American Culture 101: College Slang

You probably didn’t learn these words in your English classes. We’re explaining some “American slang” you may hear while your on campus in the U.S.

When you get to a new country, it can be intimidating. But don’t worry—International Student Voice is here to help! One of the first steps to building friendships in a new place is communication, here is some typical American slang you may here and the meanings.


All-nighter: (n) means to stay up throughout the night, often to complete some form of work

Ex. I had to pull an all-nighter to finish that paper for history class.


Ace: (v) to pass a test or exam relatively easily

Ex. John aced his economics exam.


Beat: (adj): tired or worn out, exhausted

Ex. My gym class was intense—I’m beat!


Booze: (n) alcohol, which can be anything from hard liquor to beer or wine

Ex. The party starts in twenty minutes. Did you bring the booze?


My bad: (slang) meaning its my fault. It’s a phrase used to apologize for making a mistake.

Ex. My bad! I meant to call you hours ago!


Cool: (adj) nice, great, impressive

Ex. That’s a cool dress. [or] He’s such a cool guy.


Creep: (n) an unpleasantly weird or strange person

Ex. That guy keeps following me around. He is such a creep!


Drag: (n) disappointment

Ex. What a drag! (Meaning: I am so disappointed!)


Eye-opener: (n) something that causes a realization

Ex. This article is such an eye-opener. I had no idea there was so much American slang!


Flip out/ Freak out: (v) to get upset

Ex. Don’t flip out! I’ll vacuum the room tomorrow.


Go with the flow: (v) to accept things as they are

Ex. I’m just going to go with the flow and see what happens.


Hang in there: (slang) means “don’t give up”, and is a phrase used to offer encouragement.

Ex. Hang in there! You’re almost done with your midterms.


Many of these phrases and definitions came from the following website Feel free to check out more American slang on your own!

What new words have you learned while being a student in the United States? Comment below or share on our Facebook page!

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