As you probably know by now, cockney rhyming slang is a type of informal British slang that uses rhyming phrases to replace words. For example, instead of saying “I’m going upstairs,” a person might say “I’m off up the apples and pears.”

Apples and pears
Apples and pears means “stairs” in cockney rhyming slang.

The origin of cockney rhyming slang is unclear, but it is thought to have started in the East End of London in the 19th century. This type of slang was likely used by criminals to conceal their conversation from the police, and it eventually spread to other groups of people. Today, cockney rhyming slang is used mainly by native speakers of British English, though it has definitely been adopted by some non-native speakers.

Like all slang, it changes with the times, and new groups of people adopt certain slang phrases, whilst others drop out of favour.

Who are some of the most famous people to use cockney rhyming slang in their speeches or interviews?

Cockney rhyming slang is a fascinating part of British culture, and it’s often used by famous people in everyday conversation.

Some of the most famous users of cockney rhyming slang include Prince Charles, who famously used the term “apples and pears” in an interview, and actor Hugh Laurie, who often uses slang terms on the popular TV show “House.”

Many celebrities have been known to use cockney rhyming slang when giving interviews or speeches, including Kate Middleton, David Beckham, and even Barack Obama. While some people might find the use of slang to be confusing, it’s clear that many famous people enjoy using it as a way to add personality to their public persona.

How can you start using cockney rhyming slang in your own conversations for fun and amusement (or just to show off)?

While cockney rhyming slang can be difficult to understand at first, it’s actually a lot of fun to use in your own conversations. Plus, it’s a great way to show off your knowledge of British culture! Here are a few tips to help you get started:

1. Listen out for common cockney rhyming slang expressions. If you’re not sure what a particular phrase means, ask a friend or do a quick online search or search our dictionary of rhyming slang.

2. Use rhyming slang sparingly. Remember, not everyone will be familiar with cockney rhyming slang so it’s best not to overdo it.

3. Have fun with it! Cockney rhyming slang is all about having fun with language so make sure you enjoy using it yourself.

What to watch out for while using cockney slang

While cockney rhyming slang can be fun and playful, it can also be exclusive and hard to understand for those not familiar with it. There are a few cockney slang expressions that have escaped their London origins and gone completely national – and even international. Like loaf of bread, for “head”. To help you, we’ve compiled a list of cockney slang that’s used all over the country and even all around the world.


In addition, due to its constantly evolving nature, cockney rhyming slang can be hard to keep up with – even for native speakers. While there are some downsides to using cockney rhyming slang, ultimately it comes down to personal preference. For those in the know, it can add an extra layer of fun and humour to everyday conversation.