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English Slang 
 & a few Idioms 

 

Foreword

Welcome!

This is a work in progress.  There is too much slang and too many idioms in the English language to teach all of them here.  But, I'll try to teach as many as I possibly can, which to be honest, isn't very often.

This work has been a last priority with me, because I do not consider the knowledge of slang and idioms essential to international communication.  However, they are fun to learn, and may actually be of help to the acquisition of English by giving learners implicit insight to the workings of the English language. 

Also, please note that I am an American, and all the information, with very little exception, is AMERICAN slang/idioms.  If for some wild and crazy reason (j/k) you don't find what you are looking for on this page, you might want to consider the ads by Google (right) or the products from amazon.com (below).

Cheers,
Leon
Webmaster

P.S.
Any questions about English slang?
Contact me.

 

     

 

 

 

Abbreviations Used Below
[U] = Uncountable
[C] = Countable

Definitions of Terms

Slang [U]:  the whole collection of words (not phrases), which constitute colloquialisms which are generally NOT in the dictionary (or lexicon), but are common in speech.

Idiom [C]:  a single phrase, which generally (but not always) has two meanings: (1) the literal meaning, and (2) the figurative meaning.

Literal meaning:  the meaning of the individual words retain their original semantic value.  (i.e., sum of parts = whole)

Figurative meaning:  the meaning of the individual words is naught, and the collection of all the words in the phrase take on a completely different meaning.  (i.e., sum of parts does NOT equal the whole)

 

 

 

Leon's EFL Planet presents
Slang Words

&

A few Idiomatic Expressions

in alphabetical order

 

bad

Definition:  good; tough; strong; capable

Samples:  (1) Movie:  Bad Boys;  (2) She's Bad Mama.

Linguistic Notes:  Intonation is important to distinguish this usage from the original usage of "bad"

I think this is a case of sarcasm (see my irony page)

 

buck (dollar)

Original Definition:  originally "bucca" = a male goat;  or, "buc" = a male deer

Slang Definition:  a dollar bill (North American slang).

Origin of "buck" as a meaning for a dollar bill:  It comes from "buckskin", which was a common unit of trade in the "Old West" of North America.  It is therefore a metaphor.  While a buckskin may not have been the same value as a dollar bill, the common ground was that both were basic units of trade.  [source:  Online Etymology Dictionary]

For more info about metaphors, see my figures of speech page.

 

bum

Definition: (1) a person that does not work, [chiefly US Slang], (2) buttocks, [chiefly UK slang]

 

cool

Original Definition:  not too warm, not too cold

Slang Definition:  good

Sample sentences:  (1) That's cool!  I really like that picture!; (2) That's a cool car!

 

crap

Origin:  From Dutch meaning: that which is torn off and discarded

Slang Definition1:  miscellaneous junk; unwanted stuff

Slang Definition2:  feces; dung

Slang Definition3:  worthless talk;  nonsense

 

die for...

Definition:  to desire ((sth)) so much that one would almost be willing to die for it.

Sample sentences:  I'd die for tickets to a Bulls game.  I'm dying to see Michael Jordan in person.

 

dumb

Original meaning:  mute

Slang meaning: ignorant, foolish

Possible origin:  animals are dumb (because they cannot speak), and they are not thought to be very intelligent.

 

fag

Original meaning:  cigarette [still used this way in the UK]

American Slang:  a male homosexual {politically incorrect; i.e. NOT a NICE WORD!}

 

fag hag

Definition:  a woman that hangs around with fags (male homosexuals)  [NOT NICE]

 

fluke

Origins: unknown

Definition:  an accidental stroke of luck or good fortune

Sample sentence:  His winning the tournament was a fluke.

 

go

Definition:  short for "go to the potty (toilet)"

Sample sentences:  (1)  I have to go.  (2)  Do you have to go #1 or #2?

 

go #1 & go #2

Definitions: #1 = urine, pee pee;  #2 = feces, manure, poo poo, stools, etc.

Sample sentences:  Do you have to go #1?  No, I have to go #2.

See "pee pee" and "poo poo" below.

 

gusto

Origin:  from Spanish/Latin meaning "taste"

Slang Definition:  great enthusiasm & vigorous enjoyment (see also zest)

 

hag

Original meaning:  witch

Slang meaning:  usually old, but definitely ugly woman

 

has-been

Definition:  a person who has been popular;  an ex-celebrity

Sample sentence:  This is where all the has-beens hang out.  (see "hang out")

 

haves & have-nots

Definitions

     haves = people who have a lot of money/assets
     have-nots = people who don't have much money/assets

 

hokey (adj.)

Origin:  from the word hokum (a combination of hocus pocus + bunkum);  hocus pocus is used in incantations in magic tricks; bunkum is nonsensical talk.  [source]

Slang Definition:  untrue

 

hot1

Definition:  very sexy; very attractive in a sensual way

Sample sentences:  (1) She's hot!;  (2) There's a steamy, hot scene in the movie.

 

hot2

Definition:  really popular

Sample sentences:  (1) That is a hot item on the market.  (2) That music group is hot.  (3)  That's a hot song.

 

hot3

Definition:  stolen

Sample sentences:  (1)  Why is that TV so cheap?  It is hot?  Is that why you are selling it so cheaply?
[At a Pawn Shop]  "I don't accept any 'hot' goods."

 

"Jane Doe"

Definition:  a woman with no name.  It is usually used for a female corpse with no identification.

 

jerk

Definition:  A "jerk" is a bad person, i.e. a person who has treated another individual badly.

Origin:  There must be a connection between the real meaning of jerk and the slang meaning of jerk.  I think if someone jerks another person (physically) it would hurt (a little), and if someone jerks another person (emotionally) it would hurt (a lot).  That's why we call such a person a "jerk."  [I'm guessing this is a kind of metonymy.]  AND/Or it comes from the idiom:  to jerk sb around, which means:  to treat somebody badly.

 

jock

Original Definition:  jockey (a person who rides a horse in a horse race)

Slang Definition:  any athlete

 

john

Definition:  toilet bowl; toilet; WC; restroom; lavatory

Sample sentences:  (1)  I have to go to the john.  I'll back right back.  (2) Who's in the john?  I have to go!

Origin:  The man who invented the commode (the flush toilet bowl) was named John Craps.  Possible this slang word comes from the man's given name.  But, it is only a possibility.  I'm not sure about the origin of this slang word.

 

"John Doe"

Definition:  a man with no name.  It is usually used for a male corpse with no identification.

 

long johns

Definition:  long, thermal underwear.

Sample sentence:  It's cold out.  Be sure to put your long johns on.

 

mean

Original Meaning:  average, common; low-class, base

Slang Meaning:  unkind

Linguistic Note:  this isn't slang anymore, because I see that this meaning has been added to Merriam-Webster's Unabridged online dictionary as definition number 7.  But, I'll leave it here, because if you are not using an up-to-date dictionary, it won't be in there.  It has been in extremely wide use as long as I have been alive, and I was wondering when they'd get around to putting it in the lexicons.  Well, I guess they've finally done it.

 

pee pee & poo poo

Definitions:  pee pee = toddler slang for urine; poo poo = toddler slang for

 

p.h.a.t.

Pronunciation:  /ft/

Acronym for:  Pretty Hot And Tempting  (source)

Origin:  Intercity slang, mostly amongst gangs/gangsters (trying to be "cool"), going out of style these days

 

pumpkin

Definition: a metaphorical term of endearment to a cute little kid (toddler)  

 

 

scum

Original Definition:  the yucky film on the top of a liquid, such as on top of bath water after taking a bath.

Slang definition:  the lowest level of human, e.g. criminals

 

suck

Definition:  to be terrible

Sample sentences:  (1) That sucks!  (2) You suck at it!  (i.e., You suck at doing something).

 

 

yuck! (intj.) /  yucky (adj.)

Definition of "Yuck!":  interjection to express disgust;  "Disgusting!"

Definition of "yucky":  adjective to describe distaste;  not delicious

 

yum! (intj.) / yummy (adj.)

Definition of "Yum!":  interjection to express gusto or zest (deliciousness)

Definition of "yummy":  adjective to describe taste; very delicious

 

zest (n.) / zesty (adj.)

Origin:  from French word zeste meaning orange peel used to ad flavor in food  [source]

Slang Definition #1:  excellent tastiness; deliciousness

Slang Definition #2:  keen enjoyment

 

zillion

Definition:  an imaginary number which cannot be counted; uncountable number

(see also:  Leon's English Numbers Page for highest/largest named number in English)

 
Lastly...



Morbid Idioms

Expressions that mean "dead":

1.  pushing daisies
2.  6-feet under
3.  ground hogs are bringing one's mail
4.  food for worms

Expressions that mean "die":

1.  kick the bucket
2.  croak
3.  buy the farm
4.  cross to the other side

Expressions for death:

1.  the next life
2.  life after life
3.  the final curtain
4.  game over

Expression for dying:

1.  Being visited by the grim reaper.

 

Here is a picture if the Grim Reaper: (the personification of death), the harvester of souls.