Things you should know

American slang you need to know

Slang is a type of language that consists of words and phrases that are regarded as very informal, are more common in speech than writing, and are typically restricted to a particular context or group of people.Sometimes American English slang words don’t make sense in your native language. That’s why there are more than definitions there.

Just because American English is so common worldwide does not mean that English speakers of different dialects can’t still confuse one another with slang and local terms. American English speakers and British English speakers both have usages that confuse, and amuse one another. Accents alone can sometimes be enough to form a language barrier, despite the fact that in the U.S., a British accent might be treated as either sexy, or comical depending on the persona it’s attached to. Below is some of the slang people might get confused.:


  1. Bail — Intransitive verb for leaving abruptly.
  2. Feeling blue; have the blues — A feeling of depression or sadness.
  3. A buck Slang term for a the American dollar.
  4. By the skin of (my/your/his/her) teeth — just barely.
  5. Creep (n.) —  An unpleasantly weird/strange person.
  6. Couch Potato — A lazy person who spends the bulk of their time engaged in things that can be done while sitting on a couch.
  7. Cram — To study feverishly before an exam typically done after neglecting to study consistently.
  8. Crash — To abruptly fall  asleep, or to show up without invitation.
  9. Down to earth — And adjective for practicality and lack of pretense.
  10. Drive up the wall — To irritate.
  11. For Real — A proclamation of honesty.
  12. Going Dutch — When each person, usually in a dating scenario, pays for his/her own meal.
  13. The cold shoulder — A metaphor for deliberately ignoring someone.
  14. Give a ring — To call someone on the telephone.
  15. Hyped (adj.) — A very excited state.
  16. Hang out — To casually gather together or spend time with someone in a social manner.
  17. Jack up — An abrupt increase, typically in the price of something.
  18. Knock — To speak negatively, to disparage, to badmouth.
  19. Lighten up — To relax and take things too seriously. Typically stated as an appeal to someone who is acting uptight.
  20. Pass the buck — To deflect responsibility onto someone else.
  21. Piece of cake — A metaphor to describe something that is easy or effortless.
  22. Pig out — A metaphor for binge eating.
  23. Plead the fifth — References the fifth amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which allows a witness in court to refuse questions on the grounds that they risk self-incrimination.
  24. Screw up — To make a mistake, i.e. mess up.
  25. Sweet — An adjective that describes something that is good, or nice.
  26. Tight — An adjective that describes closeness between competitors, i.e. a tight competition.
  27. Trash — Can be used as an intransitive verb for destruction. e.g. “He trashed the car.”
  28. Uptight — Stuffy, persnickety, the opposite of relaxed.
  29. Wrap (something) up — To finish or complete something.
  30. Zonked — Completely exhausted.


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