The World Leader in
International Education

The latest on travel, languages and culture by EF Education First
Menu

How posh are you?

When it comes to English accents, the poshest is undoubtedly British English. We’re not sure if it’s the royal family, everyone’s obsession with Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, or just Hugh Grant starring as the heartthrob in every romantic comedy until 2005, but the British accent still wears the crown as the English-speaking world’s most upmarket accent.

Perhaps you’ve studied in the UK already and picked up some of these sophisticated phrases – or maybe you just want to sound more posh. Either way, it’s time to test your knowledge of the poshest British English phrases to get you ready for your next visit to Buckingham Palace. Diamond-encrusted pens at the ready!

“How d’you do?”

The kind of salutation you’d use when meeting a member of the royal family, one of their many, many (many) cousins, or one of the cast of Made in Chelsea.

Treasure

A pet name (loving nickname) for someone close to you. Often shortened to tresj because posh people can abbreviate whatever they like, apparently.

Terribly

Use this instead of very or extremely. For example: “We were so busy shopping yesterday we had to eat fast food for dinner, which was a terribly common thing to do”.

Delicious

An overly exaggerated way of saying something is great. So you might say; “My friend Sara is the most deliciously funny person I know”.

Gosh

You would use gosh in place of exclamations like “Oh dear!” or “Oh no!”. For example, you could say: “You dropped the brioche on the floor? Gosh! What an awful thing to happen”.

Marvellous

Similar to delicious, this word is used to describe something you really like and can be used to talk about anything from people (“John is the most marvellous friend”) to holidays (“Our two weeks in the Maldives were simply marvellous”) – pretty much anything you can think of.

Absurd

Quite the opposite of delicious and marvellous, something you really don’t like because it’s silly or ridiculous, is absurd. How you use it is up to you: you might say “Angela’s new coat is bright orange and looks frankly absurd”. Just be careful not to upset anyone; although, if you’re already calling them absurd, you’re probably past the point of caring anyway.

Utterly

You can use utterly in place of words like completely and totally, so you might say, “After spending the whole day at the garden party and croquet tournament, I was utterly exhausted”.

Supper or Teatime

Most British people would say breakfast, lunch, and dinner to describe the three meals of the day, but, if you’re posh, you’d swap dinner for supper or the even more delightfully uptight alternative, teatime. It’s not clear where this came from, because presumably British people didn’t just survive solely on a diet of tea after 6pm. Or maybe they did, it would explain a lot.

“Cheerio!”

Yes, this has the same name as a popular breakfast cereal, but the saying almost definitely came first. It means goodbye and is so so posh – you probably won’t even hear most posh people using it these days for fear of looking so posh. Just remember, you can’t freely swap out “cheerio” for other cereal brands. Your poshest friends would deem you quite absurd if you shouted “Frosties!” at them upon their departure.

Want to speak with a posh British English accent?Study English in England

Share this article

Latest articles from Language learning