Word Power

Reader's Digest (India) - - Contents -

This year marks ex­actly 60 years since Queen El­iz­a­beth’s coronation. The Queen’s English has long been deemed the cor­rect way to speak, but do you know what th­ese ev­ery­day slang terms mean? Is your Brit-speak up to snuff?

1. skive off— A: drive reck­lessly. B: avoid work or re­spon­si­bil­ity. C: veer sud­denly in the op­po­site di­rec­tion.

2. squiffy adj.— A: slightly in­tox­i­cated. B: eas­ily amused. C: over­stuffed.

3. faff about— A: run around in a tizzy. B: ges­ture wildly while speak­ing. C: dither.

4. knack­ered adj.— A: ex­hausted. B: ju­bi­lant. C: par­tic­u­larly adept at some­thing.

5. twee adj.— A: tiny. B: af­fect­edly quaint. C: mo­not­o­nous and soothing.

6. gorm­less adj.— A: clue­less. B: guile­less. C: enor­mous.

7. skint adj.— A: in­jured in a sports brawl. B: stuck at the end of the queue. C: broke.

8. manky adj.— A: on the edge of le­gal­ity. B: ma­cho. C: un­pleas­ant.

9. bodge v.— A: make a mess of some­thing. B: tell a lie. C: poke fun at some­one.

10. butty n.— A: nosy per­son. B: sand­wich. C: dark beer.

11. Old Bill— A: po­lice. B: debt col­lec­tor. C: jail cell.

12. nowt n.— A: late evening. B: myth­i­cal an­i­mal. C: noth­ing.

13. pukka adj.— A: hard to ob­tain. B: first-class. C: cheru­bic.

14. shirty adj.— A: badtem­pered. B: prone to dress­ing strangely. C: overzeal­ous.

15. barmy adj.— A: car­ing. B: crazy. C: calm.


1. skive off—[ B] avoid work or re­spon­si­bil­ity. “No skiv­ing off to­day, lads. We have to fin­ish this project on time,” the boss said.

2. squiffy—[ A] slightly in­tox­i­cated. “We’d best watch out that Nigel doesn’t get too squiffy be­fore his job in­ter­view.”

3. faff about — [ C] dither. “Ru­pert’s mother in­sisted that he stop faffing about and go right up­stairs to clean his room.”

4. knack­ered—[ A] ex­hausted. “The play­ers were good and knack­ered af­ter 90 min­utes on the pitch.”

5. twee—[ B] af­fect­edly quaint. “Pene­lope and Prunella dis­missed the cot­tage’s ruf­fled dé­co­ras too twee for their lik­ing.”

6. gorm­less—[ A] clue­less. “Mar­garet rolled her eyes at her date, won­der­ing why she had agreed to have tea with some­one so ut­terly gorm­less.”

7. skint—[ C] broke. “I’m skint af­ter all that ex­pen­sive clothes shop­ping with the mis­sus,” John lamented to his friends.

8. manky—[ C] un­pleas­ant. “Harry couldn’t bear to toss out his manky old team jersey, even though it was fall­ing apart.”

9. bodge—[ A] make a mess of some­thing. “It ’s easy to bodge a build­ing job with­out the right tools.”

10. butty—[ B] sand­wich. “Crispin licked his lips in an­tic­i­pa­tion of the de­li­cious chip butty his wife was pre­par­ing.”

11. Old Bill—[ A] po­lice. “Be care­ful not to get too rowdy at the game or you’ll get pinched by the Old Bill.”

12. nowt—[ C] noth­ing. “De­spite the vicar’s best ef­forts, t he at­tempt to keep in­sects out of the church gar­den came to nowt.”

13. pukka—[ B] first- class. “Davey looked right pukka in his new suit and shiny shoes.”

14. shirty—[ A] bad- tem­pered. “Don’t get shirty with me, missy! This is your fault, not mine.”

15. barmy—[ B] crazy. “Aun­tie Mil­dred’s in­sis­tence on dec­o­rat­ing her lawn with gi­ant orange gar­den gnomes seemed a touch barmy to the neigh­bours.”


5 and be­low: A good at­tempt

6-10: You’re start­ing to im­press us here

11-15: A word-power wizard!

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