American & British Slang

Slang is a type of language consisting of words and phrases that are regarded as very informal, are more common in speech than writing, and are typically restricted to a particular context or group of people.

In this post we will look at very common American and British slang phrases. So, take your vocabulary notebook and pen, and get ready to make notes of what you find new, interesting and useful.

American slang

Watch the video:

Key phrases:

  • it’s all good – it’s OK, it’s alright
  • no worries – don’t worry
  • sure thing – yes, of course
  • I’m good – no, thank you; I don’t want what you are offering
  • I got it/this – I’m going to pay for this + I can handle it/I don’t need help
  • will do – OK, I agree, I’ll do it
  • no way! – I can’t believe this + seriously?
  • that sucks! – it’s bad!
  • for real? – really? seriously?
  • what the heck? – what the hell?
  • nice! – it’s cool/awesome
  • got it! – I understand

More vocabulary from the video:

  • what’s up? – hi! + how are you? (casual greeting)
  • oh my gosh! – oh my god!
  • I can’t make it – I can’t be there, I am not available
  • we’re covered – we’ve got all we need, we’ve been provided with all we need
  • seconds – a second helping of food
  • I was planning on hanging out with my sister – I was going to spend time relaxing, enjoy myself with my sister.

British slang

Watch the video:

Key phrases:

  • dodgy – dishonest or unreliable / potentially dangerous / of low quality
  • to shag (sb.) – to have sexual intercourse with someone
  • to snog – to kiss and cuddle amorously
  • pissed – more than tipsy (slightly drunk) but not yet completely sloshed (drunk)
  • rubbish – trash + anything undesirable
  • to take the piss (out of sb./sth.) – mock someone or something
  • bollocks – the testicles + nonsense + rubbish (that’s bad!)
  • brilliant! – excellent! + awful!
  • knackered – exhausted
  • grumpy pumpy – sexual relations, especially when of a casual nature
  • cock-up – something done badly or inefficiently
  • wanker – a contemptible person

More vocabulary from the video:

  • smeg head – idiot
  • make yourself a brew – a cup of tea/coffee
  • break open the biscuits – cookies (Am.E.)
  • a wee bit naughty – mildly rude or indecent
  • bloody – used to express anger, annoyance, or shock, or simply for emphasis
  • foolproof – incapable of going wrong or being misused
  • unassuming – not pretentious or arrogant
  • pad – someone’s home
  • a peck on the cheek – a light kiss on the cheek
  • steamy – depicting or involving passionate sexual activity
  • shit-faced – drunk or under the influence of drugs
  • to go on the piss – to be going to get drunk
  • frenzy – a state or period of uncontrolled excitement or wild behavior
  • to sift through sth. (e.g. slang) – to examine (sth.) thoroughly so as to isolate what is the most important
  • runner-up (pl. runners-up) – a competitor or team taking second place in a contest
  • banter (uncountable) – the playful and friendly exchange of teasing remarks

Exercise. Choose the appropriate word from the box to complete the sentences:

  1. This project is ___________ (foolproof / knackering / dodgy). It makes me exhausted!
  2. There are a lot of ___________ (shit-faced / steamy / brilliant) scenes in the film. Children shouldn’t watch it.
  3. Don’t call anyone a ___________ (banter / wanker / runner-up). It’s too rude!
  4. He is a/an ___________ (unassuming / steamy / frenzy) and kind person.
  5. Would you like more juice? – ___________ (I’m nice / I’m good / I’m brilliant). I’ve just had enough.
  6. Oh, I haven’t bought the cookies. – No worries! We’re ___________ (covered / foolproof / bloody).
  7. There was much good-natured ___________ (peck / banter / cock-up).
  8. She was the ___________ (runner-up / pad / smeg head) in the marathon.
  9. Can you give me a lift? – (Nice / sure / yes) ___________ thing.
  10. We’ve made a total ___________ (frenzy / bollocks / cock-up) of it.

Answer key: 1. knackering 2. steamy 3. wanker 4. unassuming 5. I’m good 6. covered 7. banter 8. runner-up 9. sure 10. cock-up