Common American English Slang


Below are several slang words and phrases often used by American English speakers. We’ve provided a definition for each word and an example of how that word is used in a sentence. Some of these words have multiple definitions, but here we’re focusing on the common and informal meanings native speakers convey when speaking casually. 


Hang out: spend time together socially

 We’re going to the bar later if you want to hang out with us.


Beat: tired or exhausted

I can’t make it to trivia tonight. I worked late and am totally beat.


Hot: popular or physically attractive

The housing market is really hot right now.

Taylor and Alex both think Ryan Reynolds is hot.


Busted: caught doing something

 Zack got busted trying to steal the answers to the final exam.


My bad: a casual apology for a mistake caused by the speaker

I forgot to tell you the event got pushed back by half an hour. That’s my bad.


Dude: used for addressing a friend, usually (but not always) male

Are you okay, dude?

Dude! You look great!


What’s up?: a common greeting with the same meaning as “how are you”

 Hey, I haven’t seen you in weeks! What’s up?

 Buck: slang for a dollar

I found that lamp for sale for five bucks.


Fender bender: a minor automobile accident

 We were in a car wreck last week, but no one got hurt. It was just a fender bender. 


Run point/take point: take charge, lead, coordinate

Scheduling lessons with the students directly isn’t working. We need one of the parents to agree to run point.


If you struggle with American English slang or any other aspect of the English language, contact the English Island in Atlanta. Our caring, passionate ESL teachers work with all fluency levels to develop grammar, vocabulary, and more based on your individual needs.