London Taxi Drivers Slang - Part 2

Posted by on 19 September 2012 | Comments

C - D


Your Cab Driver

Key to terms: loc = location; misc = miscellaneous; mon = money; pass = passengers; pol = police; tax = taxis; trad = trade



Cabology (trad) – Conversations carried out between taxi drivers, typically in a cab shelter or cafe. Involves many opinions being shared and aired. Topics could cover the state of the country (always ‘sorry’), football, politics, football, roadwork’s (always ‘diabolical’) etc.
C.A.B. (loc) – Pneumonic used by Knowledge boys (and girls) to learn the order of Chelsea, Albert and Battersea bridges.
Carpet (mon) – £3. This has two possible derivations. There are three feet to the yard which, pre-metrification, was the standard carpet measurement. Alternatively, in the days when prisoners were made to do certain work, three months was the time it took to make a carpet in the prison workshop (allegedly).
The Cage (tax) – The passenger area.
Call over (trad) – Method Knowledge boys (and girls) use to practice and memorise runs, routes and points.
Chopping Up (trad) – One driver over or under taking to steal another drivers job.
A Churchill (trad) – A meal. When he was Home Secretary, Winston Churchill gave cabbies the right to turn down a fare whilst eating.
The Circus (loc) – Piccadilly Circus.
Cock & Hen (pass) – Male and female passengers riding together.
The Cold Blow (loc) – The old St Pancras Station cab rank (pre-Eurostar). Windy? Not ‘arf.
Cole Porter (trad) – A cabbie who works long hours, right through the night and day.
Copperbottom (trad) – A cabbie who works long hours, solid.
Crawler (trad) – A cabbie who drives very slowly cruising for work. This epithet comes all the way down from the 1860’s, and yet nothing changes.
Cricket seats (tax) – The tip up seats in the passenger area.
Cruiser/Cruising (trad) – Driving around looking for work.



Droshky (tax) – Polish name for a taxi, introduced by the many Jewish cabbies working in the trade.
The Dead Zoo (loc) – The Natural History Museum.
Den of Thieves (loc) – The Stock Exchange.
The ‘Dilly (loc) – Piccadilly.
Dirty Dozen (loc) – A sequence of streets that cuts across Soho (see Duck & Dive).
Do Over (trad) – Stealing another cabbies job (naughty).
Do a Rank over (trad) – Jumping in at the front of an entire Rank (very naughty).
Dollar (mon) – Pre-decimal 5 shillings (25 pence).
Drop (mon) – A tip, as in ‘I loaded in all his luggage but the tight-wad didn’t even give me a drop’.
Duck & Dive (trad) – lots of back streets whilst running a fare (see Dirty Dozen).