What is slang?

March 9, 2011

Slang is very informal kind of vocabulary. It is mostly used in speech by people who know each other well.

Most slang expressions in English relate to things like emotional relationships, drink, drugs, social conflicts, illness, death etc. In other words slangs are usually used to talk about things people feel strongly about.

Some common slangs are:

  • Get smashed = get drunk
  • Gran = grandmother
  • Boozer = pub
  • Prat = fool
  • Shove off = go
  • Sitrep = situation report
  • MD = Managing Director
  • Bug = illness
  • Lose one’s marbles = go mad
  • Kick the bucket = die
  • Dicey = risky
  • A piece of cake = easy
  • Play up – misbehave

Steven was punished for playing up at school. (= Steven was punished for misbehaving.)
It is dicey to ride a bike at night with no lights.
His father is becoming thin on top. (= His father is becoming bald.)
His father cleaned up when he opened a used-car yard. (= His father made a profit.)
He is a real prat. (= He is a real fool.)
John has lost his marbles. (= John has gone mad.)
They got smashed last night. (= They got drunk.)

Slang expressions are not usually used in writing and are considered out of place in all forms of formal communication.