100 Most Common English Slang Words & Phrases course.
Learning English slang words is one of the more intermediate to advanced stages of mastering the language, but if you’re a beginner, it doesn’t hurt to get a head-start!
Slang words are informal vocabulary words that aren’t typically found in a dictionary. Many of these words have multiple meanings, so you’ll have to pay close attention to the context of a conversation in order to use them correctly.
Slang is very informal language or specific words used by a particular group of people. You’ll usually hear slang spoken more often than you’ll see it put in writing, though emails and texts contain many conversational slang words.
Though slang sometimes gets a bad rap for being inappropriate or incorrect, it’s also highly creative and shows that the English language is constantly evolving over time. Let’s dive in to some examples:
Some slang words that were once popular are no longer used. For example:
Cat’s pajamas: This term was commonly used byflappersin the 1920s to mean that something was exciting, new, or excellent. Though it doesn’t make much sense, it does use vivid imagery. “That new phonograph is the cat’s pajamas.”
Wallflower: This term describes a shy person. It was used for decades in the 20th century to describe a person – typically a girl – who preferred to stand along the wall instead of participating in a dance. “You’ll have more fun at the dance if you aren’t such a wallflower.”
Don’t have a cow: This term is used to try to calm someone down. It was popularized by the TV showThe Simpsonsin the 1980s and 90s, and though you might still hear Bart say it in reruns, it’s no longer very common to hear in conversation. “Don’t have a cow, mom! I didn’t eat all the ice cream.”
Examples of Evolving Slang
Some slang words change their meaning over time, usually across generations. This keeps the word in usage but can lead to some miscommunication between older and younger speakers. For example:
Busted: To your grandparents, “busted” probably meant that something was broken. To your parents, it means getting caught doing something wrong. The latest use? As an adjective to mean “ugly.” “No, I won’t go out with your little sister. She’s busted.”
Ride: Originally a verb for the act of being a passenger in a vehicle, this word also evolved into a noun to describe a car. Most recently, “my rides” can mean sneakers. “I got new rides to match my favorite shirt.”
Hip: Originally “hip” or “hep” meant someone very fashionable in the first half of the 20th century. It evolved to mean someone into jazz and beatnik culture in the 1940s and 50s, and changed further still into “hippie” to describe flower children of the 60s. Today it’s changed again to “hipster,” meaning a self-aware, artsy person. “My hip grandfather plays the sax, but my hipster brother just makes homemade pickles.”
Examples of Portmanteau Slang
Some slang terms are created by combining two words into one that has a new meaning. A new word created by combining portions of two existing words is called aportmanteau, and they are very popular as a way to give a new name to a celebrity couple. For example, the actors Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were known as “Brangelina” when they were married. Other examples of portmanteaus:
Frenemy: This combination of “friend” and “enemy” describes a person who is a little bit of both, perhaps a friend with whom one experiences regular conflict. “You’d be a lot happier if you stopped hanging out with your frenemy.”
Do you want to join my course? Then stay tuned, the course will be available on the 15th January, 2020… let’s kick the new year with some new vocab 😋.