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Popular English words that get shortened

Thu 15 Sep 2016

When you learn a second language you learn the correct pronunciation of words but the reality is that words get shortened and knowing the everyday pronunciation of words will help you to understand people and speak English as it is spoken by Brits.

Here are some words that are regularly used in their shortened version.

  • Ammo – is short for ammunition and literally means bullets and bombs but is commonly used in sentences when people what to express they have what it takes to win a debate or argument.  For example someone might say “do you have the ammo to back up that theory?”
  • Brummy – is used to describe someone with a Birmingham accent and the word originates from the word “Brummagem” which is the historical name Birmingham
  • Brill – is short for brilliant and can also be used when you want to describe something that is amazing or extraordinary
  • Defo - is short for definitely and is used informally. For example if a friend asks you whether you will be able to meet them at 7pm you could reply with a “defo!”
  • CofE – This is short for the Church of England, which is the Christian Church which is led by a British Monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II, rather than the Pope
  • Footy – is short for football and originates from Australia and is the slang word for Australian style football, which is totally different to British football! Nonetheless it is widely used in the UK
  • Fab – is short for fabulous and fantastic
  • Gob ­– is a substitute word  for mouth and originates from an old Scottish word
  • Gov/guv – is short for government and can be used as a substitute for boss, although the spelling does change to “guv”.  For example you may hear people say “I will have to ask the guv if that is OK”
  • Hols – is short for holiday. For example it is common to say “where are you going on your hols?”
  • Innit – is short for isn’t it and has become infamous for being street talk
  • Info - is short for information
  • Indie – is short for rock music that is not released by a major label and is independent
  • Lav – is short for lavatory. This originally meant the room in which people bathed. Since the 19th century it is commonly used when referring to the toilet. For example someone could say “where is your lav?”
  • Legit – means when things are within the law
  • Laters – means see you later
  • Mo – is short for moment. For example someone could say “give me a mo and I’ll be with you.”
  • Prob – can be short for problem and probably
  • Ta – is short for thank you and is popular across the UK, especially in the north of England.
  • Vac – is short for vacuum cleaner

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