Rightio, tally-ho and chap - still used in British English? [righto, righty-ho]

  • cycloneviv

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    Speaking from an AusE perspective, and from that of my BE housemate, we often use "righty-oh" and "chap". It's possible that "righty-oh" is actually more common now in AusE than BE; it is a very common way to say "alright" in Australia.

    As for "chap", the phrase "He seems a nice chap" come to mind as something that would sound completely natural, to me at least!

    I've probably said "tally-ho" a few times in my lifetime, but only in jest and probably because I am a great fan of P G Wodehouse.
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    Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    I think in general you may be right, dihydrogen monoxide; particularly anyone using all of these words habitually and naturally (I wonder if any such person is still living?). I think they also tend to have an ex-military air to them. But as cycloneviv suggests, one or other of them are not unlikely to be used in fun, particularly "tally-ho!", which I don't think anyone would now say unselfconsciously.

    Still, I'm not sure how far one can generalize about such examples. For instance, righty-ho was, and is, probably much more widespread in use.


    Senior Member
    UK English
    For me they are words which would be generally used either tongue in cheek or by older people, in particular from the south east of England


    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Speaking from an AusE perspective, and from that of my BE housemate, we often use "righty-oh" and "chap". It's possible that "righty-oh" is actually more common now in AusE than BE; it is a very common way to say "alright" in Australia..
    I think righteo (righty-oh) is very common in Australian English. I don't think I hear this in English English, and if I do, it's right-oh/righto, rather than righty-oh/righteo.

    Also, cheerio is dated in English English, but common in Scottish English (where it sounds like cheer-oh).


    Senior Member
    English - New Zealand
    Yes, righty-oh/righteo is common in both Australian and New Zealand English. However, I just want to point out that this is pronounced more like "ridee-o" rather than the british "righty-ho". As such, it's got a laid back laconic sound to it. If someone said "righty-ho" and pronounced it as such to me that would sound outdated, however minimising the enunciation and hardly opening your mouth gives you the colloquial version of "allright".


    Senior Member
    English English
    I say righto all the time ... far more often than righty-o, but definitely not tally-ho. I prefer chappie to chap, though I use both. Generally speaking, though, I agree with MM: it's difficult to generalize. (I suspect, with no evidence to back this up, that people use them more often than they're aware.)


    New Member
    I live in South East England and Tally-ho is still used correctly by a few hunts.
    It's actually what the huntsman calls out on sight of the fox.


    New Member
    Hi Cirrus,

    The hunters still track and trace foxes, but they don't kill them.

    Although, there has been an increase in foxes being killed by 'dogs' since the ban and hunt groups are getting bigger.... you work it out!



    Senior Member
    Swedish (Scania)
    Expressions like these were, if I remember correctly, used abundantly by Hugh Laurie in the Blackadder series, perhaps particularly in the fourth one where he plays a dim-witted upper-class twit of a lieutenant in WWI. Since then, I got the impression that they are mainly 'upper class' expressions.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong.

    The ban of foxhunting doesn't outlaw mock hunts, without a live fox to hunt and kill, so I'm sure there will still be a few tally-ho's heard about the English countryside...



    English - England
    I think Wilma Sweden's got it right. I would say they are more often used by the upper classes. They are definatly outdated nowadays and I would only use them in a funny way but certain people do still use them.


    English (England)
    1. I'd find it endearing if a foreigner used the phrase "Tally-ho". It's a VERY English expression that you'd usually only expect to hear from the upper classes (during the 1920s!) It's used to encourage someone to do something, (a really posh way of saying "Go on then") but no one would use it these days apart from in a jokey manner (usually people would use a posh English accent to say it as well!)

    2. Righty-ho at first glance might look very old fashioned, but people use it more than they realise. In England it is used the same way "Allez" is used in France; as a way to end a conversation. For example:

    "Righty-ho, I'll be off then!"


    "Here's the kitchen"
    "Here's the bathroom"
    "And finally, here's the livingroom"
    "Righty-ho then"

    3. Chap used to just mean a man, but now it is generally only used (in serious conversation) to mean a man one sees favourably, but is not yet friends with/do not know very well. For example:

    "Do you know Ben from work?"
    "I've met him, he seems a nice chap"

    I don't think you'd ever describe someone you knew well as a "chap" as it is a bit of a neutral word. You would also rarely hear someone calling someone they didn't like a "chap", as it isn't a very serious word. If someone said "He's a bit of a nasty chap" They'd probably be trying to show their dislike for that person, while trying to keep the conversation light.


    So to recap:

    Tally-ho: Only use this if your English is already very good, and never if you want to be taken seriously! Otherwise, you might as well forget this one!

    Righty-ho: Say this when you want to end a conversation/when you want to indicate you are about to leave. It can be used in place of "ok" to show that you have understood/agree with everything that has come before.

    Chap: The examples I gave above ("He seems like a nice chap"/"He's a bit of a nasty chap") are the only examples I can think of when the average English person would use the word "chap". If you want to use it, I'd learn both of those word for word*.

    Hope that's helped!

    *(word for word = verbatim)

    Dane Boschpear

    New Member
    English - America
    When I hear "righty-oh" I think of the comic exchange between Charles Ryder and Hooper at the beginning of Brideshead Revisited:

    ‘Well, go and inspect the lines now.’


    'And for Christ’s sake don’t say "rightyoh”,’

    ‘Sorry. I do try to remember. It just slips out.’
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