A nifty won't get you a decent crib

March 31, 2000

No new slang has emerged in the past few years for what used to be called digs. London students will still refer to their pad (the 1960s favourite), their gaff (heard for at least 100 years), or their drum (from underworld/police jargon).

What is new is the trendiness of black British street-talk: white and Asian students will refer to their bedsit as their yard, crib or cot.

Changes in lifestyles can be tracked by studying slang. One startling difference between today's students and their predecessors is the obsession with money. With cheap rents and generous grants our ancestors could make do with that simple pejorative, bread. But not today. A host ofsynonyms for money have flooded the slang lexicon since the 1980s - spon, wonga, ackers, rhino, trust and squirt among them.

Pound coins are nuggets or beer-tokens; notes are papers or billies, and there is a detailed breakdown of different denominations;a Pounds 50 note is a nifty, a Pounds 10 note a Bennie, and a fiver a Lady - from the Cockney rhyme Lady Godiva. Thus, a sum of Pounds 15 is known in some circles as a Commodore (from Commodores' hit Three Times a Lady).

Slang terms from the Slang Archive at King's College, London.

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns