Monday, May 27, 2013

Telling Porky Pies – Lies (Cockney Slang)

Cockney rhyme began as a means for the London working class to “talk” to each other without others having a clue as to what was being said. Needless to say, the unsavory characters of London also adopted the language in an attempt to baffle the police force. In any event, sometimes the origin of the saying is hard to follow and convoluted, but after all, that was the idea!

By the way, to be born a “Cockney” one has to have been born within the sounds of Bow Bells Church in the East End of London. Following is a quick description of the slang, and the meaning.

Trouble and Strife = wife. I’m going home to the trouble and strife (wife).
Porky pies = lies. You're telling me porky pies again (lies).
Butcher’s hook = look. He was giving me a good butcher’s hook (look).
Apples and pears = stairs. The toilet is up the apples and pears (stairs).
Whistle and flute = suit. That’s a smart whistle you're wearing (suit).
Daisy roots = boots. I like your daisy roots (boots).
Skin and blister = sister. Hands off her; she’s my skin and blister (sister).
Barnet fair = head of hair. The girl has a beautiful barnet fair (head of hair).
Mutton Jeff = deaf. The poor man used to hear well, now he is mutton deaf (deaf).
Bowler hat= rat. I once thought he was my friend, but then he turned into a bowler hat (rat).
North and south = mouth. She has a right ‘ol north and south (mouth).
Tom and Dick = sick. I have to leave work because I’m Tom and Dick (sick).
Artful dodger = lodger. I need help paying the rent. I’ll have to take in an artful dodger (lodger).
Brown bread = dead. He was all right when I left him, then I found out he was brown bread (dead.)
Baker’s dozen = cousin. No, he’s not my brother; he’s my baker’s dozen (cousin).
Bill and Ben = writing pen. I don’t have a pencil, but I do have a Bill and Ben (pen).

Often several slang terms were used in conjunction such as:
“I was wearing my best Whistle and Flute (suit) walking down the Apple and Pears (stairs) when this Bowler Hat (rat) whom I used to consider a Baker's Dozen (cousin) asked if I’d been Tom and Dick (sick.) I told him I needed to get home to the Trouble and Strife (wife) because she had a real North and South (mouth) and I didn’t want to tell her any Porky pies (lies) because I could end up as Brown Bread (dead.)