Slang (American) Translation Article Knowledgebase

Articles about translation and interpreting
Article Categories
Search Articles

Advanced Search
About the Articles Knowledgebase has created this section with the goals of:

Further enabling knowledge sharing among professionals
Providing resources for the education of clients and translators
Offering an additional channel for promotion of members (as authors)

We invite your participation and feedback concerning this new resource.

More info and discussion >

Article Options
Your Favorite Articles
Recommended Articles
  1. overview and action plan (#1 of 8): Sourcing (ie. jobs / directory)
  2. Getting the most out of A guide for translators and interpreters
  3. Does Juliet's Rose, by Any Other Name, Smell as Sweet?
  4. The difference between editing and proofreading
  5. El significado de los dichos populares
No recommended articles found.
Popular Authors
  1. Eileen Brockbank
  2. Morena Nannetti (X)
  3. Lisa McCreadie (X)
  4. hzhang
  5. Abdolmehdi Riazi, Ph.D.
No popular authors found.

 »  Articles Overview  »  Language Specific  »  English Grammar  »  Slang (American)

Slang (American)

By Analia Cassano | Published  04/29/2009 | English Grammar | Recommendation:
Contact the author
Analia Cassano
United States
English to Spanish translator
Sar/Saret membru: May 4, 2012.
View all articles by Analia Cassano

See this author's profile
SLANG (American)

As I had mentioned before, here is the article about slang in American people.

Again, if you face to translate or interpret something full of American Slang, this guide attempts to help you and to make your job a bit easier.

Here are some useful examples:

Propeller – head: Socially inept person interested in computers and technology.

Babe: Attractive young woman.

Bimbo: Attractive but stupid young woman.

Himbo: has been coined for an attractive but stupid young man.

Ho: Wife, woman (in Black American slang). From "whore" (prostitute).

Squeeze: Lover, girlfriend or boyfriend.

Joe Sixpack: Uncultured, beer-drinking white american manual worker.

Dweeb: Studious, boring person.

Skell: Homeless person who sleeps in the subway. Probably from “skeleton”.

Wannabe: Fan. Someone who “wants to be” someone else.

Wonk: Expert

Adjectival Expressions

Attitude: Arrogance, non – cooperation. Common in the expression “with attitude” which means “individualistic”. E.g. in the music group “Niggaz with Attitude “.

`tude: Abbreviation of Attitude.

Awesome: Wonderful, excellent.

Rad: Excellent, wonderful. E.g. “It was a really rad party!”.

To die for: Extremely desirable or attractive. E.g. “a to-die-for face “ or “food to die for”.

From hell: Horrible, nasty. E.g. “students from hell”.

Drop-dead: Very, stunningly. Especially in the adjectival expression “drop-dead gorgeous" (exceedingly attractive). “Dead” has existed as a slang adverb meaning "very" for sometime in Britain and America.
Happening: Trendy, fashionable, contemporary.

Hard-ass: Difficult, tough. Also “hard-assed”.

In your face: Aggressive and provocative. E.g. “he likes really in your face comedy”.

To the max: To the maximum/limit. This explains the smart advertisement “Reduce to the max”. The adjectival expression “maxed out” means “stretched to the limit”.

Other Expressions

Bad hair day: A day on which everything goes wrong.

To spazz out: To lose emotional and physical control.

Palookaville: An imaginary town which symbolizes mediocrity and ineptitude. There is a movie called “Palookaville” (1998).

Tag: Nickname. Signature of graffiti-writers. E.g. “Her tag is ghostess”.

I have also written some useful spoken expressions in case you have to interpret slang speakers

There are number of sentence modifiers that British and American people use which do not add very much to the meaning but which make their speech more natural. Many of these elements would be considered “incorrect” in a formal context:

Actually: used for emphasis
Like: used to fill a pause
Sorta…(sort of): used to fill a pause
Kinda…(kind of): used to fill a pause
I dunno…: used to show uncertainty
I mean…: used for clarification
Y´know: used for confirmation

Certain verbs followed by to + another verb are typically contracted in both British and American English. The idea that these are “Americanisms” is nowadays a myth:

Wanna: want to
Gonna: (be) going to
Gotta: (have) got to
Tryna: (be) trying to

Other contractions are almost prerequisite if one wants to sound natural while speaking (in formal writing these contractions are not used, they just attempt to reflex how we speak):

Y´see: you see, you understand
Y´think?: do you think so?
Y´what?: what did you say?
C´mon: come on!
a´the moment: at the moment
´bout: about
´cos: because

*you never write these forms, but this is how they are pronounced.

Copyright ©, 1999-2021. All rights reserved.
Comments on this article

Knowledgebase Contributions Related to this Article
  • No contributions found.
Want to contribute to the article knowledgebase? Join

Articles are copyright ©, 1999-2021, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.
Content may not be republished without the consent of