There are two people in your life you should never lie to
Lying to ‘Plod’ is almost never a good idea.
It seems had occasion to use the word ‘Plod’ a couple of days ago, and in my version of the English language ‘Plod’ means the Police. And then I started to think just how many other words we English have for a policeman, or the police in general. Turns out there’s quite a lot.
- the Bill ~ a shortened form of ‘the Old Bill’.
- Bizzies ~ a Scouse word, (from Liverpool), meaning the police are always too busy to spend time investigating ordinary crime affecting ordinary people.
- Bluebottle ~ from Cockney Rhyming slang ‘bottle and glass’ meaning arse.
- Bobby ~ Sir Robert Peel established the Metropolitan Police in 1829, and Bobby is a short form of Robert. (Also see Peelers.)
- the Boys in Blue ~ Self-explanatory, the police wear blue uniforms.
- Constable ~ a word from English medieval times when a constable was a King’s officer of the peace in armies and castles. English policemen aren’t officers, they’re constables.
- Copper ~ an old English word meaning ‘someone who captures’ ~ weird, I thought it had to do with a constable’s badge.
- the Cops ~ from ‘Copper’.
- Crusher ~ English Victorian slang, from ‘beetle crushers’ a slang name for the heavy boots Victorian policemen wore.
- Cuntstubble ~ a very derogatory modern term for a female police constable.
- the Filth ~ no idea what the etymology for that is, but it’s a pretty derogatory word.
- the Fuzz ~ again I have no idea what the etymology for that is, but it’s another derogatory word.
- The Heat ~ said to refer to the red lights some police vehicles carried ~ I doubt that very much.
- the Law ~ obvious. But also a shortened form of ‘the Long Arm of the Law’. Like Canadian Mounties the British police always get their man ~ eventually.
- the Met ~ London’s Metropolitan Police ~ the largest police force in England.
- the Narcs ~ an undercover narcotics agent ~ also a police informant.
- the Old Bill ~ who really knows? It’s a strictly London term, and I suspect it’s some very nasty cockney rhyming slang.
- the Pigs ~ just derogatory and originating in 19th century England.
- Peelers ~ From Sir Robert Peel ~ see Bobby above.
- Plod ~ Mr. Plod the Policeman is a character in Enid Blyton’s Noddy books. But if you’ve ever seen an older policeman walking, then you’ll agree that they do plod along.
- Polis ~ Scottish / Glaswegian slang, and if you’ve ever heard a real Glaswegian talk you’ll know why they say Polis for Police.
- Rozzers ~ 19th century English slang of mostly unknown etymology. It may be from Polari slang, (homosexual slang).
- Scotland Yard ~ this was where the police force was first established in London on October 6th 1829. (Great Scotland Yard at the rear of 4 Whitehall Place). The headquarters of the Met. are always called Scotland Yard, (now New Scotland Yard).
- the Sweeny ~ cockney rhyming slang ~ ‘Sweeny Todd’ = ‘Flying Squad’ The Flying Squad is an elite arm of London’s Metropolitan Police, the Met.
- the Thin Blue Line ~ describing all that’s between the ordinary populace and anarchy.
- Woodentop or Woody ~ a uniformed police officer, a derogatory term used by plain-clothes detectives.
As you might expect, many of these terms are more than just a little bit derogatory, and the one’s that aren’t date back to Victorian times. Anything from London is more than likely cockney rhyming slang.
Of interest to my American friends, an Englishman would never, ever call a policeman ‘Sir’. That honorific term is only used for someone an Englishman really respects, for Example a very senior member of our Royal family. Sadly, these days not many Englishmen respect the police any more.
standing outside of 10 Downing Street, they are a pair of proper policemen, in proper policemen’s helmets