5 school slang terms that differ across the country

Well-known actions or items in schools can be called very different things, depending on where in the country you are. Tes has picked out five common examples
12th December 2020, 8:00am
Joshua Lowe

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5 school slang terms that differ across the country

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archived/5-school-slang-terms-differ-across-country
Bundle Or Pile On

A distant call floats across the playground, getting repeated with increased intensity, much like the twilight bark in 101 Dalmatians. You suddenly make out what they are saying. 

"Bundle!"

It's very likely you're about to get hurt, but as the bodies start flying on to you, blocking out the sun, you have a thought: "Isn't this called a pile-on?"

The UK is renowned for being a melting pot of people, accents and regional divides - so it makes sense that people growing up in Portsmouth might have a different vocabulary from those growing up in York. 

But what are the most common variances you will encounter in school if you move from one area to another?

Here are a few Tes has encountered...

1. The bundle/pile-on 

It's a firm fixture of many a boisterous playground but the action of everyone jumping on top of each other has a number of names. In some quarters, it is a bundle. Elsewhere, it's a pile-on. Some even call it a dog pile.  

2. Goths/greebs/emos

Did you go through school not listening to the same music as all the "cool" kids? Did you feel more at home in a mosh pit than at a party?

It's likely that you will have been unfairly, and often inaccurately, given a label. In some places, you will have been a "goth"; in others, a "greeb"; and elsewhere, an "emo". Despite these being very different things, one usually serves as the go-to term for those who dare to be alternative.

Sometimes such terms are even adopted by groups themselves, though sadly they can also be used in a derogatory way. 

3. Mufti/own-clothes day 

You would have either loved or dreaded these days in school. It is the day where students got the opportunity to eschew uniform and show a bit of their personality.

Now, this writer is reluctant to impart his own views, but there is only one correct term for this event, and it's an "own-clothes day".

Others (who are wrong) may, for some reason, refer to it as a "mufti day".

The word mufti originates from the Arabic word for "scholar", and was adopted by British soldiers to refer to their more comfortable clothing and indicate that they were off duty. These links to Britain's colonial past have prompted calls for the term "mufti day" to be replaced. 

4. Cob/bun/roll/barn cake

A bread roll is a bread roll, right? Apparently not. It turns out that only 52 per cent of us call it that; the rest of us have varied names for it. 

You could take a "cob" out of your lunchbox, or you might refer to it as a "bun". Some opt for "barn cake". And if you dig deeper, you will find even more variations. 

5. Snogged/tongued/Frenched/made out 

There's nothing teenagers like more than gossiping about who kissed who. But what do you call that moment?

Is it snogging? Tongueing? Frenching? Making out? 

You might even call it something else, depending on where you are in the country, your age and what the current "in" word might be. 

If you have any terms that you think are unique to your region of the UK, let us know @tes

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