American Idioms and Expressions

Americans have their own style and conversation lingo. Numerous idioms and expressions are used, which are typical of their style. A lot of slang is used out there. Its always good to be aware of these terms as these are commonly used in US, more frequently by the youngsters in college. You should go through this list and acquaint yourself with them. So, if someone out there says you something, you should atleast know whether you are being praised or someone is criticizing you.

Here goes the list:

Beat up : worn out, shabby (said of a thing)
Beat around the bush : avoid an issue
Been had : to have been taken advantage of
Big shot : a supposedly important person or someone who thinks he/she is
Big deal : anything important, exciting
Break the ice : make a beginning
Buck : dollar bill
Bombed : see "high"
Booze : alcoholic beverage
Bummer : a term to designate that something undesirable has happened
Cash : paying someone with currency rather than a check
Check out : look over a situation
Cool or neat : slang term denoting approval for something or someone
Cool it : calm down
Cop : slang for policeman
Cut it out : stop it
Crack up : to lose emotional control in laughter
Date : to go out with someone; also the person with whom you go
Down : to feel depressed, sad
Down to earth : practical, straightforward, (person)
Drop : to withdraw from a course on or before the set date
Drive one up the wall : drive one nuts; to make one very nervous, or upset
Fall for : take a strong liking for
Fed up : disgusted with, or tired of
Frak out : to lose control of oneself, go crazy
Give a ring : to call on the telephone
Go to pot : to deteriorate
Grass : slang term for marijuana
Gripe : to complain
Hang on : in reference to the telephone it means do not hang up the receiver
Hang in there : keep trying; do not be discouraged
Hassled : troubled by
Have a lot on the ball : to be capable, talented, or efficient
High : intoxicated ("loaded") from liquor or drugs
Hit the sack : go to bed
Hung up : to be in conflict over a problem
I.D. : identification
In a nutshell : very briefly and concisely
Jock : an athlete
Keep your shirt on : be clam, be patient
Know the ropes : be familiar with the details of an undertaking
Lemon : bad buy or purchase
Loaded : to get intoxicated
Make ends meet : budget within one's income
Make up : (1) to apologize after a fight or disagreement
(2) to do an assignment after it was due
(3) cosmetics a woman uses
Mid term : test given during the middle of the quarter
On the house : free, no cost
Old man : slang term for father
Once in a blue moon : seldom, infrequently
Out of it : (1) somebody whose mind is Far away or preoccupied, or
(2) somebody not fitting into a certain group
Out of the question : unthinkable, impossible
Over my dead body : not if I can stop it !
Out of sight : term of approval denoting something exciting or very good
Play it by ear : to respond to circumstances as they arise
Phony : someone who is insincere, also fake
Play second fiddle : be second in importance
Pop-Quiz : a test given with no prior warning
Pot : a term used for marijuana
Psyched up : to mentally prepare yourself for something; excited about something
Pull one's leg : to tease someone
Pull strings : use influence
Pull the wool over someone's eyes : deceive or mislead someone
Put someone on : to tease or try to fool. "Are you putting me on ?"
Put your foot in your mouth : say something you regret having said
Rip off : to steal; charge an exorbitant price for some item
Redneck : hillbilly
Run around with : be friends with
Screwed up : confused
Shook up : upset
Show : movie or film, cinema
Skip or cut : not go to class
Stoned : to get high on grass
Straight : one who goes along with the norms of society, conservative
Take a raincheck : to postpone an invitation, accepting it for a later date
Take for granted : to assume
Through the grapevine : through gossip
To the max : to the maximum or greatest degree
Uptight : worried, tense
Under the weather : sick, not feeling well
With flying colors : with victory or success
Wasted : an extreme lack of energy. Also can mean "high"
Ya'll : You all
Zero in on : focus or concentrate on



August 25, 2008 at 8:17 PM

hey, nice one... this is a really good collection... enjoyed reading it


December 24, 2009 at 4:54 PM

hey dude this are really nice articles I am planning to launch site for USC juniors specific. Hope u can right some post thanks

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