If you ever visit England, you might find somebody referring to you as “peng”. For people who aren’t familiar with British slang, this might be a little bit confusing. But today, I want to talk about what it means, when you might hear it, where it comes from, why you may say it and giving you 17 examples of Tweets who have used the term “peng”.
What does “Peng” mean?
“Peng” means beautiful.
It comes from the Jamaican word “Ku-ShengPeng”, meaning Cannabis. Still, it has evolved to refer to someone (or something) as attractive because of London.
Most commonly, it’s used to refer to attractive people.
Who might you say “Peng” to?
If you’re thinking about referring to somebody as “peng”, they might read it as a compliment. But only if they know what it means. And even if they do, they might not be too appreciative of it.
Say it to a young lady wearing a tracksuit, and she is more likely to see it as a compliment than an uber feminist who would just see it as degrading.
The most common type of people to use the term “peng” would be people from working-class backgrounds, particularly in areas of London.
Often, these people will be referred to as “road men”.
What is a roadman?
The term “road man” comes from the fact that these people like to spend a lot of their time on the streets. And I’m afraid they don’t spend their days picking up litter.
Most of the time, these will be young men (between the ages of 13 and 20) who spend their days selling drugs and causing trouble.
Your typical “road man” will know his area well, meaning that he’ll know any escape routes should the police show up, and he’ll also know where all of his “customers” live.
The difference between a “road man” and a “chav” is that while a Chav acts this way due to financial desperation, a “road man” will do so by choice.
What might you say “Peng” about?
Most of the time, when somebody uses “peng”, they are speaking about another person. Either a man talking about a woman or a woman talking about a man. However, you can also use “peng” to talk about anything you approve of.
For example, there is a YouTube channel called “The Pengest Munch”. A young man from London travels his city in search of the best food they have to offer.
“Peng” can also be used to compliment something that someone has made. For example, a piece of artwork.
Origin of the word “Peng”
As with many words in the English language, “peng” is not entirely English. In Jamaica, the word “Ku-ShengPeng” means Cannabis. This term originally comes from a Frankie Paul song called “Pass the Ku-ShengPeng”.
Due to immigration, London has a large Jamaican population. And as a result, Jamaican music became very popular within those communities. Over time, “peng” evolved from being a slang term for Cannabis to just meaning “wonderful”.
We can only assume this is referring to how the singer felt about taking the drug. Because it became associated with happy feelings, it was used to refer to other things that made the speakers happy.
Is the demonisation of “Peng” classist and racist?
If you were to refer to someone of the middle or upper classes as “peng”, they might take offence. And some would even tell you to speak “proper English”.
However, it could be argued that the demonisation of words such as “peng” is classiest and even racist.
As we’ve mentioned several times on this website, language is not set in stone. It changes and evolves over time. Words come in and out of usage.
The language we use comes from the communities we live in and grow up in.
By saying that certain words are “proper English” and others aren’t is to say that only language which evolved from white, upper-class communities can be considered “proper”.
Alternatives to “Peng”
Of course, there is more than one way to call something beautiful in British slang.
Most of these are used predominantly in working-class communities. However, due to pop culture and social media, it is becoming more common for middle (or even upper) class people to use words that are not in the English Dictionary.
Many factors influence which new words mean “beautiful”. Reality shows, social media, and just what other people are saying.
17 Examples of “Peng” from Tweets
“i know i’m biased but these are PENG”.
“just want a weekend away with a peng ting.”
“Peng ting hatari”.
“Han han, na you get problem o, this is so comfortable with better polo guy be looking peng.”
“Anyone wanting to know how peng I am, here it is. I will probs delete later so enjoy for now.”
“Bugzy Malone is so peng man”.
“This is why I’ve missed being on campus so much. Uni looking peng”.
“He looks peng asf. Wtf are you on?”
“huns on twitter are peng af yho”
“Black Brits are so peng….what!”
“Salone girls are too peng”.
“I haven’t had McDonald’s in ages forgot how peng mozzarella dippers are”
“Sierra Leoneans are all so peng”.
“The only designer line I like is Palm Angels if I’m honest, them tracksuits are so peng”.
“nvm i just remembered Ben Barnes and his insanely dark eyes, dark eyes are peng”.
“Elo the girls on this thread are peng, this just confirms that there’s no such thing as VIP in the game. We all catch L’s”
“Only like 4 girls are peng in this photo”.
If you ever go to England and somebody refers to you as “peng”, so long as they are doing it out of politeness, take it as a compliment. Smile and say “thank you”.
If somebody refers to something you’ve made as “peng”, you can be proud of yourself. It’s interesting how even though England all shares one language, the different areas, classes, and background all speak slightly different variations. This shows how languages can evolve, not just as a whole, but in small communities.
The popularity of “peng” outside of working-class communities shows how quickly new words can spread. You never know when a new word will become mainstream.
And that is why I think the English language is rather peng!