American Slang Guide 2021

Guide to America Slang Expressions

Today, we’ll cover American popular slang words to ease your communication with English native speakers. For international students, learning a new language like English can be tricky, especially American slang.  Ready to study English and master American slang at the same time and understand your American peers?

(To) ace (v.)

(a test, exam, etc.): To pass a test, exam, etc. really easily. ex: “Robert aced his physics exam.”

A dime a dozen

(*to be a dime a dozen*): Very common; Said of something that is so easy to find that it don’t have much value. ex: “Girls like her are a dime a dozen” (There are lots of girls like her)


Used to mean “very” in phrases such as “He was all nervous” (He was very nervous), “He was all happy” (He was very happy), or “so” in phrases such as “Don’t get all emotional.”


When someone says “I’m all ears”, they are telling you that they are listening to you, that they are giving you their undivided attention.

All-nighter (n.)

A period of work or study that lasts all night. Most often used with the verb “pull” (To pull an all-nighter) – ex: “We pulled an all-nighter in order to finish the project.”

Ammo (n.)

Short form for “ammunition”. ex: “I ran out of ammo.”

Angle (n.)

A devious plan; a scheme. Often used with the verb “to work”. ex: “He claims to be on the level, but I’m sure he’s working some angle.”


24/7, all day and night, non-stop; ex: “The house was being watched around the clock.”

As if!

On its own, this phrase is used to suggest/emphasize that something is not likely/ not going happen. ex: “He thinks I’ll go out with him. As if!”

Awesome (adj.)

Great; Fantastic; Super: ex: “That was an awesome movie.”

Bachelor pad

An apartment where a single man lives alone.

Back in the day

Many years ago; a long time ago. “Back in the day we used to pay much more for plasma TVs.”

Back on one’s feet

(To be back on one’s feet): Recovered (from an illness). ex: “You’ll be back on your feet in no time

Back to the drawing board

A phrase that is said when you have to start some process from the beginning (usually after having failed in the previous attempt). ex: “Well, that didn’t work… Looks like it’s back to the drawing board.”

Backhanded compliment

An insult disguised as a compliment. ex: “Hey, don’t feel bad! You’re not as fat as you used to be!

Backstabber (n.)

A person who says bad things about you behind your back.

Badmouth/Bad-mouth (v.)

To verbally criticize; to knock; to talk badly of. ex: “She’s such a negative person – All she does is badmouth people all day.”

Baggage (n.)

Short for “emotional baggage”, which is a collection of painful memories, experiences, mistrust, etc. carried around as a result of negative past experiences/relationships. ex: “I wouldn’t get involved with her. She’s got a lot of baggage.”

Ballpark figure

Rough estimate ex: “Can you give me a ball-park figure of what the final cost will be?”

Bash (n.)


Beat (adj.)

Tired. ex: “Man, I’m beat. I’m going to bed.”

Be the case

To be a reality. ex: “I wish I had a million dollars, but that’s not the case.”

Beemer (n.)

BMW (car).

Behind bars

In jail. ex: “The robbers were caught, and are now behind bars.”

That’s behind me

That’s n the past, therefore no longer important. Related to phrases such as “i’ve put it behind me”, “it’s behind me now”, etc.

To be (or to get) behind (someone/something)

To support (someone/something). ex: “I’m behind you on this.”

Bent out of shape

Upset/agitated. ex: “Don’t get all bent out of shape over that.”

(To give someone a) big hand

To applaud (for someone) energetically. To give (someone) a big round of applause. ex: “Let’s give our performers a big hand!”

Blow (v.)

To lose is a wasteful way/ to waste. ex: “Sarah blew all her money on gambling.”

Blow (someone) away (v.)

To really impress (someone). ex: “We were all blown away by her performance.”

Blow (someone) out (v.)

In SPORTS – to win by a big margin, by a lot of points. ex: “How did the Lakers do? They were blown out by the Celtics.”

Blow (something) out of proportion

To make (something) seem much more important than it actually is. ex: “Of course his reaction was extreme! He always blows things out of proportion.”


Short for “body odor” – the foul smell one secretes from one’s armpits, especially when one doesn’t shower/wash. ex:”The woman sitting beside me had really bad B.O.”

Bolt (for)

Run (towards). ex: “As soon as I turned around, he bolted for the door.”



Boss (someone) around

To be bossy towards (someone); to constantly tell (someone) what to do. ex: “She bosses him around all the time”

Break (n.)

Stroke of luck. ex: “We got a big break in the case today!”

Break it up (v.)

To end a fight. ex: “All right – break it up, you two!”

Broke (adj.)

Having no money. ex: “He should really get a job – He’s always broke!”

Bum (n.)

Mendicant; Homeless person.

Bummed (adj.)

Disappointed; Dejected ex: “He was really bummed about having lost the game.”


Short for “suburbs”; ex: “Tina lives in the ‘burbs with her folks.”

It really burns me up

It really upsets me. ex: “It really burns me up when he talks to me in that tone of voice.”

Burnt out

Exhausted from doing something too much and too intensely (especially used when speaking about work, etc.) ex: “He was completely burnt out after working for three weeks straight.”

Bust (b.)

To Nail; To Catch; ex: “He got busted for driving drunk.”

Call (n.)

1) Prediction: ex: “That was a good call on the weather. It rained just like you said that It would.”. 2) Decision: ex: “Where do you want to eat. Person 2: It’s your call.”

Call it a day

To stop some kind of activity *usually used when talking about work* ex: “We’ve been working for 12 hours – Let’s call it a day.”

Call the shots

To make decisions, to be in charge ex: “I call the shots around here!”

Cash (n.)

Money. ex: “You got any cash on you?”

Cash in (v.)

To profit. ex: “He cashed in on his popularity by opening up a restaurant.”

Catch some rays (v.)

To sunbathe; To go suntanning.

Check out (v.)

1) To see (“Let’s check out that new movie”) 2) To take a look at (“Check out this cool website”, “Check out that girl”)

Cheesy (adj.)

Cheap, tacky. ex: “A cheesy pick-up line”, “A cheesy song”, etc.

Chick (n.)

Young woman, girl, etc. *this term is considered derogatory (offensive) by some, so if you’re not sure – don’t use it :)*

Chill out (v.)

To relax. “Chill out! Why are you getting so worked up over this?”

Class-act (n.)

A distinctive person; someone with a lot of class.

Cool down (v.)

Relax, calm down after an argument, etc. ex: “Give him a couple of days to cool down before you call him.”

Cool (adj.)

nice, great, impressive ex: “a cool dress”, “a cool guy”, “a cool bar”

Cool down (v.)

Relax, calm down after an argument, etc. ex: “Give him a couple of days to cool down before you call him.”

Cop (n.)

Police officer. ex: “My brother is a cop.”


An unpleasantly weird/strange person. ex: “I don’t like Tom. He seems like a creep.”

Couch potato

Someone who spends most of his/her time sitting on the couch, watching TV. *Homer Simpson is a couch potato*

Crack open (v.)

In this phrase, the “crack” is only used to emphasize the process of opening. ex: “Crack open a bottle of champagne – It’s time to celebrate!” (Open a bottle of champagne – It’s time to celebrate!)

Crank up (v.)

To crank something up means to increase it’s volume (significantly) ex: “Crank it up, man! I love that song!”

Crash (v.)

To sleep. ex: “Can I crash here tonight?”

Creep (n.)

An unpleasantly weird/strange person. ex: “I don’t like Tom. He seems like a creep.”

Crummy (adj.)


Cushy (adj.)

Comfortably easy. ex: “A cushy job.”

Cut (a deal) (v.)

To negotiate a deal; To compromise; ex: “Let’s cut a deal – I’ll let you use the car if you help around the house.”

(To not) cut it

To not be enough; to be insufficient. ex: “In this case, saying ‘sorry’ just doesn’t cut it.” (Saying ‘sorry’ is not enough)


Empty; quiet (said of bars, clubs, restaurants, etc.) ex: “It’s really dead in here tonight” (It’s empty in here tonight/there are very few people here tonight)


Extremely, totally, very ex: “I’m dead tired.” (I’m extremely tired.); “You’re dead wrong.” (You’re totally wrong.)

Decent (adj.)

Pretty good.


:Overtly/openly sexual; obscene. ex: “those lyrics are really dirty.”

Dig (v.)

To like. *this word is somewhat outdated/pass*

Dis (v.)

Short for “to disrespect” – To talk about someone in a disrespectful manner.

Ditch (v.)

to leave, get rid of (usually said of something that is “slowing you down” or is “unnecessary”). ex: “The thieves ditched the car and got on a bus.”; “He ditched her at the altar.”

Do an about face (v.)

To radically change one’s opinion/position. ex: “He said he would support the bill, so everyone was surprised when he did an about face and voted against it.”

Dough (n.)


Dork (n.)

Strange person; someone without “social graces”; weirdo.

Down (v.)

To eat/drink quickly. ex: “We downed a couple of beers and left for the club.”

Doze off (v.)

To fall asleep. ex: “I dozed off during the movie.”

Drag (n.)

Disappointment. ex: “What a drag!” (That’s very disappointing)

Drama queen

Someone who gets overly emotional/sentimental about things. Someone who thrives on the dramatic.ex: “Betty is such a drama queen!”

Ease off (v.)

To start doing something less intensely. ex: “Don’t criticize him so much. Ease off a little bit!”

Eat up (v.)

1) To enjoy thoroughly. ex: “He eats up the publicity.”; 2) 2) To use up. ex: “Playing video games will eat up your cell phone battery.”; 3) To believe (without questioning). ex: “She’s so gullible. She’ll eat up anything you tell her.”;


Bothering. ex: “What’s eating him?” (What’s bothering him?)

Elbow one’s way through a crowd

To make one’s way through a crowd, using physical force.

Enough is enough!

Phrase meaning “I’ve had enough – I can’t take anymore.”

Every so often

Once in a while. ex: “Every so often I like to go for a long walk.”

Eye-opener (n.)

Something that makes you realize something. ex: “That video was a real eye-opener. I had no idea things were that bad.”

Fair and square

Completely fairly. ex: “He won fair and square.”

Fall for (v.)

Believe (in a gullible way). ex: “I’m not going to fall for that old trick.”

Fall short (v.)

To not be enough. ex: “His efforts fell short.”

Fishy (adj.)

Suspicious. ex:”There’s something fishy about the way he’s behaving.”

(Fix (n.)

See “To get one’s fix”.

Flip out (v.)

To get very upset (to the point of starting to scream, etc.); Freak out.

Flip side

Opposite/other side. ex: “The flip side of the coin”, “the flip side of this argument”, etc.

Folks (

Parents. ex: “My folks live in Atlanta.”

For what it’s worth

This is basically like saying “I don’t know whether or not this of any value, but…” ex. “For what it’s worth, I never wanted things to end up like this.

Freak (n.)

Strange person. (*these days it’s usually negative, although some people use it to mean “someone who really enjoys sex”*)

Freebie (n.)

Something you get for free, that you don’t have to pay for.

Freak out (b.)

To get very upset (to the point of starting to scream, etc.) ex: “When he found out she had been cheating on him, he freaked out.”

Gaydar (n.)

The ability to tell whether or not someone is gay. ex: “My gaydar was a little off. I was sure he was straight.”

Gawk (v.)

To stare (stupidly). ex: “Those hicks were gawking at us.”

Geek (n.)

A (slightly) strange person who is obsessed with things such as music, electronics, video games, etc.

Get (v.)

To understand ex: “I don’t get it.”, “I don’t get him.”

Get a kick out of (something)

To enjoy (something)ex: “Why does he get such a kick out of watching her suffer?”

Get/have cold feet

To decide not to do something because one is scared ex: “They were going to elope in Vegas, but his fiancee got cold feet.”

To get one’s fix (of something)

To obtain something necessary, especially a dose of a drug or anything else one feels that one really needs. ex: “I got my daily fix of the Simpsons.”

To get one’s mind off (something)

To stop thinking about (something). ex: “The night out really helped me get my mind off my problems for a while.”

Get to the point

To be direct ex: “Stop beating around the bush and get to the point!”


Concert (when talking about musicians/bands); An acting engagement (when talking about actors)

Give (someone) goosebumps

To make someone’s skin “stand” due to emotion, fear, etc. ex: Every time I hear that song, it gives me goosebumps”

Give me a break

This phrase can be used to 1) express disbelief at something you think is untrue (“You went out with Miss America? Give me a break!”, or 2) to express disbelief that something is ridiculous (but true), expensive, etc. (“$2000 per month for this apartment?? Give me a break!”)

Glitzy (adj.)

Fancy, expensive ex: “A glitzy hotel”

Glued to one’s seat

To be “glued to one’s seat” means to be so interested in something that one is unwilling/unable to move from where one is sitting.


(To be) a go

To happen. Most often heard in expressions sucha as “It’s a go.” (It’s going to happen), “I thought it was a go” (I thought it was going to happen), etc.


Short for “going to”. ex: “I’m gonna call you tomorrow.”


Short for “have got to” or “have to”. ex: “I gotta go.”

Go with (v.)

To choose. To decide on. ex: “I’m gonna go with the blue shirt.” (I’ve decided on the blue shirt.)

Go with the flow (v.)

To accept things (the way they are).ex: “I’m just gonna go with flow and see what happens.”

Grass (n.)

Marijuana; Pot.

Gross (adj.)

Disgusting. ex: “That’s gross!”

Grub (n.)

Slightly rude term for “food”.


Belly. ex: “I lost my gut when I stopped drinking beer.”


Courage. ex: “You don’t have the guts to do that.”

Hang in there!

This basically means “don’t give up!”

Hassle (n.)

A problem; Something that is inconvenient, problematic for you. ex: “I had to go back to that office three times to get things done… What a hassle!”

Hassle (v.)

To bother; To nag. ex: “Stop hassling him about that!”

Hate (someone’s) guts

To hate (someone) very much. ex: “I really hate his guts.”

Hate (someone/something) with a passion

To hate (someone/something) very much.

Have the hots for (someone)

To be physically attracted to (someone); ex: “She’s got the hots for her new co-worker.”

(I’ve/he’s/you’ve, etc…) had it

You have had enough of a situation, to have endured all that one can.ex: I’ve had it with their daily parties. I haven’t been able to sleep well for weeks!

Hella (adj.)


High (adj.)

Intoxicated on drugs. ex: “He looked and behaved like he was high.”

Hick (n.)

A redneck; a backwards, ignorant person with a very limited intelligence.

Hit (n.)

Success. ex: “The new toy is a real hit with the kids.”

Hit on (someone) (v.)

To try to seduce (someone); To put the moves on (someone). ex: “Bob was hitting on me last night.”

Hit the road (v.)

To leave. To get going. ex: “We gotta hit the road, otherwise we’ll be late.”

Hit the sack (v.)

To go to bed. ex: “I’m going to hit the sack. I’m really beat.”


A hooded sweatshirt. ex: “My mom bought me a black hoodie at the GAP.”

Hooker (n.)


Hoopla (n.)

see “Hype” below.

Hot (adj.)

Physically attractive.

Hottie (n.)

Very attractive man or woman. ex: “Lisa is such a hottie.”

(To be) hung up on (v.)

(to be) obsessed/ overly interested in something ex: “He’s really hung up on his looks” (He’s really obsessed with the way he looks)

Hype (n.)

Extreme promotion and the commotion that follows; Hoopla. ex: “That CD doesn’t live up to the hype.” (That CD isn’t as good as they’re promoting it to be/ as good as everything says it is).

Hyped (adj.)

Really excited. ex: “We’re all hyped about the concert next weekend.”

Icky (adj.)

Gross, disgusting.

Idiot box (n.)

TV (the actual TV set).

Iffy (adj.)

Uncertain. ex: “That’s a little iffy at this point.”

Ill-at-ease (adj.)

Worried; Concerned; ex: “I’m feeling a little ill-at-ease about going there for a whole year.”

In a bind

In a predicament; in a difficult situation. ex: “I’m in a bit of a bind – Do you think you can help me out?”

In a row

One after another; Straight. ex: “Our team has won five games in a row.”

In no time

Very soon. ex: “Don’t worry – We’ll be there in no time.”

In the cards

Likely (to happen). ex: “A promotion is not in the cards for him.” (He most likely will not be promoted).

In the doghouse

In trouble. To be in the doghouse = To be in trouble.

In the works

Currently being worked on, developed. ex: “Our new website is in the works.”

Jack up (v.)

To increase (prices, etc.) by a high margin. ex: “The street vendors jack up their prices on holidays.”

Jam (n.)

Predicament, problem. ex: “I’m in a bit of a jam here – Do you think you can help me?”

Jam packed

Crowded; Full of. ex: “The beach was jam packed with tourists.”

Jerk someone around

To treat someone in a disrespectful manner. ex: “Stop jerking me around!”


In a jiffy = Very quickly = In no time

Jinx (v.)

To bring bad luck or failure by saying something. ex: “Stop saying that! You’re gonna jinx me.”

John (n.)

Bathroom, toilet, can.



Jump ship (v.):

To leave one’s job suddenly, usually to go work somewhere else.

Just plain (adj.)

Clearly; simply. ex: “He’s just plain stupid.”

Keel over (v.)

A rude way of saying “to die”.

(To be) keen on

To like; To be fond of; ex: “I’m not really keen on this idea.”

Keep a straight face (v.)

To be able to listen to something that you want to laugh at but to not laugh, to suppress the laughter. ex: “I couldn’t keep a straight face.”

Keep (one’s) cool (v.)

Not to become upset, agitated. ex: “I’m surprised he was able to keep his cool.”

Keep an eye on (v.)

To watch. Be mindful of. ex: “Keep an eye on those kids. They look suspicious.”

Killer (adj.)

Great; amazing. ex: “A killer new application”, “A killer new product”

Klutz (n.)

A clumsy person. ex: “My brother is such a klutz – He’s always bumping into things and knocking them over.”

Knock (v.)

To talk negatively/badly of; to criticize, badmouth. ex: “Don’t knock it until you try it/ until you’ve tried it.”

Knock (someone) up

To get (someone) pregnant; Knocked up = pregnant.

Know it all(n.)

Slightly derogatory ( =insulting) term to describe a person who thinks that he/she knows everything.

Laid back (adj.)

Relaxed, easy-going. ex: “I like Tom. He’s really laid-back.”

Lame (adj.)

Inadequate; Bad. ex: “That’s the lamest excuse I’ve ever heard.”

Last-ditch (adj.)

Final, desperate. (Often used with the words “effort”, “attempt”, etc.) ex: “He made a last-ditch effort to catch up to the front-runner.”


Short for “See you later.”

Laugh (one’s) head off

To laugh very hard. ex: “I laughed my head off throughout the whole movie.”

Leave a bad taste in (someone’s) mouth

Leave (someone) with bad feelings. ex: “That whole experience left a bad taste in my mouth.”

Leave someone hanging

To not help someone when they ask for help, when they’re in trouble. ex: “Don’t leave me hanging… I’m counting on you!”

Legit (adj.)

Short for “legitimate”.


Short for “let me”.

Let-down (n.)

Disappointment. ex: “I was sure that my team would win, but they lost. What a let down!”

Let (someone) have it

To attack someone (physically or verbally) with force. “Let them have it” is often shortened as “To let ’em have it” ex: “After the boys broke Mr. Smith’s window, he came out and really let ’em have it.”

Lighten up (v.)

To relax; to not take things too seriously. ex: “You gotta learn to lighten up a bit!”

Loser (n.)

A person who fails at everything s/he tries/does in life.

Lousy (adj.)

Terrible. ex: “She’s a lousy singer!”

Lowball, low-ball (v.)

To (deliberately) underestimate or make an offer for something that is significantly below it’s fair value.

Mag (n.)

Short form for “magazine”.

Make a big deal about (something) (v.)

To make (something) seem very important. ex: “I don’t understand why he’s making such a big deal about this.”

Make a go of (something) (v.)

To succeed in/with (something).

Make a beeline for (something) (v.)

To move quickly towards (something). ex: “As soon as the movie ended, he made a beeline for the bathroom.”

Make a killing

To make a lot of money. ex: “My uncle made a killing selling Chilean wine in Asia.”

Make-believe (adj.)

Imaginary; Not-real. ex: “A make-believe world”.

Make waves (v.)

To cause a commotion, cause trouble. ex: “Jim’s a very docile person. He’s not one to make waves.”


A colloquial way guys (especially male friends) address each other; Buddy. ex: “Man, I have to tell you what happened to me last night!”, “Listen, man, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Maxed out (adj.)

Having reached its limit (often used to speak about credit cards). ex: “My credit card has been maxed out for the past year.”

Mellow out (v.)

To relax.

Milk (something)

To exploit (something). ex:”She was milking her 15 minutes of fame for all it was worth.”

Munchies (

Chips and other types of junk food. ex: “I picked up some munchies on my way from work.”

Nail (someone) (v.)

To catch (someone) *usually doing something illegal/wrong*, etc.); To bust (someone). ex: They nailed him for shoplifting.”

Nail-biter (n.)

An exciting game where the outcome is uncertain until the very end. ex: That game was a real nail biter.”

Nerd (n.)

Similar to “geek”, but it has a little more of a derogatory ( = negative) quality to it. Someone who is socially inept, preferring academic pursuits to social ones.


Very easy question; a question/situation/dilemma which has an obvious/easy solution. ex: “Well, if you ask me, it’s a no-brainer. You should call her and apologize.”

No sweat

No problem.

No way

1) Phrase used to say that something is definitely not going to happen. ex: “P1: Are you going to see her again? P2: No way!”; 2) Phrase of awe/disbelief. ex: “She gave you her phone number? No way!”

(To) not have a prayer

To not have/stand a chance. ex: “Your team? They don’t have a prayer or winning.”

(To) not like the looks of (someone/something)

To not like the way something looks because you think it might lead to something negative. ex: “I don’t like the looks of those clouds” (because they might bring rain), “I don’t like the looks of those kids” (because they look like they might cause trouble), etc.

Not (one’s) cup of tea

“It’s not my cup of tea”, “It’s not her/his cup of tea”, etc. A polite way of saying that someone doesn’t like something.

(To) not put (something) past (someone

To believe that someone is capable of doing something. ex: “Would he tell the police? I wouldn’t put it past him!” (Yes, I believe that he is capable of doing this)


Not continuous(ly); Periodically. ex: “To sleep off and on”, “To see someone off and on”.

Off-color (adj.)

Rude. ex: “An off-color joke”, “An off-color remark”.

Off the wagon

To be “off the wagon” means to start drinking (alcoholic beverages) again after having stopped for a while.

On again off again (adj.)

Used to describe something that is not stable, permanent. ex: “They had an on again off again relationship for years.”

(To be/get) onboard

To agree to, or be part of something (usually a plan, strategy, etc.); ex: “I’m glad that all the partners are onboard.”

On cloud nine

Extremely and visibly happy ex: “She was on cloud nine when she heard the news.”

On edge

Nervous; Anxious. ex: “To be on edge.”

On the level

Honest. ex: “I’m pretty sure he’s on the level.”

(To be) on the same wavelength

To understand each other; to see eye to eye.


Similar to “very”. ex: That’s one large pizza! = That’s a really large pizza; He’s one smart man. = He’s a very smart man.

Out of one’s mind

= Not normal, not “all-there” ex: “You want to go for a walk at 2:00 AM? Are you out of your mind?”

(To) outdo (v.)

To do or perform better than someone else. ex: “He bought his mom a car, but his brother outdid him by buying her a house.”


“Over” is often used to emphasize location. ex: “I live over on Orange Street.” (I live on Orange Street).

(To) overstep (v.)

To be out of line. To say/do something that’s inappropriate to a situation. ex: “I’m sorry; I overstepped. I shouldn’t have said those things to your parents.”

Pack heat; to be packing

To carry a gun.

Peppy (adj.)

Energetic, lively. ex: “A peppy song”

Piece of cake

Very easy. ex: “That test was a piece of cake.”

Pick back up

To start again. ex: “Let’s pick back up where we left off.”

Plastered (adj.)

Very drunk.ex: “I got plastered last night.”

Plead the fifth (v.)

To be able to answer a question, but to choose not to.ex: “P1: Did you see my husband at the bar? P2: I’m gonna plead the fifth on that one – I’d rather not get involved.”

Psyched (adj.)

Excited. ex: “I’m so psyched about the concert tomorrow!”

Psycho (n.)

Crazy, mentally-unbalanced person. ex: “You should stay away from him. He’s a bit of a psycho.”

Puke (v.)

To vomit; to throw up. (*rude!*) ex: “He puked all over my shoes.”

Put someone through (a lot)(v.)

To make someone suffer (a lot) ex: “After all he’s put her through, I can’t believe she still loves him!

Put the moves on (someone)(v.)

To hit on (someone), to try to seduce (someone). ex: “Was he putting the moves on you?”

Quarter (n.)

An American/Canadian 25 cent coin.

(To make a) quick buck.

To make some money very quickly. ex: “Everyone’s just trying to make a quick buck.”


Homosexual; Gay. *insulting term*.

Quick on the uptake

Intelligent. ex: “He’s not too quick on the uptake, is he?”

Quite the (something)

A very good (something).ex: “She’s quite the dancer!”

Quitter (n.)

Someone who quits, gives up easily.

Rain or shine

No matter what the weather is like; No matter what. ex: “The parade will be held rain or shine.”

Rake in

To make a lot of money; ex: “He’s really raking it in these days.”

Red eye (n.)

An overnight flight; ex: “I caught the red eye to Denver.”

Ride (n.)

Car. ex: “Nice ride!”

Ride shotgun (v.)

To ride in the front passenger seat of a car. ex: “I wanna ride shotgun!”

Road rage (n.)

The modern phenomenon of angry, aggressive driving, which sometimes leads to arguing, fighting, etc. between drivers.

Rock (v.)

To be great. ex: “That rocks!” (That’s really great!)

Roll with it (v.)

To go with the flow; To accept things as they come.

Rub (someone) the wrong way (v.)

To bother someone; To annoy (someone). ex: “There’s something about her that rubs me the wrong way.”

Rule (v.)

To be great/ the best. ex: “That band rules!

(To give someone) the runaround/(To get) the runaround

To deceive someone, usually in the form of evasive excuses. ex: “I wanted to get some concrete answers, but they just gave me the runaround.”

Run (something) by (someone) (v.)

To tell someone something, usually to get approval, etc. ex: “That’s a good idea. I’ll run it by my parents and see what they think.”

School (someone) (v.)

To teach someone a lesson. To show someone how something is (really) done. ex: “We thought we were the best, but the other team really schooled us.”

Screw up (v.)

To make a mistake, do something badly/wrong ex: “I really screwed up my audition.”

Sharp (adj.)

When talking about people = smart, intelligent; when talking about clothes = stylish, high-quality.

Shoot hoops (v.)

To play basketball in a casual, informal way. ex: “Let’s shoot some hoops on Friday.”

(To be) short on cash

To not have too much money. ex: “I’m a little short on cash – Can you help me out a bit?”

Show, Show up (v.)

To arrive. ex: “We waited for two hours, but they didn’t show (up).”

(The) slammer (n.)

Jail. ex: “He was in the slammer.”

Snail mail (n.)

Regular physical mail (as opposed to email).

Something (n.)

In phrases such as “Wasn’t that something!”, “something” actually means “something interesting” or “something special” or “something surprising”, depending on the context.

Space-case/Space-cadet (n.)

Very strange person who always seems to be in his/her own world. ex: “Peter is a bit of a space cadet. He’s always zoning out when I talk to him.”

Space out (v.)

To lose oneself in thought, esp. when you should be paying attention to something else. To zone out. ex: “Sorry, I spaced out for a second. What were you saying?”

Split (v.)

To leave. ex: “I have to split. See you tomorrow!”

Split-up (v.)

To break up; to stop seeing each other (as boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife, etc.) ex: “Tom and Maria split up last month.”

Spook (v.)

To scare.

Spread (n.)

Collection. ex. “They had quite a spread of food at the party.”

Stash (n.)

A hidden collection of something, often (but not always) used to refer to hidden drugs. ex: “Mark’s parents found his stash (of pot) under his bed.”

Steamed (adj.)

angry, very upset, pissed off (*rude*). ex: “Bill was steamed about what happened.”

Stick to (something)

To keep (doing something). To not stop (doing something) ex: “Madonna wants to be an actress, but I think she should stick to singing.”

Straight (adj.)

1) Direct, clear, honest. ex: “He wouldn’t give me a straight answer.”; 2) Heterosexual. ex: “I’m pretty sure he’s straight.”

Straight up


Strike up a conversation

To start a conversation.

Stuck up (adj.)

Snobbish, conceited. ex: “I don’t like her. She’s so stuck up.”

Stunner (n.)

Attractive woman. ex: “Wow! What a stunner!”

Sucker (n.)

Person easily fooled or impressed by something. ex: “I’m a sucker when it comes to classic cars.” (I’m easily impressed by classic cars)

Sugar daddy/sugar mama(n.)

A wealthy man or woman who either supports you financially (pays for you) or gives you gifts, in return for sex or companionship.

Sweet (adj.)

Very nice. ex: “That is a sweet car.”

(To have a) sweet tooth

To love to eat candy, sweets, etc.

Swig (n.)

A drink (out of a bottle). ex: “Gimme a swig!”

Swing (something) (v.)

To arrange (something)/to get (something) done. ex: “It’ll be hard but we’ll probably be able to swing a deal.”

Tag along (v.)

To go with/ accompany someone. ex: “I’m going to the mall. You wanna tag along?”

Take a load off (v.)

To relax. ex: “Come on in, sit down, take a load off.”

Take off (v.)

To leave, to get going, to be on one’s way. ex: “We have to take off. See you soon!”

Take a joke

To have a sense of humor; Not to get offended at a joke directed towards you. ex: “Geez! I was only kidding. Can’t you take a joke?”

That does it!

:This phrase is used when one has had enough of something/someone, and decides to do something about it. ex: “That does it! I’m calling the police!”

That hit the spot

(When talking about food/drinks) That was really good; That’s just what I needed.

Thick-skinned (adj.)

Not easily offended; The opposite of “touchy”. “He’s thick skinned. He can take it.”

Throw the book at someone

To impose the highest/most severe penalty on someone for a crime committed. ex: “After John got caught stealing again, the judge threw the book at him.”

(To be) tripping on (something)

to be high on something (usually drugs).

Tight (adj.)

Close. “That’s one tight game!”

Trash (v.)

To destory. “The band trashed the hotel room.”

Turn-off (n.)

Something that makes you lose your interest. ex: “The fact that she smoked so much was a real turn-off.”

24/7 (Twenty four seven)

Non-stop, around the clock. ex: “That place is open 24/7. It never closes.”

Up for grabs

Available (for the taking); ex: “The jackpot is still up for grabs.”

Uncle Sam

The United States government; ex: “One fourth of my salary goes to Uncle Sam.”

Up in the air

Unresolved; Undecided; Uncertain. ex: “The election is still up in the air. Either candidate could still win.”

Up one’s sleeve

(to have something up one’s sleeve): To have a secret agenda, to be up to something, to be planning something. ex: “I don’t trust him. I just know he has something up his sleeve.”

Upbeat (adj.)

Positive. ex: “Brendon’s always really upbeat.”

Upper crust

Upper class. The richest, most important people in a certain society.

Uppity (adj.)

Presumptuous and arrogant.

Uptight (adj.)

The opposite of “relaxed” or “laid-back”. Overly conventional in one’s opinions, tastes. ex: “I’m a rebel, but my parents are really uptight.”

(To be) up to

To be planning; “He’s up to something” = “He’s planning something”; “What are you up to?” = “What are you doing?”

(To be) up to no good

To be planning something bad.

Vanish into thin air

To disappear (without a trace). ex: “Has anyone heard from Robert? He seems to have vanished into thin air.”


short for “Las Vegas”. ex: “We went to Vegas for the weekend.”

Veg out (v.)

To sit/lay around doing nothing or relaxing. ex: “I’m gonna veg out by the pool for a while.”

Veggies (

Vegetables. ex: “Don’t forget to eat your veggies!”

Vet (n.)

Short for “veteran”; Also short for “veterinarian”.

Vibe (n.)

Feeling. “I’m getting a strange vibe from him” = “He’s behaving strangely (towards me)”; “This place has a really cool vibe” = “This place has a very nice atmosphere”.


Conversational form of “want to”. ex: “He doesn’t wanna come.”

Washed-up (adj.)

Past one’s prime. ex: “They’re playing the casino circuit, like all the other washed-up rock stars.”

Wasted (adj.)

Very drunk, high. ex: “We got so wasted last night.”

Watch your back!

Be careful; Watch out. *this is often meant as a threat or warning*

Weirdo (n.)

Strange person. *fairly negative*

Well-to-do (adj.)

Wealthy; Rich. ex: “She comes from a well-to-do family.”

Wheels (


Wimp (n.)

Weak, cowardly person.

Wired (adj.)

Hyper, (overly) alert. ex: “I’m all wired from the two espressos that I drank.”

Wishy-washy (adj.)

Lacking in strength or character; not concrete; ex: “He gave me some wishy-washy excuse.”

Work up the courage (to do something)

To build up enough confidence (to do something); not concrete; ex: “She finally worked up the courage to ask him out.”

Wrap (something) up (v.)

To finish (something); To Bring something to a close. ex: “OK, let’s wrap things up for today.”

Yuppie (n.)

Abbreviated for of “young urban professional”; said of young, very career-oriented, financially successful people.


Something one says to show that one is bored. ex: “Oh, great, another romantic comedy. Yawn.”

Yack (v.)

Somewhat rude version of “to talk.” ex: “He was yackin’ away, and I wasn’t even listening.”


Conversational form of “yes”.

You bet

1) Of course. ex: “P1: Hey you wanna come to the beach with us? P2: You bet!”; 2) No problem. ex: “P1: Thanks for all your help! P2: You bet!”

You can say that again!

Phrase meaning “I agree with you completely.”

You’re telling me!

Phrase meaning “I know exactly what you mean”; Similar to “Don’t I know it!”; ex: “P1: My son’s in Iraq. I miss him so much! P2: You’re telling me! I’ve got two sons over there!”

Zap (v.)

To destroy, kill, or inflict pain with some kind of an electric current. Someone can be “zapped by an electrical current”, “zapped by a laser gun”, “zapped by lightning”, etc.

Zs (pronounced “zeez”)


Zip (or Zilch)


Zip around (v.)

To move around very quickly (from place to place).

Zit (n.)

Pimple. ex: “Whatever you do, don’t pop that zit.”

Zone out (v.)

To space out; to drift off mentally. ex: “I always zone out when my parents lecture me about stuff.”

Zonked (adj.)

Some people still use this in its original meaning (“very tired”), but in modern slang it usually means “very high on drugs”.

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