A Modern Dictionary Of London Terms

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 7 months ago
A Modern Dictionary Of London Terms

London changes so fast, we decided it was time to create a dictionary of contemporary words and phrases. Move over, Dr Johnson.

London's first competent mayor? Photo: Chris Beckett

Affordable housing: Slightly cheaper, but still not actually affordable housing.

'Baby on Board': Badge worn by pregnant commuters to warn others they're almost certainly not interested in a relationship.

Boxpark: A covered market of the 21st century. Fruit and veg make way for cronuts and fro yo; silks and linens make way for Prince tea towels and cacti.

'Brolly wally': Inconsiderate umbrella user. More here.

Brunch: What people do on a Sunday instead of going to a museum.

Card clash: Ongoing threat from TfL which sounds like something from a bad 1980s sci-fi film. No one has ever met any who's experienced card clash.

You will not last long without this.

Citymapper: Magical device which tells you where you are and where you're going. You will not last long without this.

Craft brewery: AKA a brewery. There are currently about 7,357 of these in Greater London. The only London brewery claiming not to be a craft brewery now is Fuller's. They still brew craft beer.

Crazy golf: The preferred sport of every Londoner aged 17-35. Must involved the chassis of a car, a rooftop and/or a fibreglass whale.

Crossrail: The tube 2.0.

Crossrail 2: Crossrail 2.0.

Photo: Kathy Archbold

Enfield Town: Has existed ever since being connected to the Overground line in 2015.

Evening Standard: A nostalgic throwback to a time when we used to read things off paper.

Foxtons: Purveyors of free refrigerated water.

Gentrification: Happening all around you. Look at the guy sitting across from you. He's had his knees knocked in and converted into a one-bed luxury apartment. Crazy times.

Hipster: What old Londoners call younger Londoners.

Foxtons: Purveyors of free refrigerated water. Photo: Tony Monblat

Late: When museums and galleries do wine. Also applies to London Zoo, where you can be drunk near a tiger, while wearing tiger face paint.

Lego: Not a week goes by when somebody doesn't make something out of Lego.

London Stadium: London 2012's legacy transpired to be subsidising a middling football team.

Night tube: Something that makes perfect sense, but still feels almost too good to be true.

Negroni: The official drink of Peckham.

No reservations in action. Photo: Past London

No reservations: Surprisingly effective way of getting diners to queue up for 90 minutes outside a restaurant they might otherwise not bother going to at all.

Pengest Munch: aka 'Chicken Connoisseur'. Responsible for the trendy-fication/surge in price of fried chicken. More here.

Platform 9¾: The most popular wall in London. Even more than the London Wall. It and its accompanying gift shop is visited by thousands of mugs muggles every day.

Pop-up: Shop/restaurant/bar from someone who's concept is too risky to invest in a real shop/restaurant/bar. Can take the form of almost anything e.g. garden shed, underpass, Airstream, crisp packet.  

Rooftop pop-up: Shop/restaurant/bar from someone who's concept is too risky to invest in a real shop/restaurant/bar. On a roof.

Southern: mythical train service. Photo: Michael Garnett

Sadiq Khan: Third Mayor of London. First Muslim Mayor of London. First competent Mayor of London?

The Shard: No way near the UK's tallest structure. More here.

Southern: Mythical train service.

Strike: One of these is scheduled for next week (applicable regardless of when you're reading this). Probably by Southern.

Uber: Example: "Let's just Uber it." Cross between a black cab and a night bus. As with mobile phones, no Londoner can remember life without them.

Watford: Suddenly one of the most popular places in London, due to the fact Harry Potter lives there. Unfortunately, Watford isn't actually in London.

Westfield: like it or not you're going to go here this year. Photo: Steve Reed

Wazzbaffle: Colloquial name for a urine deflector. There're everywhere — look.

Westfield: Somewhere you somehow wind up three times a year, despite all efforts to the contrary.

'Why I'm leaving London': Popular type of article. More here.

Ziggy Stardust: Fictional character created for a mural just off Brixton Road.

Zone 9: Where you still can't afford to buy a house.

We will happily read your own suggestions in the comments below.

Last Updated 07 April 2017

Elizabeth Reid Britton

Funny - especially about the Harry Potter mania. Lots apply to Bristol too, strangely enough.... eg housing, pop-ups (but "whose" not "who's", please)