Polari*, a bold yet secretive part of Gay history, now instantly accessible from your pocket. The world’s first and only Polari smart phone app.

The most comprehensive Polari index and phrase book fuses one of the world’s most endangered languages with 21st century communications technology. This unique app contains an accurate A to Z of all 500 words and 40 authentic key phrases.

Introduce friends to this curious and humorous, gay language; share these weird and wonderful words and phrases, directly from the app, and help to keep Polari alive. Read the etymology to discover the history behind many of the words.

By owning this app you become a custodian of the language, literally holding its future in your hand. Through its new interactive features you can add words that may be missing, or be inventive and create new words and phrases to be submitted directly via the app. ‘Favourite’ a word or phrase from the lexicon and see it rise in global popularity.

Polari app is a collaboration between the artist, Joseph Richardson, and Paul Baker, Professor of English Language and Linguistics. (Lancaster University)

*Polari in a nutshell

“Polari was a secret form of language used mainly by gay men, lesbians and people who worked in the theatre. It was most often used in London and other UK cities with a gay sub-culture, and was popular between the 1930s and 1960s. It was introduced to a wider audience through a 1960s comedy radio programme, called Round The Horne. Apart from a few familiar words, it is hardly known today.”

Professor Paul Baker (Lancaster University)

What's New

Version 3.0.0

What’s New in this version
- Push notifications.
- Browse words at random by shaking or flicking the randomiser page.
- Browse words by their up-to date meaning in English.
- Browse words in a comprehensive index including new additions.
- Share words with friends directly from the app via social media
* inbuilt twitter and facebook buttons.
* email or sms.
- Over 100 verified etymologies and origins.
- Additional notes on words meanings, possible origins and background.
- Extended list of unique and authentic Polari phrases
- Alternative spellings of Polari words.
- Submit new Polari words and phrases.
- Browse words by updated category lists.
- View a list of popular words added to users around the world.
- Updates to user interface.
* new look index
* new look brand banners
* iOS7 design compatibility
- Updated info page.
- Bug fixes

Ratings and Reviews



I thought it would be far more fun and useful than it is. Complete sentences would be a great addition.

Joseph Richardson

Mr Lee Ping

This app is brilliant!! I love the etymology and reading about all the history behind this language which is also really really funny!! Good on you teaming up with Professor Paul Baker, I have his books on the subject but having it in this interactive format is amazing as I can share it with friends!!

Taking the shine off


Boyno, loved this. Clear format, easy to navigate. Fascinating to see the roots and the influence on colloquial language. As a straight woman I enjoyed the glimpse of gay history. Interesting and fun for everyone. Turned my oyster up.


Joseph Edward Richardson
2.9 MB
Requires iOS 6.1 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
Age Rating
Rated 12+ for the following:
Infrequent/Mild Mature/Suggestive Themes
Infrequent/Mild Sexual Content and Nudity
Infrequent/Mild Profanity or Crude Humour
© Joseph Richardson


  • Family Sharing

    Up to six family members will be able to use this app with Family Sharing enabled.

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