As Olivia Colman impresses viewers by speaking Queen’s English The Crown, here’s a witty guide…

Olivia Colman’s first two words as the Queen in the new series of TV’s The Crown are ‘old bat’ as she describes her likeness on a new set of stamps.

Colman is said to pronounce the words as ‘ewld bet’. 

Clearly, the ‘Queen’s English’ is much posher than the one most of us speak. 

Olivia Colman’s first two words as the Queen in the new series of TV’s The Crown are ‘old bat’ as she describes her likeness on a new set of stamps

A new book, The Dictionary Of Posh, by HUGH KELLETT, gives a wry guide to how the royals and fellow upper classes speak. 

So pour yourself a nice glass of ‘wane’ and get learning! Cheers… or should that be ‘chairs’?

Food and drink

BAIT: A rapid meal

Translation: Bite

Caracas: Biscuits for cheese.

Translation: Crackers

CHAIRS: All the best, chin-chin, bottoms up, down the hatch

Translation: Cheers.

DART: A food regime

Translation: Diet

FRAY: A speedy method of cooking

Translation: Fry

GEM: A sweet spread

Translation: Jam

GRICE: A game bird

WANE : Fermented grape juice Translation: Wine

WANE : Fermented grape juice Translation: Wine

Translation: Grouse

PAINT: A liquid quantity

Translation: Pint

PAY: A pastry

Translation: Pie

PLOUGH: A type of rice

Translation: Pilau

RAPE: Mature

Translation: Ripe

SPACE: A culinary ingredient

Translation: Spice

SPRITES: Vegetables

Translation: Sprouts

WANE: Fermented grape juice

Translation: Wine


BREAD: As in Pitt

Translation: Brad

HAIRY: As in Houdini, Redknapp, Flesh-Herries, Prince etc

Translation: Harry

JAILS: As in farmer

Translation: Giles

JEMMY: As in Clarkson, Paxman etc

Translation: Jeremy

MERRY: As in Queen of Scots

Translation: Mary

TENURE: A girl’s name

Translation: Tanya


AUKS: Not seabirds but a large bovine creature

Translation: Ox

BASIN: Nothing to do with bathrooms but a big shaggy bovine

Translation: Bison

CAR: Bovine animal

Translation: Cow

FLAY: Unwholesome insect

Translation: Fly

CAR : Bovine animal. Translation: Cow

CAR : Bovine animal. Translation: Cow

FORKS: A wild canine creature

Translation: Fox

HIND: A dog

Translation: Hound

RHETT: Not the star of Gone With The Wind but a rodent

Translation: Rat

VAPOUR: A snake

Translation: Viper


BED: Immoral

Translation: Bad

GOURD: Morally upright

Translation: Good

CAFFREY: Happy and Unconcerned

Translation: Carefree


Translation: Croaky

DRAY: Not wet

Translation: Dry


Translation: Expansive


Translation: Fine

HOBBLE: Bad, nasty

Translation: Horrible

MAILED: Relatively weak

Translation: Mild

MENTION: A large house

Translation: Mansion

SLATE: Small

Translation: Slight

TARRED: Exhausted

Translation: Tired


BARED: A sleeping place (where you can be unclothed)

Translation: Bed

FOREPLAY: Type of wood

Translation: Four-ply

GARTER: A drainage device

BARED : A sleeping place (where you can be unclothed). Translation: Bed

BARED : A sleeping place (where you can be unclothed). Translation: Bed

Translation: Gutter

GREVILLE: Small stones

Translation: Gravel

KENDAL: A taper

Translation: Candle

NATALIE: Trim, smart

Translation: Neatly

SHAH: A quick precipitation

Translation: Shower


ENTRY: A northern racecourse

Translation: Aintree

ESCORT: Another racecourse

Translation: Ascot

FAIRY: A passenger boat

Translation: Ferry

INJURE: Country by Pakistan

Translation: India

KELLY: French port

Translation: Calais

KENYAN: A gorge

Translation: Canyon

RUSH-HOUR: A large country

Translation: Russia

SARI: A county south of London

Translation: Surrey

SEWER: Place in Egypt

Translation: Suez


ALLIANCE: A regular amount of money paid into one’s bank

Translation: Allowance

BATH: The process of coming into this world

Translation: Birth

DEAD: Father

Translation: Dad

WAIF: A spouse

Translation: Wife

MARY: To wed

Translation: Marry


ARE: 60 minutes

Translation: Hour

ASHLEY: In fact

Translation: Actually

CRÈME: To stuff

NIGH : At the present time. Translation: Now

NIGH : At the present time. Translation: Now

Translation: Cram

DAY: To expire

Translation: Die

EARS: Affirmative

Translation: Yes

HAIR: Present

Translation: Here

HIGH: In what way

Translation: How

NIGH: At the present time

Translation: Now

ORPHAN: Quite a lot

Translation: Often

PSALM: A few

Translation: Some


Translation: Really

Sport & entertainment

BAKE: A form of two-wheeled transport

Translation: Bike

BELLY: Artfully dancing to music

Translation: Ballet

BETTING: In, as in cricket

BAKE : A form of two-wheeled transport. Translation: Bike

BAKE : A form of two-wheeled transport. Translation: Bike

Translation: Batting

CLAIM: To ascend

Translation: Climb

KETCHUP: Recorded media

Translation: Catch-up

KLEIN: A funny man at a circus

Translation: Clown

Work and school

METHS: Arithmetic

Translation: Maths

NINE: A part of speech

Translation: Noun

PINED: British currency denomination

Translation: Pound

RATING: Calligraphy

Translation: Writing

RETARD: No longer working

Translation: Retired

High society

HARNESS: Title of monarch

Translation: Highness

PORTIA: To be more upmarket

Translation: Posher

SQUARE: Minor landed gentleman

Translation: Squire

VACANT: A rank of nobility

Translation: Viscount

Body parts

AIR: An organ

Translation: Ear

GLENS: Hormone producers

Translation: Glands

HENS: Things at the end of one’s arms

Translation: Hands


ARE: Sixty minutes

Translation: Hour

CRIED: A lot of people

Translation: Crowd

FAVE: The number after four

Translation: Five

GUESS: A fuel

Translation: Gas

PAR: Force

Translation: Power

  • The Dictionary Of Posh by Hugh Kellett with illustrations by Oliver Preston is published by Quiller at £14.95. © 2019 Hugh Kellett and Oliver Preston. To order a copy for £11.95 (20 per cent discount, p&p free), go to or call 01603 648155. Offer valid until November 25, 2019.