10 American Slang Phrases for your Study Abroad Trip

Are you about to study abroad in America to improve your English? Here are 10 English words or phrases you will surely hear your classmates use during your stay in America.

 

What’s up?

Translation

‘Hi’, ‘How’s it going?’, or ‘What are you up to’.tenor

How to Use

Here are some appropriate responses:

What’s up” (Same in French when you ask “Ça va?” and respond “Ça va”)

Nothing. You?

 

Not much. I have an exam tomorrow that I have to study for

 

Translation

Another way you may hear “What’s up” is to ask “What is happening?”.

How to Use

Your friend is super mad, and a friend asks “What’s up with him?” Translation – “Why is he so mad?”

The train hasn’t come in 20 minutes. Someone asks you “What’s up with the train?” Translation – why is the train late?

You may also hear “What’s up” shortened to “Sup”.

 


I literally can’t even

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This is a phrase used so frequently used by young American girls, there are a ton of parodies and memes about the phrase.

Translation

It means that the person is overwhelmed, and doesn’t want to deal with the current situation.

How to Use

You’re studying in the library for a test tomorrow, and you’re super nervous. All of a sudden, the fire alarm goes off, and everyone has to evacuate the library. You say “I literally can’t even right now”

You get home from a long day, and your dog tore up your couch. You say: “I literally can’t right now.”

 


To bomb/to Kill

not-sure-if-aced-exam-or-bombed-it

These may seem like they mean the same thing, but they are actually OPPOSITES!

Translation

To bomb something means you did terribly.

How to Use

“I bombed that test”

Translation: “I did so terribly, I probably failed”

 

killed-workout

Translation

To kill something means you did really good.

How to Use

“I killed that test”

Translation: “I did so well I probably got every answer correct.”

 


To Pull an All-Nighter

Translation

An ‘all-nighter’ refers to staying up all night to either study or work. Besides college students studying, another common place you’ll hear this is with programmers when they stay up all night working on a project.

All-nighters are very common in American college culture, especially during midterms and finals weeks.

Want to pull an American all-nighter? Check out your schools’ library during finals week! Make sure to stock up on caffeine!

10-21_lee_allnightergraphic_maggielee

How to Use

“I’m going to the library to pull an all-nighter”

“I pulled an all-nighter for this test”


My Bad

Translationtenor1

“I’m sorry” or “That’s my fault”

It’s a slang way of acknowledging guilt over a trivial matter. This wouldn’t be appropriate in a job situation or during a serious matter.

How to Use

You spill water on your friend’s table. You say: “My bad.”

You are late for dinner. You say: “My bad, the train was late.”


To Hang Out

tenor2Translation

“Get together”, “do something together”

How to Use

“Hey, want to hang out?”

 

Someone asks you “What are you doing?” You say: “Nothing, just hanging out with my roommate”

 

Translation

Another way to use “Hang out” is to say your location.

How to Use

Someone texts you: “What’s up?” You say: “Nothing, just hanging out at the mall”

Someone asks you: “Where are you?” You say: “Hanging out with Julie in her dorm.”


To Chill

To Chill has two popular meanings in American English.

Translation

“to hang out in a casual atmosphere”, “to do nothing of substance”

How to Use

Someone says: “What are you doing?” You say: “Just chilling at my house”

Someone says: “What did you do this weekend?” You say: “Nothing, just chilled. It was great”

You can ask someone if they want to hang out, without saying what exactly you want to do: “Do you want to chill tomorrow?”

 

Translation

Another use of ‘chill’ is to say ‘calm down’ or ‘have some patience’
djcoHow to Use

Your dog is annoying you and won’t stop barking. You say “Chill.”

You’re waiting in a long line, and your friend wants to leave. You don’t want to leave and lose your spot in line so you say “Chill, we are almost to the front of the line.”


For Real/Seriously

For real and seriously have very similar meanings, and can be used interchangeably in most scenarios.

Translation

“I agree.”

How to Use

Someone says: “This science project is going to be so hard.”

You say: “For Real.”   or    You say: “Seriously.”

 

Someone says: “John is so annoying.”

You say: “Seriously.”   or    You say: “For real.”

 


 

What are your favorite American slang phrases and words? Tell us in the comments below!

To practice your American English with other Americans, head over to Lexody and start scheduling meetings to practice your English conversation!

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