16 Words That Have Totally Different Meanings When You Move To London

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A lot of things change when you move to London.

Free time becomes a faint memory, money goes and stays gone (as does your dignity on public transport) and the few friends you have suddenly become your lifelines. But what is perhaps most shocking and difficult to get to grips with is the language. Boy, oh boy, do certain words mean totally different things when you’re in London. And we aren’t talking about the variation in meanings of the word ‘sick’… oh no, no, no, it’s much worse than that. Listen up, newbies.

 

1. “A quick drink”

Used to mean: going for a few.
Now means: “all the drinks”, waking up outside your front door without any possessions, spooning your shoe.

 

2. “Rush hour”

Used to mean: the busiest time on public transport resulting in a bit of overcrowding and a few queues.
Now means: a should-be-illegal hell on earth where an unimaginable mass of bodies attempt to push themselves through scorching subterranean metal canisters making breathing, moving, seeing and regulating body temperature impossible at best.

 

3. “Bargain”

Used to mean: £1 a pint.
Now means: £4.50 a pint.

 

4. “Rent”

Used to mean: an average proportion of your wages that goes on somewhere nice to live.
Now means: a gargantuan proportion of your wage that goes on having a cosy cupboard of sorts to live in, and leaves just enough for you to be able to survive on own-brand baked beans for the rest of the month. Yep, not even Heinz.

 

5. “Tinder”

Used to mean: Something you use to make a fire.
Now means: A self-destructive yet totally addictive way to build a comprehensive list of people that do not want to go out with you.

 

6. “The North”

Used to mean: Above Birmingham.
Now means: Above Camden.

 

7. “Pop-up”

Used to mean: a book with 3-D pictures.
Now means: either an unwanted ad, or a restaurant that is too ‘cool’ or eccentric to warrant a permanent residency, so instead is temporarily set up in the local hipster hangout until the novelty value wears off.

 

8. “Flat hunting”

Used to mean: the process by which you find a new flat.
Now means: the process by which you are broken, humiliated, manipulated, exploited, horrified and then you find a new flat (if you’re lucky).

 

9. “Silence”

Used to mean: no noise.
Now means: a mythical phenomenon that only exists in fairytales.

 

10. “Summer”

Used to mean: Long days, light nights, cool breeze, drinks in the garden and the smell of warm, fresh grass.
Now means: Long days (in the office), light nights (mainly spent in the office), drinks on rooftops and the smell of warm, fresh sweat on the Central line. Or – more likely – rain.

 

11. “Lunch”

Used to mean: the meal that broke up the day and consisted of something deliciously light.
Now means: five minutes in the middle of the day where you can go and relieve your bladder/eat a Tesco sandwich at your desk.

 

12. “Vegan”

Used to mean: someone that eats no animal products.
Now means: every Tom, Dick or Harry that watched an animal cruelty documentary this one time.

 

13. “Working late”

Used to mean: leaving a little after 6pm.
Now means: leaving a little after 10pm.

 

14. “Oyster”

Used to mean: a slimy, salty seafood that is in no way whatsoever an aphrodisiac.
Now means: a plastic card with magical travel powers that will take you anywhere you need to go, whilst simultaneously taking all of your money.

 

15. “Finance”

Used to mean: something to do with money; a thing that bankers work in.
Now means: what everyone seems to work in; in particular… wankers.

 

16. “Coffee”

Used to mean: a morning drink, to be consumed whilst having a good old natter with the girls alongside a piece of cake.
Now means: mandatory life fuel.

Lucy Bloxham

Lucy Bloxham

To improve her employability Lucy decided to do a Masters in Shakespeare. Her favourite play is Much Ado About Nothing - appropriate considering she’s now been at university for almost five years... Growing up in Newcastle, Lucy always wanted to be a travel journalist. Someone needs to tell her that going to Zone 5 every now and again does not count.

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