Dodgy – What does “Dodgy” mean in British slang?

Hello and welcome back to Slang with me Louisa May Adams. This show will give you the chance to hear, understand the origins and meanings of new slang and to use it immediately! So let’s get started…

While telling my Italian friend about my travels around Italy we got onto the topic of Rome, a beautiful and lively city. I stayed there for 3 weeks alone over a recent summer while studying classics. However I had to admit that some areas were slightly dodgy and I preferred not to stay alone in them. Dodgy she responded? Louisa I don’t understand this at all. So let’s look at this word today…

In slang Dodgy D-O-D-G-Y is an adjective used for people, places, things you should avoid. In slang we can use it like this: “don’t go to that park at night it’s a bit dodgy” meaning that park may be dangerous so don’t go there.

Dodgy in slang is derived from the formal english word dodge D-O-D-G-E used as both a verb and noun. As a verb dodge means to move aside or change position suddenly for example “he dodge the ball” or to get away from or avoid (someone or something) in a skillful or dishonest way such as “When asked a direct question, he dodges”.

It originated in the 1680s and perhaps it is from or akin to Scottish and Northern English word dodd D-O-D-D meaning to jog or run.

As a noun dodge means a shifty tactic or clever trick such as “He keeps his money overseas as a tax dodge”.

In slang dodgy can be a synonym for dangerous, bad or untrustworthy for example “That guy looks a bit dodgy” meaning he looks untrustworthy.

Or “urgh! That cheese smells dodgy!”meaning its gone off.

Remember if something or someone is dodgy, keep your distance.

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Let’s catch up soon to explore our next slang word.

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