“Can I cadge a quid?”

Zopa reveals the variety of words and phrases used by Brits across the UK when discussing money

  • Zopa partnerswith Dr Rob Drummond, Senior Lecturer in Linguistics at Manchester Metropolitan University, to highlight the varied ways the nation talks about borrowing money
  • Londoners use ‘touch me a loan’ and ‘on the borrow’
  • Phrases like ‘tap me a tenner’ and ‘giez a lend’ are popular in Scotland 

Zopa, the pioneering financial services company, has today unveiled a list of the many ways people from different UK regions talk about borrowing.

Working with Dr Rob Drummond, Senior Lecturer in Linguistics at Manchester Metropolitan University, Zopa has created a compelling glossary of over a dozen different words and phrases and an accompanying illustrative regional map. The collaborative research highlights the wide and varied use of different words for borrowing money used throughout the nation.

For example, those in Scotland were found to use phrases such as ‘giez a lend’ or ‘giez a bung’ when asking to borrow money, whilst those in the North-West of England would ask to ‘cadge’ or ‘borrow me’ some cash.

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Liverpudlians are more likely to say ‘front me a loan’ or ask for ‘a sub’, while those in Newcastle and the North-East would instead say ‘spot us a fiver’ when they need to borrow money. If you’re a Londoner you may use the phrase ‘touch me a loan’ and historically would have ‘whispered’ when looking to borrow.

Clare Gambardella, Zopa’s Chief Customer Officer, said, “Everyone knows of words and phrases that crop up in conversation but that are met with a blank face when you use them with someone from a different part of the country. Equally there are instantly recognisable phrases that tell you that the user is from your hometown. What’s interesting about the list we’ve compiled is just how expressive and varied the words and phrases people use in place of borrowing are. At Zopa, we like to keep things simple so we always stick to terms that can be easily understood nationwide.”

Dr Rob Drummond, Senior Lecturer in Linguistics at Manchester Metropolitan University, said, “It’s always fascinating to look at the various ways in which people from different areas of the country talk about the same thing, and even when some of the words appear in multiple regions, as is the case here, they will of course be pronouncing them according to their own regional accent. The fact that there is so much variation on the topic of money is no surprise, as it’s such a central part of everyday life, and it’s this variety of language which helps make us who we are.”

Zopa, who collated the list with Dr Rob Drummond, reached the £3bn lent-to-date milestone in January 2018. Zopa offers a range of peer to peer investment products, including the Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA), as well as simple loans with competitive rates. It hopes to achieve another set of exciting milestones over the coming year as it launches a bank in order to broaden its product offering to customers.

THE ZOPA UK LENDING GLOSSARY

WORD/PHRASEMEANINGUSEREGION MOST ASSOCIATED WITH
Borrow/lend
Cadge (verb)To borrow money from someone.Can I cadge a few quid off you?Northern England, especially North-west; Scotland.
Cadger (noun)Someone who borrows.He’s such a cadger.Northern England, especially North-west; Scotland.
Tap (verb)To ask to borrow money from someone.Tap me a tenner.

She’s on the tap.

Various places, especially Scotland.
Spot (verb)To ask to borrow money from someone.Spot me a fiver will you?Various places, especially Northern England and Scotland.
Lend (verb)To borrow some money.Can I lend some money off you?Various places.
Lend (noun)A loan.Gie us a lend.Scotland.
Borrow (verb)To lend some money.Can you borrow me twenty quid?Various places.
Bung (noun)A loan.Gie us a bung, will you? I’m skint.Scotland.
Touch (verb)To ask to borrow money from someone.She touched me for a loan.London and elsewhere.
Front (verb)To ask to borrow money from someone.Can you front me some cash?Liverpool and elsewhere.
Whisper (verb)To ask to borrow money from someone.We can always whisper a few quid.London (archaic).
Hark-Ye-ing or harking (verb)Taking someone aside and whispering

(see above).

He was hark-ye-ingLondon (archaic).
Mooch (verb)To borrow money.He’s always mooching money. He’s on the mooch.Scotland (also US).
Moocher (noun)Someone who mooches. Also, a freeloader.Minnie the Moocher.Scotland (also US).

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