The English language is filled with lots of slang words, words that are casually used in everyday speech and easily understood by native speakers of English. This article helps explain 100 of the most commonly used slang words in English. It is the first in a series of three articles on this subject. Perhaps by reading through this list, you will recognize a number of these words and how they are used. In fact, you may even use some of these words yourself without realizing they are slang. Regardless, understanding these words will help you become more fluent as an ESL speaker, especially in your everyday speech. You will expand your vocabulary. With fluency comes confidence. You can master your spoken English. I know you can do it!
Abs: abdominal or stomach muscles; short for abdominals – Example: If you do 100 sit-ups, your abs will ripple in a short time.
Ace: very good at; be skillful; to do well on – Example: My brother is an ace at karate.
Admin: administrator; administration; person/department of an organization – Example: If you are having trouble with computers, please contact the IT Admin.
Airhead: silly, stupid person – Example: My aunt is such an airhead; she forgot to turn the oven on and cook dinner.
Antsy: restless; impatient; unsettled – Example: The students were antsy before the math test.
Axe/ax: to dismiss someone from a job – Example: My neighbor was axed and he is looking for a new job.
Babe: a good-looking young woman – Example: The convertible driven by the babe was headed to the beach.
Beat: tired; exhausted; weary – Example: It was a busy week and the employees were beat.
Beat it: go away – Example: The store owner asked the kids to beat it when he saw that they were misbehaving in the store.
Beef: conflict with someone; complaint against someone – Example: The employee has a beef with the employer about overtime pay.
Blab: talk too much – Example: The salesclerk liked to blab to her customers and she didn’t get too much work done.
Blast: a great experience; an enjoyable time – Example: My family’s trip to Disney World was a blast!
Bling: flashy jewelry – Example: The lady loved to show off her bling at the dance.
Bloody: very; really; totally; complete – Example: Everyone said he party was a bloody good time.
Blow: waste something like money or an opportunity – Example: I hope he doesn’t blow his chances to get that job.
Break: an opportunity for advancement in one’s career; lucky turn of events – Example: My dad received a break and got a higher paying job.
Bugger: a disliked thing – Example: I tried to get rid of the fly in the kitchen but it was difficult to swat the little bugger.
Busted: to be charged with a crime or offense – Example: The bank robber was busted and charged with burglary.
Cabbie: taxi driver; cab driver – Example: The cabbie was familiar with the city.
Cahoots: working together secretly – Example: The police chief was in cahoots with the FBI to try to solve the crime.
Can: to reject someone – Example: The new director was canned and forced out of the job.
Cheesy: low quality; distasteful; not stylish – Example: The restaurant was quite cheesy; they had paper napkins and plastic plates.
Chicken (out): cowardly; not to do/change your mind in doing out of fear – Example: The skier chickened out of the slalom event.
Chill/out: relax; take it easy – Example: It was finally vacation and he only wanted to chill out on the beach.
Chock-full: crammed full – Example: The pantry as chock-full of food.
Cold fish: an unfriendly, unsociable person – Example: Mrs. Jones was such a cold fish that she never joined in any of the neighborhood gatherings.
Con: persuade someone to do something in order to trick them – Example: The con artist talked the people into investing into some property overseas that really did not exist.
Cool: likeable – Example: The movie was cool especially the animation.
Cop: policeman/woman – Example: The cop pulled over the speeding truck driver and gave him a ticket.
Cop out: don’t do something because of a fear of failure – Example: It was a cop out for John to change his mind about the parachute jump.
Couch potato: someone who watches too much television – Example: It seems that there are more and more young people who choose to be couch potatoes today rather than to get fresh air and exercise.
Cranky: irritable; easy to anger – Example: My mother is very cranky in the mornings and she is just not a positive person.
Crash: fall asleep – Example: After working the night shift, the nurse just needed to crash.
Cuppa: cup of (a hot drink like coffee, tea, or hot chocolate, etc.) – Example: The teenager ordered a cuppa of chocolate on this cold winter morning.
Cushy: easy; undemanding – Example: The job at the country club was quite cushy, yet he seemed to make a lot of money.
Da bomb: excellent; extremely good – Example: The new Chinese restaurant is da bomb; you should taste their rice dishes.
Dead: quiet; dull – Example: The night club was dead so we decided to leave early.
Deadbeat: unreliable; dull; lazy – Example: The deadbeat dad did not want to help pay his share of child support.
Deck: knock someone to the floor – Example: The boxer decked his opponent in the first round.
Dicey: risky; unsafe; dangerous – Example: It was dicey to walk by yourself through the park late at night.
Diddly-squat: not anything – Example: It is amazing that some people know diddly- squat about international politics.
Dirt: information to damage someone’s reputation – Example: The employee dug up some dirt about his superior and wanted to spread it online.
Diss: show disrespect by saying or doing something insulting – Example: It is never a kind thing to diss your parents.
Ditch: end relationship with someone – Example: My aunt’s boyfriend ditched her right before the important social event.
Dope: stupid person; fool – Example: It was obvious to most people that ___ was a dope when it came to calculus.
Dork: socially awkward – Example: My brother was such a dork when he asked a girl out on a date.
Downer: something that makes you depressed or unexcited – Example: It was a downer to have to have my wisdom teeth pulled on my birthday.
Drag: something boring, tiresome, troublesome – Example: It was such a drag to have my little sister tag along with me when I went biking.
Dud: something that does not work properly – Example: The flashlight was a dud; although it was brand new, it did not work at all.
Dunno: don’t know – Example: When the teacher asked the student to spell that word, he said, “I dunno.”
Earful: verbal reprimand or verbal criticism; a long talk – Example: At the party, Michael’s father gave Michael an earful of how he should behave.
Easy street: financial security – Example: Mr. Jones was the President of the company so his sons had it on easy street.
Eating: annoying; bothering; upsetting – Example: The relationship was eating away at mother so she decided to go to counseling.
El cheapo: very cheap – Example: The hotel looked el cheapo with its run-down carpeting and worn-out bedding.
Elbow grease: physical effort/hard work – Example: With a little elbow grease, we were able to take the old cottage and restore it to what it looks like now.
Exec: an executive or manager – Example: The marketing exec made all of the decisions for the department.
Fab: fabulous; wonderful – Example: The newly painted office looked fab!
Fib: a small, harmless lie – Example: Even though a fib is a lie, many people choose to tell fibs to get out of trouble.
Flab: body fat; soft loose flesh on a person’s body – Example: The nurse measure the body fat of all of the patients and then worked to outline a special healthy diet.
Flake: unreliable person who says he/she will do something, but doesn’t – Example: I couldn’t believe that he was such a flake; he promised to be at the meeting and help out but he did now show up. He didn’t even bother to call.
Flick: a movie – Example: There was a popular flick playing at the cinema this weekend.
Flip-flop: to have a sudden reversal of thought or policy – Example: The mayor seemed to flip-flop between both views on the land merger into the city.
Fluke: a good outcome stemming more from luck than skill – Example: It was a fluke that he got the job; he called the boss just when he needed someone.
Flunk: to fail a course or course – Example: The student did not study and flunked his math exam.
Freak: strange – Example: It was a freak accident to have the parked car roll down the hill and hit the tree.
Freebie: something for free – Example: One successful marketing technique is to offer a freebie if you try out the service or buy the product.
Gag: a joke – Example: For the holiday party, everyone was to bring a gag gift for the gift exchange. It was hilarious to see what people brought!
Garbage: of poor quality – The items in the discount furniture store looked like garbage so the lady went to a more up-scale store.
Gear: equipment; clothing – The scuba diver packed his gear for the diving trip.
Geek: accomplished and expert especially in IT areas – The Geek Squad was the name given to the IT personnel hired to fix computers. It was an appropriate name since the employees were geeks.
Geezer: an old person – The geezer still would not give up his job and spent every day at the garage fixing cars.
Get: to understand something; to punch, injure or kill someone – Examples: If you study hard enough, you will get it. The murderer planned to get the victim when she was alone in the parking lot.
Gig: public performance usually of rock, folk or jazz music – Example: The high school band played a gig downtown.
Glitch: a fault or defect, especially in computer software – Example: The computer technician fixed the glitch in the program and now it works perfectly.
Gob: to spit – Example: The old man would often gob as he spoke.
Goof off/goof around: waste time/play around – Example: The little boy was such a goof off in class. He always goofed around, even when it was time to work.
Goofy: silly or harmlessly eccentric – Example: The clown acted so goofy around the children at the parade.
Goose: a silly or stupid person – Example: I couldn’t believe that she wore two different colored socks to school; what a goose!
Grub: food – Example: The campers wanted to know what grub would be served around the campfire.
Gutless: cowardly; lacking bravery – Example: The lion in The Wizard of Oz was really gutless and he even admitted it.
Guts: courage – Example: It as amazing to see how much guts the soldiers had in that war.
Gutted: very upset/devastated – Example: The houses on the street were gutted from the tornado.
Hairy: dangerous; risky; scary – Example: The airplane trip during the turbulent weather was very hairy for the pilot and crew. And it was hairy for the passengers, too.
Hang/hang out: to spend time with – Example: The boys wanted to hang with the girls at the dance. My friend wanted to hang out with me on the weekend.
Hang-up: an emotional problem causing inhibition or unreasonable behavior – Example: My boss always dictated what had to be done even though his subordinates were very
Hare-brained: stupid and foolish – Example: It was a hare-brained idea to play soccer before running the marathon. Running the marathon would have been enough.
Hassle: to annoy or bother someone – Example: It was such a hassle to get everyone’s signature on the card when many of them were out of town.
Honcho/Head honcho: person; person in charge – Example: The honcho was called for his opinion on the new product. The head honcho made the decision of where to market the products and who to hire.
Hooked: addicted; obsessed – Example: The children were hooked on reading when the teacher read such exciting books out loud every day in class.
Hoops: game of basketball – Example: The Company organized a basketball team and at lunch time, some of the workers played a short game of hoops.
Hung-up: overly concerned about something or someone – Example: The customer as hung-up on the color and would not accept anything other than bright blue.
Hunk: an attractive man with a strong, muscular body – Example: The lifeguard was such a hunk and all of the girls liked to stand around him by the beach.
Hunky-dory: good; fine; going well – Example: The English class was hunky-dory. The teacher was great. The lessons were fun. And I was learning a lot!
Hype: exaggerated praise for a product or person for promotional purposes – Example: There was a lot of hype around the new iPhone. No wonder everyone wanted one.
Hyper: over-excited; over-active – Example: The young child seemed hyper on his birthday when he saw all of the wrapped presents.
Icky: unpleasant in color or taste – Example: We went to a new seafood restaurant and the meal was icky. It must have been the fish I ordered.
Iffy: doubtful; of uncertain qualities or legality – Example: The meeting time was iffy… the boss was out of town and the employees wondered if he would be back in time.
In: fashionable; trendy – Example: The models knew all of the “in” fashions.
In deep: deeply involved – Example: She was in deep in her studies and planned on becoming a scientific researcher.
So, that makes 100! You might want to review the list from time-to-time so the words become part of your everyday speech or try using a few words each day. Before you know it, these slang words will be part of your ESL vocabulary and you will be able to ACE them all! You will have added to your ESL vocabulary. I’ll be writing a new article in this series soon to include 100 more slang words. And after the 2nd article, I plan to write a 3rd article with yet 100 more slang words. So that will be 300 common slang words in all.
Do you have a slang word or two that you’d like to share? Use the comments section below to tell me English slang words you know or have heard. I’ll be watching for your response below and will reply back to all your comments.