What do Rubys words mean Peaky Blinders?

In the hit BBC series Peaky Blinders, the character Ruby speaks words that often require some interpretation for viewers unfamiliar with the local Birmingham slang used in the 1920s era of the show. Ruby’s unique phrases and sayings provide insight into the Peaky Blinders gang and their activities. Understanding Ruby helps unlock key elements of the show’s plot and character dynamics.

Who is Ruby in Peaky Blinders?

Ruby is a young woman who starts working at the Peaky Blinders betting shop in season 2. She handles the books and keeps track of the gang’s profits from their illegal betting operation. Ruby comes from the same working-class Birmingham neighborhoods as the Shelby family at the center of the Peaky Blinders. She has known them since childhood and is familiar with their way of operating.

Ruby is smart, confident, and willing to bend the law to get things done. She admires the Shelbys and jumps at the chance to work for them when the opportunity arises. Ruby maintains a cool exterior but slowly develops feelings for Peaky Blinder member John Shelby over the course of her time with the gang.

Ruby’s Local Slang and Unusual Phrases

Ruby uses words and phrases common in 1920s Birmingham that may sound unique to modern viewers. Her sayings give insights into the Peaky Blinders world that a standard English translation would not provide. Some examples of Ruby’s colorful vocabulary include:

  • “Bobby dazzler” – something flashy or showy
  • “Go on, hop it” – get going or get lost
  • “Airs and graces” – pretentious behavior
  • “A right brass nail” – a bold, brash woman
  • “Deadly” – excellent
  • “In the family way” – pregnant

Ruby’s speech contains many similar phrases and colloquialisms from 1920s Birmingham working class districts. Her unique words provide texture to Peaky Blinders and help transport viewers to that specific time and place.

The Meaning Behind Some of Ruby’s Most Notable Lines

Let’s look at the meaning behind some of Ruby’s most memorable words from the show:

“Don’t get your knickers in a twist”

Ruby says this to John Shelby when he overreacts to a comment from her. It means telling someone not to get overly upset or worked up about something insignificant. The “knickers in a twist” refers to tangled ladies underwear, implying the person is making a big fuss unnecessarily.

“Come on then, let’s be having you”

Ruby uses this phrase when she wants someone to go somewhere or do something with her. It translates to something like “Come on, let’s get going” or “Let’s get on with it.” The “let’s be having you” part implies getting moving right away.

“Look at the bobby dazzler”

When Ruby describes something as a “bobby dazzler,” she means it is showy, flashy, or attention-grabbing. She uses it to refer to things she finds impressive or over-the-top. The phrase likely relates to a jeweled ornament like a brooch that would “dazzle.”

“He’s got more rabbit than Sainsbury’s”

Ruby uses this amusing line to describe a man talking excessively or exaggerating. The “rabbit” here means talk or chatter. The reference to Sainsbury’s, a grocery store chain, implies the person has more chatter than you could find at the store, which stocks a large amount of fresh meat and produce.

“I’m just making sure you’re alright, you had a face like a smacked arse”

When Ruby senses someone is in a bad mood, she lets them know with this colorful phrase. Saying they have a face like a “smacked arse” means they have an annoyed or upset expression, like a child who was just spanked or hit on the bottom. It’s her vivid way of asking what’s bothering the person.

“We’ll have less of your airs and graces”

Ruby uses this to tell someone in a privileged position that they need to drop their pretentious attitude. The “airs” refers to affected manners, while “graces” implies elegant deportment. Ruby reminds them to act normal and not put on appearances.

The Significance of Ruby’s Slang for the Audience

For viewers watching Peaky Blinders, Ruby’s unique vocabulary transports them into the past. Hearing authentic regional slang from 1920s Birmingham helps build the atmosphere and setting. The series creators specially brought on language experts to help develop the show’s dialects.

Ruby’s speech also provides comic relief and humor. Her witty one-liners and razor-sharp comebacks using local sayings give her character extra charm. Even when discussing illegal activities, Ruby’s manner of talking makes interactions with Peaky Blinders members more entertaining.

Finally, Ruby’s language reinforces her spirited personality. She holds her own around the dangerous Peaky Blinders gang thanks to her quick tongue and mastery of the local lingo. Ruby uses words creatively to make sly digs or stand up for herself when necessary. Her command of vibrant working-class phrases reflects the toughness needed to survive in 1920s Birmingham.

A Sampling of Ruby’s Most Memorable Quotes

Here are some more examples of Ruby’s unique sayings that illustrate her personality and contribution to Peaky Blinders:

Quote Meaning
“I bet your feet don’t touch the floor in the morning” You’re very excited and enthusiastic
“Your cards are marked” You don’t stand a chance
“Chance would be a fine thing!” Used sarcastically to say something definitely won’t happen
“You look like you’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards” You look disheveled and messy
“I couldn’t shut me eyes to that” I couldn’t ignore that / I had to acknowledge that
“Does the Pope wear a funny hat?” Of course / definitely
“I’ll box your ears” I’ll hit you around the head
“You’d forget your head if it wasn’t screwed on” You’re very forgetful

Ruby’s entertaining Birmingham phrases add both humor and regional authenticity to Peaky Blinders. Her quick wit and capacity for mischief help her fit right in with the Shelby family’s illegal schemes and adventures.

How Ruby’s Dialogue Reflects Core Themes

Beyond providing colorful period language, some of Ruby’s statements in Peaky Blinders touch on core themes of the show:

Crime and the Peaky Blinders’ Code of Honor

The Peaky Blinders have their own moral code despite being criminals. Ruby’s actions demonstrate how she abides by a similar set of values. For example, when she tells John Shelby the betting shop is being robbed, she yells, “For f***s sake, stop them! There’s rules! You don’t s**t on your own doorstep!” This shows she shares the gang’s disapproval of unethical behavior, even among lawbreakers.

Pride and Reputation

When Ruby overhears two policemen insulting the Peaky Blinders, she defiantly tells them, “There’s not a man in this town that would say that about the Shelbys and not lose his teeth.” She closely links her own reputation to the status of the Shelbys, showing her pride in being affiliated with them.

Ambition and Self-Reliance

Ruby seizes the opportunity to improve her lot in life through a job with the Shelbys. She tells them, “I’ve got brains and ambition, which is more than I can say for most of the girls around here.” Ruby values progress through her own grit and determination. She doesn’t expect handouts.

Us vs. Them Mentality

The Peaky Blinders are loyal to their own and view outsiders with suspicion. Reflecting this mentality, Ruby says,”We look after our own around here. We don’t need law and order puttin’ their noses in.” Her speech emphasizes the working class neighborhoods’ separation from proper society and authority figures.

Analyzing key quotes like these provides deeper insight into the show’s exploration of crime, social class, and family code.

The Impact of Ruby’s Romance with John Shelby

Ruby’s evolving relationship with John Shelby allows further exploration of her character. At first, she casually makes digs at John, unafraid to point out his flaws. Their combative banter reveals Ruby’s confidence and refusal to fawn over a Peaky Blinder.

As her affection grows, Ruby challenges John’s emotional walls. She tells him, “For all your talk, you’re scared of living. You’re scared of life without the Peaky Blinders.” Her frankness forces John to confront fears and ambitions beyond the gang.

Ruby’s romance with John remains complicated, given his tumultuous history with women and violence. But allowing John to open his heart after past traumas shows Ruby’s humanizing influence on the rugged gangster.

Parallels Between Ruby and the Shelbys

As an outsider, Ruby offers a reflection of the Shelbys’ own traits. Like them, she is:

  • Clever, quick-witted, and resourceful
  • Familiar with hardship and life’s rough edges
  • Willing to skirt the law and social rules to get by
  • Ambitious about rising beyond humble origins
  • Fiercely protective of her neighborhood community

Ruby models survival and self-reliance similar to the gangsters she works for. But over time, she comes to temper their harsher qualities with humor, heart, and principled morality when appropriate.

How Ruby Commands Respect in a Man’s World

As a working-class woman making her way in the masculine realm of gangs and betting shops in the 1920s, Ruby relies on her wits and confident personality to gain men’s respect:

  • Boldness – She is assertive in stating her opinions and maintaining boundaries.
  • Competence – Ruby proves her value through intelligence and skill at managing the betting shop’s books.
  • Street smarts – Coming from the same rough neighborhoods, she understands how to operate by Peaky Blinders codes.
  • Self-assurance – Ruby carries herself with certainty and refuses to be intimidated.
  • Humor – She uses humor and lively banter to bond with male associates.

Thanks to these qualities, Ruby gains acceptance and position at a high-level in the Peaky Blinders’ enterprise. She demonstrates how some independent-minded women succeeded in new roles after the disruption of World War I.


Ruby’s distinctive vocabulary and spirited personality make her an appealing addition to the Peaky Blinders cast. Her working-class Birmingham dialect provides historical authenticity and comic relief through unique phrases and cheeky comebacks.

Beyond her linguistic flair, Ruby reinforces major themes around family loyalty, reputation, and ambition. Her romance with John Shelby adds insight into how she influences the gang members to confront their deeper feelings and vulnerabilities.

Capable, clever, and courageous, Ruby earns her place among the ranks of Thomas Shelby’s infamous Peaky Blinders. Decoding her localized slang reveals Ruby’s nuanced contributions to the crime family and the show’s dynamic storytelling.

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