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American Expressions you should know

Going to USA? You should be familiar with these terms:

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


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