RuPaul's Drag Race UK: All the British slang and references explained

4 October 2019, 16:01 | Updated: 4 October 2019, 16:22

Woodrow Whyte

By Woodrow Whyte

Confused by all the British slang on Drag Race UK? Don't know who Kim Woodburn is? Don't worry, bab. Here's an explainer for all the slang and references.

When RuPaul's Drag Race UK was announced earlier this year, the news was received with plenty of excitement, the result of years of anticipation from fans who have been practically begging to see a British version of the show. But there was also a healthy dose of scepticism, too. Would the show celebrate a more looks-focussed, Americanised version of drag, rather than the diverse and unique styles of British drag that have been a part of UK culture for many, many years?

READ MORE: RuPaul's Drag Race UK fans are fuming over the prizes

Judging by the emphatic reception to the first episode yesterday evening, both online and in gay pubs and bars across the country, Drag Race UK is set to be extremely popular with viewers. (I was watching in a pub in East London and the atmosphere was electric - it was like watching a football game but, like, a lot gayer).

READ MORE: Which RuPaul's Drag Queen are you?

Back online, the conversation on Twitter was largely about the cultural differences between the UK and US queens. Countless memes have been spawned by the queens' use of British slang and swear words, as well as their cultural references to iconic (in the original sense of the word) British programmes such as Eastenders and gay icons, like cleaner and TV personality Kim Woodburn (The Vivienne's impression was a highlight of the episode).

RuPaul Drag Race UK British Slang
RuPaul Drag Race UK British Slang. Picture: BBC

That said, it appears that some of these references might have been lost on international audiences. As Drag Race US alumni Jiggly Caliente put it: "I know they're speaking English . But goddamn I can't understand half of what their saying. Brit slang is sooo different."

We hear you, Ms Jiggly.

So, in the spirit of inclusion, we've written a guide to the British slang and cultural references mentioned in the show. Warning: most of it is absolutely filthy.


Bender - This can mean two things. There's going on a bender, meaning a big night out, getting wasted etc. Or, as a gay slur, i.e. you are a bender.

Chav - The term was originally meant 'child' a long time ago but started to be used as an insult in the 90s, meaning an anti-social, uncultured youth. It was typically used against working class people with complete immunity until people realised that was a little fucked up.

Gobby - Loud and obnoxious.

Gob Shite - See above ^.

Kim Woodburn - Cleaner, reality TV star and all round icon. Her appearance on Celebrity Big Brother is legendary.

Minge - Vagina.

Minging - Something or someone who is ugly or unpleasant.

Mystic Meg - Popular fortune teller from the 90s who used to predict who would win the lottery. As far as we know, she never accurately predicted the winner but the millions of people who watched every week didn't seem to mind much.

Nadine Coyle - Mentioned twice in the first episode (such is her popularity amongst the gays) Nadine was the de-facto lead singer from arguably the best girlband Britain has ever produced, Girls Aloud, which also spawned Cheryl Cole, namesake of Cheryl Hole. Has problems saying the word 'flour'.

On the piss - Getting blind drunk.

Pete Burns - Legendary singer from Dead or Alive, who sang the hit 'You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)'. As with many of our gay icons, he later found fame again on Celebrity Big Brother and was beloved for his withering put downs.

Prince Albert - A penis piercing.

Slag - Someone who enjoys sex with a lot of people. Can be used as an insult or a term of endearment, depending on how it's used.

Teabagging - There is no other way to say this...teabagging is when you put someone's balls in your mouth.

Trollop - Traditionally, this meant a woman who has many casual sexual encounters or relationships. But it could more commonly be understood as a 'hot mess' in today's language.

Tuppence - Tuppence actually means a 'twopence' coin in ye olde English money. It is also a slang for vagina.

Vinegar Strokes - We had to look this one up! The Drag Queen's name apparently means, "the fast strokes during male masturbation, just before ejaculation". So, there we are!

Well, we hope you found that educational. We'll keep the list updated each week in case you need anymore British slang translations.