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13 Essex slang words and phrases that may leave you confused during your next visit

Visiting a different place in the country or a new city can always feel a little confusing. You may encounter different customs and unfamiliar food, as well as a different language than what you are used to.

Even though English is the official language, cultural differences can cause slight changes in the dialect and expressions. This can make it feel strange but also familiar.

Although a visitor to Essex shouldn’t have any problems enjoying the area, it is possible to learn the lingo and have a more memorable experience next time you visit Colchester.

This is why Danielle Elton from our sister site 2Chill has made a list of common phrases used in Essex and what they mean.



Slang from a different place can be confusing
Slang from a different place can be confusing and bizarre to new visitors

There’s so much more to us Essex folk than the stereotype might have you believe. We’re friendly, welcoming and proud of where we come from.

Essex is a fantastic place to live – we’ve got beautiful beaches, excellent links into London, fantastic shopping centres, and some pretty incredible places to eat. Galvin Green man near Chelmsford was recently voted the UK’s top pub.

It is not surprising that we receive many requests from non-locals to visit.

If you’re planning a trip to Essex, we thought we’d let you in on our lingo – the words and phrases you might hear us say that could leave you confused.

And while some of it might be far from the English language, you’re not likely to hear most of us say ‘shut up’ or ‘reem’ despite what TOWIE might have you believe.



Braintree, Essex
Folks in Braintree, Essex, will know some of these regular phrases

1. Aite

‘Hey’, ‘alright’ and ‘Aite’ are all greetings you’ll hear during your time in Essex. We’re not actually asking if you’re alright, we’re just saying hello.

2. Literally

Literally is literally a word that us Essex people just can’t stop saying, literally. I don’t know why. And what we’re saying doesn’t have to be literal either.

3. Babe/babes

Like I said, we’re a friendly bunch. Everybody is a babe/babes, hun, darling, or total stranger. Don’t take it personally, we’re not trying it on, promise.

4. Mate

As well as babe, everyone is our mate, whether we know you or not. It could be a barman, a taxi driver, a waitress, or a shop assistant, it doesn’t matter. And the same goes for all of the above when serving a customer so if you hear ‘Aite mate’ when ordering a drink at the bar, it could also mean ‘what you having?’.

5. At the end of the day

Similar to literally, this is another common saying you’ll hear us Essex folk say. This is often said before we can express our views. It can be said at all times of the day.

6. Chelmo

If you’re visiting Essex then you’ll want to visit Chelmsford, or Chelmsford city as it’s now known. But we don’t call it Chelmsford, we call it Chelmo. It’s worth a visit. It’s home to so many fantastic bars and restaurants. There’s also Chelmsford city racecourse and the beautiful Hylands Park.



Southend pier
The slang words can be heard all over the county – including Southend-on-Sea on the coast

7. A bit of me

‘That’s a bit of me’ is something I’m guilty of saying quite a lot. If you hear us say that, it basically means that sounds like something I’d enjoy, or I like that jumper etc.

8. Un’all

This basically means as well. ‘I’ll have a side of chips un’all’.

9. Sick

If you’re asking for recommendations and we tell you something is sick, don’t be put off, that actually means it’s good. I know, I don’t see the logic in that either. But if we say it’s sick, it could be well worth a visit.

10. Banging

If something was banging, it is another way of saying good.

11. Roll

If you plan on eating out while you’re visiting, this is a pretty important word to understand. Depending on where you’re from, you might know it as a cob, bun, barm, barm cake but to us in Essex it’s a roll. Who’s up for a bacon roll?

12. Get out

If we tell you to get out, we don’t actually mean get out. We simply mean wow. It’s a term of disbelief, or shock.

13. A right touch

If something is a right touch, it means you’ve been lucky, fortunate, usually meaning you’ve had a bargain.

13 Essex slang words and phrases that may leave you confused during your next visit
Anurag Reddy
I'm a 29-year-old travel enthusiast, travel and nature photographer, Computer Science graduate, and Mass Communication student. I have seen different shades of life through traveling and lived different lives through reading. With every word I write, I travel within, and I understand myself better. Writing helps me discover myself, and that paved roads for me to choose writing as a profession.
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