American Slang A - Z

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walk away: leave without buying anything.

If a salesperson tries too hard to sell you something you aren't ready to buy, it's best just to walk away and say you'll come back later.

 

walk out on: leave someone and end a relationship.

Tanya was 14 years old when her father walked out on her family, and she hasn't seen him since that time.

 

warm up: to practice or get ready for physical activity.

I have to warm up for about ten or fifteen minutes before playing my guitar.

 

washed up: someone whose career or skill has passed from age or inability.

Osama bin Laden is a washed-up loser scumbag who will go down in history as one of the world's worst criminals.

 

WASP: White Anglo Saxon Protestant.

Barack Obama is the first non-WASP President we've had in the White House since John F. Kennedy.

 

way: very; yes.

That SUV is way too big for our needs. Let's get something that's more sensible and better for the environment.

 

way to go: good job; good performance; congratulations.

I heard you got a raise at work. Way to go!

 

weasel: a person who says or does anything in order to advance; someone who lies or cheats for personal gain.

No one in the office likes Edward because he's such a weasel, and he always sucks up to the boss.

 

weed: take out unnecessary things; pick out.

It's time to weed through my sock drawer and throw out the ones that are worn and have holes.

 

weigh in: to give an opinion in addition to opinions from other people.

 

weird: strange; unusual.

Night of the Living Dead is a weird movie! It's about people who come back to life from the dead and then try to eat people who are alive.

 

weirdo: a strange person.

There's this weirdo outside of the buiding giving away information about Scientology.

 

whack: to hit.

If you want to open that jar, try whacking the lid with something hard.

 

whacky: crazy; comical; amusing; funny.

Conan O'Brien is a whacky talk-show host whose comedy always surprises the audience.

 

wham: to hit; impact from an accident.

A bird whammed into the window and died.

 

whatchamacallit: something you don't know the name of (similar to thingamajig)

You're going to have to get another whatchamacallit for underneath the sink because it's leaking.

 

what for: a reason for doing something; a negative consequence.

The police gave that guy what for when he tried to take a swing at one of them. Now's he all beat up and in jail.

 

what gives: why; what's the reason

You stopped coming to our meetings. What gives?

 

what's happening / what's shaking: hi; how's it going?

A: Hey, what happening?

B: Oh, I'm just reading the paper and drinking some coffee.

 

what's up: hello; how are you; what's happening in your life?

A: Hey, what's up?

B: Not much. What's up with you?

(Some young people say, "What up?" without the "s," which reflects a more African-American vernacular.)

 

what's with: what's the reason; tell the cause for the problem.

What's with this refrigerator? Sometimes it's too cold and other times it's not cold enough.

 

wheel and deal: negotiate; buying and selling.

George's uncle likes to wheel and deal when he goes to antique shops. He can usually pay a lower price on things.

 

where it's at: the essence of something; the truth.

I love it when my religion teacher talks about Jesus and the New Testament. He really knows where it's at.

 

whiff: to smell something.

This perfume smells like oranges. Here, take a whiff.

 

wimp: a person who lacks courage or strength.

Bill doesn't want to take the dead mouse out of the mouse trap because he's such a wimp, so he just throws out the whole trap instead of reusing it.

 

whiz: a smart person.

Jennifer is a real math whiz. She'll probably major in engineering in college.

 

(the) whole nine yards: everything; all of something.

After Myrtle died, her children sold off everything in the house--the whole nine yards.

 

wicked: cool; very interesting and, perhaps, a little dangerous.

That was a wicked turn we just took. Did you feel the car lifted a little on the passenger side.

 

widget: something small and useful; something on a computer that does a task.

This little widget is good at estimating some of the costs for my business.

 

wig out: to suddenly feel fear; similar to freak out.

Kevin wigged out and moved to California when he lost his job.

 

wing it: try to do something without preparation.

Instead of using a written speech, the speaker tried to wing it, but he made a lot of mistakes, and a few times he forgot what he was trying to say.

 

wipe out: to fall over; to cause a loss of property.

Huge medical bills wiped out all of their life savings. Now they don't have any money left.

 

wired: 1. wide awake, usually from too much coffee; 2. technologically connected through the internet and mobile technology.

1. I can't go to sleep. I had five cups of coffee at Starbucks and feel totally wired.

2. We have to get our computer wired to the internet.

 

wishy-washy: unable to take a clear position or make a decision.

Diedre is kind of a wishy-washy boss. She's never able to decide on which people to hire, so she relies on others to help her make hiring decisions.

 

with flying colors: to do something in a way that is great; to achieve success; to do well.

She passed her driving test with flying colors.

 

with it: hip; able to understand what happening now; up-to-date.

Our teacher thinks she's really with it, but at the age of 62, it's not easy to keep up with her young students.

 

wonk: a technocrat; a person who understands small details as an authority.

The energy-policy wonks in Washington have some good ideas about how we can all save on home energy costs.

 

woozy: dizzy or tired; a side effect from some medicine.

Laughing gas made Shawn feel a little woozy while the dentist worked on his teeth.

 

workaholic: a person who works all the time.

If he weren't such a workaholic, he'd have more time to spend with his kids.

 

work it in: to bring something into another thing; to incorporate; to make time available in a schedule.

We don't have a lot of extra time during the meeting, but if you want to talk about your project for a few minutes, it's possible to work that in.

 

work out: make something possible; to improve a situation.

Halima and Ali are have had some trouble with their marriage, but now they're trying to work things out.

 

worry wart: a person who worries too much.

Stop being such a worry wart. Your kids will be okay when they go on the trip.

 

wrap up: bring a project to a conclusion; finish.

Let's wrap things up here and go home.

 

wreck: a person or a thing in very bad condition.

Diane is a wreck after getting only got two hours of sleep last night.

 

wussy: a person who is weak, fearful.

My friend, Dan, is too much of a wussy to ask his hottie neighbor, Casandra, out on a date.

 

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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