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Wales Online
Wales Online
Richard Blackledge

'Skint' becomes one of Britain's most-used slang words amid cost of living crisis

Slang is a key part of day-to-day conversation. Words and phrases come and go constantly, being introduced into the lexicon via relationships, entertainment and social media.

But some terms are more popular than others, according to research which also indicates words are used more often depending on circumstances in society.

Language learning platform Preply conducted a survey which found ‘skint’ - meaning broke or having no money - is currently the fourth most popular slang word in the UK, with almost six in ten people in Britain (58.60%) knowing how to use the word correctly in a sentence. This is against the backdrop of the cost of living crisis which has seen prices soar and household finances become stretched.

Following closely in front as the UK’s most popular slang words are cuppa (58.60%), tenner (58.67%) and knackered (60.60%). The poll also identified the slang words considered to be most annoying, which are innit (isn’t it), bird (girlfriend), bevvy (drink), and minging (ugly/gross).

Only 20% of those surveyed admitted to using slang in most of their conversations, while 42% deemed using slang at work unprofessional. More than 40% of those with children agreed they get annoyed when someone uses slang in conversations.

Sylvia Johnson, language expert at Preply, which surveyed 1,500 UK citizens aged 16 to 55-plus, said: "During the mid-18th century, the term “slang” gained popularity in the English language. Initially associated with the vocabulary used by tramps and thieves, slang captures the essence of the time period in which the words were coined and often reveals the speaker’s era.

"Nowadays, in addition to social media and the internet, new slang often emerges from popular culture and are used as a ‘flex’ showing that you are keeping up with the latest trends. Slang serves as a form of shorthand, not only for language but also for the connections that unite us. It fosters a sense of belonging among individuals within a specific “tribe” or circle of friends.

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"The subtleties, meanings, and the identity of the slang user are constantly evolving. Slang terms can have a brief lifespan, fading away once they become widely known, such as the case with “cheugy” after its mention in the New York Times. Nevertheless, there are certain slang expressions that endure, like “cool” which originated in the 1930s and remains commonly used due to its versatility across various contexts."

The most popular slang in the UK right now











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