American Slang A - Z

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gag: to have a negative reaction; to choke. ("gag" rhymes with "bag")

Carmela almost gagged on her sandwich when her old boyfriend walked into the restaurant.

 

go gaga: to be very excited; extremely happy.

The teenage girls in the audience went gaga when Justin Bieber took the stage and began to perform.

 

gay: homosexual; a person who is attracted to someone of the same gender. (Recently used to describe objects or activities -- That movie was so gay! -- Some people find this particular use to be offensive)

Men found to be gay in some countries around the world are punished with prison or torture.

 

geek: a person who is very intelligent, works well with computers and/or new forms of technology, and might lack strong social skills.

He's such a geek when it comes to computers. They're his only interest.

 

 

Get

(notice how many expressions, idioms, and slang begin with the word "get." This is a very important word to learn in all its forms: get / got / gotten / getting)

get a bang: to be amused or impressed; to feel some excitement.

The kids got a big bang out of watching the Hollidazzle Parade last night in downtown Minneapolis.

 

get a clue: pay attention; try to learn about something. (related to have a clue)

Her boyfriend isn't very interested in her anymore. She's going to have to get a clue and accept that.

 

get an edge: get an advantage; get ahead; do something that will outperform the competition.

Lakshmi believes that she can get an edge over the other students by studying extra hard during the holiday break.

 

get a grip: understand what's happening; recognize reality.

Leonard has to get a grip and stop drinking so much if he wants to improve his chances of getting a job.

 

get a handle on; learn; learn something new.

I'm trying to get a handle on how my new cell phone works. It's very complicated.

 

get a load of ____: look at this; this is interesting.

Hey, get a load of that squirrel. He lost his tail.

 

get a move on: go; get going; move faster

Let's get a move on. We have to be in New York in three hours and we might not get there on time.

 

get by: have enough money to live; to survive.

It look like they'll have just enough money to get by this month. Next month might be better.

 

get going: to leave; to go somewhere.

It's time to get going. Goodbye.

 

get off: to be amused or aroused by something, sometimes the reasons for amusement or pleasure are not very nice.

She gets off on watching other people fight.

 

get on with (it): continue some activity; do something

He's trying to get on with his life after losing both of his parents in a car accident.

 

get over: learn to live with; accept.

It's hard to get over a life-changing event, but eventually we do.

 

get the hang of _____: learn how to do something.

Tara is starting to get the hang of skateboarding. When she first began, she was terrible at it. Now she's getting good at it.

 

get the picture: to understand (often used as a question).

I'm sick and tired of this!! Get the picture?

 

get together: to meet someone; sometimes used for a large gathering of people.

Americans like to get together with family and friends during the holidays.

 

get-up-and-go: energy; motivation.

I'm so tired! I just don't have any get-up-and-go today.  

 

get with it: learn what everyone else knows; pay attention to things happening around you.

Mathilda had been putting of the purchase of a cell phone for years, but when her grandchildren got them, she decided to get with it an get one for herself.

 

gimmie: contraction of "give" and "me." sometimes this has a greedy and unpleasant sound; often used by children.

Two children playing with toys:

  • A: Gimmie that! I want it back right now!
  • B: Okay. Here.

 

giveaway: an open secret; something obvious. (often used with the word "dead" preceding it.)

The smile on his face was a dead giveaway, and suddenly everyone knew he was guilty of the crime.

 

give someone five: to slap someone's hand in celebration or greeting.

You got the job?! Great! Give me five!

 

("Give me five" usually sounds like "Gimme five.")

 

give the finger: to stick the middle finger up while the others down. (this is a very rude gesture)

While I was driving on the highway, I noticed a man in a car behind me giving me the finger, but I wasn't sure why. Perhaps he didn't like my driving.

 

give the shaft and get the shaft. to put someone in a bad position.

It's often poor people who get the shaft when the economy goes bad. Rich people never seem to suffer.

 

go all the way: do something to the point of completion; sometimes used for sexual activity resulting in intercourse.

When Miguel tried to go all the way with his girlfriend, Lupe, she told him she wasn't ready.

 

go for it: do something; try to do something difficult

It's hard to get into that university , but Natalia is going to go for it.

 

go-getter: a person who works hard and is ambitious.

At 19 years old, he's a real go-getter with a successful business and great potential to become wealthy.

 

goof around: to play around; not to do something with serious intentions; to neglect responsibilities.

When the supervisor saw that the cashiers were goofing around at work, he fired them.

 

gotcha: 1. to understand someone; 2. to catch someone. (this is a contraction: got + you = gotcha)

1. You want me to turn the wrench to the right? Okay, I gotcha. 

2. Gotcha! Now I'm not going to let go of you.

 

green: 1. new; inexperienced; 2. clean energy source or non-polluting technology.

1. You'll have to help her with that. She's still a bit green.

2. Green is the new red, white, and blue. That means good, patriotic Americans try their best to save energy these days.

 

gross: something that makes you feel sick; a very unattractive object or situation.

It's so gross the way he spits on the sidewalk.

 

groupie: a person (often young a woman) whose admiration of a performer results in constant, personal contact; a person who hangs around someone to excess.

He's become so well-known as a guitarist, he's even starting to attract groupies.

 

grungy: dirty; old.

These jeans are so grungy. Why don't you throw them out?

 

grunt work: hard work; manual labor.

Why is it that people who do all the grunt work get paid the least while management gets paid the most?

 

guzzle: drink quickly; consume large amounts of liquid.

Tito's car guzzles gas at about 12 miles per gallon. He's thinking about buying a hybrid.

Attention: Some slang is inappropriate in certain situations. That's why you see the word "caution" after some of these slang words. Some slang is considered to be vulgar.

vulgar = impolite or considered a swear word. Don't use it around your supervisor or someone who might be offended.

 

 

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