Slang words for: People

Grafica slang


Two slang words for someone who is arrogant and annoying are stuck up and snotty. If you say someone “thinks he is God’s gift to [women / the planet / the company]” it means that person has a very high opinion of himself, as if God sent him personally.

  • “I can’t stand snotty people who think they’re all superior just because they went to a top university.”
  • “Tom’s constantly saying he’s ‘destined for greatness.’ He really thinks he’s God’s gift to humanity.”

When someone wants to be the center of attention, they are an attention whore. Similar to that is a diva, a vain person who is full of drama and expects all the best treatment (this word can also be used in a good sense, for a famous female singer).

  • “Ellen posts so many pictures of her ‘fabulous life’ on her blog. She says she wants to inspire others, but I think she’s just an attention whore.”
  • “She’s staying in a cheap hotel and is whining about the fact that it doesn’t have a spa. What a diva!”

A very specific type of diva is a bridezilla – a woman who is getting married and who becomes a “monster” because she is so demanding and picky about all the details of the wedding, even being cruel to others in order to get her own way on her “perfect” day.

  • “My cousin’s kind of hard to get along with, and before her wedding she turned into a total bridezilla. She even screamed at the musicians when they made a small mistake during the wedding rehearsal.”

When someone who used to be popular, famous, or successful is no longer famous, this person is a has-been. The opposite is a wannabe – someone who wishes/wants to be successful or famous.

  • “The athlete is trying to make a comeback as a coach because he can’t accept the fact that he’s just an old has-been and everyone’s already forgotten about him.”
  • “With the internet, every wannabe writer can now publish their own blog.”

When someone has courage, we often say they have guts or they are gutsy.

  • “Laura left her home and moved halfway around the world to take a job in a country where she didn’t speak the language – she’s really got guts!”

There are many slang words for someone who is not brave, who has no courage:

  • a chicken (n.)
  • a scaredy-cat (n.) – often used by/with children
  • a sissy (n.)
  • a wimp (n.)
  • a wuss (n.) – often used by men
  • a pussy (n.) – often used by men about other men. It is very offensive as it compares the man to a “weak” woman. “Pussy” is also slang for the female genitalia.

Here are some examples:

  • “Come on, let’s try out a belly-dancing class. Don’t be such a chicken, it’ll be fun!”
  • “If you want to change your life, you have to take action. You can’t be a wimp.”
  • “What do you mean you don’t drink?! Stop being a pussy and have a beer.”

A person who does not stand up for themselves, who always lets other people control them, is a doormat or a pushover. Like a literal doormat, which people walk on top of.

  • “I wanted to say no to the volunteering commitment, but my husband is a doormat and he told his friend we’d volunteer every weekend for the entire summer.”
  • “Don’t be a pushover. If your boss wants you to do something unethical, you should refuse – even if it means losing your job.”

Other ways to describe someone who does not have strong willpower, or who is weak and timid, is to say they are spineless or have no backbone.

A specific way to describe a man who always gives in to his wife/girlfriend is whipped or pussy whipped, and if a woman has the primary control in the relationship, we say she wears the pants in the relationship/family.

  • “That politician is so spineless; he makes big promises, but doesn’t have the backbone to push for major reforms.”
  • “Alex is whipped – he does everything his wife tells him to. She’s the one who wears the pants in that relationship.”

Finally, someone who cries easily is a crybaby.

  • “What a crybaby! I made a few suggestions for ways she could improve her project, and she burst into tears, saying nobody appreciated her work.”

© Shayna Oliveira

Making a Conversation – Short Answers

R = Ruth (mother) | N = Nick (son) | L = Lily (daughter)

R = So kids, did you have a good day at school?
N = No.
L = Yes, I did. We were practicing for the school concert.
R = Oh, lovely. Do you have much homework?
L = Ugh! Yes, I do. Loads. I’ve got Geography, French, and Maths! Have you got a lot Nick?
N = Yeah.
R = Nick, have you remembered your football kit?
N = Er …
L = No, he hasn’t. He’s forgotten it again.
R = Oh, Nick you know it needs washing. Are you playing football tomorrow?
N = No.
R = Lily, do you need your sports kit tomorrow?
L = Yes, I do. I’ve got a hockey match after school. We’re playing the High School.
R = Didn’t they beat you last time?
L = Yes, they did. But we’ll beat them tomorrow.
N = No, you won’t! Your team’s rubbish.
R = OK, that’s enough children. Do up your seatbelts! Let’s go!

© Oxford University Press

IS or HAS?

1. My brother’s just got a new job.

2. He’s working in South America.

3. He’s been there 3 months.

4. He’s having a great time.

5. He’s never worked overseas before.

6. His company’s called Intext Worldwide.

© Oxford University Press