Americans guess the meaning of grime slang

‘These all sounds like swear words’


Explaining the meaning of British slang to my American friends at home is pretty much a full time job, but also endlessly entertaining (a favourite word of theirs is of course, chunder).  I’ve also spent a lot of time trying to get them into my love of grime music (unsuccessfully, unfortunately). So, for my own amusement, and now yours, I decided to send each of them a list of slang used by grime artists and make them guess what they meant.

Jaime, 21, Genetics student

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Wagwan: “Is it a car? Like wagon?”

Peng ting: “That’s a penis, obviously.”

Skeng: “It’s like swag.”

Creps: “That’s like your homeboys?”

Sket: “Uh,like to go. Like ‘sket!’ I dunno, it kind of sounds like “scat” but British?”

Ends/Endz: “Jesus fucking Christ, I thought you said we were starting off easy. Is that easy? I’m going to say neighbourhood. Like, East Enders.”

Mandem: “That could be an instruction (like a mandate?). Oh, that’s what it means? Man, that’s dumb.”

Merky: “Is that like American? Like how people here say ‘Merica?”

Lucy, 21, Education student

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Wagwan: “OK, I’m thinking wagwan is like a buzz kill.”

Skeng: “It kind of sounds like an object to me so maybe a grill, like grillz for your teeth?”

Sket: “Clearly means swag.”

Peng ting: “A peng ting is a big booty hoe (lol idk it just kinda spoke to me as that).”

Mandem: “Like a baller or ballin’, depending on whether it’s a noun or a verb.”

Ends: “Hm. OK. Maybe after party?”

Creps: “Creps are like a group of dirty hipsters.”

Merky: “Shady (like murky?).”

Nora, 21, Spanish student

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Wagwan: “Is this like wanker? What does that even mean?”

Skeng: “10/10 would bang”.

Sket: [in an awful British accent] “‘Sket out of here, Bill! We’re sick of you lurking around’”.

Peng ting: “Is that like a social gathering with alcohol?”

Mandem: “It could be out of control. Like, ‘Katie’s banger was mandem last night’”.

Ends: “Also known as: afties”.

Creps: “A word used to used to describe the wrinkly folds of Donald Trump’s skin”

Merky: “Like sketchy, untrustworthy? Like, ‘that dude in the corner of the club seems merky’”.

Carly, 17

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Initial response: “These all sound like swear words”.

Wagwan: “Someone creepy.”

Skeng: “Beer?”

Sket: “It sounds like it might mean falling”.

Peng ting: “Playing it cool, like especially when you’re flirting with someone.”

Mandem: “Maybe it means a leader?”

Ends: “It could be like sleeping, like a nap?”

Creps: “Definitely means pooping, like “I’ve got the creps.”

Merky: “Is that possibly like being a bummer? Like, “Like, bro stop being so merky, you’re killing the vibe”. 

Laura, 21, English student

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Wagwan: “OK, so I think it means like takeout food cuz it sounds like wanton.”

Skeng: “It probably means like a ‘loose woman’ or something I don’t know why, maybe because it kind of sounds like slut?”

Sket: “It means poop or like when someone shits themselves. It sounds nasty”.

Peng ting: “That sounds cute so I think maybe that’s a way to refer to your S.O like ‘bae’”.

Mandem: “I think it maybe means mother because it sounds like madam”.

Ends: “Ends sounds pretty ominous, but I think it means like pizza crusts or sandwich crusts or something. Like, ‘bro lemme have your ends'”.

Creps: “I think it definitely means creepy because it’s like ‘cringey’”.

Merky: “Is it like another word for “shady”, like if someone’s merky they’re of doubtful honesty”.