Cassell's Rhyming Slang by Jonathon Green (Cassell, £15.99)

Madonna only decided to make London her permanent home last year but she has already picked up the local lingo Cockney rhyming slang.

The American-born pop superstar has revealed that her English husband, film director Guy Ritchie, has asked her to wear less revealing tops because he doesn't want anyone else to see her raspberries. This term, meaning nipples, is derived from raspberry ripples.

However, Madonna and boarding school-educated Ritchie are not the only celebrities to use rhyming slang television's Naked Chef Jamie Oliver is famed for his use of Cockney slang and has often been known to slide down the old apples and pears (stairs).

Fictional wide-boys in TV shows such as Only Fools and Horses, Minder and the soap EastEnders have also made liberal use of the dialect, encouraging people across the UK to use its often bizarre terms.

The Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (rhyming slang) originated from the East End of London.

No one knows exactly who invented the dialect but it was mainly used by the East End working and lower classes from around 1810 onwards.

There are over 90,000 words in the rhyming slang dictionary today, with more being added on a daily basis.

Lexicographer Jonathon Green, who has written two books on the subject, believes that rhyming slang has always been popular.

Mr Green says that this is all done in the name of fun.

Shereen Low.