American Slang A - Z

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panic attack: sudden concern; a feeling of doom.

Vernon experienced a panic attack when a police car parked in front of his house and walked up to his front door.

 

pan out: happen; go as planned.

Our plans for a trip to Florida didn't pan out this year.

 

park: to put something or someone in a place; to sit down.

Park yourself anywhere.

 

pass out: to lose consciousness.

A couple of young women passed out on Cedric's couch during the party. They had too much to drink.

 

pay dirt: a large amount of money.

After striking pay dirt with some good stock investments, the Johnsons took their profits and retired in Arizona.

 

pay (one's) dues: to work hard for little or no compensation, early in one's life or at the beginning of a career.

Because Maurice paid his dues in the 1980s, he doesn't believe he has to work on the weekends as the new employees are doing now.

 

payoff: to benefit with money or a good result.

Once 12 years in college and medical school are over, Angela is expecting a big payoff in the form of doctor's salary.

 

peach: a nice person; an attractive woman

Thanks for helping me with that project. You're a peach.

 

pee: urinate; go to the bathroom. (not always appropriate)

Someone peed all of the floor in the men's bathroom.

 

peppy: full of energy.

You don't look too peppy today. Did you stay up all night?

 

pet peeve: something that bothers you more than other things.

Old chewing gum under desks and tables is our teacher's pet peeve, so she doesn't allow gum in the classroom.

 

pic: picture, usually digital.

Hey, send those pics you took at the concert last night to my email.

 

pick-up: to attract someone romantically and form a relationship, usually a short relationship.

The girls that Todd and Matt picked up at the bar last night turned out to be married women.

 

pick up on: understand; come to recognition or understanding. (sometimes said with sarcasm)

A: It looks like unemployment is going to get worse in the United States this year.

B: Yeah, I've picked up on that.

 

piece of cake: something that is easy.

That test was a piece of cake. I finished it ten minutes early.

 

pig: someone who eats or drinks large amounts of food and drink.

Never try to share a pizza with Roger. He's such a pig, he'll try to eat most of it as quickly as possible.

 

pig out: eat a lot of food.

A day before the big race, the contestants went to an Italian restaurant and pigged out on pasta and pizza.

 

pin down: to identify; to make a choice.

We're trying to pin down a date to have a neighborhood party this summer.

 

pink slip: notification of the loss of one's employment; to lose a job.

Most of the workers at the clothing factory received their pink slips last week, and now they have to find new jobs.

 

pipe down: be quiet; talk more quietly.

If you kids don't pipe down, and I'm going to have to ask you to leave the library.

 

pizzaz: energy; style; modern; new.

This is a good restaurant, and the food is good, but I wish we had gone somewhere that had a little more pizzaz.

 

play along: to make someone believe that you don't know something is happening or something is true. Similar to "play dumb."

Cindy knew that a surprise party had been planned for her birthday, but when it came time for the surprise, she just played along with it.

 

player: a person, usually a man, who is available to women romantically. (You can also say "playboy," but it sounds a little old fashioned; however, "playboy" also indicates that a man is rich.)

She'd consider marrying him if he wasn't such a player.

 

play ball: play a game; cooperate with other people; do things without litigation.

It was hard to get the other side to play ball with us, so we just took them to court.

 

play games: to do something without seriousness; to make life difficult for another person; to make stupid decisions without understanding how it will affect others.

We made a good offer on the house that we wanted to buy, but the sellers decided to play games with an unreasonable counter-offer.

 

plug: to give an endorsement for commercial gain.

Do you mind if I plug my latest CD when I appear on your webcast?

 

poke fun: to make fun of or laugh at someone; to say things that aren't nice about someone or something.

You shouldn't poke fun at people who have physical or mental disabilities.

 

poop: excrement from an animal or a human being.

Yuck! I just stepped in dog poop and it's all over the bottom of my shoes.

 

pop: carbonated beverage; Coke, Pepsi, 7-Up.

Let's stop at that gas station to get some pop.

 

pop for: pay for another person's expenses.

The boss is going to pop for a company party this summer at an expensive restaurant.

 

pop up: something happens suddenly or wthout prior notice; a surprise.

I'm sorry I can't go to your birthday party this weekend. Something just popped up and now it's impossible to for me to get there.

 

pork: excessive government spending; spending projects that favor particular cities, states, and businesses.

The U.S. government intends to do good things for its citizens, but sometimes it's criticized for putting too much pork into its budgets.

 

pot: marijuana; (also known as dope, grass, weed, reefer)

The police found pot in the glove compartment of a couple of teenagers that they stopped along the highway.

 

PR: public relations; publicity; television coverage.

A new PR campaign is going to start this year which warns Americans of the dangers of smoking.

 

pressure cooker: a situation in which someone feels a lot of pressure and stress.

Bob couldn't continue to work as a stockbroker. It was a real pressure cooker to handle such large amounts of money.

 

psyched: excited to do something. (the "p" is silent)

Julie is really pysched about her new job. She can't wait to start.

 

puke: throw up; vomit.

Someone puked in the girl's bathroom and left a big mess.

 

pull (something) off: to get done something that is difficult; to succeed.

The soccer team pulled off a win despite the odds against them.

 

pull (one's) leg: to joke with someone.

Did he tell you he won the lottery? I think he's pulling your leg.

 

pull the plug: put an end to something; stop a program.

There was a great Chinese restaurant on this street until the city pulled the plug for food safety violations.

 

pump up: to say good things about someone; to flatter and complement.

That girl really knows how to pump up her friends.

 

punt: to pass a problem on to another person.

After wrecking the American economy, George Bush is going to punt the mess to his successor, Barack Obama.

 

pushover: a person who is easy to persuade; a person who does what he or she is asked--without question.

Our teacher is a pushover. We asked if we could have more time to finish our assignment, and she said yes.

 

put away: eat a lot.

The football team quickly put away an order of 30 pizzas.

 

put down: insult (use as a verb or as a noun)

Helena put down her boyfriend so often, he finally decided to break up with her.

 

put (something) on the line: gamble; risk.

Deidra is putting her reputation on the line by providing legal services for that gun shop.

 

put up: to contribute money; to put money down on a bet when gambling on an event.

Put up or shut up!

 

put (someone) up: allow someone to stay at your home.

Thanks to a friend who put us up for a few days, we saved a lot of money on hotel expenses.

 

putz: a dumb person.

The putz in front of me is driving with his hazard lights on.

 

 

 

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