Thursday, July 26, 2012

Maybe Its Because I'm A Londoner

We were reading a ROTI (interview transcript) the other day when my colleague turned to me with furrowed brow and said "What's this - he said it was worth a nifty. A nifty what?"

"A nifty fifty" I replied, mentally polishing my London-born nails on my lapel.

The sum was later referred to as a decent drink, placing it on the scale of underclass pourboires, such as

A Drink
A Decent Drink
A Well Good Drink
A F*cking Good Drink

and so on.


  1. Replies
    1. There was a group of fifty stocks back in the 60s & 70s that were known as the 'nifty fifty', hence the reference.

    2. P.S. Could you insert the missing apostrophe in the title? It's probably because I'm not a Londoner that I find it so irksome.

  2. Italian laywer27 July 2012 at 08:39

    Cosy. The italian currency for pourboires is coffee, but I'm not aware that any rating system is in place."Le offro un caffé" goes for any sum from one euro upwards.

  3. Sorry, this Yank is still bewildered and Google isn't helping: most of the early hits for "nifty fifty" refer to a 50mm photographic lens. A fifty what? Pound note? I didn't think the currency was that debased.

  4. Fifty quid it is.

    Two thousand is an 'Archer' that being the sum that the disgraced Lord Archer is said to have paid as hush money to a prostitute.

  5. In the East End, a Bag (of sand), or a Rio (Grande, or possibly now Ferdinand !) is a grand, or £1000.

    Also, but less commonly, £500 is a 'monkey', although don't know why.

  6. The monkey reference is from Only fools and horses I think?

    I don't think a good drink has a specific value either, it certainly varies depending who it is (given the quantity and infrequency of my drinking, 20 quid would be more than enough in my case but for Ian Duncan Smith perhaps it'd be nearer to 100?)

  7. Interested Party29 July 2012 at 07:52

    Monkey as a word for 500 predates Only Fools & Horses by some margin and most probably takes its rise from the time of the Raj when a 500 rupee note had a monkey on it...

  8. "Monkey" for £500 dates from at least the early 1800s, while India's first banknotes were introduced in 1861. The origin of the slang is obscure and likely to remain so.

  9. Here:

    is a list of rhyming slang for money.
    Not sure how many are in regular use and how many are madeup on the spot.

  10. In the States, at a typical pub (i.e. "bar"), the term "well" is used to describe the bartender's routine stock of spirits. The low cost choices, if you will. The candidates for mixed cocktails and lady drinks.

    To order a premium spirit, one would order by brand name, or (in the better places) distillery and age (speaking of single malts here, of course) or use the unfortunate accretion "top shelf".

    Thus, "well good drink" and its polymorphism "good well drink" could be considered oxymorons, as could the patron who ordered same (sans "oxy").

    I'll settle for a Sapphire (pink will do) or a Glen Farclas 12. I don't drink from "the well" in the States. Nor should you.

  11. In this context ‘Well’ is used as emphasis.
    Think of it as a different way of saying ‘Very’.

    It’s a term normally used by teenagers, and I assume adults who never evolved from their teenage years.
    Also used ironically or in jokes by some people.

    Often used as a prefex to ‘ard.
    ‘ard, or hard, meaning someone it is tough or strong.
    Well ‘ard being very tough or strong.

    Hence the joke,
    What do you call an aardvark that beats up other aardvarks?
    A Well Aardvark

  12. "When I were a lad" (and possibly still, in Services slang?)
    Nifty Fifty = a quick but successful session of self-pleasuring.

    Probably because you didn't have to 'change hands at half-time'?

    1. Nifty = time taken to complete such activity
      Fifty = only 50% of the normal two people reqiured

  13. in the early 80's, as well as the 'nifty' fifty, we used to use 'naughty' forty and 'dirty' thirty too. a 'cockel' was a tenner and a 'ching' was a fiver. there wasn't much call for us to use 'monkey' in those days thanks to our age, unemployment and/or pre 'minimum wage' pay rates. all good fun really.


Posts are pre-moderated. Please bear with us if this takes a little time, but the number of bores and obsessives was getting out of hand, as were the fake comments advertising rubbish.