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Quiz about The Cockney Code Uncovered
Quiz about The Cockney Code Uncovered

The Cockney Code Uncovered! Trivia Quiz


The Cockney dialect is one of the most famous and colourful versions of English in the world. Have a butcher's at this little quiz as we go for a stroll down the Old Kent Road! (Just to clarify, this is not how the vast majority of Londoners speak!)

A multiple-choice quiz by crazy baby. Estimated time: 5 mins.
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Author
crazy baby
Time
5 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
349,536
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
7 / 10
Plays
645
Awards
Top 35% Quiz
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Question 1 of 10
1. We'll start with the bit of slang I sneakily threw in to the introduction - "have a butcher's". From the list below, which is the correct full phrase and its meaning? Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. When talking with a Cockney gentleman, he may refer to "the trouble and strife." But having taken this quiz, you realise he's not really in a spot of bother, but is referring to what? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. This Cockney word is no longer confined solely to be being said in London - in fact, it has found its way into common English language use far outside the capital.

It was originally a two-word phrase, but now usually the second word is dropped. As an extra clue, this word is also the name of a London Borough, and means "hair".
Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. Next week is my London friend Suzie's birthday, so I'm going to pop a Gregory in the post for her. What exactly is Suzie going to receive? Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. If someone were to exclaim "cor, there's a bit of a George in here", they would mean that there was an unpleasant smell.


Question 6 of 10
6. Which of the following slang phrases is the odd one out? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. Mince pies, loaf of bread, plates of meat, bacon and eggs, plus a boat race too! No, I'm not talking about a nice picnic beside the river: what do these phrases really mean? Hint


Question 8 of 10
8. In order to decipher some Cockney slang, it might be necessary to have a little local knowledge on board. Bearing this in mind, if I was off to have my Hampstead's looked at, where would I be going? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. Some phrases are now used so commonly in the English language that many people use them without giving a second thought to their Cockney origins. "Telling a porky", calling someone an "old bag", or telling someone "not on your nellie" all have their roots in London lingo.

But which creepy crawly, originally used in rhyming slang to mean to catch on or understand, is now commonly used to mean to listen or eavesdrop?

Answer: (One Word, rhymes with something you find on a tree)
Question 10 of 10
10. It would be wrong to write a quiz on Cockney slang and not mention those silver-tongued rogues Del Boy and Rodney from 'Only Fools and Horses', so here is their honourable mention!

The pair are well known for their colourful use of the London dialect, and the catchy theme song to the programme contains a fleeting reference to Cockney slang too: "stick a pony in your pocket, I'll fetch the suitcase from the van."

But what is a pony? And no, I'm not talking about the four-legged kind.
Hint



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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. We'll start with the bit of slang I sneakily threw in to the introduction - "have a butcher's". From the list below, which is the correct full phrase and its meaning?

Answer: Butcher's hook = look

"Butcher's hook" is often just shortened to "butcher's", meaning to have a look.

It is thought that this phrase may have originated somewhere around Smithfield Market in Farringdon, London. Smithfield's is famous all over the land for its meat markets, which date back thousands of years. Certainly there would have been plenty of butchers and their hooks here, and was certainly a spectacle to look at! The market still operates today, though sadly the magnificent building is looking a little dilapidated.

Cockney slang is thought by many to have originated amongst the market traders (costermongers) of London, particularly those who may have been trading illegally, as a sort of code. Others believe the Cockney vernacular to be far older.
2. When talking with a Cockney gentleman, he may refer to "the trouble and strife." But having taken this quiz, you realise he's not really in a spot of bother, but is referring to what?

Answer: His wife

A classic Cockney rhyming slang phrase with a touch of crude humour, "trouble and strife" is usually said as a whole phrase to mean "wife". An alternative phrase is "bag for life" - lets hope these respective wives don't get offended!
3. This Cockney word is no longer confined solely to be being said in London - in fact, it has found its way into common English language use far outside the capital. It was originally a two-word phrase, but now usually the second word is dropped. As an extra clue, this word is also the name of a London Borough, and means "hair".

Answer: Barnet

The original, entire phrase is "Barnet Fair", though now it is more commonly shortened to just "Barnet". An example of this in use might be "I've been and had me Barnet done today," meaning that the speaker has had their hair done.

Thank you to Snowman for pointing out that Barnet is not a part of east London, where Cockney originated, and indeed was not a part of Greater London until 1965, by which time the phrase "Barnet Fair" was already well established as rhyming slang.
4. Next week is my London friend Suzie's birthday, so I'm going to pop a Gregory in the post for her. What exactly is Suzie going to receive?

Answer: A cheque

Gregory Peck, or just Gregory, refers to a cheque. It can also (confusingly) be used to mean the word "neck", but in this context I think it is safe to assume it means the former rather than the latter!

The phrase was quite simply borrowed from the name of the famous American actor, who starred as Atticus Finch in the 1962 classic 'To Kill A Mockingbird.'
5. If someone were to exclaim "cor, there's a bit of a George in here", they would mean that there was an unpleasant smell.

Answer: False

George, short for George Raft, refers to a draught. If the phrase in the question was referring to an unpleasant smell, there may have been a "pen and ink" - stink!

Another phrase coined from the name of an American actor, George Raft landed many roles as a gangster in American mob films, and famously starred alongside Marilyn Monroe in 'Some Like It Hot'.
6. Which of the following slang phrases is the odd one out?

Answer: Aunt Joanna

Three of the words, although they sound musical, do not actually refer to anything musical at all. Aunt Joanna, on the other hand, refers to a musical instrument. Here's what they mean:

Philharmonic = Gin & Tonic
Whistle and flute = suit (i.e. a suit of clothes)
Rhythm 'n' blues = shoes
Aunt Joanna = piano

Aunt Joanna is usually shortened to just "Joanna". Ok, so it still doesn't rhyme with piano, I hear you say. Listen to a true Londoner say "piano" and then you'll understand where the rhyming comes from!
7. Mince pies, loaf of bread, plates of meat, bacon and eggs, plus a boat race too! No, I'm not talking about a nice picnic beside the river: what do these phrases really mean?

Answer: They are parts of the body

With these phrases, there is probably little else to link them to their translated meanings other than the fact that they rhyme and all share a bit of Cockney humour. Here are their meanings:

Mince pies = eyes
Loaf of bread = head
Plates of meat = feet
Bacon and eggs = legs
Boat race = face

You can now use the phrase "I'm going to wash my boat" to impress your neighbours, whilst smugly knowing you don't really own a pleasure yacht, but are just off for a wash!
8. In order to decipher some Cockney slang, it might be necessary to have a little local knowledge on board. Bearing this in mind, if I was off to have my Hampstead's looked at, where would I be going?

Answer: To the dentist

I said that it may be helpful to have a little knowledge of London when trying to decipher some rhyming slang. Here, in order to work out the rhyme, you'd have to know that Hampstead refers to the area of Hampstead Heath. Now you have the whole phrase, and can think what it may rhyme with. Hampstead Heath rhymes with teeth, so therefore in this question you would be off to see a dentist. Open wide!
9. Some phrases are now used so commonly in the English language that many people use them without giving a second thought to their Cockney origins. "Telling a porky", calling someone an "old bag", or telling someone "not on your nellie" all have their roots in London lingo. But which creepy crawly, originally used in rhyming slang to mean to catch on or understand, is now commonly used to mean to listen or eavesdrop?

Answer: Earwig

The original use of "earwig" in rhyming slang was in rhyming with "twig", i.e. to catch on or understand something. Nowadays, we may say to someone "ssshhh,I'm earwigging" if you were trying to overhear a conversation - and perhaps never consider the origins behind what you said.
10. It would be wrong to write a quiz on Cockney slang and not mention those silver-tongued rogues Del Boy and Rodney from 'Only Fools and Horses', so here is their honourable mention! The pair are well known for their colourful use of the London dialect, and the catchy theme song to the programme contains a fleeting reference to Cockney slang too: "stick a pony in your pocket, I'll fetch the suitcase from the van." But what is a pony? And no, I'm not talking about the four-legged kind.

Answer: Slang term for 25 pounds

A "pony" is 25. A "score" means 20, and a "monkey" means 500.

Thanks to Cymruambyth for enlightening me to the fact that the terms "pony" and "monkey" have their roots in Regency era slang! However, they are also a common part of Cockney vernacular, hence their inclusion here. Of course, a score means 20 in general everyday language use too.

And for those eagle-eyed quizzers who spotted the deliberate mistake: Del Boy and Rodney are of course from Peckham, South London, but they still like to pepper their language with rhyming slang and may have some responsibility for its popularity. I think they deserve a mention!
Source: Author crazy baby

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor looney_tunes before going online.
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