For many English learners planning to study or work in the U.S., students are often bombarded with many unfamiliar slang words from American TV shows, songs, or native-speaker friends. Slang words learning are often excluded from formal English education, yet it helps English learners to understand American popular culture and better communication with their American friends.
Today, we’ll cover the top 10 American popular slang words to ease your communication with English native speakers.
1. Bail/ ditch
Bail and ditch both mean to have to break or cancel the plans with someone. for instance, you have to cancel the plans with your friends due to unfinished school work.
Example: “Sorry friends, I have to bail tonight.”
You may have heard of this term in many american pop songs, such as White Iverson by Post Malone when he said: “When I started ballin’ I was young.” in casual conversation, ballin’ means having a wealthy and luxurious lifestyle.
Example: “Heard you went on vacation in Los Angeles again last week, you are ballin’!”
3. Chill/chill out
Meaning “calm down” on casual occasions.
Example: If your friends are being overly excited at a football game, you can say “Hey man, chill out.”
4. Down to earth
Referring to someone when they are humble, genuine, and easy to get along with.
Example: “I made a new friend at the museum last night, she was super down to earth. I would love to hang out with her again!”
Not the cute animal, but the acronym for “greatest of all time.” Pronounced exactly like the animal, but GOAT should only be used to talk about someone who truly is the greatest of all time.
Example: “Kobe is the GOAT, may he rest in peace”
It is an informal way of saying being greatly impressed by someone from performing or just doing something well.
Example: “Beyoncé slays in her every performance!”
The word was first found in the song “Stan” on American rapper Eminem’s album in 2000. Nowadays, it refers to die-hard fans of celebrities.
Example: “Did you watch JLo and Shakira performances on the Superbowl last night, I stan for them!”
8. Tea/Here is the tea
It is slang for gossip or hot news circulating the situation. it is often used in terms such as “what’s the tea” (what’s the new gossip), “spill the tea” (tell someone about gossip), or just use it as one word referring to the hot news.
Example: “Would you like to spill the tea of your date from last night?”
Different than the traditional definition, wack refers to “boring” or “worse than expectations” in U.S. pop culture.
Example: “How was the movie you watched last night”
“The movie was wack.”
10. What’s good
Equivalent to “what’s up” or “how are you doing,” often used as a causal greeting between friends. When an English speaker asks you that question, you can respond with what you are doing or how you are feeling at the moment.
Example: “What’s good? Haven’t seen you for a while”
“Nothing much, just studying and preparing for the upcoming exams! How about you?”
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"White Iverson by Post Malone" SoundCloud, Post Malone. Retrieved October 3, 2015.
White Noise: The Eminem Collection. Thunder's Mouth Press. 2003. ISBN 978-1-56025-534-5. "Stan," Eminem's most celebrated track, folds an epistolary rap into a horrorcore scenario.