The 70+ Most Common English Slang Words & Phrases

English slang words

Learning English slang words is one of the more intermediate to advanced stages of mastering the language, but if you’re a beginner, it doesn’t hurt to get a head-start!

Slang words are informal vocabulary words that aren’t typically found in a dictionary. Many of these words have multiple meanings, so you’ll have to pay close attention to the context of a conversation in order to use them correctly.

American English Slang Words & Phrases

As you work your way through this list, keep in mind that American English slang can vary depending on the region you’re in. For example, certain slang words are more commonly used in rural areas versus in the inner city.

Conversational English Slang Words

american english slang

1. What’s up? – Hey; what are you doing?

“Hey Tom! What’s up?”

“Not much!”

2. I feel you – I understand and empathize with you. Eg. “I feel you. That was really unfair.”

3. I get it – I understand. Eg. “I get it now! Thank you for explaining that.”

4. Same here – I agree.

“I’m having a hard time studying for this exam.”

“Same here.”

5. My bad – My mistake. Eg. “My bad! I didn’t mean to do that.”

6. Oh my God! – (Used to describe excitement or surprise). Eg. “Oh my God! You scared me!”

7. You bet – Certainly; you’re welcome.

“Thanks for the jacket, Tom!”

“You bet, Sally!”

8. No worries – That’s alright. Eg. “No worries about the mess. I’ll clean it up.”

9. No biggie – It’s not a problem.

“Thanks for tutoring me, Tom!”

“No biggie, Sally.”

10. No big deal – (Same usage as above).

11. No sweat – (Same usage as above).

12. No problem – (Same usage as above).

American English Slang Descriptors

english slang words for descriptions

1. Laid back – Relaxed or calm. Eg. “This weekend was very laid back.”

2. Chill – (Same as above).

3. Sweet – Fantastic.

“I passed the test!”

“Sweet!”

4. Cool – (Same as above).

5. Lame – The opposite of cool or fantastic. Eg. “That’s so lame that you can’t go out tonight.”

6. Bomb – Really good. Eg. “That sandwich was bomb.”

7. Bummer – A disappointment. Eg. “That’s such a bummer. I’m sorry that happened.”

8. Shady – Questionable or suspicious. Eg. “I saw a shady guy in my neighborhood last night.”

9. Hot – Attractive. Eg. “He/she is hot.”

10. Beat – Tired. Eg. “I was so beat after that soccer game.”

11. Sick – Awesome. Eg. “Those shoes are sick!”

12. Epic – Grand or awesome. Eg. “That was an epic party last night.”

13. Ripped – Very physically fit. Eg. “Tom is ripped!”

14. Cheesy – Silly. Eg. “The romantic comedy we watched was very cheesy.”

15. Corny – (Same as above).

16. Flakey – Indecisive. Eg. “John is so flakey. He never shows up when he says he will.”

17. It sucked – It was bad/poor quality. Eg. “That movie sucked.”

English Slang for People & Relationships

english slang words for relationships

1. Babe – Your significant other; an attractive individual. Eg. “Hey babe!” or “She’s a babe.”

2. Have a crush – Attracted to someone romantically. Eg. “I have a big crush on him.”

3. Dump – To end a romantic relationship with someone. Eg. “She dumped him last May.”

4. Ex – An old relationship or spouse. Eg. “That’s my ex girlfriend.”

5. A turn off – Something that’s repulsive. Eg. “Bad cologne is a turn off.”

6. Party animal – One who loves parties. Eg. “Jerry is a party animal.”

7. Couch potato – A lazy person. Eg. “Don’t be a couch potato! Let’s go for a hike.”

8. Whiz – A really smart person. Eg. “Sally is a whiz at math.”

9. Chicken – Coward. Eg. “Don’t be a chicken! Go ice skating with me.”

10. Chick – A girl or young woman. Eg. “That chick is hilarious.”

11. Getting hitched – Getting married. Eg. “Tom and Sally are getting hitched.”

12. Tying the knot – (Same as above).

13. They got fired – They lost their job. Eg. “Did Jerry get fired?”

American English Slang for Social Events

american english slang

1. Hang out – To spend time with others. Eg. “Want to hang out with us?”

2. I’m down – I’m able to join. Eg. “I’m down for ping pong.”

3. I’m game – (Same as above).

4. I’m in – (Same as above).

5. A blast – A very fun event. Eg. “Last night was a blast!”

6. Show up – Arrive at an event. Eg. “I can’t show up until 7.”

7. Flick – A movie. Eg. “Want to see a flick on Friday?”

8. Grub – Food. Eg. “Want to get some grub tonight?”

9. Wasted – Intoxicated. Eg. “She was wasted last night.”

10. Drunk – (Same as above).

11. Booze – Alcohol. Eg. “Will they have booze at the party?”

See Also: Common English Idioms [Infographic]

American English Slang for Actions

english slang words for actions

1. Pig out – To eat a lot. Eg. “I pigged out last night at McDonald’s.”

2. Crash – To fall asleep quickly. Eg. “After all those hours of studying I crashed.”

3. Lighten up – Relax. Eg. “Lighten up! It was an accident.”

4. Screw up – To make a mistake. Eg. “Sorry I screwed up and forgot our plans.”

5. Goof – (Same as above).

6. Score – To get something desirable. Eg. “I scored the best seats in the stadium!”

7. Wrap up – To finish something. Eg. “Let’s wrap up in five minutes.”

8. Ace – Pass a test with 100%. Eg. “I think I’m going to ace the exam.”

9. Cram – To study a lot before an exam. Eg. “Sorry I can’t go out. I have to cram tonight.”

10. Bail – To leave abruptly. Eg. “I’m sorry I had to bail last night.”

11. Ditch – To skip an event. Eg. “I’m going to ditch class tomorrow to go to the beach.”

12. Busted – Caught doing something wrong. Eg. “I got busted for turning in homework late.”

Miscellaneous English Slang Words

1. Freebie – Something that is free. Eg. “The bumper sticker was a freebie.”

2. Lemon – A bad purchase. Eg. “That phone case was a lemon.”

3. Shades – Sunglasses. Eg. “I can’t find my shades.”

4. Shotgun – The front seat of a car. Eg. “Can I sit shotgun?”

5. In no time – Very soon. Eg. “We’ll have our homework done in no time.”

6. Buck – One dollar. Eg. “It only costs a buck.”

7. Rip-off – A purchase that was very overpriced. Eg. “That phone case was a rip-off.”

As you can see, you can’t just learn a language by studying a textbook! Listening will be a key step in mastering these slang words and using them in the right contexts. So hang out with more native speakers, observe the way they use slang in conversation, and then imitate them.

Memorizing these English slang words and their meanings will get you one step closer to sounding like a native. Need more help practicing your skills? Try working one-on-one with an English tutor, or take free online English classes at TakeLessons Live.

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How “Breathy Voice” is Created | The Danger of Breathy Singing

breathy voice

Singing in a “breathy voice” has a mixed reputation among singers and educators, and for good reason: it can be risky. In this article, we’ll discuss the mechanics of singing with a breathy voice, if it’s harmful, and how use to the technique safely.

Remember the spectacularly cheesy film “A Walk to Remember”? In this 2002 film, Mandy Moore sings a pop ballad called “Only Hope” using excessive breathiness to create a fragile, emotionally charged aura for her character.

This is a perfect example of using breathiness as an emotional tool. Breathy singing, characterized by a quieter, fuzzier sound than normal singing, is still often employed by vocalists to evoke everything from sensuality to sadness.

The Mechanics of Breathy Singing

To understand breathy singing, it’s helpful to examine how the human voice works. Singing is produced by air moving past the vocal cords (also known as “vocal folds”). As air moves past the vocal cords, the cords come together and vibrate, producing sound.

The process of the vocal cords coming together so they can vibrate against one another is called “adduction.” When a singer is using just the right amount of air to produce the sound, the vocal cords adduct and vibrate seamlessly.

As a result, the sound is clear, efficient, and easy to produce. If the singer uses an excess of air to sing, adduction isn’t as efficient. The sound, colored by the extra air rushing past the vocal cords, becomes breathy.

Is Singing with a Breathy Voice Dangerous?

Breathy singing tends to be frowned upon by voice teachers because it can be a sign of improper vocal technique, or even underlying health issues. Many singers are incapable of producing a clear tone at all and have no choice but to sing with a breathy voice.

This can be caused by an inability to properly regulate air flow, excess tension in the neck or lower face, and actual vocal cord damage.

The strain of the extra air rushing past the vocal cords also tires out the singer faster, causing swelling and other health issues.

If you’re unable to sing with a clear tone at all, we highly recommend that you visit an ear, nose and throat doctor (ENT) for a stroboscopy – a procedure in which a doctor uses a tiny camera to look at your vocal cords and check for damage.

Untreated breathiness can be caused by chronic swelling, pre-nodular lumps, and other serious issues that could lead to vocal hemorrhaging or vocal nodules. If these issues become too severe, they can require therapy and even surgery to fix.

See Also: 5 Essential Singing Techniques

Using Breathy Singing as a Stylistic Choice

If your cords are healthy and you’re able to produce a clear tone, but want to experiment with using a breathy voice as a stylistic tool, don’t worry. It is possible to create a breathy sound without damaging your voice.

Take Ariana Grande for example in “Thank You, Next.” She uses a breathy tone at the beginning of the song to sound nonchalant yet beguiling.


If you would like to safely dabble in breathy voice technique, keep the following tips in mind. 

1. Limit Use

Since breathy singing requires less efficient adduction and therefore puts extra stress on the vocal cords, use it sparingly. If you’re singing a long set, it may be best to choose a few songs to use this technique on.

If your voice is already tired or strained from allergies, lack of sleep, or overuse, it’s best to avoid breathy singing entirely and sing as efficiently as possible to protect your vocal cords.

2. Use a Comfortable Range

Breathy voice is best limited to the most comfortable parts of your range (think speaking range), where you’re least likely to strain your voice.

It’s best not to attempt to sing notes in the extremes of your range with a breathy voice, as you’re more likely to be straining in these areas, even without the added stress of compromised adduction.

Since the beginnings of contemporary songs tend to be in a moderate range, you may want to experiment by starting a song with a breathy tone and then coming in stronger on the chorus. This is a fairly common approach in pop, R&B, and other popular music.

3. Sing Quietly or Use a Mic

Breathy singing just doesn’t carry as well as clear singing, and attempting to do it loudly is a recipe for disaster. Only use a breathy voice when you’re singing quietly.

Since breathy singing is best executed at a low volume and is a contemporary technique, you can’t really do it without a microphone.

If you’re performing live in a noisy venue, make sure your microphone is turned up and that your mouth is close enough to the microphone so your breathy singing can be heard.

Breathy Singing Done Right

If you want to experiment with using a breathy voice, consider taking voice lessons or classes. A qualified voice teacher will help protect your voice as you experiment with this technique.

With proper training, you can become a more flexible singer without compromising your vocal health, even when you sing with a little extra air!

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