Trade lingo: Have you heard these one-liners?

Trades Lingo – A collection of classic one-liners, have you heard them all? 

We’ve all been there. You’re standing talking with somebody when they use a word or phrase that leaves you completely stumped, the brain frantically tries to make sense of it while you weigh up whether it’s worth admitting you have no idea what they’re talking about or trying to continue blagging your way through. 

People who work in the trades come with a wonderfully bizarre vocabulary that can feel like a secret language to those on the outside. Here are six of our favourites and what they really mean when you hear them.      

‘That’s a party wall that is’

Hearing a builder say this in your own home would leave most people thoroughly confused. Sadly this has absolutely nothing to do with a good old-fashioned knees-up – though it would make a great name for an underground rave in Berlin.

No, I’m afraid the truth is far less interesting. A party wall is simply a wall that is shared by another home, for example in terraced housing.   

‘That floor’s on the piss, who did it?

As you scratch your head wondering how the floor could possibly be enjoying itself down the pub, you might start to get the feeling that all might not be as it seems. If somebody describes the floor as, ‘on the piss’, it means that it isn’t at all flat – which is bad – obviously.  

POETS day’

Now, before we jump to any conclusions, there are probably some in the trades who enjoy a spot of poetry to brighten the day, but POETS day has nothing to stanzas, rhymes and flowery adjectives. It’s simple really – Piss Off Early Tomorrow’s Saturday.  

‘I know a good chippy if you’re interested?’

It might sound a little odd for your plumber to recommend a high-quality fish and chip shop out of the blue on a Monday morning – and you’d be entirely right. Within the trades, a chippy refers to a carpenter or anybody that predominantly works with wood. And while we’re at it, Sparky is a slang word for an electrician.

‘There’s a problem with the greywater’   

There’s different coloured water? You might splutter in reply. Well actually no, water is water, but there is a difference between grey and black water. Greywater includes water from all sources apart from the toilet, which, as you might guess, is the black water as it’s sewage water. 

‘We’ve just put all of the carcasses in’ 

This is one sentence that just sounds plain wrong. Surely we should be removing the carcasses from the new kitchen? And why the hell are there carcasses around in the first place? As you can probably imagine, a carcass in the trades doesn’t have anything to do with dead animals. Rather it is the word to describe kitchen cabinets, which certainly makes a whole lot more sense.  


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