March 11th, 2004


Today the Britspeak spotlight falls on the King of Mockney himself … Mr Jamie Oliver.

Mockney is a contraction of ‘Mock Cockney’ - someone who thinks that being a cockney is trendy and who tries to sound if they were born within the sound of Bow Bells (the true definition of a cockney). [Jamie Oliver was actually brought up in the village of Clavering, Nr Saffron Walden, (Posh) Essex, where you’d need a radio telescope to hear the sound of Bow Bells!]

Mockney is more than just standard east-end London Cockney. Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins is a good model. Damon Albarn, from Blur and another Essex boy, is a definite and practised master of the art. Mockney has become an acceptable form of speech … it’s actually de rigueur for anyone wishing to appear on music television or who wants to present children’s TV.

If you want to get ahead start dropping your H’s and slurring your words and you’ll be sorted!

Today’s word is pukka, trade-mark Jamie and therefore genuine mockney.

pukka, also pucka \PUHK-uh\, adjective:

True meaning: 'authentic', 'first-rate' or ‘genuine’.
Originates from the Hindi word 'pakka' meaning 'substantial'.
This word was originally used in the Indian colonies.

He talks like the quintessential pukka Englishman and quotes Chesterton and Kipling by the yard and yet he has chosen to live most of his adult life abroad.
--Lynn Barber, "Bell, book . . . and then what?" The Observer, August 27, 2000

If he does not have a house, the government gives him a pukka residence, not a . . . shack on the pavement but a solid construction.
--Salman Rushdie, The Ground Beneath Her Feet
A word of Anglo-Indian (Hindi) origin. Defined by the Concise Oxford Dictionary as "genuine; of good quality, reliable; of full weight"

Mockney meaning: Adj. Excellent

Have fun using it today!