UK SPK™- Part Two

Since my son met and married a girl from London, his language has become peppered with UK SPK™, which I define as words and phrases he’s appropriated from his wife, her family, and friends. Because I like to be as trendy and hip as he is, if only to annoy him, I have incorporated quite a few into my daily life.

When everyone was here for Thanksgiving, my DIL (daughter-in-law) and her sister left behind quite a few gems to share.

I really love this one. You need to use rinse if you listen to a song over and over again. “I love Christina Perri‘s song, ‘Jar of Hearts‘ and I’ve been rinsing it.” Or…to use something a lot; “I’ve given my credit card a rinse this holiday season.” …or to play Candyland with your kids until it wears out, or to read the same bedtime book over and over.

Spunk is a very interesting word. For us who speak American English, it means courage or spirit or full of energy, as in  “She’s full of spunk” or “She’s a spunky girl. However,  for Brits–spunk takes on a WHOLE different meaning!  it’s a slang term for semen. Imagine the shock on DIL’s face when a man at a business meeting told her she had a lot of spunk and she thought he was sexually harassing her!

Cheers–not as a prelude to lifting a glass or a toast, but as a way to say thank you. It’s spoken in monotone with no inflection. Let’s say someone passed you a bowl of mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving. You would say “cheers”. It’s low-key.

To DIL and her sister, swish means cool–to us, swish is a disparaging term for a gay man and denotes an effeminate personality.

Reem = sexy, great, fantastic. Be reem, see reem, look reem. “Johnny Depp is so reem!”

Error or to drop an error, which means to make a mistake. “I dropped an error and left something in the car”.  The family is sitting around the dinner table and somebody makes a mistake in etiquette and one would say, “Error” and then everyone laughs.

To cotch is to relax, chill, take a rest. Describing something as a cotch means it was relaxed and chilled out. A really great cotch is cotchtastic.

Amazeballs is the same on both sides of the pond. Amazing, obvs.

The last and best one comes with its own hand gesture.


This is an example. This is how you do it!

The word is cringe–but it’s not pronounced the same way –/krinj/–as if we meant to bend one’s head and body in a servile manner.

This is how to pronounce it the  UK SPK™  way.

/kr-AWW-nJ/ drawing out the w and j sound. This is the perfect word to use when someone says something really unfunny and then everything goes silent, or when someone goes on and on about something which is really boring, or when someone makes an unwanted comment.

“OMG, gurrrl, I can’t believe that Phoebe got wasted and fell down the stairs naked in front of her brother-in-law. That was cringe. Totally cringe.”

What makes cringe totes amazeballs is that, to be accurate, it needs to be accompanied by a hand gesture that is very similar to the Wendy Williams‘s “how you doin”, but with one hand.

So to review, when you find yourself in a perfect situation to use cringe, you’d lift your right hand, (or the hand that’s not holding a vodka marty), and make that WW or “claw” gesture. Got it? Practice makes perfect!

(Check out UK SPK™ Part One)

When DIL/sister were here, we all rinsed “Jar of Hearts”.

47 thoughts on “UK SPK™- Part Two

  1. Spunk! Dear Heavens,I am ROFL! Once in a while on World Irish (facebook), they have Irish phrases.A kid about 13 or 14 does them from one area.He goes straight-faced into the camera and explains in clear English and in all seriousness,(enough for an American to understand.)
    I have had a lot of laughs over the years with differences in terminology.It is a riot when my friend in India calls.The English is so archaic and they expect Americans to be British. It has to be a lot of fun with your d-in-l at the table!


  2. Well, I’m English and most of these words have totally passed me by – except for spunk (of course), cheers and swish!I

    But then again, I’m a Northerner – so much of London SPK goes right over my head anyway!


    • What a great idea! you will find so many situations during the holiday season that call for “error” and “crawnje” with the hand gesture and you might be trending in your town!

      On Tue, Dec 11, 2012 at 2:54 PM, Enchanted Seashells…Confessions of a Tugbo


  3. LOL! I have been using “cheers” like that for a while. Perhaps I picked it up from my trip to the UK. I like the “Rinse”one….I have been definitely been giving my wallet a rinse this holiday season 🙂


  4. Great post!! Loved it 🙂
    Your daughter in law is a very lucky girl to have you as a mother in law!! Humor goes a long way in life! It is a form of love 🙂


  5. Its true what Oscar Wilde wrote: “Britain and America are two natuions sperated by a common language”

    Another example for you is “pissed” In the US you can say I was totally pissed! (meaning annoyed) in the Uk that would mean drunk – or as one satiraical magazine would write when a celeb or politician was caught totally drunk and abussive “he was tired and emotional”
    Where I liove in the Westcountry city of Plymouth if you say something like I’ve just bought a new car/coat/suite/house they will reply “ideal!” What? Ideal means suitable, appropriate as in “this would be an ideal solution” Only in Plymouth do they say that. How strange.

    I won’t even start on the lnaguage my children use.


    • I love it! Ideal! That’s very interesting, I had heard of the “pissed” definition, and I find the jargon/slang fascinating. Thank you so much for your comment. Cheers.

      On Wed, Dec 12, 2012 at 3:37 AM, Enchanted Seashells…Confessions of a Tugbo


      • How about having “ciggies and beers”. I was told that means to go out for a few drinks, not to smoke a cigarette! How about “dont’ get pissed and drive”? doesn’t sound as good to me.

        On Wed, Dec 12, 2012 at 11:48 AM, Enchanted Seashells…Confessions of a Tugbo


      • Now this really going to muddy the waters. We hardly ever say ciggies any more but rather fags. You shoud never ask “where can I get some fags at this time of night” in certain districts of New York.

        “dont’ get pissed and drive”? We would never say that. We just say don’t drink and drive.


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