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10 Words And Phrases That Mean Something Very Different In Liverpool

Alice Lorenzato-Lloyd Alice Lorenzato-Lloyd - Staff Writer

liverpool-scouse

A lot of things change when you come to Liverpool, or over the Mersey.

Us Scousers like to consider ourselves as pretty sound, so it’s no wonder we’ve developed our own dialect. Where some commonly used phrases and slang might mean exactly what they are for you, they usually mean something completely different here in Liverpool.

1. “Queen”

Usually means: The female ruler of an independent state.

What it means in Liverpool: Woman or female equivalent of lad

This is one of the Scouse phrases which is actually making a comeback in Liverpool! There’s nothing more lovely than hearing your nan, mum, aunties and basically any woman older than you, call you Queen. What a privilege. It can also used to refer to a woman or your girlfriend.

2. “Boss”

Usually means: The person in charge of a team, business etc.

What it means in Liverpool: The best thing ever

Yes, we’re one of few regions that uses the term ‘boss’, but we love it. We express our enthusiasm often with this term actually, and you’ll probably hear everything being described as ‘boss’ – just don’t be fooled into thinking we mean it’s in charge, we actually just mean that it’s very, very good.

3. “Ozzy”

hospital

Usually means: The first name of Ozzy Osbourne.

What it means in Liverpool: Hospital

Sorry to kill any dreams of yours that may involve meeting a member of Black Sabbath, but that time we said we had hurt our foot and needed to go to the ‘ozzy’ wasn’t so Ozzy Osbourne could heal our wounds with heavy metal music. Although, you never know it could work. Where we really wanted to go was the hospital. The most likely reason we call it the ozzy is simply shortening hospital and dropping the ‘h’. Or it could be an emergency so there’s no time to say the full word. Who knows.

4. “Made up”

Usually means: Wearing make-up or a something that isn’t true.

What it means in Liverpool: Happy

Ahhh we’re made up you’re reading this article about all things scouse you know. Being made up is the best thing ever. All good news should be met with ‘Ahhh I’m made up for you’. Winning an Oscar, remembering your £1 for an Asda trolley or even putting your bins out on the right day after a bank holiday. Made up.

5. “Baltic”

Usually means: relating to the Baltic Sea or the region surrounding it.

What it means in  Liverpool: It’s freezing cold.

You might be rather confused the first time you hear this phrase as Liverpool is nowhere near the Baltic Sea. However, ‘baltic’ is one of the Scouse phrases derived from back in the days when Liverpool was a famous, bustling port. The Baltic Triangle area of Liverpool used to have a lot of timber warehouses and timber yards there, and due to scarcity of oak at the time, the timber was imported from cold Baltic countries like Norway. Another giveaway is that the Scandinavian Church is based in the Baltic Triangle so there has always been a strong geographical link between Liverpool and the Baltic.

6. “Cracking the flags”

ice-cream-melting

Usually means: Flags being cracked.

What it means in Liverpool: It’s hot

Where the south of the country will probably be confused by the use of the phrase ‘cracking the flags’, what it means up north is that it’s boiling hot out. The phrase is not is reference to the flags that flap in the wind, but instead, flagstones (paving slabs or stones). The implication is that the heat from the sun is hot it’s enough to crack stone.

7. “Sound”

Usually means: Vibrations that travel through the air to reach our ears

What it means in Liverpool: “Great”

While most people wouldn’t use this term on a daily basis, in Liverpool, it’s the norm. You’d probably express that something is great with the appropriate terms from the English dictionary, however, us Scousers just like to do things a little differently. It’s a term you’ll just have to get used to, because everything is “sound that” ’round our parts.

8. “Red or blue?”

anfield-stadium
Credit: Unsplash

Usually means: Which colour is your favourite?

What it means in Liverpool: Do you support Liverpool or Everton?

This question is one to answer with caution, as it’s not as simple as choosing your favourite colour. In fact, the colours are very closely tied to the city’s football teams – so it’s best to know your audience or be pretty confident with which you select. Red very rarely means the actual colour here, but instead the much-loved Liverpool team, and the same goes for blue, which Everton is adorned in.

9. “Antwacky”

Usually means: (There is no other meaning to this word)

What it means in Liverpool: Old-fashioned

We have absolutely no idea why us Scousers in particular use it but apparently it originated from the word antique. Where elsewhere, ‘antwacky’ could seem like gobbledegook, it’s used to describe something that’s old-fashioned or out-dated. For example, if you saw someone wearing clothes from a few decades ago or more, they would be described as “antwacky”.

10. “Kid”

Usually means: A child

What it means in Liverpool: Your (often annoying) sibling

Non-Liverpudlians will recognise this phrase as something frequently said by the Gallagher brothers and other Mancunians, however, it’s often used by those west of Manchester too. While we do still use ‘kid’ the same way that everyone else does, the phrase ‘our kid’ means something a little bit different. You could be mistaken in thinking it means your child, but it’s often used for someone you’d consider a younger sibling, whether they’re a sibling or not half the time. Here’s an example: “Ar’ kid’s gone down the shop for some teabags”.

10. “Clobber”

Usually means: Hit someone hard

What it means in Liverpool: Clothes

Non-Scousers, not just Wools (those from areas outside of Liverpool), will know this phrase as hitting someone hard, however, it’s often used by us in everyday conversations too. While we do still use phrases like ‘clobber’ the same way that everyone else does, in Liverpool it also means we’re talking about our clothes. ‘Threads’ is also a common word used to describe your wardrobe items.

Read more: 10 Of Liverpool’s Prettiest Streets That You’ll Dream About Forever