Colloquial words and expressions Webquest

Landmark Advanced Unit 7- Exploring Words

Aims: Understanding words from context and self-study skills

All the words below are shorter, more colloquial words for common everyday objects. Do you know any of them already (e.g. specs)? What words are they short and informal forms of?


ciggie/ ciggy/ fag

cardy/ cardie

hanky/ hankie

sarnie/ sarny


a telly/ tellie

a woolly/ a woollie

pickie/ pic

Can you guess what any of the other shortened words refer to or which words they come from?

Search for any words you didn’t understand on the internet. There might be other meanings, so make sure the results you find are colloquial expressions that are short for other words (e.g. there are boots called Cardy, but it’s a brand name and isn’t derived from a longer word). No using dictionary sites!

Tips if you have problems finding relevant results

Try a UK based search engine (e.g. and select “uk results only”

Pick one site to search, e.g. Wikipedia or a British newspaper (The Telegraph, The Guardian, The Sun etc)

Try an image search

Search in Google books to avoid misspellings, shopping results etc

Search with words like colloquial, slang, informal or idiom

Search with words that it often goes together with (which can be found from the initial search)

Search in phrases often used with everyday objects, e.g. I really like…, I’ve got a… or I want a new…

Use speech marks or a plus sign (depending on the search engine you are using) to make sure words are together in the searched document

Use a minus sign to eliminate results containing a particular word

Go through your answers as a class. How useful was the internet to find the meanings? Which tips above were most useful? What other strategies did you or could you use?

Try to find which of the alternative spellings above is more common. Again, make sure that the results have the right meaning.

You are going to do the same again, but this time also copying sentences that make the meaning clear from context into a Word document to keep. Open Word and save the document as “Landmark Advanced Colloquialism Examples”, then copy and paste results that make the meaning clear as you search for the words below. Don’t include any literal or formal meanings, e.g. broken for shattered. For the first few, it might be worth searching with “I was…” or “He felt…”





shattered/ knackered








PDF version for easy printing: ColloquialEnglishWebquest

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