What counts as American Slang?
Slang is informal language more often found in verbal communication than in written form. This sort of casual speech is often based on common knowledge and has little to do with the literal definitions of words. American slang is no different. As a result, language learners can struggle to understand what native speakers are saying when they use slang.
For example, the term “date” means to set up romantic, one-on-one time with someone. Traditionally this means going out do something (watch a movie, go to a concert) and have dinner. It is one of the most fundamental terms you will hear in conversations about American relationships. You will hear things like, “they are dating” or “I have a date tonight.” However, the literal definition is “the day of the month or year as specified by a number.” If you don’t understand this American slang term, the entire conversation will be lost.
Slang is particularly important in relationships because intimate relationships are rarely formal in America. Instead, intimate relationships are marked by their informality and closeness. So, slang is a huge part of contemporary relationship vocabulary and is important to learn.
One word of warning, while it may be tempting to start using all the new slang words and phrases you learn, if you don’t have a basic knowledge of the language, then you will not be able to properly communicate.
So you shouldn’t begin using slang until you have a general grasp on to communicate properly. If you are looking to develop a fundamental understanding of English, then you should try LingoDeer. It is a thorough and user friendly program to help you learn English and many other languages.
If you have the basics down and are looking to develop your fluency further, then American slang is what you need to learn. It will help you both understand spoken English better and communicate more clearly. This article will particularly help you talk about relationships with American English speakers.
American Slang Terms for People in Relationships
This term refers to a person who is considered attractive by a lot of people. There is general agreement that they are an attractive person. It can be used to refer to both men and women. While you may still hear this term used, it is an older slang and appears less frequently.
Chris is a babe. All the girls want to date him.
Babe was the original and has been replaced by the more popular term “BAE.” It means “before anyone else” and is used to refer to the person you are in relationship with. It can also be used to describe an attractive person, similar to babe.
Mark is Ashley’s BAE. They’ve been together forever.
She’s a BAE.
An ex is someone that you used to be in a romantic relationship with. Typically, when you refer to someone as an ex it’s a negative thing.
My ex is a jerk.
I’m so glad we aren’t together anymore.
This term refers to a person who dates a lot of people. They may even engage with them sexually. Usually these people are very charming and interesting. Unfortunately, they don’t really care about people or their feelings.
John is such a player. He was dating Megan, while talking to Jessica, and texting Mary.
5. Old flame
An old flame is someone who you once had a relationship with and still like. Unlike an ex, this term is not negative, but rather a positive statement.
I saw my old flame yesterday, and she looked great.
The term chick refers to a woman in a neutral sense. It doesn’t carry a negative or positive meaning. Instead, it is simply another way to talk about a woman.
There was a new chick at my work today. She seemed chill.
A stud is a man who is known to be strong, attractive, kind, and successful. It doesn’t only refer to his physical strength, but also to his character and personality.
Mark is such a stud. He plays football, does well in school, and is nice to everyone.
A wingman is a friend who helps you meet people. They help make things less awkward by being there for you and helping keep the conversation going.
Jake is the best wingman. Whenever we go to a bar, he helps me meet women.
American Slang Verbs About Relationships
The term originates from when you set a date to spend time with someone on a calendar. Now it refers to when two people are spending intentional time together in the form of “dates.” This time together is more than just spending time with friends because it is in a romantic, one-on-one context. Dating can refer to people who are in a relationship or to two people who are deciding whether they want to be in a relationship.
Ashley and Mark have been dating for a month now.
I’ve got a date tonight.
10. Make out
Often heard as “making out” means to kiss passionately and for extended periods of time. Usually you make out laying down on top of each other. Making out is something you don’t do in front of other people. If you do, you will be perceived as inappropriate or weird.
We were making out when my roommate walked in. Awkward…
Crushing or having a crush one someone is when you are romantically interested in someone but haven’t told them. It’s the time when you hope to see them and talk to them, but don’t know whether they are interested in you back.
I’m crushing on him so hard.
I have a huge crush on Justin Bieber.
12. Hit on
Hitting on someone is when you say something to them to get their attention. Usually you hit on someone who you are romantically interested in. Typically, men are known for hitting on women, but women can hit on men.
Jake told Emily that she looked great in her jeans. He was hitting on her again.
When someone gets dumped it means that someone ended a relationship with them. It is not a decision both people make. Instead, one person “dumps” or ends the relationship with the other person.
After dating for two months, Jake Dumped Amanda. She is very sad.
14. Hook up
Hooking up means to interact with someone sexually whom you are not in a relationship with. The sexual behavior can vary from making out to sexual intercourse.
John and Mary always hook up at parties even though they aren’t dating.
15. Netflix and chill
This term refers to when you spend time with someone to watch tv but know that it will likely lead to some sort of sexual activity. It is a coded message, which is now known to mean a casual night of watching tv and having sex.
Jake invited me over to Netflix and chill, but I know he just wants to have sex.
Ghosting is when someone will not respond to messages. This can either be in a one-on-one message or a group message. The person will respond for a while and then suddenly stop.
I was texting Megan and asked her if she wanted to Netflix and chill, but then she ghosted me.
17. Go out with
This term refers to spending time with a person who you are interested in romantically. It is usually at the beginning of a relationship when there is no serious commitment. It can refer to one date or a series of dates.
Are you going out with Matt?
18. Lead on
Leading someone on is when you give them lots of attention but don’t actually want to be in a romantic relationship with them. It’s common to lead people on for what you get from them, without committing to a relationship.
Jake led me on for a month. I should have known he never actually wanted to date me.
19. Ask out
Asking someone out is when you ask them if they want to go on a date with you. This can be scary because you don’t know what they are going to say.
I’m trying to work up the courage to ask Ashley out this weekend.
20. Cheat on
This term refers to when someone acts out sexually with someone else when they are in a relationship. It is usually a secret and is inappropriate.
Jay cheated on me with Lindsey. It broke my heart. We had been dating for over a year.
American Slang Adjectives for Relationships
21. Knocked up
This adjective refers to when someone gets pregnant. It is a very informal and impolite term.
Katie got knocked up by Tom and doesn’t know what to do.
Thirsty is used to describe men or women who are desperate for sex or a relationship. The term is not positive because it describes people who will date or sleep with anyone available at the time.
Sarah is super thirsty. She wants a boyfriend and will date anyone.
By far, this is one of the most common and popular slang terms in America. It is used to describe an attractive person. The person can be male or female.
Cait is really hot.
This is a less popular term than hot but carries generally the same meaning. It refers to someone as attractive.
Gerald is looking fine tonight.
The Need to Understand American Slang for Relationships:
American slang is key to communicating fluently and naturally, especially when it comes to talking about relationships. So, learning how to use slang will take your language learning to the next level. It will also help you understand American movies and will definitely impress your American friends.
With that being said, you shouldn’t start using slang before you are read. You need a knowledge of the basic mechanics of the language first. If you are looking to build a stronger foundation, then LingoDeer can help. It’s an easy to use and intuitive language learning program to help you learn English. LingoDeer can give you a good foundation so you can start using slang with all your English friends as soon as possible!