SLANG, IDIOMS & EXPRESSIONS
(I periodically add terms.)


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I deliberately have included some rude words, but avoided vulgar terms. These should not be used. Terms with (pronoun) or (noun) indicate that alternate words can be used within the ( ).

Term
Definition
"B"
Babe, a A pretty young woman (Alisa is a real babe!)
Babe in the woods Naive person (Alice is just a babe in the woods.)
Baby Term of affection, especially for a woman
Babysit To monitor closely (Dan must babysit the experimental equipment today.)
Back burner, on the An issue of minor concern (Let us keep this on the back burner.)
Back in a jif To return soon (I will be back in a jif.)
Back in a jiffy To return soon
Back off 1. To be distant from (They had to back off from the idea.)
2. Keep away! [an imperative]
Back off, homesteader! Do not bother me!
Back talk Speak rudely and argumentatively (Don't give me any back talk!)
Back the wrong horse To support the wrong person
Back to To return (Let's get back to the purpose of this meeting.)
Back to the wall To be trapped (His back was to the wall.)
Back up 1. On again (The electricity is back up.)
2. To go backwards (Back up the truck so we can load it.)
Backbite To criticize behind someone's back (I hate backbiting and backbiters. They're cowards.)
Backed up Blocked; crowded (Los Angeles freeways are backed up this morning.)
Backfire To fail (Joel's elaborate plan backfied.)
Back-seat driver Someone who tells another how to drive a car
Backup Assistance (The policeman called for backup.)
Bad!, that's That is very good! [Slang term with an inconsistent meaning.]
Bad apple Bad person (Josiah is bad apple.)
Bad blood 1. To be angry (There is a lot of bad blood between them.)
2. A relative who is a bad person (John is bad blood.)
Bad egg Bad person (Joseph actually is not a bad egg.)
Bad news Disagreeable thing or person (He is bad news.)
Bad off In a difficult/poor condition (You look bad off today.)
Bad scene, a A disagreeable activity (They had a bad scene yesterday.)
Bad trip, a A disagreeable experience with narcotics
Badmouth To belittle or berate someone (Sally badmouthed her mother.)
Bag 1. A disagreeable woman (I don't like that old bag!)
2. To catch (Police bagged the thief.)
Bag, not (my) Not (someone's) profession/activity (That is not my bag.)
Bag of tricks Options; capabilities (The agency has a diverse bag of tricks.)
Bagman Person who brings bribe money (Police caught the bagman.)
Bag of wind A boastful person (You are such a bag of wind!)
Bail out To abandon; leave (He will bail out when trouble starts.)
Bail (him) out To help (someone) (We should bail him out of that trouble.)
Bake a cake Expression that indicates a need to be prepared
(If I had known that you were coming, I would have baked a cake.)
Baker's dozen, a 13
Ball, a Much fun; enjoyable (Everyone had a ball at the party.)
Ball bounces, that's the way the That is reality. Life is as it happens.
Ball game, a different An unexpected change of planned action
Ball hog, a Someone who insists on shooting the ball often in a game
Baloney Nonsense
Bang, to To copulate [rude] (Suneo banged Hitomi.)
Bang-up job To perform very well (He did a bang-up job with the car.)
Bank on it To be confident that something will happen
Bargain for To expect (She never bargained for his lazy attitude.)
Bargain on To expect (I can always bargain on her punctuality.)
Barge in To intrude (You always barge in at the wrong time!)
Bark up the wrong tree To seek in the wrong area
Barrel of laughs Fun (Anna thinks William is a barrel of laughs.)
barrel of monkeys, More fun than a Very fun
Bash, a A party (John is having a bash tonight.)
Basket case, a To be extremely nervous or afraid (She is a basket case.)
Bat an eye, didn't To be unafraid; not nervous
Bat, old An old, obnoxious woman (Stay away from that old bat!)
Bats in the belfry Crazy (She has bats in the belfry.)
Batty Crazy (That idea is batty.)
Bawl out To chastise (Mother bawled out her son.)
Be about 1. To do (Be about your work.)
2. The main idea or purpose was (It was about finishing the job.)
Be around Near (People don't want to be around that jerk.)
Be big about To accept responsibilty (Dave was big about the mistake and tried to correct it.)
Beach bum Person who frequents a beach; often does not have a job
Beak A person's nose (He punched Bob in the beak.)
Bean To hit someone on the head (He got beaned in the head.)
Bean, the The head (The ball hit him on the bean.)
Bean ball A thrown baseball that hits someone in the head
Bean brain Stupid person
Beanbag, a A stupid, fat person
Beaner An illegal Mexican [rude]
Beans! 1. I don't believe that/you!
2. That's crazy!
Beans, don't know To be ignorant (John doesn't know beans!)
Beans from donuts To be ignorant (You don't know beans from donuts!)
Bear down on To pressure someone/something (The company bore down on Jack.)
Bear in mind To remember (You should bear that in mind.)
Beat a drum To advocate something (Jill often beats that drum.)
Beat a hasty retreat To retreat quickly
Beat about the bush To hesitate; to talk around an issue (Stop beating about the bush!)
Beat all To surprise [also "beats (someone or something) all hollow"] (If that doesn't beat all!)
Beat down To weaken something (I feel like they often beat me down.)
Beat it Go away (Julia told her old boyfriend to beat it.)
Beat (my) brains out To study hard; to think deeply
Beat (my) head against the wall To attempt an unsuccessful action
Beat time with To date; spend time with someone (Jack is trying to beat time with my girl.)
Beat to the draw 1. To shoot someone before he can use his pistol
2. To act before another does (John beat him to the draw.)
Beat to the punch To act before another does
Beat up To fight with someone (Jack beat up the other boy.)
Beats me. I don't know. (Beats me, I never heard that before.)
Bed of roses Easy; convenient (Emily expected marriage life to be a bed of roses.)
Bee in the bonnet To be bothered (It was a bee in her bonnet.)
Beef up To strengthen (The army beefed up its defense.)
Been had To be deceived (Victoria thought she had been had.)
Beer bash, a A riotous party with beer served
Beetle brain Stupid person (Henry is a beetle brain.)
Bells on, be there with To arrive well-dressed
Belly-crawler A coward (Bill always was a belly-crawler.)
Belly up To be dead (The dog was belly up in the road.)
Belly up to To stand next to something (He was belly up to the table.)
Bent on To be determined (Aldolpho is bent on studying late tonight.)
Best bet The most appropriate action (Your best bet is to quit now.)
Bet your boots Statement of positive belief
Bet your life Statement of positive belief
Bet your money Statement of positive belief
Betcha Certainty (You betcha, I can win.) [Same as Bet you]
Better believe (it) It will happen (You better believe that I'll come on time.)
Better luck next time Wish good fortune in the future. [Expression of sympathy]
Big boy 1. Grownup (Bill must accept responsibilty; he's a big boy now.)
2. Term of endearment (Hey big boy, why don't we go for a walk together?)
Big cheese Head person; boss (The big cheese himself spoke with us today.)
Big deal Something important (He has a big deal going.)
Big fish Important person (Police hope to catch the big fish and not just small fry.)
Big hand Applause (Let's give him a big hand.)
Big lug Large, stupid person (Bud has always been a big lug.)
Big mouth Loud; opinionated (Danny has a big mouth and a pea brain.)
Big-mouth Obnoxious blowhard; boaster (None of us likes a big-mouth jerk.)
Big-time Very much (Thieves broke into the home big-time.)
Big wig Important person (Another big wig is expected to inspect us today.)
Bimbo A stupid young woman (She is another California bimbo.)
Binge, a Drunk (Looks as though Phil went on a binge last night.)
Bird, a Strange person (I have no intention of speaking with that old bird.)
Bird, the A rude finger gesture (You should never give someone the bird.)
Bird in hand, a A sure thing (You're so happy; you must have a bird in hand.)
Birdbrain Stupid person (Matt actually is not a birdbrain; he just puts on an act.)
Birds-eye view To see clearly (We had a birds-eye view of their fight.)
Birds of a feather Similar associates (The boys are birds of a feather.)
Bitch Disagreeable female [very rude]
Bite To take interest; accept (OK, I'll bite. Where's is she?)
Bite head off To reprimand (The boss bit off heads off due to poor performance.)
Bite out of the apple To show interest (I expect Joanne to take a bite out of the apple.)
Bite the bullet To accept the inevitable (Jim bit the bullet and went with the team.)
Bite the dust To die (Villains bite the dust in a John Wayne movie.)
Bite tongue Do not speak (Bite your tongue. We don't want Jane to know about the surprise.)
Black and blue Hurt everywhere (Steve is black and blue all over.)
Black and white To be clear (You better write it down in black and white.)
Black in the face Vary angry (He'll swear till he's black in the face.)
Black out To faint; not remember (Molly blacked out bad memories of her boyfriend.)
Black sheep Wayward person (Roberto is the black sheep in our family.)
Blackout No light (Our city ordered a blackout before the battle.)
Blamed Mild expression of disgust (I won't drive that blamed truck until it's repaired!)
Blammo Sound of an explosion (It was a big sound--blammo!)
Blast, a Very fun; enjoyable (We had a blast visiting with you.)
Blast, to Yell at; criticize (Marilyn blasted Otto for being insensitive.)
Blast it! Expression of anger or irritation.
Blind alley No chance of success (You're just pursuing a blind alley.)
Blind as a bat Cannot see (The old lady is blind as a bat without glasses.)
Blind date Date with a stranger (Evita was pleased with her blind date.)
Blind spot Cannot see clearly (He does have a blind spot.)
Blindside To surprise (Johnny blindsided his opposition.)
Bloke British term for a person (Pleased to meet you blokes.)
Blood boil To be very angry (That makes my blood boil.)
Blot out To ignore; remove (Blot it out of your memory.)
Blow (it) To fail (The actor blew his lines.)
Blow!, now Get out of here now! Don't bother me!
Blow off To ignore (Billy blew off today's test.)
Blow off steam To release pressure or angry (Don't worry; they're just blowing off steam.)
Blow out 1. To extinguish (You can blow out the candles.)
2. To explode (Oh, the vehicle's tire just blew out.)
Blow over To end; pass (The storm will blow over soon.)
Blow own horn To boast (She likes to blow her own horn.)
Blow smoke To lie; obfuscate (I think the company is just blowing smoke.)
Blow stack To be angry (Mother blew her stack because we did not help.)
Blow top To be angry (Belinda will blow her top when the truth comes out.)
Blow the whistle To expose (Dan is determined to blow the whistle on corruption.)
Blow up To explode; be angry (Watch out before I blow up!)
Blow with the wind Indecisive (Nathaniel is the type who blows with the wind.)
Blowback Adverse reaction (We can expect blowback from the agency's foolish action.)
Blue To be discouraged; despondent (Jack is feeling blue today.)
Blue blood Royalty; elitist (Roger doesn't have a drop of blue blood in him.)
Blue in the face Very upset (The baby can yell till he is blue in the face.)
Bobby-soxer Teenager (Samuel won't date a bobby-soxer.)
Bog down To be stuck (Our army is bogged down in a no-win war.)
Boil over To become dangerous or angry (Jill might boil over if we don't help.)
Bolt out of the blue Suddenly (It came like a bolt out of the blue.)
Bomb 1. To explode a bomb (Terrorists plan to bomb a priority target.)
2. To fail (Many students bombed on the test.)
3. Old car (I bought my bomb from a junk yard for only $200.)
Bomb out To sleep (I'm so tired that I just want to bomb out.)
Bone of contention Point of argument (The border is another bone of contention.)
Bone to pick Point of argument (I have a bone to pick with you.)
Bone up on To study (I better bone up on the subject now.)
Bonehead 1. Stupid (That's a bonehead idea.)
2. Stupid person (That bonehead better not come back here again!)
Boner Mistake (Billy made another boner in the game.)
Boo! Expression to indicate or cause fear.
Boob Ignorant person (I don't want to be around a boob like Bobby.)
Booboo 1. Mistake (Johnny made a booboo.)
2. Hurt [Child's term] (Markie got a booboo when he fell down.)
Boobs Breasts (Ralph likes a girl with big boobs.)
Boobyhatch Mental hospital (I wonder if Marie was put in the boobyhatch.)
Boogie To depart (Let's boogie out of here.)
Book To schedule; reserve (We can book passage on this cruise ship.)
Booked solid Fully scheduled (My doctor is booked solid for the next month.)
Boondocks Underdeveloped countryside area (My cousin lives in the boondocks.)
Boonies Underdeveloped countryside area (I won't live in the boonies much longer.)
Boot, a New recruit [Military term] (The drill instructor ordered the boots into line.)
Boot, the To force out (I finally gave that bad tenant the boot.)
Boot, to In addition; for free (I'll give you a set of dishes to boot.)
Bootleg 1. Illegal (I won't buy any bootleg movies or music.)
2. Run with the ball [Football term] (The quarterback made a bootleg play.)
Bootlegger Person who sells illegal alcohol (Bootleggers were notorious during Prohibition.)
Bootlick A sycophant (A bad boss prefers having bootlicks who suck up to him.)
Booze Alcohol (David will bring some booze to the party.)
Booze up Drink alcohol (That old man probably will booze up again tonight.)
Bop 1. To hit (A two-year-old boy tends to bop other children.)
2. Popular dance of the 1950s-1960s (People danced the bop at a school reunion.)
Bop on out To depart (Jill and George expect to bop on out soon.)
Borders on Nearly (The soldier's bad conduct borders on insubordination.)
Bored out of gourd Very bored (Theresa looks bored out of her gourd.)
Born with a silver spoon Spoiled and rich (Veronica was born with a silver spoon in her mouth.)
Born yesterday Naive (I don't believe you. I wasn't born yesterday!)
Borrow trouble To have trouble unnecessarily (It looks like she's borrowing trouble.)
Bosom buddy Close friend (We've been bosom buddies since grade school.)
Boss around To give orders (Jane love to boss others around.)
Bossy To be authoritative (Don't ever marry a bossy, old woman.)
Both ends against the middle To play opponents against each other for personal gain
Both sides Two viewpoints (That diplomat can see both sides of the issue.)
Bottle up To trap (Their troops are bottled up in a fort.)
Bottleneck 1. Narrow, congested area (Condor Pass is a natural bottleneck.)
2. To be stuck in traffic (Our friends are bottlenecked on Main Street.)
Bottom dollar Lowest (OK, I'll give you my bottom dollar price.)
Bottom line Ultimate result (The bottom line is that his company must change its policy.)
Bottom of, get to the To learn the truth (We must get to the bottom of this matter.)
Bottom of the barrel Lowest; worst (They scraped the bottom of the barrel in selecting Bubba.)
Bottom out To lose; have nothing (My luck bottomed out.)
Bottom, touch To reach the lowest level (Your school grades have touched bottom.)
Bounce To be thrown out (Bobby was bounced from the club.)
Bound for Travel to (Pioneers were bound for many locations in the west.)
Bound to Connected (We are bound to the law and to each other.)
Bound to be Likely (There's bound to be trouble in town tonight.)
Bounce back To recover (Bruce bounced back quickly from the flu.)
Bow out Not be involved (I'm bowing out of your life.)
Bow, take a To accept praise (Roberto will take a bow for the idea.)
Bowl over To be stunned (Winning the lottery bowled me over.)
Box ears To punish (someone) (Watch out or Suzie will box your ears.)
Bozo A strange or undesired person (Who is that Bozo?)
Brainless Stupid (Don't you think that was a brainless thing to do?)
Brainless lummox Stupid fellow (Nate acts like a brainless lummox when he's around Jane.)
Branch out To expand (This pizza company expects to branch out more.)
Brass 1. Leadership (Do you think the brass supports this?)
2. Nerve; daring (You have a lot of brass to ask me that.)
Brat Obnoxious child (Linda's little brat is spoiled rotten.)
Bread Money (Man, I'm out of bread.)
Bread is buttered, know which side Understand reality (I know which side my bread is buttered.)
Bread out of the mouth, Take the To refuse something (He'd take the bread out of a baby's mouth.)
Break, a Moment to relax (Dad worked four hours and took a short break.)
Break, bad/good Luck; opportunity (Looks like you got a good break.)
Break, clean 1. To break without complications (The accident caused a clean break.)
2. To disassociate; to escape (Bob and Jane made a clean break.)
Break even Not gain a profit (At best, we'll break even on the deal.)
Break ground To start building (We'll break ground for the new store next week.)
Break heart To cause (someone) heartache (Jose broke Maria's heart.)
Break (his) promise To lie (Willy broke his promise to mother.)
Break (his) word To lie (You better not break your word!)
Break it up Stop a negative action (Break it up or everyone will have to leave.)
Break rice bowl To take someone's job (Looks like Chen just broke Steve's rice bowl.)
Break the bank To bankrupt; small amount (My allowance sure won't break the bank.)
Break the ice To become acquainted (This party is intended to break the ice.)
Break up with To stop dating someone (Marilyn decided to break up with Bobby.)
Break wind To fart (Eating beans makes Buddy break wind.)
Break with Stop an association (I'll probably break with my company.)
Breathe freely To be relaxed (You can breathe freely now. There is no more danger.)
Breather Moment to relax (I need a breather. I've been working too hard.)
Breathing spell Moment to relax (Coach gave the team a breathing spell.)
Breed like rabbits To have many children (Some people breed like rabbits.)
Breeze, a Easy (That test was a breeze.)
Breeze in To intrude (Jill thinks she can breeze in and boss us around.)
Bring a hornet's nest around (his) ears To be in trouble
Bring down the house Very successful (His play was so good it brought down the house.)
Bring home to To remind (Your words brought it home to me.)
Bring it on Start the action; I'm ready for it.
Bring off To succeed (I think we can bring it off today.)
Bring to light To reveal (Your research can bring the truth to light.)
Bring to mind To remind; remember (John's action brings my boyhood to mind.)
Bring up the rear To be last (Jennifer brought up the rear again.)
Broad, a Girl; woman (Sammy is looking for a new, classy broad.)
Broke No money (I'm broke today. Can you loan me a few dollars?)
Bronx cheer Rude hand gesture to show displeasure (A crowd gave Bill the Bronx cheer.)
Brush, the To dismiss (Sophia gave Emilio the brush.)
Brush off To remove with a hand (You should brush off that dust.)
Brush up on Study again (I must brush up on math before the test.)
BS Nonsense [rude] (I think that's a load of BS.)
Bubble-gummer Young teenage girl (Suzie is still a bubble-gummer.)
Bubblehead Stupid person (Don't invite that bubblehead to my party!)
Buck 1. To fight against (George takes pleasure in bucking the system.)
2. Dollar (I only have about 25 bucks in my pocket.)
Buck for To seek (John is bucking for a promotion.)
Buck up! Don't be discouraged! [Exhortation]
Buckle down To be diligent (Buckle down and do your work.)
Buckle up Fasten a seat belt; be prepared (Buckle up so you won't get hurt.)
Buddy/Buddies A friend; friends (Jim is my best buddy.)
Bug 1. To bother (Jack bugs me.)
2. To use a secret recording device (The government bugged his office.)
Bug house Crazy (No, I think your idea is bug house.)
Bug off! Go away; do not bother (me) (Bug off! I don't want to see you.)
Bug out To depart (The troops bugged out late at night.)
Bull! To be untrue; nonsense (You're full of bull!)
Bull in a china shop To be careless (Sam is like a bull in a china shop.)
Bull session A friendly, group discussion (The boys are having a bull session.)
Bull (your) way To force (George bulled his way ahead.)
Bulls Police (A pair of bulls arrived to make the arrest.)
Bum, a 1. A mildly bad person/thing (That's a bum deal. He has a bum leg.)
2. A panhandler; freeloader (Bill is a freeloading bum.)
Bum, to Ask something for nothing (Can I bum some a meal from you?)
Bum a ride To hitchhike (We can bum a ride with Aldolfo.)
Bum around To panhandle (Bill is so lazy that he just bums around.)
Bum deal Undesirable situation (Rodrigo is getting a bum deal.)
Bum rap Accused falsely (Police later admitted George got a bum rap.)
Bum steer Bad advice (You better not give us a bum steer.)
Bum's rush, the To be thrown out (School mates gave Peter the bum's rush.)
Bummer! Something unpleasant [Expression of disgust or displeasure]
Bump into Meet by chance (I was excited to bump into my old friend.)
Bump off To kill (That criminal bumped off his victim.)
Bunch Much; a lot (Thanks a bunch.)
Bunch of Many (He has a bunch of money in the bank.)
Bunch up To be close together (The patrol bunched up near a river.)
Burn a hole in the pocket Desire to spend money quickly (That $5 burned a hole in his pocket.)
Burn bridges behind To ignore consequences or the past (He burned all bridges behind him.)
Burn midnight oil To stay up late (Tom burned the midnight oil trying to finish this project.)
Burn the candle at both ends Do something without thinking (Jill tried to burn the candle a both ends.)
Burn up 1. Very angry (Susan is burned up over Bob's actions.)
2. To burn completely (He burned up all the evidence.)
Burned out Listless; too tired to continue (I feel all burned out.)
Bury (your) head in the sand To be willfully ignorant (Many people prefer to bury their heads in the sand.)
Bush league Lower level ability or activity (Your baseball playing is bush league.)
Bushwhack Surprise attack (Cattle rustlers bushwhacked the cowboy.)
Business as usual The same activity (It's business as usual for Betty.)
Bust To catch (I heard that a store owner busted Davy in the act.)
Bust up To break; destroy (Police finally busted up a notorious drug gang.)
Busybody Interfere in other people's affairs (Mrs. Peel is a busybody.)
Butt in To interfere (You shouldn't butt in.)
Butterfingers Clumsy person or action (Butterfingers Matthew dropped a glass while eating lunch.)
Butterflies in the stomach To be nervous (I had butterflies in the stomach before the test.)
Butthead Rude person [rude] (Does anyone like that old butthead?)
Buttonhole To take someone aside (The lobbyist buttonholed Senator Bob.)
Buy off To offer or take a bribe (People think Congressmen have been bought off.)
Buy (something) To accept; believe (No, I don't buy it that Jill left you.)
Buy the farm To die (Sam bought the farm last night.)
Buzz off! Expression of warning: Go away from me! [rude]
By a long shot Impossible (You can't win, not even by a long shot.)
By gum Mild expression of surprise (By gum, I never expected to see you so soon.)
By hook or crook No matter how (I'll get what I want by hook or crook.)
By leaps and bounds Quickly (The business is growing by leaps and bounds.)
By the skin of teeth Barely; just in time (Jerry got to class by the skin of his teeth.)
Bye Good-bye
Byword Commonly known (His name has become a byword.)

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