American Slang Words you Need to Know in 2021

American Slang Words you Need to Know in 2021

Many English learners hoping to study or work in the U.S. are often challenged by American TV shows, songs, or friends who speak English natively.

English learners often do not learn slang words as part of formal English education, even though these words help them to understand American culture and communicate with American friends more effectively.

Slang Words Teens are Using in 2021, and What They Mean

Every language has its dialects, language addictions, and slang and expressions, of course. Although people around the world are accustomed to using simple words to exchange ideas in chats and informal conversations, when they are gathered in chat rooms, they tend not to use complicated words to exchange ideas.

In this article, it is not going to be possible to stay away from the everyday words that English speakers use. Here are some American slang terms that you can use not only during chats, but also to understand slang when listening in an English language conversation circle.

Check out our top 19 American slang words that will help you communicate in English with native speakers.

#1. Dope

It’s used as an adjective to mean cool, awesome, great.

  • Jay-Z’s new album is dope.

  • Dope shoes!

#2. “Simp”

The slang "Simp" comes from being subservient to someone else. Most often a male who is trying to impress a woman, and will do anything for her, putting anything else aside. It was originally used only for males, but is now being used by both genders.

  • If telling his girlfriend he would always be there for her makes him a simp, then I guess he’s been simping for a long time now.

#3. Cringe

It is often accompanied by a facial or body movement that shows the disgust or embarrassment you feel. As an example, if you're trying to talk to someone who's awkward and hard to talk with, your friend might say:

  • I saw you trying to talk to John. It's cringey!

  • In the case of a presenter who is very nervous and giving a bad presentation, you might say: This is cringe.


#4. Fire

Fire is like Dope, it’s something awesome, excellent, crazy amazing – the Bomb! 

  • Yo, those shoes are Fire!

#5. Roast

As an American slang, roast refers to situations in which someone feels insulted and offended.

#6. On fleek

You know when you see something that looks really amazing, don't you? Like on point, it means "perfectly done" or "exactly right."

On fleek can refer to anything that is "flawless," sometimes shortened to just fleek. Also, it means something is at the pinnacle of perfection.

  • The double char-broiled bacon burger, hot dog, and Italian beef are on fleek.

#7. Throwing shade

Together, these words form another expression that enters the list of slang used by young people in the USA. This american slang, throwing shade, means the behavior of someone who is negatively judging or disapproving of another person.

#8. Bet

Bet has moved from a simple term indicating agreement.

  • Want to go to the movies?

  • Sure, bet!

To the complete opposite, a term connoting doubt, sarcasm, and disagreement. In other words, a term that initially basically meant “yes” now means “no.” 

  • - Yo, can you help me clean my room?

  • - Bet

  • *leaves walks out of the door*

The new meaning is basically a sarcastic “No.”

That said, Bet can still be used in just its original meaning of “Yes, ok” as well. It’s just cooler than ok.

#9. Weirdo or Freaky

This is not slang used positively, but it is still part of the vocabulary of young Americans. Weirdo and freaky are expressions that are normally used when characterizing a person considered “strange” or “weird”.

#10. Shut up

You've probably heard that shut up means “stop talking”. However, among young Americans, these two words together can gain yet another meaning, which expresses a feeling of disbelief in something or in some surprising situation.

#11. Bail or Ditch

Bail and ditch, both mean “I have to break or cancel the plans with someone”. 

  • Sorry friends, I have to bail tonight.

#12. Balling/Ballin’

In many American pop songs, such as “White Iverson'' by Post Malone, you may have heard the term: "when I started ballin' I was young". In casual conversation, ballin' means having a luxurious lifestyle.

  • Heard you went on vacation in Los Angeles again last week, you are ballin’!

#13. Chill or Chill out

If one day you need to ask a young American friend to relax, be calmer or not stress, just say: 

  • Hey, chill out! Everything will be fine.

In the US, young people also use the word chill which has several meanings by itself to describe someone mature, or as a verb to describe more relaxed plans, such as watching a series instead of going to a club.

#14. Down to earth

Referring to someone who is humble, genuine, and easy to get along with.

  • At the museum last night, I made a new friend who was very down to earth. I'd love to hang out with her again!

#15. G.O.A.T.

Not the cute animal, but the acronym for “Greatest of all Time”. Pronounce exactly like the animal, but goat should only be used to talk about someone who truly is the greatest of all time.

  • Kobe is the GOAT, may he rest in peace.

#16. Slay

It is an informal way of expressing my great appreciation for someone doing something well or performing a task well.

  • Beyoncé slays every performance!

#17. Tea or Here is the tea

The phrase is often used in terms like What's the TEA (what's the latest gossip), Spill the Tea (tell someone what the hot news is), or just using it as a single word to refer to what's in the news.

  • Are you up for spilling the tea about your date last night?

#18. Wack

In contrast to traditional definitions, Wack refers to monotony or something that is worse than expectations in American pop culture.

  • How was the movie you watched last night?

  • The movie was wack.

#19. What’s good

It is often used to make friends say hello or to say how you are doing. When an English speaker asks you that question, you can answer with what you are doing or how you feel at the time.

  • What’s good? Haven’t seen you for a while

  • Nothing much, just studying and preparing for the upcoming exams! How about you?

What's up my dudes?

Staying on top of the most spoken slangs in English by young people in the USA is the best way to prepare for an exchange program or for a trip to any location in that country, as well as allowing the expansion of vocabulary in the English language.

To learn even more of the language, take a free counseling session and check out the available English courses here in the USA! We offer free counseling sessions so you can start the course confident that you made the right choice.

Learning English is a long and exciting experience, it also allows the learners to be exposed to the American culture and make friends worldwide. Besides offering the best educational schools at all levels with flexible schedules, Study in the USA has over 40 years of experience and establishes the best academic experience and life-long friendships! Find the best institutions for you by clicking here!

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