The 187 Most Useful American Slang Words You Need to Know

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Most Useful American Slang Of 2023

Are you struggling to understand the American slang terms used in popular TV shows, movies, songs, and podcasts? 

While you may have a good grasp of formal English, slang words can be confusing and difficult to decipher. 

With 50 unique states in America, each with its own culture and dialect, it’s no wonder that American slang can be a fascinating and complex topic to explore. 

Join us on a journey through the fascinating, common, odd, rare, and unique American slang used across the country, from the streets of New York to the beaches of Hawaii.

Read Also: 8 Ways To Improve Your English Accent

Why should you learn American slang?

In the United States, slang is used by people of all ages and backgrounds to better connect with others. Whether it’s grandparents using it to bond with their grandchildren, different groups using it within their social circles, or influencers trying to connect with their audience through social media, slang is everywhere.

With new words and phrases constantly being added to the American lexicon, it can take a lot of work to keep up, especially for those not immersed in social media. 

However, knowing some American colloquialisms can help you better understand American culture, communicate more openly and expressively, prevent language misunderstandings, and increase your fluency in speaking American English conversationally. 

So, don’t hesitate to learn some slang and impress your friends with your knowledge!

Upgrade your English pronunciation and listening abilities with Zoundslike’s interactive learning platform!

Download our app today!

Common American Slang Words

Slang Word Meaning Example Sentence
Awesome Excellent, impressive “That movie was awesome! I want to see it again.”
Cool Great, admirable, or impressive “Your new car is really cool. Can I take it for a spin?”
Sure Definitely, of course, or yes “Do you want to grab some lunch?” “Sure, I’d love to!”
Beat Tired or exhausted “I’m too beat to go out tonight. Let’s stay in and watch a movie.”
Whatever Used to dismiss or indicate disinterest or disagreement “I don’t really care what we do tonight. Whatever you want is fine.”
Wheels A car or vehicle “My dad just bought me some new wheels for my birthday. I can’t wait to take them for a drive.”
Amped Excited or energized “I’m so amped for the concert tonight! It’s going to be amazing.”
Babe A term of endearment for an attractive person, usually a woman “Hey babe, how was your day today?”
Bust To fail or be unsuccessful “I studied really hard for the test, but I still ended up busting it.”
Ex Short for “ex-girlfriend” or “ex-boyfriend” “I saw my ex at the party last night. It was pretty awkward.”
Geek Someone who is very enthusiastic and knowledgeable about a particular subject or interest “He’s a total computer geek. He knows everything there is to know about coding.”
Looker An attractive person “That guy at the bar is a real looker. I hope he comes over to talk to me.”
In Popular or fashionable “High-waisted jeans are really in right now. I just bought a pair.”
Sick Excellent or cool “That skateboard trick was sick! I can’t believe he pulled it off.”
Epic Fail A very large or significant failure “I thought I aced the interview, but I didn’t get the job. It was an epic fail.”
Ripped Having well-defined muscles or a muscular physique “He’s been hitting the gym every day and now he’s ripped.”
Dunno Short for “I don’t know” “What time does the movie start?” “Dunno, I’ll check my phone.”
Loser A person who is seen as unsuccessful, uncool, or generally undesirable “I don’t want to be a loser like him. I need to step up my game.”
Scumbag A person who is seen as dishonest, immoral, or untrustworthy “I can’t believe he stole money from his own family. What a scumbag.”
Salty Resentful or bitter, often over a perceived slight or injustice “Don’t mind him, he’s just salty because he didn’t get the promotion he wanted.”
Shady Suspicious or untrustworthy “I don’t feel comfortable doing business with that guy. He seems shady to me.”
Corny Lame or uncool, often in a cheesy or outdated way “That joke was so corny. I can’t believe you laughed at it.”
Freebie Something given away for free, often as a promotional item or gift “I got a freebie from the coffee shop today. It was a small pastry with my order.”
Down Willing or ready to do something “Are you down to grab some lunch later?” “Sure, sounds good to me.”
Bummer Something disappointing or unfortunate “I was really looking forward to the concert, but it got canceled. What a bummer.”
Nuts Crazy or insane “I can’t believe he tried to climb that mountain without any safety gear. He’s nuts!”
Flake A person who is seen as unreliable or flaky “I wouldn’t count on him to show up on time. He’s a bit of a flake.”
Hangover The unpleasant physical effects felt after drinking too much alcohol “I had way too much to drink last night. Now I have a terrible hangover.”
Killer Very impressive or exciting “That was a killer performance. I was blown away.”
Sweet Excellent or cool “I just got a promotion at work! That’s so sweet.”
Hobnob To socialize or mingle with important or influential people “She hobnobs with all the top executives in the company.”
Popo A slang term for police officers “Slow down, there’s a popo car up ahead.”
Fuzz Another slang term for police officers “We need to be careful, I think the fuzz is onto us.”
Airhead A person who is seen as lacking intelligence or being overly preoccupied with trivial matters “She’s a bit of an airhead. She never seems to know what’s going on.”
Cringe To feel embarrassed, uncomfortable, or awkward on behalf of someone else or in response to something unpleasant or embarrassing “I can’t watch that movie. It’s too cringe-worthy for me.”
Copium A term used to describe the coping mechanisms used by people who refuse to accept reality “Stop trying to convince yourself that everything will be okay. You’re just taking copium.”
Simp A person, often a man, who is overly submissive or desperate for the affection of someone else, often to their own detriment “He’s such a simp. He’ll do anything she asks him to just to get her attention.”
Cram To study or review information intensely, often in a short period of time before an exam or deadline “I need to cram for my history exam tonight. I haven’t had time to study all week.”
Crash To sleep somewhere, often without permission or prior arrangement “I’m too tired to drive home. I think I’ll just crash on the couch here for a few hours.”
Dms’ Short for “direct messages”, often used in reference to private messages on social media platforms “Did you see the message she sent you in your DMs?”
Dead A slang term for very tired or exhausted “I’ve been working all day and I’m dead tired.”
Steez A slang term for style or flair, often used to describe someone’s unique fashion sense or mannerisms “He’s got some serious steez. I love the way he dresses.”
Spox A slang term for sneakers or athletic shoes “I just got a new pair of spox. They’re so comfortable.”
Sawbuck A slang term for a ten-dollar bill “Can you lend me a sawbuck? I need to buy lunch.”
Dude A casual term of address, often used to refer to a male friend or acquaintance “Hey dude, what’s up?”
Dope A slang term for something that is cool or excellent “That new album is so dope. I’ve been listening to it all day.”
Yuppie A slang term for a young urban professional, often used to describe someone who is materialistic and focused on career success “He’s such a yuppie. He’s always talking about his job and how much money he makes.”
Cray Short for “crazy”, often used to describe something that is wild or extreme “That party was so cray. I can’t believe we stayed out until 5am.”
Woke A slang term for being socially aware and informed, often used in reference to issues of race, gender, and social justice “She’s really woke. She’s always posting about important social issues on her social media.”
Poppin’ A slang term for something that is happening or exciting, often used to describe a lively social scene “The club was really poppin’ last night. We had a great time.”
Lit A slang term for something that is fun, exciting, or enjoyable, often used to describe a party or event “The concert was so lit. I danced all night.”
Swole A slang term for being muscular or physically fit “He’s been lifting weights every day and now he’s swole.”
Drip A slang term for someone’s fashion sense or style, often used to describe someone who is fashionable or stylish “She’s got some serious drip. I love her outfits.”
Drownin’ A slang term for being overwhelmed or struggling with something “I’m drownin’ in work right now. I don’t know how I’m going to get it all done.”
Snatched A slang term for looking really good or attractive, often used to describe someone who is well-dressed or has a great physique “Her outfit is so snatched. She looks amazing.”
Yeet A slang term used to express excitement or enthusiasm, often accompanied by a throwing motion or action “I yeeted the ball across the room when I made the winning shot.”
Yikes A slang term used to express surprise, shock, or discomfort “Yikes, I didn’t realize it was going to be so hot outside today.”
Finsta A shortened version of “fake Instagram,” used to describe a secondary Instagram account where someone posts more candid or private photos “I only let my close friends follow my finsta account, because I post more personal stuff there.”
Periodt A slang term used to emphasize or validate a statement, often used at the end of a sentence for emphasis “I don’t have time for drama, periodt.”
Flex A slang term used to show off or boast about something, often used in reference to material possessions or achievements “He’s always flexing about his new car and how much money he makes.”
Slay A slang term used to express admiration or praise for someone who is killing it, often used in reference to fashion or beauty “She slayed that outfit. She looks amazing.”
Gucci A slang term used to describe something that is good or cool, often used as a synonym for “all good” or “everything is fine” “Everything’s Gucci, don’t worry about it.”
Shook A slang term used to describe feeling shocked, surprised, or overwhelmed “I was so shook when I found out I got the job.”
Curve A slang term used to describe rejecting or avoiding someone’s romantic advances, often used in reference to a crush or potential love interest “She curved him when he asked her out on a date.”
Stan A slang term used to describe someone who is a superfan or devoted supporter of a particular celebrity or artist “I’m such a stan for Beyonce. I know all of her songs by heart.”
Sus A shortened version of “suspicious,” used to describe something or someone that seems shady or untrustworthy “I don’t know about him, he seems kind of sus to me.”
Turnt A slang term used to describe being excited, energetic, or intoxicated, often used in reference to parties or nightlife “We got turnt at the club last night and danced all night long.”
Bae A slang term used as a term of endearment for a romantic partner, short for “before anyone else” “I love spending time with my bae, they always make me feel happy.”
Fleek A slang term used to describe something that is on point, perfect, or flawless, often used in reference to eyebrows or makeup “Her eyebrows are on fleek, she always looks amazing.”
Cheugy A slang term used to describe something or someone that is outdated or uncool, often used in reference to fashion or trends “I can’t believe she still wears those cheugy mom jeans.”
Emo A slang term used to describe a subculture of music and fashion that originated in the early 2000s, characterized by emotional lyrics, dark clothing, and unique hairstyles “I used to listen to a lot of emo music when I was in high school.”
Fam A slang term used to describe a group of close friends or family members, short for “family” “I’m going out with the fam tonight for dinner and a movie.”
Smol A slang term used to describe something or someone that is small and cute, often used in reference to animals or babies “That puppy is so smol, I just want to hold it and cuddle it.”
Snack A slang term used to describe someone who is attractive or good-looking, often used in reference to a crush or love interest “He’s such a snack, I can’t take my eyes off him.”
Wig A slang term used to describe being shocked or surprised, often used in reference to a sudden change or revelation “I can’t believe she just announced her retirement, my wig has been snatched.”
Lewk A slang term used to describe a particular style or look, often used in reference to fashion or makeup “I love her lewk, it’s so bold and edgy.”
Hot A slang term used to describe something or someone that is attractive or appealing, often used in reference to physical appearance or fashion “Those shoes are so hot, I need to get a pair for myself.”
Bomb A slang term used to describe something that is great or excellent, often used in reference to food or experiences “That pizza was bomb, I could eat it every day.”
Boujee A slang term used to describe someone or something that is luxurious or high-end, often used in reference to fashion or lifestyle choices “She’s so boujee, she only wears designer clothes and drinks expensive champagne.”
Dank A slang term used to describe something that is of high quality, often used in reference to food or marijuana “That burger was so dank, I need to go back and have another one.”
Flakey A slang term used to describe someone who is unreliable or inconsistent, often used in reference to making plans or commitments “I can’t count on him, he’s so flakey and always cancels at the last minute.”
Finna A slang term used as a shortened version of “fixing to,” meaning “about to” or “planning to” do something “I’m finna go to the store and pick up some snacks for the party.”
Ghost A slang term used to describe when someone suddenly stops communicating or disappears without explanation, often used in reference to dating or friendships “I thought we had a good connection, but then he ghosted me and I never heard from him again.”
Hypebeast A slang term used to describe someone who is obsessed with fashion trends and designer brands, often used in reference to streetwear culture “He’s such a hypebeast, he spends all his money on limited edition sneakers.”
Lemon A slang term used to describe a car that is in poor condition or unreliable, often used in reference to used cars “I wouldn’t buy that car, it’s a total lemon and will break down all the time.”
Grub A slang term used to describe food, often used in reference to casual or comfort food “Let’s go grab some grub at that new burger joint.”
Jacked A slang term used to describe someone who is very muscular or strong, often used in reference to bodybuilding or weightlifting “He’s been hitting the gym hard, he’s totally jacked now.”
Whiz A slang term used to describe someone who is very skilled or knowledgeable in a particular field, often used in reference to technology or academics “She’s a whiz at coding, she can build websites in her sleep.”
Wack A slang term used to describe something that is uncool or boring, often used in reference to fashion or entertainment “That movie was wack, I can’t believe we wasted money on it.”
Cheesy A slang term used to describe something that is corny or inauthentic, often used in reference to music or humor “I can’t listen to that song, it’s too cheesy and over-the-top.”
Flick A slang term used to describe a movie or film, often used in reference to a particular scene or shot “That flick had some amazing special effects, the explosions looked so real.”
Wasted A slang term used to describe someone who is drunk or under the influence of drugs, often used in reference to partying or socializing “She got wasted at the bar last night and can’t remember anything.”
Booze A slang term used to describe alcoholic beverages, often used in reference to partying or socializing “Let’s grab some booze and hit the club tonight.”
Yas! A slang term used to express excitement or approval, often used in reference to fashion or pop culture “Yas! That outfit is so fierce, you’re killing it.”

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Popular American Slang Phrases

Slang Phrase Meaning Example
To hang out To spend time with friends or in a social setting “Let’s hang out at the beach this weekend.”
To hang on To wait or remain patient “Hang on, I’ll be there in five minutes.”
To chill out To relax or calm down “I need to chill out after a long day at work.”
To have a blast To have a great time “We had a blast at the concert last night.”
To have a crush To be infatuated with someone “She has a crush on her co-worker.”
To dump To break up with someone “He dumped his girlfriend last week.”
Hooked Addicted or obsessed with something “I’m hooked on this new TV show.”
Rip-off Something overpriced or of poor quality “This shirt was a total rip-off, it fell apart after one wash.”
To do To have sex with someone “They did it after the party.”
To wrap up To finish or conclude something “Let’s wrap up this meeting and get to work.”
To pig out To eat excessively or indulge in food “I’m going to pig out on pizza tonight.”
To drop by To visit someone unexpectedly or briefly “I’m going to drop by your place later.”
To ride shotgun To sit in the front passenger seat of a vehicle “Can I ride shotgun on the way to the mall?”
To check out To look at or examine something or someone “Let’s check out the new restaurant downtown.”
My bad An apology or admission of fault “My bad, I forgot to bring the keys.”
No sweat No problem or it’s okay “Can you help me with this? – No sweat.”
Break a leg A phrase used to wish someone good luck “Break a leg on your performance tonight!”
I feel you I understand or sympathize with you “I feel you, I’ve been through something similar.”
In the bag Assured or guaranteed success “We’ve got this project in the bag.”
Once in a blue moon Rarely or infrequently “I only see my old friend once in a blue moon.”
You bet Absolutely or certainly “Can you help me move next weekend? – You bet!”
I don’t buy that I don’t believe what you’re saying “I don’t buy that excuse, it sounds fake.”
That’s rad That’s cool or awesome “That new skateboard trick was rad!”
Never mind Don’t worry about it or disregard it “Never mind, I found my phone.”
Keep in touch Stay in contact or maintain communication “Let’s keep in touch after we graduate.”
I can’t even! Expression of shock or disbelief “I can’t even believe how amazing this concert is!”
No biggie No big deal or it’s okay “Sorry I spilled my coffee on your shirt. – No biggie.”
No big deal Similar to “No biggie”, means it’s not a problem or issue “I can help you with that task, it’s no big deal.”
Show up To attend or be present “Make sure you show up to the meeting tomorrow.”
Get hitched To get married “I’m planning to get hitched next year.”
Tie the knot To get married “My sister and her fiancé are tying the knot next month.”
Get under one’s skin To annoy or bother someone “That constant tapping is really getting under my skin.”
A turn off Something that repels or diminishes interest “His bad breath was a real turn off.”
Couch potato A lazy person who spends a lot of time watching TV or sitting on the couch “I feel like a couch potato after binge-watching this show all weekend.”
Party animal A person who loves to attend parties and social events “She’s a real party animal, always out late on the weekends.”
It sucked Something that was bad or unpleasant “The movie was terrible, it sucked.”
I’m game I’m willing to do it or participate “Do you want to go bungee jumping? – Sure, I’m game.”
I’m in I’m interested or I’ll participate “I heard you’re planning a road trip, can I join? – Sure, I’m in.”
Get fired To lose one’s job “He got fired for consistently being late to work.”
Hit the books To study or start studying seriously “I have a big exam next week, I need to hit the books.”
Take a rain check To decline an invitation but suggest a rain check for a later date “I can’t make it to the concert tonight, can I take a rain check for next week?”
What’s up? A common greeting asking how someone is or what’s going on “Hey, what’s up? How was your weekend?”
You’re telling me! Expression of agreement with someone else’s statement “This traffic is terrible! – You’re telling me!”
All-ears To be attentive and listening intently “Tell me about your day, I’m all-ears.”
All-nighter Staying up all night to study or complete a task “I have a big presentation tomorrow, so I’m pulling an all-nighter to prepare.”
I’m baby A phrase used to express vulnerability or need for nurturing “I need a hug, I’m baby.”
Glow up To undergo a positive transformation in appearance or personal growth “Have you seen her before and after pictures? What a glow up!”
Open up Pandora’s box To initiate or uncover something that will lead to a series of problems “I’m hesitant to bring up this topic, I don’t want to open up Pandora’s box.”
In the zone To be completely focused and performing at one’s best “I was in the zone during the game and scored the winning goal.”
Tune out To stop paying attention or ignore something “I usually tune out during long lectures, it’s hard to stay focused.”
Off the hook To avoid trouble or responsibility “He got off the hook for being late to the meeting.”
Off the chain Something that is excellent or exciting “The party was off the chain, we had a great time.”
(To) screw over To deceive or betray someone “He screwed me over by taking credit for my work.”
Amped up To be excited or energized “I’m amped up for the concert tonight, it’s going to be amazing.”
On point To be correct or accurate “Her analysis of the situation was on point.”
No cap To speak the truth or be honest “No cap, that movie was terrible.”
Straight fire Something that is exceptional or outstanding “That new song is straight fire, it’s going to be a hit.”
Spill the tea/spill the beans To share gossip or reveal information “Come on, spill the tea, what happened at the party last night?”
Netflix and chill A euphemism for hooking up or engaging in sexual activity “We’re just going to Netflix and chill tonight, nothing serious.”
Big mad To be very angry or upset “He was big mad when he found out he didn’t get the job.”
Diamond hands To hold onto an investment or position regardless of losses or challenges “I’m not selling my stocks, I have diamond hands.”
Fauci ouchie Slang term for receiving the COVID-19 vaccine “I just got my Fauci ouchie, I’m feeling relieved.”
Cancel culture The practice of publicly boycotting or calling for the removal of individuals or entities deemed problematic or offensive “Some argue that cancel culture has gone too far in recent years.”

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Region-specific Slang

Slang Term Meaning Example
Janky Poor quality or unreliable “I wouldn’t trust that janky old car to get me to the store and back.”
Mad Very or extremely “I’m mad hungry, let’s grab some food.”
Wicked Very or extremely (mainly used in New England) “That rollercoaster was wicked fast and scary.”
Hella Very or extremely (mainly used in Northern California) “I’m hella tired after that long hike.”
Rad Cool or excellent “That concert last night was so rad, the band killed it!”
Y’all Contraction of “you all,” used mainly in Southern US “Y’all want to come over to my house for dinner tonight?”
Brick Very cold (mainly used in Northeastern US) “It’s so brick outside, I need to bundle up.”
Catawampus Crooked or askew “The picture on the wall is a little catawampus, let me straighten it out.”
Ope An expression used to acknowledge or apologize for bumping into someone or making a mistake (mainly used in Midwest US) “Ope, sorry about that, didn’t mean to step on your foot.”
Fixin’ To Intending or preparing to do something (mainly used in Southern US) “I’m fixin’ to head out to the store, anyone need anything?”
Bless Your Heart An expression often used in the Southern US that can be either genuine or a polite insult “Oh, bless your heart, that outfit is certainly unique.”
Grill To stare at someone intently “Why are you grilling me like that? Do I have something on my face?”
Real talk A phrase used to indicate that what someone is saying is sincere or truthful “Real talk, I think we need to have a serious conversation about our relationship.”
Frontin’ Pretending or putting on a false front “Don’t front like you have more money than you do, we all know you’re broke.”
Dead-Ass A phrase used to emphasize that something is true or serious “Dead-ass, I saw a ghost in my bedroom last night.”
Tight Close or intimate (can refer to friendships or romantic relationships) “She and I are tight, we’ve been best friends since childhood.”
Ratchet Tacky or low-class “Those ripped jeans and dirty sneakers are a little ratchet for this fancy restaurant.”
Schmear To spread or smear something, often used in reference to cream cheese on a bagel (originally from Yiddish) “Can you schmear some cream cheese on my bagel, please?”
Pie To hit someone in the face with a closed fist “If he keeps talking trash, I’m going to pie him right in the nose.”
Schvitz To sweat or to go to a sauna (originally from Yiddish) “I need to hit the gym and schvitz out all my stress.”
Stoop A small outdoor staircase leading to the entrance of a building, often used as a gathering place to socialize with neighbors “I’ll meet you on the stoop in front of the apartment building.”
Dumb Silly or foolish “That joke was so dumb, I can’t believe I laughed at it.”
Gotham A nickname for New York City “I’m headed to Gotham this weekend for a Broadway show.”
Bodega A small convenience store, often found in urban areas “I’m running to the bodega to grab some snacks before the party.”
Cop To purchase or obtain something “I need to cop some new shoes for the summer.”
Crusty Dirty or unclean “Those crusty old sneakers need to be thrown away, they’re beyond repair.”
Snuff To physically or verbally put someone in their place “I had to snuff him out after he disrespected me in front of everyone.”
Schlep To carry something heavy or to make a journey, often with a sense of difficulty “I don’t want to schlep all these groceries up the stairs by myself.”
Regular coffee Coffee with cream and sugar (often used in New York City) “I’ll take a regular coffee with two sugars and a splash of cream.”
Have beef To have a problem or disagreement with someone “Why do you have beef with him? Did he say something to upset you?”


In conclusion, understanding American slang can greatly enhance your ability to communicate and connect with people in the United States. 

The slang terms provided in this blog post are just a small sample of the vast array of colorful and nuanced language used in American English. 

By learning these words and their meanings, you’ll be able to understand better and participate in American culture, whether you’re traveling, studying, or just chatting with friends. 

So don’t be afraid to incorporate some slang words into your vocabulary and take your American English skills to the next level!

If you want to improve your vocabulary even more, download our ZoundsLike app.


Q.1 What is American slang?

American slang is a collection of informal words and phrases used in everyday conversation by native English speakers in the United States. It often includes idiomatic expressions, regional dialects, and cultural references.

Q.2 Why is it important to learn American slang?

Learning American slang can greatly enhance your ability to communicate with native English speakers in the United States, allowing you to understand their language and culture better. It can also help you express yourself more effectively and connect with others.

Q.3 What are some common American slang words and phrases?

Some common American slang words and phrases include: “chill,” “lit,” “on fleek,” “dope,” “y’all,” “hella,” “gonna,” “wanna,” “fam,” and “bae,” among many others.

Q.4 Is American slang appropriate to use in professional settings?

Generally, it is best to avoid using American slang in formal or professional settings, as it may be seen as unprofessional or inappropriate. However, it may be more acceptable in certain informal settings or among friends and colleagues.

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