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Royal Wedding Cheat Sheet: Learn Your British Slang!

Horse drawn carriage, Royal Wedding CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images
William & Kate's Royal Wedding

We know Kate Middleton had a hen 'do—that's a bachelorette bash, for us Americans—and Prince William countered with a stag (aka bachelor party).

All these uniquely English terms have been tossed around before the big day, and now that we're in London for the royal wedding, we're hearing even more fun Britishisms being served up like watercress sandwiches at afternoon tea.

So let's review some and break 'em down...

Dickie Bow: Plenty of guests will be rocking one of these at the wedding, better known to us Yanks as a tuxedo bow-tie, like here. (They make wordplay so much more fun, don't they?)

Knees-Up: It's not a direction—it's a noun. And a pretty fun one, at that. This little phrase is used by our friends across the pond to describe any kind of party or gathering. Want an example? Try this on for size: the wedding reception of Will and Kate is sure to be a right knees-up. See? Easy!

Trouble and Strife: Ah, the familiar old "ball and chain," as we'd say in America. The wife, the old lady, the other half. The one who won't let you stay for one more pint with the boys at the local pub and who makes sure your dickie bow is on straight. "Got to get back around nine for the old life 'n' strife" would be a pretty familiar  phrase round these parts.

Bobbies: You know, cops, police. These guys are subdued here—they don't carry guns and they're often extremely polite. For those of you who've never uttered the phrase, a bunch of bobbies will be lining the streets outside Westminster Abbey when the duo tie the knot.

Pissing Down: Let's just hope it doesn't completely piss down (you know, rain) as Kate takes the slow route in her horse-drawn carriage from Buckingham Palace to the Abbey Friday morning. The temps here this week have been wonderful, so it would really put a damper on things. As we all know, the weather in London can be rubbish.

Knackered: Washed up, tired, exhausted, spent. What the couple will be feeling the morning after all this planning, dancing, pressure, dress talk, vow swapping and attention.

Morning Coat: No tuxedo here. This fancy, tightly tailored piece is shorter in the front, with a longer tail out back. It's very smart, as they say here, and the male guests will be rocking the finest these English tailors can make. Here's Prince William in one.

English Wedding Walk: In small villages in the U.K., the commoner-type bride will stroll to the church where she'll marry. It's a great tradition, and often her father will walk with her. Obviously, this won't be the case tomorrow. Unless driving through central London in a Rolls Royce counts?

And finally...

Bob's Your Uncle: Although we can't picture the bride and groom slinging slang at their über-formal wedding, perhaps one of them will utter this phrase on the honeymoon. Equivalent to "it's all good," "no worries" or even "cool."

[EDITOR'S NOTE: What's Cockney rhyming slang for royally embarrassed? This item has been updated to correct some of our earlier definitions. Damn Yankees, indeed.]

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