The Complete Guide To Manchester's Colourful Slang

Team Hoo
27th July 2021

While known for football, Manchester in the North West of England, a famous soap and music, there is something more recognisable about Manchester: the accent. 

If you’ve ever visited Manchester, you may notice that the locals have a different dialect, with the majority commonly speak Mancunian or Manc. The name is also the name of the people who live in the city of Manchester.

Short History Of The Manchester Dialect

Throughout the 19th century and well into the 20th century, a large chunk of Manchester speech had been considered part of the Lancashire dialect. Over time, as the Lancashire dialect faded, many more colloquial words formed, creating a separate dialect entirely, called the Mancunian. 

The main change is how those in Manchester’s accent rhymes words like but with put and tends to use an over-enunciation of all vowel sounds. Another noticeable difference is the emphasis of the -NG sound with words such as singer and finger rhyme perfectly.  

While the Manchester accent is relatively localised and is usually found in Greater Manchester, it has become recognisable and well-known. This is, in part, thanks to Coronation Street as well as Nick Grimshaw on BBC Radio1, Karl Pilkington of An Idiot Abroad and the Gallagher brothers from Oasis. 

Top Mancunian Words And What They Mean

One walk down the street, and you may find yourself lost in what the locals are saying. Here is our list of the top Manucunian words and what they mean. 

Barm Cake is a Soft Roll,

While usually sold at chip shops, and commonly also called a chip barm, are breaded rolls.

Brassic means Poor or Broke 

If someone doesn’t have any money or can’t afford to do something, they may use the term ‘Brassic’.

Brew means a Cup of Tea

When ordering a drink, or someone you know asks if you want a hot drink, they may refer to it as a brew. ‘Do you fancy a brew?’ 

Chuffed means Pleased

When Mancunians are really pleased with something, they will use the word ‘Chuffed’. 

Dead means Very Good

If you want to describe something as very good, or really good, the word ‘dead’ is perfect. ‘That’s dead good’. 

Mingin’ means Revolting or Disgusting 

Mancunian’s use the term mingin’ to describe something disagreeable or revolting. ‘That meal was mingin’’. 

Mint means Good or Positive

Unlike many places in England, when Manchester locals use the term ‘Mint’ they don’t mean a flavour. Generally, it means something is good or positive. ‘Oh, that’s mint that is’. 

Our Kid means Sibling or Close Friend

If you hear someone referring to a person as ‘Our Kid’ it can either be a sibling, close family member or friend who isn’t necessarily a child. 

Pop means Fizzy Drinks

When ordering a fizzy drink such as Pepsi, Coke or Fanta, Mancunian’s refer to them as ‘Pop’. ‘Can you grab me a can of pop?’

Scran means Food

In Manchester, scran just means food. ‘Shall we get some scran?’ 

Spitting means Fine Rain

With the weather in the UK, there are various different terms for how to describe it. In Manchester, fine rain is commonly called spitting. ‘It’s just spitting.’  

Sounds means Good or Decent

If referring to someone or something that is good or decent, Mancunian’s will use the word sound. ‘He’s so sound’. 

Mancunian Sayings And Phrases

For a wider range of Mancunian sayings and phrases you may not hear day to day, here are some more sayings and phrases. 

Angin means Disgusting

If you’re wanting to call something disgusting, like food, Mancunian’s refer to this as ‘angin’.

Bessie refers to a Best Friend

When describing someone you’re close friends with. ‘I love my bessies’. 

Bobbins refers to something being Rubbish or Worthless

When referring to something as being not very good, rubbish or worthless. ‘That song is bobbins’. 

Buzzin means Extremely Happy

When it comes to describing being extremely happy, ‘buzzin’ is the word Mancunian’s use. ‘I’m actually buzzin’. 

Cadge means Scrouge

If someone is a scrounge or scrounging for something such as, ‘Can I cadge a lift of you?’ 

Chuddy means Chewing Gum

A popular item in the UK is chewing gum, and in Manchester, this is referred to as ‘chuddy’. ‘Do you want a chuddy?’ 

City refers to Manchester City

Football is very important to Mancunian’s, and if someone asks ‘You see the City game?’ they mean Manchester City. Not to be confused with…

United refers to Manchester United

Similar to above, but United refers only to Manchester United based at Old Trafford. 

Do One means You Should Get Lost 

Either in teasing or seriousness, asking someone to ‘Do One’ technically means ‘Get Outta Here’ or ‘Get Lost’. 

Gagging means Thirsty

If you overhear someone say they are gagging, it generally means they are thirsty. ‘I’m gagging for a pint’. 

Ginnel means Alleyway 

The passage between a row of houses, many refer to as an alleyway is actually referred to as a Ginnel in Manchester. 

‘Give your 'ead a wobble.’

This saying means that someone needs to rethink something or reconsider their choice. 

Gruds refers to Underwear

If talking about your underwear, the term is ‘gruds’. ‘I need some clean gruds’. 

Keks refers to Trousers

When referring to trousers, Manchester locals call them ‘Keks’. ‘Did you see the keks on him?’ 

‘Mad Fer It’

If someone is overly keen on something happening or looking forward to something occurring, such as a night out, they may use the phrase ‘Mad fer it’. 

Mither means Bother

If someone is bothering or annoying, Mancunian’s may refer to this as mithering.  

Nesh means Cold 

To refer to someone who is always cold, people may use the term, ‘Nesh’ to describe them. ‘Oh, Danielle is always nesh’. 

Newtons means Teeth

When Mancunian’s refer to teeth, they will use the term ‘Newtons’.  

Nowt means Nothing

To put it simply, when Manchester locals use this term, they mean, literally nothing. ‘Nowt is wrong’. 

Owt means Anything

The opposite of ‘Nowt’, Mancunian’s anything. ‘Is there owt going on tomorrow?’

Snide means Mean

If someone is ‘snide’, it means someone is being mean. ‘You were quite snide earlier’. 

‘Stop ya chattin'

If you overhear this, it means that the person needs to stop talking a lot of rubbish. 

Strop means Tantrum

When someone is having a tantrum or has an outburst, it is generally referred to as a strop by Mancunians. 

‘I Swear Down’

If someone is to say ‘I swear down’, it means they are telling the complete truth or that they promise. 

‘What did they cut your hair with, a knife and fork?’

This saying means that a person has a rather poor haircut.

When it comes to visiting Manchester, keeping this list in your back pocket may help you with locals and not looking lost when out with friends. It is vital to remember Manchester favourites such as barm cake and pop; otherwise, you may not get what you expected when you order.


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