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Most Famous Manchester Sayings

Most Famous Manchester Sayings

When visiting the city, there are even more unique sayings that Mancunians generally mention from time to time. If you plan on stopping by, you should learn these few terms and phrases to assimilate in Manchester a little bit more! 

Fortunately for you, I happen to be a Mancunian who has quite the language to help you make way around the city. Hopefully, nobody can find out that you’re actually a tourist who’s only keen on learning these few catchy sayings. Let’s get started! 

Eh Up! 

Picture this: Cobbled streets, smokestacks belching clouds of mystery into the sky, and the unmistakable sound of a Mancunian voice greeting you with an enthusiastic ‘eh up’! 

It feels like a warm hug, a linguistic bear trap that caught your attention and refused to let go. That’s how cherished it became—a symbol of our city’s tenacity and our never-back-down spirit.

How It Came to Be 

Back in the day, Manchester was a bustling hive of industry, pumping out textiles and revolutionising the world. 

Those tough-as-nails workers forged bonds as strong as steel and developed a unique way of speaking that screamed: ‘We’re from Manchester, and we’re proud of it’!

The phrase also originates from Old Norse and originally meant ‘look out’ as a warning. However, it has evolved to become a greeting in Yorkshire. 

How to Use It

It’s important to note that ‘ay up’ is not a universal greeting and is typically used only with people you know, such as friends, family, or siblings. 

When addressing unfamiliar individuals, a more polite greeting like ‘ow do?’ (a Yorkshire version of ‘how do you do?’) is commonly used. Additionally, it is customary to show more politeness towards older family members.

Fun Fact: But one of the more famous people who revolutionised the saying is a man named Les Dawson who took this expression and turned it into comedic gold! 

With a mischievous glint in his eye, he sprinkled it into his routines, creating a delightful fusion of wit, charm, and unmistakable Mancunian flavour. Audiences couldn’t resist his magnetic presence and the infectious laughter that erupted with every ‘eh up’ that escaped his lips.

Our Kid 

‘Our kid’ is a saying that’s similar to conveying that you are close to someone and have a very strong relationship with—not necessarily romantically, of course!

The phrase itself is simple but oh-so-endearing. When a Mancunian refers to someone as ‘our kid’, it’s their way of saying, ‘Hey, this person is not only my friend but also someone I truly care about, like a sibling or a cherished family member’.

It’s an invitation into their inner circle, a warm embrace that signifies a bond that goes beyond mere friendship.

How It Came to Be

While the exact origins of ‘our kid’ are as elusive as finding the perfect spot in a bustling Manchester pub, it has long been a cherished phrase within the city’s tight-knit communities. 

Passed down through generations of Mancunians, this expression carries with it a heartwarming sense of family and kinship.

How to Use It

In Mancunian dialect, the term ‘our kid’ is a common expression used to refer to a sibling or a close friend. It carries a sense of familiarity and affection, creating a strong bond between individuals. 

When using this term in a casual sentence, you might say something like, ‘Hey, have you seen our kid lately? He’s been cracking everyone up with his jokes’. 

This sentence conveys a casual and friendly tone, where you casually ask the listener if they have recently encountered their sibling or close friend. 

By referring to them as ‘our kid’, you emphasise the close relationship and camaraderie they share. They further mention that this individual has been amusing everyone with their funny jokes, highlighting their ability to bring laughter and joy to those around them. 

It’s Proper Mint! 

Alright, get ready for a phrase that’s proper mint! If you’ve ever been to Manchester or had a chat with a Mancunian, chances are you’ve encountered the sparkling gem of local vernacular: ‘It’s Proper Mint’! 

But what makes it ‘proper’ mint? Ah, that’s where the Mancunian flair comes in. Adding ‘proper’ before ‘mint’ adds an extra oomph, emphasising that whatever is being described is not just good, but truly outstanding. 

How It Came to Be

Over the years, this phrase has become inseparable from the vibrant culture of Manchester. It’s woven into the local vernacular, passed down from one generation to another, and proudly embraced by the city’s residents. 

Whether you’re at a football match, grabbing a pint at a pub, or simply chatting with a Mancunian friend, you’re bound to come across this infectious expression.

How to Use It

This expression is like a secret handshake among the people of Manchester, used to describe something that’s absolutely top-notch, impressive, or of the highest quality. 

Picture a mint chocolate chip ice cream or a mint-condition vinyl record, and you’ll get the idea of how positive this word is and when to use it.

Sound as a Pound 

In Mancunian language, there’s a popular saying: ‘Sound as a pound’. When someone uses this phrase, it means that something or someone is reliable, trustworthy, or in excellent condition. It brings a sense of assurance, just like the British pound itself.

You’ll often hear this expression used in various contexts around Manchester. Imagine you’re strolling through the bustling streets of the Northern Quarter (Manchester northern quarter), and you stop by a cosy café (gluten free cafe manchester) for a bite to eat. 

The friendly waiter assures you that their famous fish and chips are ‘sound as a pound’. Now, that’s an endorsement you can trust! 

It means the fish will be fresh, the chips will be crispy, and your taste buds will be doing a joyful jig! 

How It Came to Be

It’s no secret that Mancunians are known for their straight-talking nature and their love for catchy phrases, and ‘sound as a Pound’ fits the bill perfectly! It’s a phrase that encapsulates the no-nonsense, down-to-earth spirit of this wonderful city.

How to Use It 

Use it in conversations when you want to show your approval.

Fun Fact: In the saying, the word ‘sound’ describes approval or acknowledgment, and ‘pound’ refers to the subject or what’s being referred to by someone. 

This combo shows approval. It started when the pound coin was introduced and was popular in London due to a good exchange rate. For instance, saying ‘the party was sound as a pound’ conveys positive feelings.


Ah, the marvellous ginnel! If you find yourself strolling through the vibrant streets of Manchester, you’re bound to encounter this charming term. 

Imagine a narrow passageway or alleyway tucked between buildings, often leading to hidden corners and secret hideaways. That, my friend, is a ginnel!

How It Came to Be

Manchester is famous for its rich industrial heritage and distinctive architectural features. The use of the word ‘ginnel’ is a testament to the local dialect and the city’s unique charm. 

While other parts of the UK may use terms like ‘alley’ or ‘snicket’, Manchester proudly embraces the word ‘ginnel’ as a part of its cultural identity.

How to Use It

If you’re non-Mancunian, this may be one of the more awkward phrases to say. To give you an example, you can say: “Oi, mate, let’s take a shortcut through that ginnel. It’ll save us loads of time!”

While very niche, traditional Mancunians such as myself would appreciate hearing this quite obscure saying being said by someone who just set foot in the city! 

Do One

When it comes to telling someone to go away or leave, there’s a phrase that perfectly captures the straightforwardness and directness of the locals: ‘Do one’! This delightful expression is a staple of the local dialect and carries a lot of significance in Manchester.

The phrase itself is refreshingly succinct, packing a punch with just two words. It’s a testament to the efficient and no-nonsense nature of Mancunians, who have a way of cutting through the fluff and getting straight to the point. 

None of that flowery language or beating around the bush. Just a simple and emphatic command to skedaddle.

But ‘Do One’! isn’t just about the words—it’s about the attitude and the playful, yet firm, delivery. Imagine a cheeky grin spreading across someone’s face as they utter those words, a mischievous twinkle in their eye. 

It’s all part of the local charm, adding a sprinkle of wit and character to the interaction. This phrase finds its way into various situations, from playful banter to moments when someone truly needs to be shown the exit. 

How It Came to Be

The phrase ‘on one’, which originated from the vibrant Manchester scene in the late 1980s, is closely associated with the drug ecstasy. It refers to being under the influence of the drug and experiencing its euphoric effects. 

Similarly, the expression ‘in one’ was used to describe being in a particular mood or state of mind, often influenced by drugs or the party atmosphere. 

On the other hand, the phrase ‘do one’ was a colloquial way of telling someone to go away or leave a particular place. These slang terms were prevalent within the Manchester music and party scene during that era.

In fact, if you listen to the song ‘Do It Better’ by the Manchester band Happy Mondays, released in 1988, you can even hear lead vocalist Shaun Ryder incorporating the phrase ‘do one’ into the lyrics. 

This demonstrates how deeply ingrained these expressions were within the cultural and musical fabric of the Manchester scene during that time.

How to Use It 

Put yourself in the situation where you’re walking in the bustling streets of Manchester, surrounded by vibrant accents and spirited conversations. 

Suddenly, someone starts getting on your nerves, and you need them to vanish as swiftly as a Manchester rain shower. In such situations, ‘Do One’! comes to the rescue.

You can also use this phrase when joking around with your mates. ‘Do One’! might be playfully thrown around as a way of telling someone to buzz off, but it’s always done with a smirk and a sense of camaraderie.

On the other hand, there are times when ‘Do One!’ is used more assertively. If someone is causing a ruckus or overstaying their welcome, locals have no qualms about making their intentions crystal clear. 

With a dash of Mancunian flavour, they employ this phrase to assert their boundaries and demand immediate departure.

Getting on My Tits 

Now there’s a phrase that perfectly captures the frustration and annoyance of Mancunians in a delightfully straightforward manner. 

You see, Mancunians, those spirited folks from Manchester, have a knack for expressing themselves with a touch of local flavour and a dash of good ol’ British slang. And this particular phrase is an icon in their linguistic arsenal.

So, if you ever find yourself in Manchester and hear someone exclaiming, ‘You’re getting on my tits’, you’ll know that they’re not too happy about something and it’s best to give them a little space.

How It Came to Be

While its exact origins remain a bit mysterious, this saying has become an integral part of the local dialect and slang in the vibrant city.

How to Use It

Use ‘get on my tits’ or ‘getting on my tits’ to convey that you’re reaching your breaking point. You’re fed up with the nonsense or irritation they are dealing with, and your patience is wearing thin.

It’s a lighthearted and cheeky way of venting frustration, and it tends to be accompanied by a sprinkling of exasperation and a touch of sarcasm.

Now, you might be wondering about real-life situations where you can use this phrase. Well, think of it as you’re standing in a bustling pub in Manchester, surrounded by locals engaged in lively banter. 

The football match on the telly isn’t going quite as planned, and tensions are running high. Suddenly, your mate spills his pint for the third time that night. 

But it’s not just football matches that can get on one’s tits. Oh no, this versatile phrase can be applied to a variety of situations. 

Let’s say you’re stuck in traffic on a rainy day, and the car in front of you keeps cutting you off, this saying is usually used in these types of scenarios.

Bob’s Your Uncle

Lastly on the list of fascinating Manchester sayings, ‘Bob’s your uncle’ might be the one that has a familiar ring in your ear. 

Naturally, people started using the phrase ‘Bob’s your uncle’, to describe situations where things worked out smoothly or easily, almost as if you had a relative in high places ensuring your success. It’s like saying, ‘Ta-da! There you go! Bob’s your uncle, and everything’s sorted’!

How it Came to Be

Back in the good old days, in the late 19th century, there was a bloke named Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil. He happened to be the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. 

Quite a mouthful, isn’t it? Anyway, his loving nephew, Arthur James Balfour, held a rather influential position as well. 

And as fate would have it, old Bob decided to appoint young Arthur as the Chief Secretary for Ireland. It seemed like a bit of nepotism, which means giving special treatment to your own kin.

How to Use It

See, the beauty of this phrase lies in its versatility. It can be used in all sorts of situations, from the mundane to the extraordinary. 

In Manchester, ‘Bob’s your uncle’ isn’t just a phrase—it’s a beloved part of the local lingo. This charming expression has a way of lighting up people’s faces. 

You can use this phrase like a secret handshake, instantly connecting Mancunians and making them feel like they belong to an exclusive club.

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