What does “Sick” mean in British slang?

My friend Kelly used to work at an Italian Pizzeria in Canterbury. She worked with many Italian chefs and would compliment them on the daily pasta specials looking ‘sick’.

Their response was usually one of embarrassment or anger, thinking she had insulted their cooking. A basic cardinal sin in Italy. This led to an awkward work environment to say the least, until so explained ‘sick’ was not an insult at all but in fact a compliment!

Sick S-I-C-K in formal English means to not be in good health. If you are sick you should stay at home and get lots of rest!

However, as we know slang likes to make every formal word very confusing, just like back slang. If you can’t remember what that is go back and check out episode 3 on our website.

So in slang sick is an adjective describing something that is cool or excellent. To describe something being sick is to give a compliment. For example:

  • Whoa, your new car is sick!

This word stems from the US and its early uses have been traced to jazz slang popular in the 1920s onwards. It began to find popularly and was frequently used in the UK from the early 2000s.

So if someone from the UK comments that you look sick, don’t worry, you don’t need to rush home and check your temperature. You look great!

That’s the end of our episode so remember to tune in for our next episode so see what new slang we have in store for you! You can find us on our website the https://theslangpodcast.com and from there you can see our transcript and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and many more apps. Or head over to our facebook page http://facebook.com/theslangpodcast for updates and more slang!