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Brits love a silly abbreviation — now it’s time for the ‘Genny Lex’

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It’s Genny Lex season (Picture: Getty/Rex)

It’s less than 24 hours since Rishi Sunak stood in the pouring rain and, to the soundtrack of New Labour’s anthem, Things Can Only Get Better, announced a General Election.

But already we have a new nickname for the biggest of political occasions: The Genny Lex.

We Brits not only a love, but have a great talent, for coming up with an abbrev (that’s an abbreviation, duh).

We’ve had the Cozzie Livs, Corrie Nash, and, of course, the much maligned, Platty Joobs.

TikToker and journalist, Jeff Thurn, who is originally from the USA but lives in the UK, recently took to the social media to share his ‘all time favourite thing Brits do’: abbreviations.

‘Brits love abbreviations… especially with the letter z,’ he says. ‘For example, sorry becomes soz, holiday becomes holz, if your name is Gary, you might be known as Gaz… the list goes on, and I kind of think it’s adorable.’

Well, he’s not wrong.

And, while almost every cultural event in recent years has been given a shortened nickname, this is far from a new phenomenon.

Kate Haynes is a cultural expert at language learning app, Babbel. She says we Brits are renowned for our use of wordplay.

‘We have a cultural tendency towards humour and playful conversation,’ Kate tells Metro.co.uk. ‘British slang predates the internet, with Cockney rhyming slang’s “apple and pears” tracing back to the mid-19th century.

‘Modern British slang, with a focus on abbreviations, has included spag bol since the 1970s, while Maccy Ds and nervy b have both around since at least the early 2000s.



Get ready for more abbreviations this summer

Kate says there are some more upcoming events which may fall victim to this semantic epidemic:

  1. Wimbledon = Wimbo
  2. Bank Holiday = Banny Hols
  3. Paris Olympics = Parrie Limps
  4. Monaco Grand Prix = Mon G P
  5. Notting Hill Carnival = Notty Carns

‘Now, the internet has turbocharged slang spread via platforms like TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram, making it seem more prominent today.’

So, why do we do it? ‘Abbreviations and slang simplify pronunciation, making speech quicker and easier,’ says Kate. ‘This evolution toward more efficient forms can be seen in classic examples like television becoming telly, Glastonbury Festival becoming Glasto, and Brexit.’

But there’s a deeper reason behind it all too: ‘Terms like Cozzie Livs and Panny D make serious concepts more digestible. By labelling these heavy topics in amusing formats, we ease the mental burden of discussing serious issues. It makes complex or serious topics more approachable.’

And, we’re sorry to say it, but it’s not just us Brits that have a penchant for an abbrev. ‘Countries like Australia have well known terms like ‘barbie’ (barbecue),’ says Kate.

‘However, in the UK, the terms are often unique and quintessentially British: adding some humour, often leaning on the dry side or into sarcasm.’

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