Things You Hear Around Portsmouth

James Bicheno takes an affectionate look at the local lingo.

If you are a visitor to this lovely island city of ours you could well overhear certain words and phrases you might find curious, baffling or simply odd. While some of these might sound familiar, there may be some you might not know so well…


‘Geez’: Short for ‘Geezer’. This can be used to describe an unknown man or a friend (‘alright, Geez?’)

‘Mush’ (pronounced ‘Moosh’) Can be used to refer to a person (‘some mush’) or be used as an informal way of address (‘oi, mush!’)

‘Bluarmy’: Name given to supporters of Portsmouth Football Club, reflecting the club’s royal blue colours. Also pronounced ‘blue-ar-my’ or ‘blarmy’.

‘Dinlo’: Sometimes shortened to ‘Din’. Term of abuse. ‘He’s well a dinlo’ – ‘That fellow is an out and out moron.’

‘Squinny’: Also known as ‘Squin’. Someone who is easily upset or hysterical.

‘Pompey’: 1) Gnaeus Pompeius the Great, 106 BC – 48 BC. Roman Statesman and General. 2) Portsmouth.

‘Got any Fags?’ ‘Would you be so kind as to loan me a cigarette?’

‘Got a Light?’ (Pronounced ‘Gotta loight?’) ‘May I, perchance, trouble you to light said cigarette?’

‘You Startin’?’ ‘Are you seeking to disrupt the general good humour of the day?’

‘D’ya Wanna Fight?’ ‘I challenge you to settle this dispute through combat.’

‘Goin’ Dahn Tahn’: ‘I am embarking on a journey to one of this island’s commercial districts.’

‘Give Stick/Take the Mick’: Make fun of. Ridicule.

‘Weeee!’ Exclamation. ‘By Jove!’

‘Oi-ay!’ ‘Good day to you!’

‘Chaved/Thieved/Taxed it’: ‘An act of larceny has been committed.’

‘See Look?’/’Know what I mean?’: ‘Do you comprehend?’

‘Cushty’: ‘Splendid.’

‘Sod ya’: ‘In light of your refusal to take up my offer I shall cease to consider you in future.’

‘You’re getting me at it!’: ‘You are trying my patience.’

‘Well’: ‘Very.’

‘Ease up’: ‘Do calm yourself.’

‘Pack it up’: ‘Desist with your irritating behaviour.’

‘Chuffed.’: Delighted.

‘Reay!’ ‘Hoorah!’

‘Matelot’: Personnel of a seagoing vessel.

Photography by Sarah Cheverton.