7 Everyday American Slang Expressions

American slang

Do you know what I love about English? There are so many fun expressions. Especially American slang and idioms. They really make the difference between someone who learned school English and someone who speaks real everyday English.

Today, you’ll learn 7 American slang expressions so you sound more natural, when you speak English.

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to pig out

Pigs aren’t clean animals, and when they eat, it’s not pretty. That’s why Americans use the expression “to pig out” when someone eats a lot of food, generally in an unrefined, messy way.

If your friend says “We pigged out at the buffet” they didn’t eat a lot of pork, they just ate a lot of food.

to screw up something

If your colleague tells you “We really screwed up the project”, they’re not talking about a do-it-yourself project.

It means everything went wrong, they made a lot of mistakes, and the project was a disaster. Basically, if someone tells you they’ve screwed up, it’s never a good thing.

to take a raincheck

If a friend wants you to do something with them and you’re not available at that moment, you can say “Can I take a raincheck?” It means “I can’t now, but I’d like to at another time.”

The expression comes from baseball! If the weather was bad, spectators could get a ticket to come see the game later, when the weather was better.

If you want even more everyday expressions and lots of real, modern English vocabulary that Americans use everyday, be sure to get my selection of 10 of my best lessons to boost your vocabulary in English. Click this link to get access to the lessons immediately.

to jack up the prices

In the summer months, hotels and airlines increase their prices because everyone wants to make a booking. During winter vacation, ski resorts jack up their prices.

So, “to jack up prices”  means to suddenly increase prices. This expression has a negative connotation. You’re not happy and you think the price increase is unfair.

“What?! The hotel costs only $40 a night in February! And it’s $100 in July. They really jack up their prices. Those thieves!”

to drive someone up the wall

If you’ve ever been in a room with 10 hyperactive children, you might tell your friend “These kids drive me up the wall.”

It means they’re making you crazy and irritated. Imagine that you feel crazy enough to try to drive your car up the wall of a building. That’s the emotion this expression conveys.

to ride shotgun

This expression comes from the American Far West, when the person sitting next to the driver of a stagecoach needed a shotgun to defend against attackers.

Today, we say the person in the passenger seat in a car is riding shotgun. So riding shotgun is less violent than you imagine. Except if it’s two teenagers fighting over who has the privilege of riding shotgun…

a couch potato

This one is funny if you imagine literally a big fat potato sitting on a couch. It’s not very nice to call someone “a couch potato” because it means they just sit on a couch all day and watch TV, look at their smartphone, or play video games.

It’s certainly a good way to have the physique of a potato!

Don’t be a couch potato, but do watch today’s lesson on American slang!

Now, what about you?
What other fun American expressions do you know?
Have you ever heard your American friends use one of these?

Share your American slang in the comments, and let’s see what the Speak English community knows!

And of course, please share this video and the lessons with a friend who would like them.
It will help me help other and that’s always cool.

Thanks and have a good week,


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