BBC The Responder: Scouse words and sayings and what they actually mean

Liverpool is full of sayings that only natives will understand.

As new BBC drama The Responder continues, many viewers elsewhere may struggle to understand some phrases.

We practically – sort of – have our own language, so we’ve compiled a quick dictionary to give out-of-town folks a hand.

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Here are some well-used words and phrases that only Scousers will know.


Meaning: A person from a town outside or on the outskirts of Liverpool.

Use: “It’s the good behavior of wool, like.”

Go for it

(See also: right, nice, boss, good inside, sound, made up).

Meaning: Generic proclamation of positivity

Usage: “Go ahead, boy, get us a beer, a good one.”


Meaning: Generic proclamation of negativity

Usage: “I lost a ten, well gutted.”


(See also: jarg or plazzy)

Meaning: False. Designed to look real or authentic but not real or authentic

Usage: “I got these jarg sunglasses at the pub”


(See also: boy, lid, guy, our child, buddy)

Meaning: A man.

Usage: “Okay, kid, are you going to the game?”


Meaning: Busy, sustaining a lot of activity

Usage: “I’ve been to the store before and it was a real chocka”


Meaning: Avoid – stay away or prevent the occurrence of

Usage: “Swerve goes in there, it’s shocking”.


Meaning: Generic term to add to almost any given word.

Usage: “I was chatting with my buddy, like, and then my phone rang, like.”


(See also: bifter)

Meaning: cigarette

Usage: “Hey man, do you have a spare cigarette?”


Meaning: Off-licence – a store that sells alcoholic beverages and cigarettes for off-premises consumption.

Usage: “I’m just going down to the office for a beer”


Meaning: Miserable, without money

Use: “Keep a friend, I’m a good skint.”


(See also: divvy, beaut, meff, soft lad)

Meaning: generic insult

Usage: “He’s a real divvy, him”.


(See also: interns, webs)

Meaning: Training shoes

Usage: “His new trabs are bosses to be fair.”


Meaning: Food

Usage: “My mom makes the best screen.”


(See also: concerts, sunglasses)

Meaning: Glasses or sunglasses

Usage: “He looks completely different now with his new trash cans.”

A bar

Meaning: About – almost almost; used to indicate that a number, amount, time, etc. – is not exact or certain

Usage: “I only have three bars left”.


(See also: freezing)

Meaning: Cold. Very cold.

Usage: “It’s the Baltic here, I’m absolutely frozen”.

beat up

Meaning: Clothes

Use: “I need a new clobber for the winter, me”.

The Ozzy

Meaning: Hospital – An institution that provides medical, surgical or psychiatric care and treatment to the sick or injured.

Usage: “I’m going to have to do the ozzy, I think I broke my finger”.

bag off

(See also: jibbed)

Meaning: To conclude prematurely

Usage: “We trashed this movie after 20 minutes, that was rubbish”.

After the first episode of The Responder aired on Monday, The ECHO asked readers to tell us a saying only people in Liverpool would understand, and here are some of the many responses we received.

Anna Maria Moss said, “My mum used to say jangling to gossip, sag it to be out of school and that’s the gear to make it good.”

Sue Boardman-McInally said: ‘Those have more faces than the dockers’ clock.

Tracie Smith said: ‘I have to go to the Ozzy’, adding: ‘I live in London and nobody understands what that means, my old boss thought it was a nightclub.

Judith Court said: “Its like a pound.”

Tracey Maguire offered: “Neither use nor ornament” and “There is more life in an urgent note”.

Mark Cunliffe said: “He’s the boss that boy.”

Linda Macardle said: “Mouth like the Mersey tunnel.”

Kay Nolan said: “Everyone is known as our child and the baby could be 38.”

Mark Parker said: “When I was younger and getting injured I was always told ‘it’s going to be a pig’s foot tomorrow morning’.”

Sharon Yun said, “Go offy.”

Denise Lloyd suggested, “Meet Me Under Dicky Lewis” (as well as other variations like “Meet Me Under The Man At Lewis’s”.)

Debbie Mottram said: “I’m going to Greatie’s Market.”

Joe Reney said, “Upper Parly.”

Barrett Anita said, “He’s got a head like Birkenhead.”

The Responder continues Mondays and Tuesdays at 9pm on BBC One.

The full series is available on BBC iPlayer

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