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
"C"
C-note $100 (I had to pay a C-note to tow my car.)
Cabbie Cab driver (Millie called a cabbie for a ride to the airport.)
Call a bluff To disbelieve (George called his bluff.)
Call a spade a spade To be direct (Susan calls a spade a spade.)
Call down To reprimand (The teacher called him down.)
Call down to To speak with (Sam called down to Joe.)
Call for To request (The chairman called for silence before a vote is taken.)
Call-girl A prostitute
Call into play To select/use (The general called his tanks into play.)
Call it a day To finish (I think we should call it a day.)
Call it quits To finish (Let's call it quits for today.)
Call names To ridicule (The boys called Sam names.)
Call off To cancel (Anna decided to call off her wedding.)
Call off all bets To terminate (Jack called off all bets due to Jill's bad disposition.)
Call on To select (The teacher called on Bob.)
Call on the carpet To be chastised (Joe was called on the carpet.)
Call the signals Determine what action to pursue (Coach always calls the signals.)
Call up To speak with (Betty called up her best friend.)
Calm down To reduce anger (Please tell Jose to calm down.)
Can, the Toilet (I have to use the can.)
Can it Stop talking (Can it! I'm tired of listening to you.)
Can of worms Trouble (Let's not open up that old can of worms again!)
Cancel out To terminate (The company illegally cancelled out a contract with me.)
Canned 1. To be fired from a job (The boss canned him.)
2. Artificial (I hate canned laughter.)
Can't hack it Cannot endure (Relieve Mike from the football game. He just can't hack it.)
Can't see squat Cannot see anything (We can't see squat in this thick fog.)
Can't stand To dislike (I can't stand a complainer.)
Can't teach an old dog new tricks Expression that means someone is unteachable.
Can't win them all Expression that means someone cannot always win.
Cap To shoot (The criminal capped his victim in the knee.)
Card, a A funny person (Henry is such a card.)
Card up the sleeve A trick (He has another card up his sleeve.)
Cards on the table To be honest (It's time to put your cards on the table.)
Carney Carnival worker (A Carney usually has a bad reputation for trickery.)
Carry coal to Newcastle Redundant; useless (That's like carrying coal to Newcastle.)
Carry on 1. To continue (The major told his men to carry on.)
2. To act silly (Billy is carrying on again.)
Carry the ball Take responsibility (Can you carry the ball for us on this project?)
Carry too far To act in excess (Don't carry the joke too far.)
Carry water To be a sycophant (That radio host carries water for a political party.)
Carry weight To impress (Joan's words didn't carry any weight with me.)
Case the joint Inspect a place (Criminals cased the joint before breaking in to steal items.)
Cash in chips 1. To die (The old man just cashed in his chips.)
2. To exchange gambling chips for money (I'll cash in my chips now.)
Cart before the horse Place in improper order (She often puts the cart before the horse.)
Cast about for To seek (I had to cast about for a new idea.)
Cast down To be sad (John looks really cast down.)
Cast light upon To enlighten/show (Your speech cast light upon the city's main problem.)
Castle in the air Impossible dream (He just dreams of castles in the air.)
Cat got tongue To be silent (What's the matter? Cat got your tongue?)
Cat out of the bag, let the To reveal the truth
Cat jumps, see which way the To wait before making a decision (I think we better see which way the cat jumps before taking a stand.)
Catch 1. A trick (There must be a catch in the contest.)
2. A good person (Bill thinks Joan is quite a catch.)
Catch breath To pause (You better catch your breath before continuing.)
Catch drift Comprehend intention (I hope the membership will catch my drift.)
Catch flat-footed Surprise completely (Police caught the thief flat-footed.)
Catch hell To be in trouble (Bob caught hell from home.)
Catch in the act To catch blatantly (Mom caught us in the act, so we had to stop.)
Catch on To understand (I think she'll catch on to that.)
Catch on the flipside To meet on a return trip (Donny wants to catch us on the flipside.)
Catch red-handed To catch blatantly(Watch out or you'll be caught red-handed.)
Catch sight of To observe (We caught sight of the enemy on a mountain peak.)
Catch some shuteye To sleep (Melvin needs to catch some shuteye.)
Catch the eye To attract (Sally caught Bill's eye.)
Catch up with To meet (We'll catch up with you at exit 35 on highway 7.)
Catch you later To meet (someone) again (I hope to catch Melissa later.)
Catty To gossip (Mrs. Hatch is a catty female.)
Caught up in To be included; involved (George was caught up in a good cause.)
Cave in To capitulate (He finally caved in and did what we wanted.)
Chain gang Criminals chained together and performing work under supervision
Chain smoker Someone who smokes constantly
Chalk it up to Attribute to (Bob's success can be chalked up to his strong work ethic.)
Chalk up To score; gain (Sam is expected to chalk up 20 points per basketball game.)
Change hands To change ownership (The Ford truck changed hands.)
Change of pace To alter usual actions (Mother needs a change of pace from daily routine.)
Change tune To stop an inappropriate action (You better change your tune, son.)
Chap Fellow; man [British term] (I need a few chaps who can work hard today.)
Chatterbox Someone who speaks too much (Patricia is a big chatterbox.)
Cheapskate Stingy person (That cheapskate won't ever pay a decent wage.)
Cheat on To be unfaithful (Bill cheated on his wife again.)
Check 1. A bill for service (How much is the check?)
2. To inspect; notice (I want to check with my friends before going there.)
3. To make a mark (Did anyone remember to put a check on the form?)
Check in To register; to communicate (He had to check in with the office.)
Check out 1. To pay a bill before leaving (What time must we check out?)
2. To inspect; notice (I think we better check it out.)
3. To die (Danny was critically ill and finally checked out.)
Check up on To monitor (The doctor checked up on his patient.)
Cheesy Substandard (That new home has cheesy construction.)
Chew on a set of knuckles Hit in the face (Bob let the punk chew on a set of knuckles.)
Chew out To chastise (Dad really chewed out his wayward son.)
Chew the fat To chat (Let's just chew the fat a few minutes.)
Chew the rag To discuss (Friends met and chewed the rag about their old days.)
Chick Girl (This school has plenty of good-looking chicks.)
Chick flick Movie made for females (Roy can't stand watching chick flicks.)
Chicken Coward (Pam is disappointed to know her boyfriend is a chicken.)
Chicken-feed Of little value (The pay was just chicken-feed.)
Chill out To relax (You're welcome to chill out with us.)
Chime in To speak (Monica chimed in with a great idea.)
Chip in To donate (Everyone chipped in to help the poor people.)
Chip off the old block Similar to another (Sammy is a chip off the old block--just like his dad.)
Chip on the shoulder To be angry; hold a grudge (Bill walks around with a chip on the shoulder.)
Chips British term for french fries (Charles bought some fish and chips.)
Chips are down Trouble (When the chips are down, Joe disappears.)
Chisel in on To intrude (Stop chiseling in on us!)
Chiseler A cheat (That man is a big chiseler.)
Chock full Filled (The president's speech was chock full of lies and misinformation.)
Chow Food [Cowboy talk] (I don't consider rattlesnake salad proper chow.)
Chow down To eat [Cowboy talk] (Come and get the food. It's time to chow down.)
Chowderhead Foolish person (I hope Bob doesn't act like a chowderhead at my party.)
Chuckwagon Food wagon [Cowboy talk] (You can get grub at the chuckwagon.)
Chum Male friend (Nathan plans to meet a few chums for lunch.)
Chump Gullible male (The crooked store owner enjoys tricking a chump.)
Cinch, a Easily accomplished (It's a cinch for Bob to complete the work early.)
Clam up Not speak (His lawyer told Ben to clam up.)
Clap, the Venereal disease (He caught the clap by fooling around.)
Clean as a whistle No problems (Your background is clean as a whistle.)
Clean bill of health No problems (Our project received a clean bill of health from management.)
Clean break 1. To break without complications (The accident caused a clean break.)
2. To disassociate; to escape (Bob and Jane made a clean break.)
Clean clock To defeat (someone) (Marty cleaned the bully's clock.)
Clean house To be rid of trouble (People decided to clean house and vote out bad representatives.)
Clean slate To start anew; no prior history (You've got a clean slate with me.)
Clean sweep Complete action/victory (The army made a clean sweep.)
Clean up 1. To clean (Mom constantly cleans up their mess.)
2. To win (Dave cleaned up tonight at the poker game.)
Clear the air To resolve (It's time we cleared the air about this matter.)
Clear the cobwebs out To wake up (I'll be ready once I clear the cobwebs out.)
Clear the head/mind Think clearly; eliminate (I want you to clear the mind of negative thoughts.)
Climb all over 1. To berate (The boss will climb all over your butt.)
2. Active sexual experience (Belinda climbed all over her boyfriend.)
Clink, the Jail (Police locked a few drunks in the clink overnight.)
Clip-joint Sleazy place in town where a person can expect to be cheated
Clip wings To restrict actions (Kate decided to clip her boyfriend's wings.)
Clock watcher Worker who does the bare minimum (Mary-Joyce is a clock watcher; she's just lazy.)
Close call Nearly have an accident (That was a close call!)
Close in on To surround; get close (We're beginning to close in on our target.)
Close quarters Tight space; close together (It's close quarters when relatives come to visit.)
Close shave Nearly have an accident (We just had a close shave!)
Closed-shop Business that only allows workers from a labor union
Closeout sale Going out of business (Sadly, it's time for our closeout sale.)
Cloud over the head To be troubled; worried (You shouldn't walk around with a cloud over the head.)
Clown, a An obnoxious person (John is just another clown.)
Clue (you) in on To instruct; inform (I better clue Sammy in on the rules here.)
Clueless Ignorant (That girl is totally clueless.)
C'mon Come on; Follow me (C'mon, let's get out of this place.}
Coast along To be relaxed (Sammy decided to coast along and not worry any more.)
Coast is clear Safe (Be sure the coast is clear before we continue.)
Cock-and-bull story Nonsense (Tony didn't believe Joe's cock-and-bull story.)
Cockamamie Nonsense (Mom is tired of hearing Johnny's cockamamie excuses.)
Cockeyed Strange; odd (I think your idea is cockeyed but I like it.)
Cocksure Confident (Peter is always cocksure of his abilities.)
Cocky Confident; arrogant (I think Rodrigo is a little too cocky.)
Coin a phrase, to To state; affirm (To coin a phrase, I think we better get out of here.)
Cold blood, in Without remorse (That man will kill in cold blood.)
Cold feet To be afraid (Joe is getting cold feet about following your plan.)
Cold fish Unemotional (Olivia's date acted like cold fish.)
Cold shoulder Unfriendly disdain (Janet gave Oliver the cold shoulder.)
Collar 1. To catch; stop (Betty collared her boyfriend in a music store.)
2. An arrest [Police term] (Officers Grant and Jones made the collar.)
Come about 1. To happen (Everything you predicted has come about.)
2. Turn around (The captain ordered his ship to come about.)
Come across 1. To appear (Oliver comes across as an honest man.)
2. To do as promised (Don't worry, Mack will come across with the money.)
3. To discover (Christopher Columbus came across America by accident.)
Come clean To be truthful (It's time that Fred came clean about his involvement in this.)
Come down off your high horse Stop being arrogant
Come easy To learn or do without difficulty (Learning a new language comes easy for Martha.)
Come for To seek (Police are coming for the bank robbers.)
Come for the action To seek fun or gambling (They came for the action in Las Vegas.)
Come of age To become an adult (Young Bobby just came of age today.)
Come off To happen (Our school party came off without any problems.)
Come off it Stop being critical. (Come off it! We can do the job.)
Come on Follow me [also said as c'mon]
Come-on A flirtatious act (Betty often gives boys that come-on look.)
Come out in the open To be honest; forthright (Jeff came out in the open about his work experience.)
Come out of the woodwork To be open; not hide (Informants are coming out of the woodwork now that reporters have exposed the truth.)
Come to To become; applicable (It might come to me quitting the job.)
Come what may No matter what happens (I'm going with you, come what may.)
Comes out Revealed (Your agency will look bad when the truth comes out in newspapers.)
Come to a head Climax; end result (The company's cash troubles are coming to a head.)
Coming-out party Party to celebrate turning 16 years old
Compare notes To discuss (My group wants to compare notes with your company.)
Con To swindle (Bart planed to con you out of money.)
Con artist A swindler (Police recently caught an old con artist.)
Con game A swindle (Those crooks are skillful in running a con game.)
Con job A swindle (We were caught up in a con job.)
Conk on To be hit (Bill received a conk on the head.)
Conk out 1. Sleep (I'm so tired I'm going to conk out now.)
2. To be unconscious (A thief conked out the night watchman.)
Conniption fit Unbridled action (Don't have a conniption fit if I decide to do this.)
Cook the books To falsify records (Organized crime stooges cooked the books.)
Cook up To organize; invent (Tom will cook up an excuse for why we're late.)
Cook up a storm To cause trouble (Sue may cook up a storm about this new policy.)
Cooked In trouble (I must finish the project on time or I'm cooked.)
Cool Good; interesting; nice (I think your new dress is cool.)
Cool down Become calm; less angry (It's good thing that Bob cooled down.)
Cool (his) heels To wait (Melissa made George cool his heels outside before opening the door.)
Cool it! Expression to stop dubious activity or obnoxious actions.
Cool off Become calm; less angry (Jill needs time to cool off.)
Cool one 1. Calm person (Andrew usually is the cool one in our group.)
2. Cold beer (Oscar poured himself a cool one.)
Cool spot Interesting location (Allen knows all of the cool spots around town.)
Cool (your) jets Be patient (Jessica hasn't learned to cool her jets.)
Cooped up To be trapped inside (I don't like being cooped up at home.)
Cop; copper Policeman (Cops arrested a gang of criminals.)
Cop a plea To confess (Some criminals cop a plea to get a reduced sentence.)
Cop-out An excuse (I'm fed up with your usual cop-outs.)
Cop out on To abandon (I'm afraid Sammy will cop out on us.)
Copycat One who copies another person's actions (Mary is a copycat who has no original ideas.)
Corner the market To have a monopoly (Pam thought she cornered the market on beauty.)
Corny Silly (Stella has a corny idea about how to lose weight quickly.)
Cough up To surrender something (I can't cough up more money until next week.)
Count chickens before they hatch To be overly optimistic (Don't count your chickens before they hatch.)
Count in To include (someone) (I can count Bill in on the deal.)
Count on Depend on; trust (We can count on Jim's help.)
Count out Not included; not participate (Count Mark out because he disagrees with the act.)
Cover Artificial profession (An intelligence agent is told to live his cover.)
Cover charge or fee Price of entrance (Patrons paid a cover charge before entering the club.)
Cover for To act for another (At the store, Amy covered for her sick friend.)
Cover up To hide (It's cold. You may use my coat to cover up.)
Cover-up Hide the truth (Governments routinely engage in cover-ups)
Cow, a A dumpy woman (I don't want to speak with that old cow.)
Cowpoke A cowboy [Cowboy talk] (I know a few cowpokes at Ben's ranch.)
Coyote 1. Dishonest man [Cowboy talk] (Cowboys chased the coyote who stole Pete's horse.)
2. Person who takes illegal aliens across the border from Mexico into the USA
Crab 1. Cantankerous person (I was surprised to learn that Donna is a crab.)
2. To complain (Bethany likes to crab about bad food and her bum boyfriend.)
Crabby Cantankerous; irritable (You shouldn't act so crabby with me.)
Crack a joke To tell a joke (I didn't think she would ever crack a joke.)
Crack a safe To rob a safe (A thief broke into my friend's home and cracked a safe.)
Crack the books To study (Jim cracked the books to prepare for a big test.)
Crack the case To solve a mystery (Police detectives finally cracked the Hoffman case.)
Crack up 1. Cause to laugh (Joe's humor often cracks me up.)
2. To have an accident (Motorcyclists should avoid cracking up on a highway.)
Crack wind To fart (Johnny cracked wind after eating cooked cabbage.)
Cracker Man from Southern USA [rude] (Georgia is full of crackers.)
Cracking up To go crazy (If Jerry is cracking up, he needs immediate help.)
Crackup An accident (There's a big crackup on freeway 15 at exit 37.)
Cram in/into To force inside (I can't cram anything more in my head.)
Cram it down To force (I'm going to cram it down your throat!)
Crammed full Completely full (Beth's mind is crammed full of good ideas.)
Cramp (my) style To restrict actions (Jenny said tight clothes cramped (her) style.)
Crap Excrement; garbage; nonsense; trash [rude] (I think that's just crap.)
Crappy No good (He drives a crappy car.)
Crash (a party) To come uninvited (Our gang will crash John's wedding this Saturday.)
Crash, to To sleep (Roger asked to crash at my home last night.)
Crawdad Crayfish [Southern dialect] (Crawdads are popular to eat in Louisiana.)
Cream of the crop The best (Mom instructed us to buy only the cream of the crop.)
Cream puff Coward; weak person (Only a cream puff will never fight in self defense.)
Creep Sleazy person (Ruth refuses to go out with that creep.)
Cricket Correct; proper [British term] (What Nathaniel does at work is not cricket.)
Crime ring Criminal organization (The mob boss runs this city's crime ring.)
Croak 1. To die (The old drunk croaked after downing bad moonshine.)
2. To kill (Matt determined to croak his enemy.)
Croaker Medical doctor [rude]
Crock, a Ridiculous (Betty's claim to be engaged is a crock.)
Crock of bull Nonsense (Your so-called work experience is a crock of bull.)
Crocodile tears False sympathy (Kathy is good at crying crocodile tears.)
Crook A thief; dishonest person (That lawyer is a crook.)
Crop up To arise; happen (We don't want any problems to crop up suddenly.)
Cross To resist; antagonize (Whoever crosses Big Jim will regret it.)
Cross (my) mind To consider (It crossed my mind that you already saw the movie.)
Cross off To discount; eliminate (We can cross Neil off the list of attendees.)
Cross path To meet by accident (It appears strange that we cross paths like this.)
Crud Garbage; nonsense; trash (You better not try selling that crud to me.)
Crumbbum Untrustworthy person (That lawyer is a crook.)
Crummy Bad (I think it's a crummy movie and the actors stink.)
Crusty Cantankerous (There's no need to be a crusty old coot.)
Cry heart out To despair (Julia cried her heart out after Matt left for war.)
Cry over spilled milk Worry about past action (It's useless to cry over spilled milk.)
Cry wolf To be an alarmist (Don't worry, Bobby is just crying wolf.)
Crybaby Complainer (Rick is an overweight crybaby. Don't waste time on him.)
Cuckoo Crazy; odd (Billy is acting cuckoo.)
Cup of tea Skill or familiar activity (Cleaning a house well is not Martha's cup of tea.)
Curtains for The end; death (It will be curtains for whoever tries to stop me!)
Cut Stop the action [Movie term] (Cut! That's a wrap.)
Cut a figure To look attractive (Nancy cut quite a figure at the dance.)
Cut and dried Definite (The answer I gave you is cut and dried.)
Cut class To avoid school (Bruce decided to cut classes today.)
Cut corners To take an easy way (Bad companies cut corners to save money.)
Cut down To kill; defeat (Accurate fire cut down many attacking troops.)
Cut down to size To defeat (Alice cut James down to size by revealing his bad actions.)
Cut in 1. To intrude (Mike cut in while Betty danced with Robert.)
2. To include (Cut me in on your business deal.)
Cut loose To release (Mariana had to cut loose from her old boyfriend.)
Cut mustard Believable; truthful (Her report doesn't cut mustard.)
Cut of (his) jib The appearance (I recognized him by the cut of his jib.)
Cut one To fart (Look out for the stink. Joe just cut one.)
Cut out for To be appropriate (He's not cut out for this kind of work.)
Cut out to To change the view (The director cut out to scene 26 in the movie script.)
Cut to the chase Get to the main idea (Stop arguing and just cut to the chase.)
Cut to the quick To flabbergast; surprise (Our knowledge cut Matthew to the quick.)
Cutie Pretty girl (Alisa is a real cutie.)
Cutout A front company or person (Intelligence agencies often use cutouts.)
Cutup Person who jokes and acts inappropriately (Joe is the class cutup.)

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