides of the same coin.
“There’s nowt better than watching Manchester City.”
Our Kid/Our [Insert Name]: Term of Affection
This is mostly used to refer to your siblings but can also refer to a close friend or other family member (Mancs pronounce ‘our’ as ‘arr’).
“Our kid has always been the sporty one.”
“Is our Denise coming?”
Owt (Noun): Anything
The other half of nowt.
“I’m going to the shop, do you want owt?”
Snide (Adjective): Mean/Nasty, or Fake (referring to Counterfeit Goods)
One adjective, two meanings (the former is used more often, and can be used basically interchangeably with tight).
“I’ve fallen out with him, he was being well snide.”
“Do you like my shoes? They’re snide” “Really? They look real.”
Sorted (Adjective): Very Good
The second of the proper positive adjectives (used more in the 90s than now).
“How’s your food?” “Yeah, sorted, it’s dead nice.”
Sound (Adjective): Very Good
Practically interchangeable with mint, it’s appropriate that a city so famous for its music scene has a music-related word meaning ‘great’.
“Have you tried that bar?” “Yeah, it’s a sound night out”
Swear Down (Verbal Expression): Statement of Truth
You’ll absolutely hear the local kids saying this.
“I swear down, I won’t say owt”
Tight (Adjective): Nasty or Stingy
Similar in meaning to snide but used more for describing situations where someone is withholding something (information, money, sweets, etc.).
“Don’t be tight, give us some chuddy.”
Top (Adjective): Very Good
Finally, another adjective to describe something fab (and a noun for basically any kind of shirt or blouse).
“What a top blog post.”
Written by Georgia Harris