Every major city is awash with its own little ways, and in Leeds, that is no different, especially when it comes to language. Sure, some turns of phrase are lent or borrowed across Yorkshire, but in Leeds it’s delivered with something a little bit special.
Take a stroll through some of the phrases that make Leeds the finest city in the world.
1. “That’s Leeds is that”
Translation: “That’s fantastic”
Oh yes. Some of the more hardcore locals love Leeds so much they regularly use it as a positive adjective. An attractive woman? She’s Leeds. How’s your day going? Pretty Leeds, ta.. You get the picture. Only really used by the most Leeds of Leeds folk.
2. “Ey up keka”
Translation: “Hello, chum”
A fairly recent Leeds-ism, ‘keka’ has infiltrated the tried and tested holy trinity of ‘mate’, ‘pal’ and ‘lad’, routinely used by one Leeds male to address another. No one truly knows whether ‘keka’ is here to stay, or whether it will fall to the fate of other young pretenders such as ‘mush’ or ‘cho’. Only time will tell.
3. “Marching on together”
Translation: “I support the mighty Leeds United”
No Leeds night out is complete without a group of inebriated folk singing this popular football chant with absolutely no regard for either pitch or tune. The second line guarantee that “We’re gunna see you win” might have descended into a bare-faced lie in recent years, but despite this, the city’s taste for the ditty shows no sign of waning. And who’d want it to?
Translation: “I must say, I’m finding what you just told me tremendously exciting”
Like him or loathe him, he’s one of our own, and Leigh Francis alter-ego Keith Lemon has a lot to answer for when it comes to the odd Leeds turn of phrase. One of the more publishable is “Ooosh”, the length of which is determined by just how excited you happen to be.
5. “Welcome to God’s county”
Translation: “Congratulations on completing your voyage to Yorkshire”
Maybe not specific to Leeds as much as it’s a broad Yorkshire-ism, but referring to our home county as ‘God’s county’ is a right passed down to Yorkshiremen through generations. Of course, since we proved Leeds to be the rightful capital of Yorkshire, it’s only right we claim this as our own.
Translation: “Barkeep, would you mind topping up my pint? You appear to have left it a little short”
Leeds is chock full of expert boozers, and should an inexperienced barman leave a Loiner’s pint of ale a percentage point short of perfect, they’ll soon know about it.
7. “Wet y’bed?”
Translation: “Gosh, I’m surprised to see you up so early”
Used as a greeting anytime before 11am, especially on a weekend, this particular turn of phrase is reserved for the lazier Leeds residents out there, or students. In the right surroundings, the word ‘wet’ can also be substituted for something altogether more distasteful.
8. “Yupto s’aft?”
Translation: “Have you any plans for this afternoon”
Everyone knows that the people of God’s county try to make conversations as efficient as possible by reducing the numbers of words used to an absolute minimum. We’re good to you like that. ‘The’ simply doesn’t exist, and whenever possible, words are pushed together, such as ‘s’aft’.
9. “Be reet”
Translation: “Everything will be fine”
Often used when everything will most definitely not be fine, “Be reet” is the go-to phrase for any Loiner hoping to reassure someone. Golf in a thunder storm? Be reet. NB. Not to be confused with the Sheffield term “Be reight”.
10. “Leeds Leeds Leeds”
With origins on the terraces of Elland Road, the unintelligible mating call of the born and bred Leeds resident causes all those around him to break out in the self same ritual. Traditional to start slow and speed up to the point that the word ‘Leeds’ becomes ‘Lee’. Literal translation unknown.