Slang words are an essential part of conversing in English. American slang is full of eccentric sayings and colloquialisms, which are useful in a wide variety of casual situations. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned English speaker, you’ll want to brush up on your command of American slang terms and their meanings!
Now, you may be wondering what is a slang word, or what are some cool slang phrases? “Slang” refers to informal vocabulary words that aren’t typically found in a dictionary. Many of these slang words have multiple meanings, so you’ll have to pay close attention to the context of a conversation in order to use them correctly. This makes it a good idea to practice your English slang words with friends before using them with strangers!
Using American Slang Words & Phrases
As you work your way through this list, keep in mind that American 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. You may find a different set of popular slang words on the West Coast of the US versus the East Coast or in the Midwest versus the Deep South. Not sure which ones to use in your area? Just spend a bit of time with the locals and hear what kind of slang they use!
Keep in mind that most popular phrases that are slang are meant for casual conversations, so you won’t want to use these in a formal context. You will hear plenty of American slang phrases in popular TV and movies, so chances are you’ll already be familiar with many of these words. Also, if you think these English slang words will work “across the pond” in England – think again! There are a whole other world of British slang phrases out there. While there may be a few crossover phrases, by and large, the countries have their own unique sets of English slang. Today, we will be focusing on the typical slang sayings in the USA.
Conversational/Everyday English Slang Words
1. What’s up? – Hey; what are you doing?
“Hey Tom! What’s up?”
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.”
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
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!”
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
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 Slang for Social Events
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
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 American 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.”
You can’t master conversational English with only a textbook! Listening to native speakers and picking up on social cues is key to getting these popular American sayings and phrases to sound natural. You can also listen to how these words are used in American music, movies, and television to get a better understanding. Don’t forget to imitate what you hear!
Memorizing these English slang words and their meanings will get you one step closer to sounding like a native. Think of this as your American slang dictionary. Need more help practicing your skills? The best way is to work directly with an English tutor. If you don’t have a teacher nearby, TakeLessons Live makes it easy to work with the perfect teacher through online English classes.