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Manchester Life

10 Words And Phrases That Mean Something Very Different In Manchester

By Laura Rogan November 4, 2020

A lot of things change when you come to Manchester.

Us Mancunians like to consider ourselves as pretty elite, so it’s no wonder we’ve basically developed our own language. Where some pretty commonly used phrases and slang might mean what they say on the tin for you, they usually mean something completely different here in Manchester.

1. “Off for a ‘quick one'”

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Usually means: Just one pint

What it means in Manchester: A full-blown night out

While many people across the country may say they’re going for a ‘quick one’ and actually mean it, people from Manchester generally don’t. In fact, it’s quite a Northern thing to sarcastically use the term ‘quick one’ knowing it’s gonna be a day-long drinking sesh in the local pub. If someone invites you for a ‘quick one’ down the pub, it’s probably best to line your stomach beforehand and prepare to not make it home for dinner (or tea, as us Mancs would say).

2. “Mint”

Usually means: The flavour, an ingredient that can usually be found in a Mojito

What it means in Manchester: The best thing ever

Yes, we’re one of few regions still using the term ‘mint’, but we love it. We express our enthusiasm often with this term actually, and you’ll probably hear everything being described as ‘mint’ – just don’t be fooled into thinking we mean the flavour, we actually just mean that it’s very, very good.

3. “I’ll be home in ten”

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Usually means: Exactly what it says on the tin

What it means in Manchester: Stuck on the tram or the M60

Sure, we all mean well when we tell our housemate or significant other than we’ll be home in ten, but unfortunately for us – the M60 exists. You’ve absolutely no chance being ‘home in ten’ when you hit the rush hour traffic (thanks, roadworks for making that ten times worse). Even those who don’t drive probably don’t stand much of a chance since public transport can be pretty unpredictable around our neck of the woods. Probably give a two-hour buffer period to anyone who says ’10 minutes’.

4. “Hanging”

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Usually means: To hang/dangle from something, to feel rough after a night out

What it means in Manchester: Disgusting

Technically “angin'” without the H, this term is very much a North-West thing and is commonly used in place of other regional slang such as “minging”, or more widely: “gross”. For example, your housemate leaves something to rot in the fridge. Upon finding it you exclaim: “that’s absolutely ‘angin!”.

5. “It’s delayed”

Usually means: The train is two minutes late

What it means in Manchester: I’ll be preparing myself for a year-long pilgrimage home

Delays here are rarely done by halves, with a whole lot of Manchester services regularly vanishing into a black hole for half an hour or more. Yeah, we don’t know where they go either, but it seems as though there’s some gaping wormhole somewhere here in the North West that just swallows Northern Rail services whole.

6. “Tea?”

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Usually means: Cup of tea

What it means in Manchester: The meal that you eat in the evening

Where much of the country will probably be confused by the use of the word ‘tea’ for our evening meal, that is what it means, and there’s no debating with us. If you ask a Manc for some tea around the early evening, you’d best expect a plate of top grub rather than a hot cup of Yorkshire Tea.

7. “Dead”

Usually means: Not living anymore

What it means in Manchester: “Very”

While most people wouldn’t use this term on a daily basis, in Manchester, it’s the norm. You’d probably express that something is ‘very’ good or ‘very’ bad with the appropriate terms from the English dictionary, however, us Mancs just like to do things a little differently. It’s a term you’ll just have to get used to, because everything is ‘dead’ good or ‘dead’ bad ’round our parts.

8. “Red or blue?”

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Usually means: Which colour is your favourite?

What it means in Manchester: Do you support Man Utd or Man City?

This question is one to answer with caution, as it’s not as simple as choosing your favourite colour. In fact, the colours are very closely tied to the city’s football teams – so it’s best to know your audience or be pretty confident with which you select. Red very rarely means the actual colour here, but instead the much-loved Man Utd team, and the same goes for blue, which Man City is adorned in.

9. “Scenes”

Usually means: What you can see

What it means in Manchester: An event that inflicted some sort of reaction

We have absolutely no idea where this one originated from, but it’s a commonly used phrase here in Manchester. Where elsewhere, ‘scenes’ could be used to describe a beautiful view or a section of a play, here, it’s used in a more ironic way. For example, if you saw a pigeon attack a passer-by in Piccadilly Gardens, it would be described as “absolute scenes”.

10. “Kid”

Usually means: A child

What it means in Manchester: Your (often annoying) sibling

Non-Mancs will recognise this phrase as something frequently said by the Gallagher brothers, however, it’s often used by us everyday folk too. While we do still use ‘kid’ the same way that everyone else does, the phrase ‘our kid’ means something a little bit different. You could be mistaken in thinking it means your child, but it’s often used for someone you’d consider a younger sibling, whether they’re a sibling or not half the time. Here’s an example: “Ar’ kid’s gone down the shop for some teabags”.