General American slang

Developed over time and greatly influenced by immigration patterns, media, and current events, here are some American slang words that will entertain you - or maybe even make you blush.

American slang words

Word Meaning
Hobnob Socialize with people of an artificially higher status
Chill Relax
Popo Police
Fuzz Police
Airhead Silly/foolish person
Cringe Really embarrassing
Copium Fake drug to help twitch users deal with loss/failure
Simp Person who does too much for who he/she likes
Cram Study intensely in a short amount of time
Crash Sleep/pass out
Dms’ Direct messages
Dead (Such as in a restaurant or bar) no one’s there
Steez Effortless style
Spox Spokesperson
Sawbuck Us$10
A-Game One’s best
Oops! When someone messes up
Dude A guy
Dope! Cool
Yuppie Young urban professional, white-collar worker
White-Collar High-salary job that doesn’t involve manual labor, such as accountants and lawyers
Blue-Collar Jobs focused on manual labor, such as farmers and miners
Woke Aware of potential injustices
Poppin’ Excellent
Lit Drunk, or superb
Swole Very muscular
Drip Fashionable
Drownin’ Unfashionable
Salty Jealous (of someone)
Cool Great
Snatched Nice and cool
Yeet! Expression of excitement
Yikes! No way! It can’t be!
Finsta Fake/Private Instagram account
Periodt. End of discussion (for example, what a parent would say to the child)
Flex Show off
Low-key Modest, something you don’t want emphasized
Slay Excel at, win at
Gucci Trendy
Shook Emotionally bothered/shaken
Curve Rejecting someone’s advances (e.g. from a classmate)
Stan Obsessive fan
Sus Suspect/suspicious
Turnt Intoxicated, energized
Bae A best friend/loved one
Fleek Really good, stylish
Cheugy Out of style
Emo Overly angsty/emotional
E-Girl/E-Boy An emo girl/boy
Fam Family
Smol Small/cute
Snack Someone who’s attractive
Wig That’s so cool!
Lewk Someone’s personal style
Hot Attractive
Sick Cool, great
Shady Suspicious
Bomb Really good, tasty
Boujee Fancy and extravagant
Dank Excellent
Flakey Indecisive
Finna I am going to
Ghost Suddenly start ignoring
Hypebeast Someone who only wants to be popular
W A win
L A loss
Whip Car
Hip Popular, trendy
Lemon Bad person
Babe Attractive woman, your significant other
Grub Food
Jacked Muscular
Chicken Coward
Ex Former girlfriend or boyfriend
Whiz A smart person
Dump End a relationship
Jonesing (For) Really want something
Wack Bad, not cool
Score Get what you want
Corny (Things like movies and jokes) silly
Cheesy (Things like movies and jokes) silly
Flick Movie
Bummer Disappointment
Wasted Intoxicated
Booze Alcohol
Yas! (Celebratory) yes!

Popular American slang phrases

Every country -- and even multiple places within many countries – have their own versions of slang. In the U.S, not only do we have words and phrases that are popular nationwide, but we also have terms that are local to states or regions.

Before we can learn how to talk like we’re from Brooklyn or Chicago, let’s see what works with people from around the country.

Slang phrase English meaning
In the bag A certainty (usually for something that you want, like in sports or a contest)
Once in a blue moon Rarely
You bet You’re welcome
I don’t buy that I don’t believe you
That’s rad That’s cool
Never mind Let’s change the subject
Keep in touch (When leaving someone) Let’s stay in contact
I can’t even! I can’t tolerate that anymore!
No biggie Not a problem
No big deal Not a problem
No sweat Not a problem
Show up Go to, do better than someone
Have a crush (on someone) Like someone, want to ask someone out on a date
Get hitched Get married
Tie the knot Get married
I’m beat I’m tired
Get under one’s skin Annoy
A turn off Something you don’t like about someone/somewhere
Couch potato Someone who’s always watching tv
Party animal Someone who is always partying
Hang out Spend time with people
It sucked It was bad
I’m game I can join you/I will do it
I’m down I can join you/I will do it
I’m in I can join you/I will do it
Have a blast Having a great time
Get fired Lose one’s job
Hit the books Study
Rip (someone) off Overcharge
Ride shotgun Sit in the front passenger seat
The bomb Excellent
Have dibs on Make a claim on/to
Suck up Win someone’s approval by being servile
Kiss ass Win someone’s approval by being servile
Fresh meat New target for humiliation
Loose cannon Someone dangerously uncontrollable
Pass the buck Make someone else responsible
My bad My mistake
Take for granted Assume
Hit the road Leave (to go somewhere)
Go dutch Every person pays for their own food/drinks
Hit the spot (Said after food/drink) Really satisfying
Wrap up Finish doing something
Are you kidding me? Phrase to represent excitement/frustration
Around the clock All the time, 24 hours a day, 7 seven days a week
Take a rain check Do at a later time
What’s up? How are you? How’s it going?
You’re telling me! I know!
All-ears Has your undivided attention
All-nighter Staying up all night to do homework/chat with friends
I’m baby I’m innocent/cute
Glow up A makeover (transformed from ugly to less ugly)
Open up pandora’s box Cause/start trouble/problems
In the zone Performing as well as or better than one can
Tune out Stop paying attention
Armchair CEO Offering expertise onsomething in which the speaker lacks
Off the hook Freed from blame
Off the chain Really good
Bye, Felicia Said when you’re done with a conversation. Meaning “that’s it. I’m done.”
(To) ace Excel at (a test)
(To) nail Excel at (a test, a race)
(To) screw over Cheat or exploit someone
Amped up Filled with enthusiasm/energy
On point Relevant and appropriate, really good
No cap Not lying
Straight fire Trendy
Spill the tea/spill the beans Share the gossip/secret
Netflix and chill Watch Netflix and have sex
Big mad Really angry
Diamond hands Taking a major financial risk
Fauci ouchie COVID-19 vaccine
Cancel culture Online shaming/embarrassment of someone due to their views

Region-specific American slang

New York slang words and phrases

New York and New York City have a bounty of their own subcultures and language. And New York slang is an enthralling part of that rich cultural tapestry.

Keep an ear out for some of these expressions and phrases from “The Big Apple” in popular music, television and cinema.

Want more? We've written a whole article specific to NYC slang here.

New York slang Meaning
Grill Angrily stare at someone
Real talk Used to get someone’s attention to talk about something serious
Cake/Cheese Money
Mad Very
Frontin’ Pretending to be skilled to impress others
Dead-Ass Serious about something
Tight Stylish, cool
Ratchet A woman who has made some bad lifestyle choices
Brick Freezing
Schmear Lots of cream cheese
Pie Pizza (pie)
Schvitz Sweating
Stoop Steps in front of a building
Dumb Really, very
Gotham Nickname for New York City (from Batman)
Bodega Small neighborhood shop
Cop Buy, feel (inappropriately)
Buggin’ Acting wild
Ice Jewelry
Wylin’/Wildin’ Acting wild
Crusty Unclean
Snuff Hit/punch, drugs
Schlep Impatiently going between places
Regular coffee Coffee made with cream and sugar
Have beef Have a problem with/want to fight with someone

Californian slang words and phrases

Californian slang is a diverse assortment of more colorful vocabulary, complete with its own personality. We've listed a few fun examples below, but you can find a gigantic rad comprehensive Californian slang list here.

Californian slang Meaning
Are you down? Want to do it/join us?
NoHo North Hollywood
SigAlert Traffic alert/warning
Yeah no No
SoCal Southern California
NorCal Northern California
Gnarly Good or bad (depends on the context)
Rad Cool
Stoked Excited
Hyphy Overly excited
Outta pocket Inappropriate
Slaps Really good (music)
Yadadamean Do you know what I mean?
Phubbing Ignoring someone by using their phone
Stealth mode Secret
Three commas club Billionaires
Unicorn A start-up valued at over $1 billion
Zombie mood Staring at one’s phone

Texas slang words and phrases

You’ll notice a lot of abbreviations here, which is all part of the fun of learning how to speak Texas slang.

Texas slang Meaning
Fixin’ to About to do
Bless your heart Used either to show sympathy, or to soften an insult
Might could Maybe
All hat, no cattle Someone who is arrogant Without anything to show for it
Corn-fed Big/fat (describing people)
Dag gum it! Darn it!/damn it!
All git-out The (for example, best/worst) most extreme of something
Pitch a hissy fit Throw a tantrum/act up
Come hell or high water (Do something) at any cost, no matter if you get injured/make enemies
Whole 'nuther Entirely different situation
Worsh Wash
(Wp/down) Yonder (Over) there, (down) there (describing a location)

Florida slang words and phrases

If Ponce de León had discovered the Fountain of Youth in 1513, Florida would have had something worthwhile to discuss. For now, it’s really just a place that’s 90 miles to Cuba.

Florida slang Meaning
Acere Pal, friend, buddy
Bih A person or a thing
Bussin Tasty
Dale Hurry up
Florida bath Swimming in the pool (as opposed to taking a shower)
Florida Happy Meal Something for the adults, like liquor or cigarettes
Florida Man Someone who shows bizarre or stupid behavior
Hundid Hundred
Jit Referring to someone younger than the speaker
Oye Hello
Pub sub Sandwich from Publix supermarket chain
Vibin’ Relaxing
Parked in Goofy When you park your car in the further away parking lot

Hawaiian slang words and phrases

If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about the backgrounds of Don Ho or Duke Kahanamoku, check some of this interesting Hawaiian slang out.

Hawaiian slang Meaning
Manapua Pork bun
Aloha Hello, goodbye
Da Kine “The kind,” representing a person, place, or something abstract
Grindz Food
Hapa Someone whose ancestry is partially Pacific Islander or East Asian
Haole A non-native Hawaiian, generally a caucasian person
Kapu Prohibited
Mahalo Thank you
Shoots! O.K.!, Understood!

Louisiana slang words and phrases

French Creole and Catholicism greatly influenced the creation of Louisiana slang. Plus, they’ve got some of the best eats in the country.

Louisiana slang Meaning
Pinch the tail and suck the head How you eat crawfish
Po’boy Baguette sandwich
Dressed The way you want your po’boy made
Laissez les bon temps rouler(lay-ZEH leh BAWN taw ROO-leh) “Let the good times roll”, something said before you’re about to celebrate
Throw me somethin’ What many Mardi Gras attendees say to people on parade floats, when they want souvenirs like beads or necklaces
Holy Trinity (In Cajun cooking) onions, bell peppers, celery
Cher (My) love, (my) dear
Snoball Finely shaved ice with sugar syrup
How’s ya mama an’ them? How are your mother and your family?
Envie A desire to eat something
Parish Louisiana equivalent of county
Gris gris A voodoo term used in jest (for example, “do as your parents tell you, or they might put the gris gris on you”)
Lagniappe Little gift, little extra something

New Jersey slang words and phrases

The “Garden State” has a unique flair to its informal and colloquial words and expressions. We’ve listed a few New Jersey slang favorites.

New Jersey slang Meaning
Down the shore To the beach (Jersey shore)
Disco fries French fries covered in cheese and gravy
Fat sandwich A sandwich that includes almost everything on the menu
Hit the MAC Go to an ATM to take money out
Hoagie Sandwich on a baguette
Exit Giving directions based on a highway/turnpike exit
Benny Someone from Bayonne, Elizabeth, Newark, or New York City, invariably causing trouble in the rest of the state
Shoobie Someone from South Jersey, invariably causing trouble in the rest of the state
J’eet yet? Did you eat yet?
SPK Salt, pepper, ketchup
Jersey slide Quickly going from the leftmost lane to the exit (which is on the right)
Cabbage night The night before Halloween when some kid are very mischievous
Piney Someone who lives in the Pine Barrens, a rustic part of the southern coast of the state
Tats Tattoos
Twentyregularcash In New Jersey they don’t pump their own gas, so to get $20 of gas, this phrase is said
The Boss New Jersey-born musician Bruce Springsteen
Pork roll A sandwich made with New Jersey’s own Taylor ham
Ripper Deep-fried hot dog with a slit down the middle
The City Depending on which part of New Jersey you’re in, it’s either New York City or Philadelphia

Chicago slang words and phrases

Brush up on your Chicago slang and you’ll soon be able to understand what your new Chicago friends are saying, without any awkward silences or misinterpretations.

Chicago slang Meaning
Frunchroom Entertainment space
Pop Soft drink, soda
Goes Past/present-tense of “say”
Da “The” (for example, “da bears”)
The lake Lake Michigan, with which Chicago shares a coastline
The bean The Anish Kapoor sculpture, formally known as Cloud Gate, in Millennium Park
The “l” Elevated train in downtown Chicago
Prairie Vacant lot
Grabowski Blue-collar hard-working type of person
LSD Lakeshore Drive (along Lake Michigan)
A couple A few
Yous Indicates that the speaker is talking to everyone (not just one person)
Sammich Sandwich
Grachki Garage key

Other American slang from more regions

Slang Place where it’s used English meaning
Water ice Philadelphia, southern New Jersey Shaved ice, sugar, and flavored syrup (a summer treat)
You guys Various You all
Snowbirds Various Describing people from colder states who live in warmer states during the winter
Wawa Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey A convenience store chain
Y’all Various Southern states You all
Cattywampus Various Southern states Something that is crooked or not right
Bail Various Leave in a hurry
No Account Various southern states Something broken/worthless
Wicked New England Really, very
Throwing shade Various Showing disapproval for someone without necessarily saying it
Shut up! Various Be quiet!
Down-to-earth Various Someone authentic and humble
Salt-of-the-earth Various Someone upright and modest

American slang FAQs

I. What are some American text slang abbreviations?

Text slang Meaning
Tbh To be honest
Hmu Hit me up
Lmk Let me know
Smh Shake my head
Psa Public service announcement
Wbu What about you?
CD9 Can’t talk; parents are here!
OOMF One of my friends/one of my followers (e.g. on social media)
wth What the hell?
a/s/l Age/sex/location
LMIRL Let’s meet in real life
SOB Son of a bitch
GOAT Greatest of all time
BAE Before anyone else
FOMO Fear of missing out
CEO Chief executive officer
TFW That feeling when
OMG Oh my god
ASAP As soon as possible
FYI For your information
LOL Laugh out loud
RSVP “repondez, s’il vous plait”-- please respond
SO Significant other
j/k Just kidding

II. What is some American slang for money?

  • Greenbacks
  • Scratch
  • Skrilla
  • Dough
  • Coin
  • Greens
  • Dead Presidents
  • Plata
  • Bucks
  • Bread
  • Cheese
  • Wampum
  • Pesos

III. What is some other need-to-know New York lingo?

  • Subway (referring to the metro train)
  • Van Wyck (the highway that goes to JFK airport)
  • AirTrain (light rail connecting the subway and JFK airport)
  • Hot 97 (97.1FM a rap radio station)
  • Flushing (Chinatown)
  • Upstate (possibly the most controversial, since it can define anyone from north of the New York City border, although upstate has also meant north of Westchester)
  • BQE (Brooklyn Queens Expressway)

Bonus tips for learning American English slang

Watch a lot of diverse programs catering to many different demographics

Try combining NPR (National Public Radio), sitcoms, Vimeo, Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, and other social media for greater breadth.

Practice with friends, family, and coworkers, basically whenever you have the chance

There’s never any shame in trying to learn. Making mistakes is part of maturing.

Make it so

From the North to the South, East to West, now that you’ve been exposed to a breadth of slang terms and phrases from around the United States of America, aren’t you amped up to share your newfound knowledge with friends and family?

To really round up some essential vocab, you might want to explore all the interesting ways to say hello in English (including some need-to-know informal and casual ways).

If you love learning English, you might enjoy learning what are the longest English words in the world. Want even more? We publish fun and free articles on our English blog every week, so come on the journey with us!

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