We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is the Cockney Dialect?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Language & Humanities is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Language & Humanities, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The cockney dialect is an English dialect spoken in the East End of London, although the area in which it is spoken has shrunk considerably. It is typically associated with working class citizens of London, who were called cockneys, and it contains several distinctive traits that are known to many English speakers, as the dialect is rather famous. Some students of linguistics have become concerned that the cockney dialect may fall out of spoken English, due to the influence of multicultural immigrants in London who have added their own regional slang and speech patterns to the dialect.

The term “cockney” comes from a Middle English word, cokenei, which means “city dweller.” It is probably derived from a medieval term referring to the runt of a litter or clutch of eggs, which was used pejoratively to refer to people living in the then crowded, disease ridden, and dirty cities. The distinctive accent of working class Londoners, especially those living in the East End, was remarked upon by observers as long ago as the 17th century.

The primary characteristics of cockney dialect include the dropping of the letter “H” from many words, the use of double negatives, contractions, and vowel shifts which drastically change the way words sound. In addition, many consonants or combinations are replaced with other sounds, as is the case in “frushes” for “thrushes.” In some cases, the final consonant of a word is also dropped, for example “ova” for “over.” Many of the traits of cockney speech suggest the lower classes to some observers; for example, the use of “me” to replace “my” in many sentences is usually associated with a less than perfect understanding of the English language.

One of the more unique aspects of cockney speech is cockney rhyming slang. Although rhyming slang is not used as extensively as some fanciful individuals might imagine, aspects of it are certainly used in daily speech. In cockney rhyming slang, a word is replaced with a phrase, usually containing a word which rhymes with the original word, for example “dog and bone” for “telephone.” Often, a word from the phrase is used as shorthand to refer to the initial word, as is the case with “porkies” for “lies,” derived from the rhyming slang “porkies and pies.”

Cockney speech can be extremely difficult to understand, especially for Americans, as it is littered with word replacements thanks to rhyming slang, cultural references, and shifts in vowels and consonants which can render words incomprehensible to the listener. Like other unique dialects, a thick cockney accent can seem almost like another language. Care should also be taken when attempting to mimic it, as the cockney dialect can be very slippery, especially when it comes to the use of rhyming slang, and native users may be confused or amused by the attempts of a non-native.

Language & Humanities is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a Language & Humanities researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By anon276384 — On Jun 23, 2012

I am a cockney, not a bad attempt in post. no. 2, but slightly exaggerated.

How about this?

"I've just spilt a loada rosy (rosy lee) daan me jekylls (jekyll and hide = strides = trousers) an naa there bleedin filfy!"

I've just spilled a load of tea down my trousers and now they are bleeding filthy!

By PinkLady4 — On May 16, 2011

@BabaB - Many years ago, I took a trip to London and I did hear a lot of cockney speaking. It's very hard to understand because letter sounds are dropped and there's a lot of rhyming slang. It sounds kind of harsh and the words come from down in the chest.

I'll give it a try and write a couple of sentences in cockney.

Why don't you come over to my brother's house for dinner? = Why don't you come ova to me bruvver's ouse for dinna?

Will you have a drink of water and a little bit of bread with a bit of butter on it? = Will you ave a drin'of wa'er and a lile bi of breab wiv a bi of bu'er on i'?

Practice these. They're fun to say.

By BabaB — On May 14, 2011

I've never heard anyone speak cockney, except maybe on TV. Can anyone write a few sentences of cockney speech? It's pretty crazy slang.

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.