Slang reveals much about a culture and its sense of humor, attitude, and values. Words and expressions we use colloquially can indicate regional personality and spirit. While languages vary greatly, it’s interesting to note how cultures have different ways of communicating the same sentiment or feeling. For example, youth and pop cultures span international borders, but they are still imbued with local tastes and interpretations. Suffice it to say, we loved reading through the hundreds of examples of slang and idioms our students submitted.
These are some of our favorite examples of slang and idioms quoted from our students!
Chalida T. from Thailand
“Ask real?” and สาระ (Sa-ra) are informal ways to say “Seriously?”
Yagmur O. from Turkey
“We ate quince” means we have a serious problem.
Tina S. from Czech Republic
Kulišák: someone who is cute, witty, and funny all at once.
Pablo S. from Austria
Oida literally means oldie, but we use it more to mean “dude.”
Iris Z. from Italy
Scialla can be used in different contexts and means “take it easy” or ”no worries!”
Frida S. from Denmark
“To grab a grandad” means to take a nap.
Kanish D. from India
“Vera Level” is used when something is on another level—so good!
Sabia M. from Bangladesh
Pera nai: No tension
Judith S. from Germany
Miese Briese is only used by young people in a situation that is sad for someone. It is used comically and in ironic situations. Translated, Briese means “wind” and shows that a bad wind blows.
Marie-Amelie G. from France
Pas de bras, pas de chocolat means “no arms, no chocolate.” It comes from the movie Intouchables and we use this slang when we want to say, “too bad for you” sarcastically.
Emirlan N. from Kyrgyzstan
Zynk is unique because it is slang and can be applied every day. It means: cool, super, and amazing. For instance, when people are surprised with something good, they would say zynk-zynk, usually two times which means super-super, or it can be used as a compliment by saying “you look zynk,” which translates to “you look amazing!”
Yasmine G. from Tunisia
Kaf w kaaba halwa. The literal translation is: A slap and a candy, which means saying something mean to someone but at the same time, complimenting them. (Tunisian is a dialect from Arabic. In our dialect you might find French and Berber words.)
Nour G. from Egypt
“I will do the homework with you” which means that you are going to treat that person as well as you can and usually it’s used when you invite someone to come over.
Jasmine F. from France
We talk a lot about death when we want to say something is very funny. So when a teen says Je suis mort(e) which literally means “I am dead”, they want you to understand they’re laughing. Our “LOL” is “MDR” which stands for Mort De Rire and means “dead of laughing.”
Yasmine G. from Tunisia
Chkoun salek aala noumrou sabatek? Literal translation is: “Who asked you about your shoe size? Mind your business!”
Valentina V. from Azerbaijan
Qizil el translates to “golden hands.” People say it when somebody has a talent or can fix something with their hands.
Rin I. from Japan
“Sorena,” which means “I totally agree!”
Sarah D. from Canada
J’suis au bout du rouleau, which translates to “I’m at the end of the roll!” (imagine like a toilet paper roll.) This expression means, “I can’t take it anymore!”
Marcelo S. from Chile
Lo pasamos chancho which literally means “We had a pig.” This phrase is used when you have so much fun at a party or big event!
See an error in our translations? Let us know at [email protected]!