Definition of cockney in English:



  • 1A native of East London, traditionally one born within hearing of Bow Bells.

    ‘Charlie was a cockney by birth, but he'd spent a lot of time abroad’
    • ‘In the comic, the main character is a blond cockney, modelled on a rock musician.’
    • ‘This presents an interesting opportunity for me to recapture the peculiar shock I felt when I first heard a massed choir of cockneys singing the song.’
    • ‘One of our lads was a cockney and only lived half-a-mile from the camp.’
    • ‘Step back another half-century and you find a different scene: a highly transient place inhabited by up to 150,000 Jewish immigrants, with poverty rife among cockneys.’
    • ‘This, as far as we can tell, means ‘he is the luckiest cockney in the world’.’
    • ‘Granddad was the son of a cockney who settled in Canada in the 19th century and set up a bakery.’
    • ‘He has a quavering, affected English accent, which the actor perhaps imagines to be that of a cheeky cockney.’
    • ‘In the debate, the cockney cannily picked Derek, the professional speechwriter, to be on his side.’
    • ‘His fellow crims are cockneys too, and Danny was raised amongst these people.’
    • ‘He is a garrulous cockney from the old school of tabloid journalism.’
    • ‘The ebullient cockney was very worried about his protégé, the man he has called the best fighter he ever worked with.’
    • ‘The writer was a cockney through and through, and the story behind his creation is a particularly novel one.’
    • ‘A cockney by birth, he had been apprenticed to an engraver and had only become a soldier as a volunteer in the invasion scare of 1800.’
    • ‘Most of the town are displaced cockneys getting away from the smoke of London.’
    • ‘A cockney by birth, he signed for United as a trainee in 1991.’
    • ‘We checked out a favorite old movie starring a bunch of hapless cockneys trying to nick some gold in Italy.’
    • ‘Even a born-and-bred cockney could understand the published, mongrel Scots-English version.’
    • ‘This is usually cited as evidence of British fortitude - the attitude exemplified by cockneys in the heavily bombed East End who told Winston Churchill, ‘We can take it, but give it 'em back.’’
    • ‘It's the composer's musical valentine to London, the city of cockneys and kings.’
    1. 1.1[mass noun]The dialect or accent typical of cockneys.
      ‘his accent was a peculiar mixture of cockney and American’
      • ‘Her accent is a mixture of English cockney and West Country.’
      • ‘It sounds like my friends and I are bunch of characters from Oliver Twist sitting around the table with cockney accents begging for more porridge.’
      • ‘If that play is ever performed here, I'll audition for it, since I can do cockney really well!’
      • ‘In modern cockney terms he was ‘a bit of a geezer’.’
      • ‘English accents are not limited to cockney, upper-class twit or Mancunian.’
      • ‘John Clarke is friendly, relaxed and speaks with a cockney accent undiminished by more than a quarter century spent in Ontario.’
      • ‘But that's only phase one of her plan - she's also planning to learn how to speak proper cockney.’
      • ‘She read for the part in a sort of aggressive cockney, but she had something special.’
      • ‘Why do Americans think that the English accents are either really posh or cockney?’
      • ‘They also act according to the stereotypes promoted by the bourgeoisie of the time, including talking in comic-book cockney.’
  • 2Australian A young snapper fish (Chrysophrys auratus).


  • Of or characteristic of cockneys or their dialect or accent.

    ‘cockney humour’
    • ‘I've got London blood so I haven't struggled with the cockney accent.’
    • ‘It will feature more than 150 of the top punk and alternative acts from around the world in addition, strangely, to an appearance of cockney icons Chas and Dave.’
    • ‘I am not surprised that my memory has just reminded me, unprompted, that a ‘rozzer’ is cockney slang for a police person.’
    • ‘After winning the cleaner's confidence, Amelia was shown the manuscript of several stories of a childhood based in cockney London.’
    • ‘The woman's husband spoke with a cockney accent.’
    • ‘Today he looks back on the chirpy cockney character of the director's earlier work with something approaching distaste.’
    • ‘Speaking with a Dickensian cockney brogue is pushing things a bit.’
    • ‘Most of the black and Asian blokes appeared to have Manc accents but a lot of the white blokes sounded cockney to me.’
    • ‘I know this because I heard the voice of a cockney sparrer arguing on the phone yesterday when I came in from work.’
    • ‘Before leaving for his meeting, the older one leans in close and mutters in his cockney accent a warning for the younger to be on the alert.’
    • ‘His self-assuredness, cockney accent and slightly droopy bottom lip are strangely endearing.’
    • ‘This might sound odd but I really hated his cockney accent in the film.’
    • ‘I ordered the rest out of the van, in my imitation cockney voice.’
    • ‘The two young East Enders looked and sounded for all the world like a couple of skinhead soccer fans, cockney accents and all.’
    • ‘As the series begins, Max bumps into a young cockney woman, an overworked but underpaid media researcher with a degree in communications.’
    • ‘Spike your hair out with some holding product and work on your cockney accent.’
    • ‘He developed a cockney accent so that he would fit in better with his workmates.’
    • ‘You must love being so famous that your name is cockney rhyming slang.’
    • ‘The audience can enjoy old time favourites with selections from music hall classics, musicals, cockney sing-a-longs and the songs that won the war.’
    • ‘At first, upstarts traded on their cockney origins; by the end of the decade any pop star worth his weight in velvet had acquired a stately home in the shires.’


Late Middle English (denoting a pampered child): origin uncertain; it is apparently not the same word as Middle English cokeney ‘cock's egg’, denoting a small misshapen egg (probably from cock + obsolete ey ‘egg’). A later sense was ‘a town-dweller regarded as affected or puny’, from which the current sense arose in the early 17th century.