Say What? The Wacky Royal Wedding Slang Explained!

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It is often said that Britain and America are “two nations divided by a common language.” And now we know why.

As the royal wedding draws ever closer, NewsFeed is hereby performing a most useful service: the decoding of some of the slang terms that could crop up this week. You may know of it as Cockney rhyming slang, which is (deep breath required) when you take a common word such as “stairs” and replace it with a phrase (in this particular case, “apple and pears.”) The last word (pears) always rhymes with the common noun (stairs) but, just to really blow our minds, the rhyming word in the phrase can be dropped, which makes life especially difficult.

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And so, if one wanted to celebrate the upcoming nuptials between Prince William and Kate Middleton this Friday, it would be perfectly acceptable to go to the pub (which, of course, could be called a “battlecruiser,” because it rhymes with “boozer,” which is in itself a slang term for pub! Oh, our aching heads) and ask for a “Britney” because the pop star’s surname rhymes with beers. Simple, right? Hello? Hello?!?

But rhyming isn’t essential. Many people will be having a knees-up. This is literally a party where dancing is involved, hence the knees being up. We know what you’re thinking: is there any other kind?

In the build up to the big day, the couple enjoyed one of their final nights of freedom courtesy of what Americans refer to as the bachelor and bachelorette parties. But in the U.K., that gets swapped for stag and hen. The reasons aren’t definitive but clicking here does offer some ideas.

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The Queen is known to be a big fan of horse racing and that’s where we turn to for horses for courses, which is all about sticking to what you know best. Depending on weather conditions, some horses will run better than others and if the Brits really are maintaining their stiff upper lip (and that phrase is near-slang in its own right) and not showing that much of an interest in the wedding (as this TIME story would indicate), perhaps one could argue how that is horses for courses in full swing.

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And finally, if Prince William is feeling extremely brave (or foolish), he may refer to his bride-to-be as trouble for if you extend that word to get the phrase trouble and strife, it doesn’t take a genius to see the rhyme. But on his head be it.