American slang words can be tricky to get the hang of. Sure, it’s technically English, but it can sound like a different language. Arriving to the USA without a grasp of the lingo can be confusing, especially if English isn’t your native language.
American slang is so much more than just an accent. While different cities and regions have different slang, there’s a general American slang that’s spoken all across the country. This is the lingo that’s not taught in your language class. If someone asks you whether you think their new ‘wheels’ are ‘sick’, do you know what to say?
Here’s a list of 10 commonly used slang words in America. You’ll be speaking like a local in no time.
10 Common American Slang Words
1. Tea = gossip
Spilling the tea is all about getting that gossip. You can get the tea, spill the tea or give the tea. Otherwise simply written as the ‘T’.
2. Sweet = something good
“I passed my driving test!” “Sweet!!”
3. Shoot the breeze = casual conversation
“We were just shooting the breeze.”
4. Slaps = amazing
“Man, this song slaps!”
5. Wheels = car
“Want to check out my new wheels?”
6. Sick = amazing
“It’s a pity you weren’t there last night, the party was sick.”
7. Zonked = exhausted
“I’m totally zonked from working all week.”
8. Shady = suspicious/disrespectful
Shady has two meanings in American slang. Someone who looks shady is someone who looks suspicious. Or, you can ‘throw shade’ or ‘be shady’. Either one is not something you want: it’s subtly being disrespectful to someone.
9. Bae = boyfriend/girlfriend
Bae is what these young folk call their boyfriend/girlfriend. The origins of bae aren’t clear, with some saying it’s an acronym for “before anyone else”.
10. Pig out = eat a lot
“I really pigged out at brunch this morning.”