If you’ve ever found yourself lost in a conversation because every other word was some form of alien English, you’re not alone. Most native speakers aren’t even aware of the amount of slang they use in their day-to-day encounters. Nevertheless, understanding everyday slang is an essential part of immersing yourself in a new culture. To help you navigate your next conversation, I’ve put together a list of 10 of the most common American slang terms.

1. What’s Up? / Sup? (more informal)

This is used as an informal greeting.  

Ex. conversation:

A: Hey, Lauren, what’s up?

B: Nothing much.

It’s important to know that when someone says “Hey, what’s up?” you do not say “Oh, I’m good”  or “I’m fine.” That’s not how we respond.

The most common reply is “Nothing much”  or “not much, you?”  

2. Hang Out 

This means to spend time relaxing or enjoying oneself.

A common interaction might go something like this: 

A: Hey, do you want to hang out tonight?

B: Sure, let’s go see a movie or something.

A: Good idea! 

3. Grab something to eat/drink

To grab something to eat/drink means to go out for a drink or something to eat. 

Here’s a typical interaction:

A: I’m hungry. Let’s grab a bite to eat somewhere. 

B: Ok, how about that new Thai place on the corner. 

A: Perfect! 

4. Gotcha

Gotcha means I understand what you are trying to say.

Let’s drop in on a conversation:

A: Make sure not to leave any trash in the bedrooms.

B: Gotcha. 

5. Have a good one! 

Have a good one means have a nice day. We often use this when saying goodbye to someone.

Ex

A: I have to go. I’ll see you guys later.

B: Have a good one!

6. Low-key

Low key means not elaborate or showy. It can also mean relaxed and small.

Let’s see it in use: 

A: How was the wedding? 

B: It was pretty low-key. It was just close family and friends.

7. Chill

Chill can be used to mean very relaxed or easy-going.

Let’s drop in on a conversation: 

A: How was the party last night? 

B: It was chill. We just hung out around the fire. 

8. Buck (s)

Buck is a slang term for dollar.

Ex. 

A: How much is this used guitar?

B: It’s 100 bucks.

A: Ok, I’ll take it!

9. My bad

We use this to say that you accept that you are wrong or that something is your fault.

Let’s see it in use: 

A: You forgot to turn off the lights.

B: My bad. I’ll remember next time.

10. I feel you/ya

We use this expression when sympathizing with someone’s thoughts or emotions.

Ex.

A: I’m tired of this rainy weather.

B: I feel ya. We need some sunshine.


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