Informal Speech: School Slang

Try to think of your first experience in America. Were there songs you didn't understand? Were there words you couldn't find in the dictionary? Many students who come to America for the first time quickly learn about slang.

Slang words and expressions are an informal way to communicate in English. American culture is teeming with slang, but many English books and teachers don't focus on this important aspect of learning English. Normal dictionaries don't help students very much when it comes to slang expressions; that's why it is important to study slang to be ready for everyday conversation

Here are a few slang words that relate to school. If you think of any other school slang that you have heard, post a comment!


a beginning course
When the student sat down in the computer lab for the first time, his teacher had to give him Computers 101.

something that is successful or popular
The presentation on Armenian food was a hit! All of the students asked for recipes.

to ace
to do very well on an assignment
"How did you do on the TOEFL?"
"I aced it! I'll definitely get into the university I want!"

someone who isn't very smart; a negative term
The class made fun of the airhead who sat in the back of the class. He always asked stupid questions.

to pull all-nighter
to stay up all night working on school assignments or projects
Emily came to class looking very tired. She pulled an all-nighter, but at least she finished her assignment.

to brush up on
to review material
Since John hadn't studied grammar in a few years, he had to brush up on his verb tenses before the test.

to chill
to relax or hang out
The students chill in the hallways or the lounge between classes.

to cut class

to skip class
"Where is Peter today?"
"I don't know. He's probably cutting class."

to ditch class
to skip class
Amber wanted to go shopping instead of go to class, so she ditched class for a day.

to drop out
to quit attending school before your graduation
Chris hated school and thought it was too difficult, so he dropped out.

to get into
to be very interested in something
"I didn't know grammar was your favorite subject!"
"I used to hate it, but this semester, I've gotten really into it!"

to hand in
to give an assignment to your teacher
Teacher: "Ok class, please hand in your homework from last night."

to hand out
to give an assignment to the students
"Did the teacher already hand out the homework?"
"Yes she did. You should ask her for a copy."

to hang in there
to endure something that is difficult for you
Even though James had a hard time learning English, he hung in there until he passed the TOEFL.

to hit the books
to study really hard
Ashley and Melissa hit the books after eating dinner to prepare for their test.


someone who knows a lot of information; a negative term
Nobody likes to debate with Joshua because he always tries to be a know-it-all.

to play hooky

to skip class
Three of the students in my novels class play hooky every week.

pop quiz
a surprise quiz
The teacher surprised the students with a pop quiz.

to show up
to attend class or an activity
Class will always begin at 9:00 a.m. even if all the students don't show up on time.

to sign up
to register, to sign your name to participate in an activity
Make sure to sign up for the skiing activity we have planned next month!

teacher's pet

someone who the teacher really likes; a negative term
Since Alex is the teacher's pet, he can get good grades without working hard.

to pass with flying colors
to do very successfully on an assignment
Sophie passed her grammar test with flying colors!

Nomen Global students learn slang like this in one of their favorite classes, Idioms and Informal Speech. Learn more about other classes at Nomen Global by visiting our website.

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