What are common slang terms in the English language? - EnglishProficiency.com (2023)

When learning a foreign language, it is normal to start with formal structures.

However, once you've mastered them, it's good to brush up on the casual terms and phrases that many native speakers use in conversation.

english slangis a term for this kind of language. Many non-natives find it difficultwatch movies in Englishand TV shows because slang and phrases are very common on them.

If you are one of those who is trying to learn the most common slang words in English and their meanings, this post is for you. Read on.

What are common slang terms in the English language?

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  • What is 'slang'?
  • Where do slang words come from?
  • Why do people use slang?
  • What effect does slang have on society?
  • Difference Between British and American Slang Words/Phrases
  • Is it appropriate to use jargon in academic writing?
  • Summary table of the most common slang and phrases in English
  • Why do we have to learn slang and phrases?

What is 'slang'?

Jargonrefers to words in a person's vocabulary that are not often found in dictionaries.

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Many of these buzzwords have multiple definitions, but you need to pay close attention to context to use them effectively. This makes it a better idea to improve and practice.

English slang terminology with co-workers before using it with strangers. Knowing the slang and phrases has many advantages, including being able to use them in everyday situations and being able to connect with others on a more personal and intimate level, as they bring an element of informality to our interactions.

Slang terms are an important part of the English language. Jargon is full of odd sayings and colloquialisms that are useful in a wide range of casual circumstances.

Whether you're an experienced English speaker or a beginner, you may want to brush up on your command of the most popular slang expressions used in everyday life.

you won't be able to learnslang and common phrasesin English with a single manual. Picking up on social cues while listening to native speakers is key to making slang and phrases sound regular.

Hear how these terms are used in music, film, and television for a better understanding. Don't be afraid to copy what they are saying. Make these common slang words part of your everyday speech.

Where do slang words come from?

Over time, language evolves and changes. New terms and new connotations for old words appear regularly. This occurs when people search for new and inventive ways to express themselves. People can use slang to be funny, clever, unique, surprising, friendly, or even covert.

The most common slang terms in English have emerged from three different sources in the last two decades. Popular music, politics, and the Internet are three examples.

Many slang terms have arisen due to popular music, mainly rap and hip hop. Lyricists help by creating new and innovative ways to express yourself.

Politics also spawned several of the most common words and phrases in English slang. This is partly because people seem to be divided on important issues.

Words like'Snowflake,''I woke up,' mi 'caused' it took on new meanings, for better or worse. This is often due to the constant struggles that take place before, during, and after election cycles.

The Internet, on the other hand, the Internet is perhaps the most important generator of the most common slang and phrases in English. This truth should not surprise us in today's technological world.

This can arise due to the changing nature of technology ('autofoto', any?). Every once in a while it's a fashion ('Y.O.L.O.'"You only live once!"). More new slang terms are created on the Internet than anywhere else.

The Internet, however, is not just a source of new jargon. It also makes it easier for those words to enter our heads and affect our language more quickly.

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In several weeks, if not days, the Internet and social media can help a new jargon emerge and spread around the world.

Why do people use slang?

Jargon is rarely used to exchange information. Quite often, slang is used for social purposes: to identify group members, change the tone of the conversation to informality, and challenge established authority.

Sharing and maintaining an ever-evolving vocabulary of slang promotes group cohesion and allows members to be included and excluded.

Slang is the linguistic equivalent of fashion and serves a similar function.

Effective slang, such as fashionable clothing and forms of popular entertainment, must be new, attractive, and capable of gaining the approval of a group quickly. Using archaic vocabulary is the most damaging thing you can do to your group's status.

An unknown familiar lexicon outside the group is often considered a beneficial approach for counterculture or anti-establishment groups to keep information secret or cryptic.

Jargon is often developed by people in society who have little real political power (such as teenagers, college students, and enlisted soldiers) or who are motivated to disguise what they know or do from those in positions of authority.

What effect does slang have on society?

Without a doubt, slang is crucial because it allows you to communicate with those around you while emphasizing your communication.

We use slang to establish our identity as members of groups, which is one of the main reasons why.

We consider someone who uses the same type of slang as us to be a member of our group, while others who don't understand the slang are considered outgroup members.

Slang has always had and will continue to have both a beneficial and detrimental impact on society.

New jargon emerges as society evolves and changes, while old jargon fades. However, this will make it more difficult for people to distinguish between when to use slang and when not to use it.

Millennials have moved away from the language of texting and are now using memes and emojis to communicate with others.

Also, teenagers are the ones that generate the most slang. This also acts as a means to further separate them from their parents' generation, making the slang and phrases even more interesting.

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Difference Between British and American Slang Words/Phrases

Today there is1.5 billion English speakers on the planet. Not surprisingly, the English language has 160 different regional variations.

Each has its own set of spelling, pronunciation, and slang.

The next section focuses on the difference between jargon and common phrases inBritish EnglishmiAmerican English.

Use of American slang words and phrases

As you read through this list, keep in mind that American slang varies depending on where you are in the country. Certain slang terms, for example, are used more in rural areas than in urban areas.

Remember that slang is meant for casual conversation and should not be used in a formal setting.

Also, don't expect these English slang terms to be accepted in England. While there are some expressions shared by both countries, each has its own set of slang terms in English.

everyday slang

and phrases
Meaningexample sentences
I understand you.I sympathized with you."I understand you, I've been in this situation before."
I understand.I understand."I see. I know you have other things to do.
My mistake.My mistake.“My mistake for ordering the wrong pizza. Please wait; I'll have to buy you the right flavor.
Nothing more.No problem."Don't worry about it. It's not a big problem."
Nothing more.No problem.“I apologize for the mess. I will clean. - Nothing else.
No problem.All good."I'm sorry for the lack of communication." "Don't worry."
Oh my God!It is used to describe shock, surprise, or excitement."Oh my gosh! Is this a new iPhone?"
Even here.I agree.“I cannot attend the meeting tonight. I have other things to do. - The same here.
And there?How's it going?"Ey Jim! We haven't seen each other in a long time. And there?"
You are welcome.
"Thanks for the sweater." "You bet."

slang descriptors

and phrases
Meaningexample sentences
hitexhausted"I was so exhausted after driving for eight hours."
bombaVery good“Last night's food was so good!”
disappointmentA disappointment"It's a pity you couldn't come with us yesterday."
cornydisparate“That was such a corny excuse. Who would believe that?
coldChill out"You have to relax. They'll be fine.
legalFantastic"It will not rain today". "Cool."
cornyVery bad“Your joke is corny. Nobody laughed.
epicIncredible“The trip was so epic! I will go there again!”
strangeUndecided“We are not going to trust her; she tends to be weird.
warmAttractive"That actor is hot."
It was horrible.It is used to refer to someone or something that is not good or of poor quality.“The movie sucks. do not look
relaxedcalm or relaxed“He is a relaxed person. They all love him."
Very badopposite of fantastic“The play was so tattered. I wasted my time looking."
linedphysically fit“There's no way I can beat him; he is so ripped!
dirtysuspicious or questionable“I wouldn't trust her; she is dark
sickIncredible"These sunglasses are sick!"
dulceFantastic"The teacher agreed to postpone the exam."

Slang for people and relationships.

and phrases
Meaningexample sentences
babya term of affection"Hello dear!"
chicaA young woman or girl"That girl is cute!"
play outsideend a love relationship"She broke up with him over a stupid thing."
exA former partner or spouse"I'm friends with my ex."
being hookedready to marry"I can't believe you're finally getting married."
party animalsomeone who loves parties"He was a partier before he got married."
to switch offSomething that causes repulse“He's so swaggering; he is a closure.
tie the oready to marry"One of my closest friends is getting married in October."
geniusAn extremely intelligent or intelligent person.“She is a beast! He was able to solve the puzzle in seconds.”

social events

and phrases
Meaningexample sentences
An explosionA very exciting and fun event.“I had a lot of fun on the show! The band was amazing!”
to drinkalcoholic beverages"No drinking at the party."
burstA movie"I do not like horror movies".
foodfood"Do you want to order food later?"
spend time togetherTo spend time with other people."Let's go out next week!"
I am down.I will join."He likes basketball."
I'm in.I will join.“I like pizza and drinks.”
to appearTo appear at an event or meetingI'm not sure it shows up. He doesn't answer my calls.
wasteddrunk"I was so drunk last night that I don't know what time the guests left."

slang for actions

and phrases
Meaningexample sentences
alasto be good at something“He did well in piano lessons.”
bailDo Not Enter“I would have to quit bowling tonight; I have an urgent matter to attend to.
caughtBeing seen or caught doing something inappropriate"They got you! I'll tell Mom and Dad."
topping upSpend a lot of time preparing and studying before an exam."She always concentrates every time there is a test."
hatchSleep“I was so tired; he will fall soon.
ditchLeaving behind something or someone, a place or an object“She dropped her friends off to watch a movie with him.”
papasMake a mistake"The newly hired employee gambled and ruined the company's finances."
illuminateChill out"You have to relax; we will land soon.
eat like a pigeat a lot“I've been down lately; I think I gained four kilos.
scoreTo get what you want"I got a used bag at a thrift store for only $5!"
spoilMake a mistake"He's in trouble for blowing the company's budget."
to involveto finish something"Let's end this meeting and continue our work."

modern american slang

and phrases
Meaningexample sentences
giftsomething that is free"The store offers free gifts for customers who purchase more than $20."
lemona bad buy“This painting is a lemon. You could have bought it for half the price at other stores.”
lotsSunglasses"I need new shades."
shotgunfront passenger seat"Can I sit on the shotgun?"
in any momentmuch soon"The meeting will be over in a short time."
presageone dollar“Do you have three dollars that I can borrow?”
to cheatA very expensive purchase“That belt is a steal; it's false."

Use of British slang words and phrases

if you prefer to watchThe Royal Familyor binge series like 'doctor who', you've come across some weird and fantastic British English terminology.

Different areas may have their own distinct language within the same country or even within the same city.

It's no surprise, then, that slang within the City of London, let alone between other English-speaking countries in general, can be so disparate.

Here is a list of some of the most common British English phrases and slang.

everyday slang

and phrases
Meaningexample sentences
Cursean expression of surprise'Man, that was an amazing performance!
swamp rollera toilet paper"Please buy some buns when you go shopping."
all animalsNothing itself."I've fucked up all day today."
Health!Bye bye!"Happiness! I have to go!"
Health!¡Gracias!"Greetings to all of you for coming out tonight!"
rompergo or keep doing something"It's getting dark, I better continue."
evisceratedTo be disappointed"I was so devastated when the Lakers lost."
noAbbreviation of 'Isn't'It is?'"It's raining, isn't it?"
Librasterling"I need a few pounds to ride the bus."
wordAbbreviation of'loss'“I forgot it's your birthday. Only.

slang descriptors

and phrases
Meaningexample sentences
exista crazy idea"Spending a hundred dollars on a meal is insane!"
bloodyused to mean'In fact'o'extremely'"That's a brilliant idea!"
boldrude and disrespectful"He's known for being cheeky."
Charmedhappy and delighted"My parents are happy that I finally graduated."
idiotdisparate“This is such a dumb idea. Let's not do that.
deceasedused to mean'In fact'o'extremely'"He's serious about the plan."
doubtfulsuspicious or questionableShe's been acting a little dishonest.
exhaustedTired out"My dad is absolutely exhausted after building the treehouse."
mixingsomething disgusting or disgusting"From the way you say it, it sounds like it's such an enticing scene to witness."
cupgullible“She is a cup; I'm sure you can convince her.

Slang for people and relationships.

and phrases
Meaningexample sentences
beva handsome man"He's a baby".
CaraA man"He's a good, decent guy."
brotherfriend or brother"He's my bruv when I was in college."
graftflirtation"They are totally grafted in."
chicoA young man"That guy moved in just a few weeks ago."
shut upLeave"Could you please come out? I am studying.

social events

and phrases
Meaningexample sentences
jokeTo make jokes, usually about another person, but all in a good mood."People who like jokes are sweetheart."
bevvydrinks abbreviation"Could you pour us some bevvy please?"
buzzDrunk or a little drunk"I'm buzzing after just two bottles of beer."
teaspoonA cup of tea"My manager invited me to have a cup of tea."
confusiona disagreement with someone"They sent him to the rectory because he had a fight with one of the teachers."
contenderfood"These are really good!"
elegantElegantThey ate at a fancy restaurant.

slang for actions

and phrases
Meaningexample sentences
gooseLook around“They try to check it out and see if they like the place.”
shockedBeing completely shocked or shocked beyond belief“The audience was stunned when he started singing.”
to lose the threadannoy“My mom lost her mind when she saw my little sister's mess”
userSteal"He stole those sweets for his little sister."
himbe sarcastic"Chill out,and don't be angry; YoI was just peeing.
tell the pigstell lies"Don't you dare tell the pigs what happened while I wasn't here."
play a wobblyTo throw a tantrum, usually by adults or someone older."He's too old to throw a wobbly one like that."

modern british slang

and phrases
Meaningexample sentences
queerA cigar"Do you have cigarettes?"
cincoa five pound note"Do you have five? I need to buy some sandwiches.
harpoonlar“I'm going for the hook; I'm tired."
instanta short period"I'll finish my homework in a jiffy."
sleepa nap"Let me take a break real quick."
disappointedDrunk"He's totally pissed off last night."
pennilessno have money"She is now devastated after investing in such a horrible business idea."
deza ten pound note"Can you lend me a ten?"

Is it appropriate to use jargon in academic writing?

The goal of a good writer should be to explain ideas clearly; each paragraph should be easily understandable.

This implies that you must do without the specific grammatical form, the language and, in general, the relationship between thoughts and forms of expression.

Believe it or not, the respective expressed thoughts can lose courage and strength due to the inappropriate expression of language.

Therefore, if your writing is full of jargon, it may contain specific ideas that are contradictory with others, and therefore the result will be bad. It is essential to always be cautious.

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Jargon should never be used and should be avoided at all costs.

It is common to see academic writing using everyday language or jargon in today's world. It is important to remember that technical language is formal and follows certain rules.

What you say in conversation or in colloquial language may sound great, but it can sometimes be inappropriate when you write it down.

When writing, you should keep in mind that your work will be read by people other than your professor.

They can be from various countries, educational backgrounds, etc.

Therefore, you must be cautious when incorporating slang and phrases so that everyone understands your message.

Summary table of the most common slang and phrases in English

In addition to the slang and phrases mentioned above, there are still a few worth learning and studying.

Here are some of them.

Slang words and phrasesMeaningexample sentences
machadoGet the sack“My aunt was fired and now she is looking for a new job.”
she wasHave a luxurious lifestyle"Her family is now having fun after winning the lottery."
bovine meatconflict with someone“They have been eating meat for more than a decade.”
costlyan eye-catching jewel"It's obvious he's showing off his ring."
brickCold“Put on some layers; it's brick outside.
cabbya taxi driver/taxi driver“The taxi driver was friendly and funny.”
conspiring togetherWorking together in secret“My friends were in cahoots with my parents when they planned my birthday”
cold fishan unfriendly person“I wouldn't go near her; she is a cold fish.
grumpyIrritable"He's grumpy because he's getting old."
distressIt is usually accompanied by a facial or body expression that expresses disgust or discomfort.“She cringed when she saw them eat those foods.”
stopDirty; unclean“The kitchen is crunchy; you have to clean it.
Covered areathrow someone to the ground"The police knocked the man down and handcuffed him."
riskyRisky; insecure“Don't walk alone at night; he is risky.
to insultShow contempt by saying or doing something demeaning"The two neighbors quarreled with each other."
idiotsocially awkward"I used to be a jerk when I was in high school."
I do not knowI do not know.Do you know what time the guests will arrive? "I don't know."
elbow greaseHard work"The team can secure the championship with a little effort."
extraUnnecessarily dramatic, extravagant and over the top“She wore and wore three dresses during the party. She was so extra.
to lieA little white lie"She told a lie to get out of trouble."
foldto show“If you visit his social media accounts, you can see him making his travels more flexible.”
flip flopsTo make an abrupt change in someone's mind or policies"The committee seemed to be in doubt as to who is to blame."
coincidenceA favorable result is due to luck, not talent.“It was by chance that he won the contest; manyparticipants were unable to attendthe location on time.”
graveHe used to speak sincerely and honestly."He's really coming tonight, really!"
frontalPretending to be good at something to impress someone"She's showing off her Spanish to impress the judges."
The goat.Abreviatura de Greatest of All Time"Michael Jordan is the G.O.A.T."
garbageSomething that is of poor quality.“This project sucks!”
ghoststop communicating with someone"Jim outshone Jane after a few months of dating."
go crazy/bananasto get mad"The crowd went wild when the players started dancing."
stomachCourage"Mindy didn't have the heart to tell her family what happened."
HolaIt is used as an adjective to indicate something that is exceptionally good."She's very kind and nice."
hookedAddicted"Nowadays, I am addicted to perfumes."
modaExcessive praise for a product or person."The products are often over the top."
theyelegant; Fashion"Hoop earrings were all the rage back in the day."
I'm kiddingI'm kidding."Do not take it seriously. You must be kidding!
illuminatedFantastic“The game was completely lit! I'm sorry you didn't see it live!
loserA person you don't like"He's a loser."
humorWhen someone wants to say something that is identifiable"Mark leaving the event is a state of mind."
No¡No!Have you seen Sue today? "No!"
in the raceperfectly done“The party food was great!”
honest talkWhen someone wants to talk about something serious.“We need to have a serious conversation. Come home early.
to pissIt refers to cases in which someone is offended or insulted."He was roasted by his companions."
salgadoWhen a person becomes agitated or enraged over a minor issue“He left the event early because he didn't get promoted. He is so salty.
shookshocked“My God, I'm shocked! I need to see the film adaptation!”
destroyA way to express deep gratitude for someone who excels at something or completes a task.“She rocks every performance!”
felizenthusiastic"Everyone is happy with the opening of the new store."
teahot news"Here's the tea: the couple have money problems and file for bankruptcy."
cast shadowNegatively judge or say something terrible about another person"She is throwing shade at her ex-husband."
angryDisappointing; unable to meet expectations"The movie is complete madness."
what the hellWhen you see something you can't identify"What the hell is this?!"
simulatorSim!"Are you going to Mike's party tonight?" "Yeah!"

Why do we have to learn slang and phrases?

Jargon and phrases are an essential component of any language. Although they can be vulgar at times, they make language more interesting and colorful.

Many people can understand them, not just within a specific community, especially in this day and age when the internet can make something go viral overnight.

Jargon and phrases bring us closer and also enrich the language.

We hope this post has enriched your vocabulary on the most common slang terms and phrases and when to use them most effectively.Health!

Further reading — ENGLISH GRAMMAR

  • What is British English?
  • What is American English?
  • What is Canadian English?
  • What is Australian English?
  • More than 30 tips to speak English without grammatical errors
  • What are mods?
  • What are the verbs?
  • What are nouns?
  • What are adjectives?
  • What are pronouns?
  • What are adverbs?
  • What are the times?
  • What are punctuation marks?
  • What are the prepositions?
  • What are loanwords?
  • What are phrasal verbs?
  • What are placements?
  • What are conjunctions?
  • What are manners?
  • What is subject-verb agreement?
  • What are sentence structures?
  • What are parts of speech?
  • What are prayer functions?
  • What are the clauses?
  • What are the commonly misspelled words in English?
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