<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1144091829361392&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

American Slang Dictionary for International Students

Studying in the USA is a life-changing experience...



December 3, 2020

Studying in the USA is a life-changing experience for international students. Even with all the American TV shows, movies and music that are seen and heard around the world, living in the United States and understanding the culture can be a lesson in itself. Are you fluent in English? Or are you at a level where you can manage a basic conversation? Either way, you need to know how to translate popular American slang words and local phrases so you can communicate with your friends and other students. The Americanisms below are a good place to start.

P.S. You’ll get some extra help if you’re living with a homestay host in the United States. 

Word/Phrase + Meaning Example
Bucks = Dollars Person 1: Can I borrow a few bucks for lunch?
Person 2: Sure. How much do you need?
A minute = A little while (not just 1 actual minute) Person 1: Hey Mike, I haven’t seen you in a minute.
Person 2: I know, right, it’s been a while.
Basic = Boring, ordinary or uncool The theme for the Welcome Week Ball is ‘Under the Sea’. So basic.
Bombed = Completely fail I bombed my driving test, I know it.
Busted = Catch someone doing something wrong Person 1: Did you hear they busted a couple of people cheating on the English exam?
Person 2: They’ll be expelled for sure.
Chick = A female That chick is gorgeous!
Cram = Study hard I’ve got to cram for my exam.
Crash = Sleep/go to bed I’m going to crash at Lisa’s place tonight.
Ditch = a) Leave a place or person b) Not show up when you said you would a) This party’s boring, let’s ditch.
b) Stephanie had a habit of ditching her friends to see her boyfriend.
FOMO = Fear of Missing Out I should study tonight but if I don’t go to the party I know I’ll have serious FOMO.
For real?! = Are you telling the truth?/Are you being serious? Person 1: I got front row tickets to Beyonce this weekend.
Person 2: For real?!
Gas = Petrol/Fuel Fill up the car with gas before you go on a long drive.
Get out! = You’re kidding! Person 1: I got 100% on my math test.
Person 2: Get out!
Got it = I understand Person 1: Don’t forget our appointment this afternoon.
Person 2: Got it, I’ll see you at 5pm.
Hang out = Spend time with someone Hey, you want to hang out this weekend?
Hang tight = Wait patiently Hang tight, I’ll be with you in a minute.
Having a blast = Having a good time Kelsie was having a blast at Spring Break.
Hit me up = Call/text me Person 1: Are you going out on Saturday night?
Person 2: Not sure yet. Hit me up on Friday and I’ll decide then.
Jerk = Someone who is rude, mean or selfish Matt is such a jerk! We planned to go to the movies and he cancelled at the last minute.
Loaded = Rich The Kardashians are loaded.
My bad = My fault/my mistake Person 1: Hey! You spilled beer all over my laptop!
Person 2: Oops, my bad.
On point  = a) Perfect/excellent b) Performing  at one’s best a) Kylie’s makeup was on point.
b) LeBron James was on point against the Knicks.
Piece of cake = Easy Person 1: How did you do on the exam?
Person 2: It was a piece of cake! I was finished in 45 minutes.
Pig out = Eat a lot I’m starving! Let’s go to IHOP and pig out.
See you later = Goodbye (you may not actually see the person anytime soon) Person 1: I’m going back to Germany tomorrow.
Person 2: It was nice knowing you. See you later.
Shook  = Shocked Did you see the end of Game of Thrones? I am shook.
Shotgun (to ride shotgun) = To sit in the front passenger seat of a car Person 1: Who’s coming to the mall? I’m driving.
Person 2: Shotgun!
Sidewalk = Pavement/Footpath Be careful in winter: the sidewalk can get slippery when it snows.
Slaying it = Doing really well Mark scored two touchdowns on Friday night. He’s slaying it this season!
Throwing shade = Talking negatively about a person/insulting someone in an indirect way Person 1: Nicole’s haircut looks awesome, don’t you think? Next time I go to the salon, I’m totally going to ask for a poodle mullet hairdo.
Person 2: Wow, you’re throwing some serious shade.
Tight = a) Close (relationship) b) Nice or cool a) Person 1: Bianca and Courtney are always hanging out together.
Person 2: Yeah, they’re pretty tight.
b) Person 1: Scotty is looking good tonight. His outfit is tight!
Totes = Totally I’m totes going to the football on Friday night.
Trashed = a) Very drunk or b) Destroyed a) Ben was trashed after drinking a case of beer.
b) The hotel room was trashed.
What’s up? = How are you?/What are you doing? Hey Sam, what’s up?