English Slang and Informal Language: Understanding the Words We Use


Slang and informal language are words and phrases that are not typically used in formal settings or standard language. Learning slang and informal language is important to improve your communication skills and understanding of English. The use of slang in English has a rich history and has evolved over time.

Examples of Common Slang Words and Phrases

Here are some popular examples of English slang words and phrases:

  1. Lit – Something that is exciting, great or fun.
  2. Hangry – A combination of the words hungry and angry, when someone is irritable due to hunger.
  3. FOMO – Fear of missing out, the anxiety that comes with not being involved in a particular activity or event.
  4. Chill – To relax or hang out with friends.
  5. Yeet – To throw or move something with force and excitement.
  6. On fleek – To look perfect or flawless.
  7. Stan – A fan or obsessive follower of a celebrity or a particular subject.
  8. Ghost – To suddenly disappear or stop responding to messages or calls.
  9. GOAT – Greatest of all time, used to describe a person or thing that is the best in a certain category.
  10. Bae – A term of endearment for a significant other or someone you love.

These slang words and phrases are commonly used in everyday conversations, and their meanings may vary depending on the context.

Regional Slang and Dialects

Slang usage can vary depending on the region and country in which English is spoken. Here are some examples of regional slang and dialects in the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, and Canada:

  1. UK
    • Bloody (very)
    • Bob’s your uncle (everything is all good)
  2. US
    • Gonna (going to)
    • Sick (cool or awesome)
  3. Australia
    • G’day (hello)
    • Arvo (afternoon)
  4. Canada
    • Eh (used to seek agreement or confirmation)

Understanding regional slang and dialects is important for effective communication, especially when traveling to different English-speaking countries.

Informal Language in Social Media and Texting

Social media and texting have given rise to a new form of slang and informal language. Here are some examples of popular internet slang and acronyms:

  1. LOL – Laugh out loud
  2. BRB – Be right back
  3. TBT – Throwback Thursday
  4. SMH – Shaking my head
  5. LMAO – Laughing my ass off
  6. IMO – In my opinion
  7. YOLO – You only live once
  8. ROFL – Rolling on the floor laughing
  9. IRL – In real life
  10. IDK – I don’t know

Additionally, emojis have become a popular way of expressing emotions in online communication.

Using Slang and Informal Language Appropriately

Using slang and informal language in appropriate situations is important to avoid sounding unprofessional or disrespectful. Here are some tips for using slang and informal language appropriately:

  1. Consider your audience – Know who you are speaking to and adjust your language accordingly.
  2. Use slang sparingly – Overusing slang can be distracting and make it difficult for others to understand you.
  3. Avoid offensive language – Some slang words and phrases can be offensive, and it’s important to be aware of their meanings and context before using them.
  4. Be aware of the situation – Different situations call for different types of language, and it’s important to be aware of the appropriate language to use.

In conclusion, learning slang and informal language can be a fun and engaging way to improve your English language skills and connect with native speakers. Understanding the nuances of slang and informal language can help you communicate more effectively in casual settings and build rapport with others.

Remember to use slang and informal language appropriately, considering your audience and the context of the situation. Incorporate new words and phrases into your vocabulary gradually, and practice using them in different situations to gain confidence.

By expanding your knowledge of English slang and informal language, you can become a more versatile and skilled communicator, and deepen your understanding of the language and culture. So don’t be afraid to dive into the world of slang and informal language and start exploring today!