A Quick Lesson in the History of Cockney Rhyming Slang and How to Correctly Speak It

In the most recent episode of Anglophenia, host Kate Arnell explains about Cockney rhyming slang, where it comes from and how it’s being used in modern day conversation.

It’s not 100 percent known how cockney rhyming slang — the replacement of a common word with a rhyming phrase — came about, but it’s typically thought that the tricky word play was a type of code amongst groups of people in 19th century London who wanted to speak to each other without others being able to understand (for instance, street merchants who were haggling with customers). The “tricky” part is, in almost all cases, the omission of the secondary rhyming word, making the origin and meaning of the phrase unknown.