British English Slang – Apples and pears.

Meaning – Stairs. The set of steps leading from one floor of a building to another.

This expression is an example of Cockney (or London) rhyming slang. In this type of slang words are replaced by a words or phrases they rhyme with. Here, the word pears rhymes with the word stairs. This type of slang is associated with the people of London, particularly street traders.

Cockney Rhyming Slang:

Here are some more examples of Cockney rhyming slang that you may come across. You’ll notice that in many of these examples the word that rhymes with the meaning is dropped from the expression; for example, we just say loaf, not loaf of bread, when we mean head. This makes it very difficult to guess the meaning of some of these expressions!

  • Brown bread – Dead
  • (You’re having a) bubble (from bubble bath) – Laugh
  • (Have a) butcher’s (from butcher’s hook) – Look
  • China (from China plate) – Mate
  • Dicky Bow – Bow tie
  • Dog and bone – Phone
  • Loaf (from loaf of bread) – Head
  • (It’s all gone) Pete Tong – Wrong – Pete Tong is a popular English DJ on BBC Radio 1.
  • Ruby Murray – Curry – Ruby Murray was an Irish pop singer from the 1950s.
  • Trouble and strife – Wife

More Cockney Rhyming Slang.


  • “Are you looking for the bathroom? Go up the apples and pears and you’ll see it on your right.”

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