by Marc Anderson

96 More Slang Expressions from Pix to Z’s to Become ESL Savvy

three girls taking picture in the city

This article is the third in a series about slang words in the English language. Check out these 200 slang words: http://www.talktocanada.com/blog/get-your-mojo-on-sequel-to-100-everyday-slang-words/ and http://www.talktocanada.com/blog/everyday-slang-to-ace-english-for-esl-learners/.

Studying a few of these words/expressions each day will have you on your way to becoming ESL savvy (an awareness of how to succeed) in no time.  You’ll rock conversations and impress the natives. And that’s no whopper (a big lie)!  I’m psyched (to be inspired; energized) about your efforts and progress you are making in your ESL language skills.  So give it a shot (an attempt; a try or turn) and let me know how your vocab (short for vocabulary) is e-x-p-a-n-d-i-n-g. That would be wicked (very good; excellent; outstanding)! Just wicked!

Pix: pictures; photos; photographs – Example:  The assignment was to write a travel article about Italy and to include pix to attract visitors.

Place: where one lives; home – Example: How about going to my place after work?

Pooped out: very tired; exhausted – Example:  My dog was very pooped out after running with me this morning.

Posh: stylish; high-class – Example: The new home looked very posh; all of the furniture was top of the line.

Psyched/psyched up: to be inspired; energized – Example: My brother was psyched up for his test this a.m.; he had studied all night and knew he would do well.

Psycho: crazy; insane – Example: The serial killer was psycho and finally he was caught and put in prison.

Puke: to vomit – Example: Sometimes when you overeat, you feel like you are about to puke.

Pumped: very enthusiastic; highly motivated; exhilarated – Example: The prospective employee was pumped in the job interview.

Q and A: a question and answer session; an exchange – Example: The Q and A period in the meeting was very helpful.

QC: quality control; methods used to ensure procedures are followed; the required quality – Example: The QC Department was asked to study the new product.

Quack: someone who cheats people by claiming to have special knowledge – Example: Often times, if you purchase a weight loss product it doesn’t really work; a quack supports the product but it does not really deliver.

Quarterback: to lead and made decisions – Example:  My boss picked a new manager to quarterback the project.

Racket: a loud noise that lasts a long time – Example: The racket in the lunchroom could be heard down the hallway.

Rap: to talk together in a relaxed way – Example: The old friends met once a month to rap about their lives.

Rap sheet: a criminal record – Example: The burglar had a rap sheet that included ten other burglaries in the same vicinity as this one.

Rat: a horrible, nasty person – Example: He took credit of everyone’s work; he’s such a rat.

Rats: an exclamation that expresses mild annoyance – Example: “Rats!” the salesman shouted when no one seemed to be home.

Rattle: to upset or unnerve; to make someone feel nervous – Example: The boss rattled all of the employees when he called an impromptu meeting to talk about the company merger and the possibility of some of the employees being let go.

Ratty: in poor condition; damaged from use – Example: The suit that he wore to work always looked so ratty.

Rib: to tease someone in a friendly way – Example: Her boyfriend liked to rib her and make her smile

Ribbing: a good-natured tease – Example: It was fun to give the new employees a little ribbing on their first day of their new job.

Riot: a very entertaining event or person – Example: The company picnic was a riot and everyone had a good time.

Rip-off: charging too much for something; a low-quality imitation or an unauthorized copy – Example: The rummage sale prices were a rip-off; I was surprised at how high the prices were.

Ripped: to have well-defined muscles – Example: All of that exercise paid off to reveal a ripped stomach.

Ritzy: luxurious; high-class; expensive – Example: The hotel that she chose for the wedding was very luxurious.

Rock: to be great; excellent – Example: The model rocked the outfit and looked like a million dollars.

Rock bottom: the lowest possible level; a low point in someone’s life – Example: I just read about a millionaire who once hit rock bottom before gaining employment.

Rundown: to criticize unfairly or cruelly – Example:  It was not a good relationship; he would always rundown her by saying such terrible things to make her feel inferior.

Sack: to fire someone from a job; to dismiss – Example: My father was sacked from his first sales position so he decided to open his own firm.

Savvy: an awareness of how to succeed in a competitive pursuit like politics or business – Example: The newly elected politician had a lot of savvy so it is not a surprise that he was victorious in the election.

Scam: a scheme to get money dishonestly – Example: You need to be careful with applying for jobs on the internet as many of them are just scams.

Screw up: to make a serious mistake – Example: Although the accountant screwed up with the figures, he was able to balance the budget, after all.

Scum: a worthless or disliked person – Example:  The terrorist was viewed as scum by mostly everyone in the world.

Shades: sunglasses – Example: It was important to wear shades on such a sunny day.

Shaft: to treat someone badly or unfairly – Example: Although it was very evident that the secretary could do the work, she was passed over by someone less competent. Certainly the secretary got the shaft.

Sharp: well-dressed – Example: He always looked so sharp with his tailored suits, pressed shirts, and colorful ties.

Shot: an attempt; a try or turn – Example: The owner decided to give it one more shot. He would lower prices to attract new buyers.

Stuck-up: showing an attitude of superiority and snobbish pride – Example: It is not a good trait to be stuck-up; most people don’t like to be around others who show this.

Suck: to be bad – Example: Let’s face it. Having no raises again this year really sucked.

Sucker: a person who is easily cheated because he/she believes what was told – Example: My brother is always a sucker and believes anything that he reads or hears.  He never questions if it is true or not.

Tad: slightly; a little – Example: The print was a tad bit off center so I adjusted it.

Threads: clothes – Example:  He bought his threads at the new store downtown.

Tight: strong with money or close; friendly – Example: My mother is very tight; she never treats anyone for lunch when they go out to eat. The family was very tight and spent every Sunday together.

Tons: a lot; an amount – Example:  The executive made tons of money from that investment.

Total: to completely destroy; to wreck – Example: He totaled his car when he fell asleep at the wheel last night.

Totally: very; really – Example: I was totally fine with the new job responsibilities.

Ump: an umpire – Example: The ump called a good game and the spectators praised him for his accuracy and fairness.

Umpteen: many; countless – Example: The mother needed to tell her children umpteen times to brush their teeth.

Uncool:  not cool; acceptable; fashionable – Example: It was uncool to wear jeans with a jean jacket.

Under the weather: ill; sick – Example: The janitor called in sick today as he was under the weather.

Under wraps: being kept secret – Example: It was important to keep the specifics about the new product line under wraps.

Up: full of positive feelings; hopeful – Example: I loved how my professor was always up in class. It made the class so much more interesting.

Up for grabs: unclaimed and still available – Example: The tickets for the concert were up for grabs and they would go to the highest bidder.

Up in arms: angry – Example: The students were up in arms over the tuition hike at the university.

Upbeat: bright; cheerful – Example: The team leader was always upbeat at the meetings he chaired.

Upfront: open; honest – Example:  It is important to be upfront in all business relations.

Uppity: conceited; arrogant – Example: I think the new boss acts somewhat uppity and I am beginning to miss our old boss.

Uptight: tense; anxious – Example: The speaker was uptight before the presentation but then she calmed down and delivered a great speech.

Veg out: to do nothing – Example: On vacations, most people like to veg out.

Vet: veteran; someone who was in the armed forces – Example: The parade featured the vet. Various bands played patriotic music.

Vibe: feelings from a person, place or activity – Example: The vibe I felt from the music was really intense and made me feel alive.

Vino: wine – Example: The retirement dinner featured vino from France.

Virus: harmful computer program that can spread from one machine to another – Example:  The IT Director issued a warning about the virus.

Vocab: short for vocabulary – Example:  The ESL student’s vocab was improving each week.

Wacko: crazy; insane; mad – Example: Sometimes, I think my boss is a little wacko when he keeps piling on work.

Wacky: strange or funny in a silly way – Example: Fridays are dress down day and we wear casual clothes. Our department decided to dress really wacky and wear the same colored clothing.

Wannabe: a person who wants to be the person admired or the group/class of people who are admired – Example:  As a young child, he aspired to being President. He was a wannabe “President” and read political books, excelled in debate, and volunteered to work in all of the presidential campaigns.

Washed up/washed-up: having failed; lost everything – Example: Although many people thought he was washed up, he proved them wrong by going back to school to get a degree; then he became a very successful businessman.

Wheels: a car – Example: The young lawyer finally could afford to buy a new car. He spared no expense in purchasing the wheels.

Whopper: a big lie or something larger than the usual size – Example:  The fisherman usually told a whopper about the fish that got away; and it was always a very large fish! The sales figures were a whopper this year and surpassed last year’s income by 50%.

Wicked: very good; excellent; outstanding – Example: It was a wicked marketing campaign that paid off very well.

Wimp: a weak, unassertive person – Example: It was hard to ask for a raise and the wimp just could not find enough inner strength to do so.

Wrap-up: a summary of recent events – Example: There was a slide of the wrap-up so it was clear to everyone what had transpired in the company over the past few weeks.

Wreck: a person in very poor condition physically or mentally – Example: After his wife suffered a stroke, he was such an emotional wreck. Hopefully, she will get better soon. Then I am sure he will, too.

Xerox: to photocopy something – Example: The secretary xeroxed all of the paperwork.

Yahoo: an interjection expressing joy or excitement; a rude, loud, aggressive person – Example: “Yahoo!” she shouted after getting a long deserved raise. The yahoo moved in next door and now it is very difficult to get a good night’s sleep; it seems he likes to hold late night parties almost every night.

Yank: to quickly pull something; a quick pull – Example: I yanked the old report from the file and tossed it away. She yanked the cord on the lamp to turn off the light.

Yap/Yak/Yack: to talk too long; to say things that are not too important or factual – Example: I think we all know someone who likes to yap on their cell phone all day.

Yawn: a dull, boring event – Example: The gathering after work was quite a yawn; but it was important that I at least show up.

Yeah: an expression for yes – Example: “Yeah, I can help him with the IT problem.”

Yellow: cowardly; not brave – Example: When it was time to speak up, he was so yellow.

Yes-man: a person who always agrees with his/her employer – Example:  Do you know that J.C. is such a yes-man. He criticizes the boss and the company in private, but to the boss’ face he always is positive and complimentary.

Yikes: an interjection to express surprise or shock – Example: “Yikes! The printer is printing too many copies of that report.”

Yo: a greeting like “Hey” – Example: “Yo!” the delivery boy said. “How’s it going?”

Yo-yo: a stupid or crazy person – Example: The young boy was such a yo-yo. He forgot to turn off the lights on his car and the battery drained.

You bet/You betcha: forms for yes – Example: “You bet! I can do the job!” Mary enthusiastically commented.

Yuck: an expression for disgust – Example: “Yuck, I just can’t eat this food,” the little girl said as she pushed the vegetables away.

Yucky: bad-tasting; not delicious – Example: It was yucky to eat the stale bread and the moldy cheese.

Zap: to destroy – Example: All of our hopes were zapped when someone bought the property that we wanted to buy for our new business.

Zilch: nothing; none; no – Example: The stock did so poorly that the investors received zilch.

Zing: energy; liveliness – Example: The bank teller displayed a lot of zing on the job.

Zinger: a striking comment; an amusing remark – Example: It was hard not to laugh when the stock clerk told a zinger about his family.

Zip: energy; vitality or nothing; zero – Example: After exercising, I seem to have so much zip.

Zit: a pimple – Example: No one wants to have a zit on their face.

Zonk: to hit or punch someone – Example: The boxer zonked his opponent to win the competition.

Z’s: sleep – Example: Who doesn’t like to catch some Z’s?

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I would like to know your take on the article. Hopefully, by reading through these examples of slang and studying them a bit, this will make you more confident with the English language. BTW, do you have a favorite slang word/expression in the ESL language? How about a favorite casual expression? Maybe you can share one from your native language? Write and let me know in the comments section below. You bet (form for yes), I’m interested. And you betcha (form for yes), I’ll be waiting to hear from you.

96 More Slang Expressions from Pix to Z’s to Become ESL Savvy

About the author:

Marc Anderson is the co-founder and CEO of TalktoCanada. Since founding the company in 2006, he has grown it to over 25 staff with operations in 50 countries. Marc spends his time outside of TalktoCanada travelling, playing with his son and working on new business projects.