Slang For British Jail (10 Examples)

Written by Gabriel Cruz - Foodie, Animal Lover, Slang & Language Enthusiast

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. As Amazon Associates we earn commission from qualifying purchases.

It’s interesting how inventive the British are when it comes to using slang words to lighten the conversation when talking about jails, a place we know to be dark and scary. We have compiled a list for you.

British Slang For Jail (In Alphabetical Order)

Big House

  • Meaning:
  • (Noun) ‘Big house’ is British slang used for jail. The term is not commonly used today compared to before.
  • Example: I can’t believe he’s going to the big house!



  • Meaning:
  • (Verb) Can is British slang that means jail. Usually, the word is used to describe the situation of going to jail or being put to jail.
  • Example: She’s getting canned for stealing a huge amount of money.



  • Meaning:
  • (Noun) Clink is an old jail in the UK and has now become a museum for locals and tourists alike. The name became British slang for ‘jail’ and is a common British term.
  • Example: What did you do to end up in the clink?



  • Meaning:
  • (Adjective) From the word fabulous, ‘fab’ is a popular British slang that means wonderful. Today, younger groups of people use this slang.
  • Example:  You are so fab! I love being your friend.



  • Meaning:
  • (Adjective) A Joint is a place where two or more people gather or where many businesses come together. It is also Briitish slang for ‘jail’, which makes sense because people who did not abide by the law gather in jail.
  • Example: They are headed to the joint to serve some time for a serious crime.



  • Meaning:
  • (Noun) Nick is British slang for ‘jail.’ A nick is a place of confinement where people who break the law are brought until their trial.
  • Example: They all went to the nick for getting too rowdy at the pub last night.



  • Meaning:
  • (Noun) The word ‘pokey’ is a term used to replace the word ‘jail.’ It is a funny term for a space of confinement for people who are being imprisoned for a crime.
  • Example: You’ll end up in the pokey if you won’t change your hostile attitude!



  • Meaning:
  • (Noun) Quod is an Old English word that means ‘jail.’ It has become British slang for ‘jail’ but is not so much used today compared to other British slang for jail.
  • Example: They were so nervous about getting caught stealing and being sent to the quod.



  • Meaning:
  • (Noun) The word ‘stir’ is a common word that’s used to replace ‘jail.’ Today, it is used as British slang for ‘jail’ because of the never-ending commotion of prisoners in jail who seem to stir a lot out of boredom.
  • Example: I don’t want to drink and drive so I won’t end up in the stir.



  • Meaning:
  • (Noun) Tolbooth is another term for ‘jail.’ It is not a common British slang but can be heard from time to time. It is based on how prison cell looks; like a small booth with no room to get comfortable
  • Example: Did you know you can end up in the tolbooth for copying someone’s work?

Leave a Comment