The Many Meanings of Catch (Catch on, Catch up, a Catch, & more) | English Dialogue

Heads up … catch! This seemingly (or should I say “deceptively”) simple word is stuffed and loaded with different meanings. Do the many uses of “catch” confuse you? Here I want to look at the traditional meanings, as well as some common slang and figurative uses of the word. There are also short and realistic dialogues to help. So, are you ready to catch some knowledge? Let’s do it.

The normal meaning of Catch

Normally, to Catch means to receive something that is thrown or has fallen. As people, we mostly catch things with our hands.


 — “Look, Charles, I got you a new iPhone charger. Catch!”

While attempting to grab the charger, Charles accidentally dropped his phone onto the floor.

 — “Gee, thanks! Now I’m going to need a new iPhone too.”

 — “Well, you should have caught it before it hit the ground.”

Catch something (figuratively)

As you can imagine, “catch” also has several figurative and even slang meanings. As a verb, you can catch something not visible such as an illness or some attention.


 — “Did you hear what happened to Kevin Hart? He said he caught the ‘Vid’,” Charles said to his friend, Jonah, sitting behind him. Jonah gave him a firm Shhh! 

 — “Be quiet, man! Whenever I talk in class, I catch an angry look from Ms. Delaware. You’ll get me in trouble.”

‘Catching’ someone

Another meaning is when you catch someone, or find them. Usually, this is while they are doing something they shouldn’t be.

 — “Hey, Sheila. Do you think we could take your little bro out for ice cream?”

 — “I don’t know. He got caught eating cookies out of the cookie jar last night. I think he’s had enough sweets.”

 — “Well, we could always take him to the Salad Bar,” Charles suggested.

 — “Oh, no. You won’t catch me anywhere near that place.”

Still, catch can be about meeting another person, in general. This is usually at a designated time or place.

 — “I hope we can hang out soon, Sheila. What do you think?”

 — “For sure! I’ll catch you after our game tomorrow.”

Other random meanings of Catch

To catch can be to understand what someone else said or what has happened. It’s usually said as a question to check for comprehension or as a way to show a lack of understanding.


Jonah’s mind wandered as he daydreamed about the upcoming game that night. Suddenly, he realized Charles had been mumbling at him for the past five minutes.

 — “Sorry, what did you say? I didn’t catch that.”

 — “I was telling you about my plans to quit working for this lousy school. Did you catch it this time?!”

… Or, going to see something, such as an event. 


 — “Do you want to catch a movie after you get off work?” Charles asked Sheila. She turned at him and grinned.

 — “Yeah … Or, we could go to the game like everyone else.”

Or, boarding a transportation vehicle. 



Sheila gave Charles a big hug.

 — “I have to catch this bus. If you want to see a movie, it’s fine. Can we talk later?”

 — “Yeah, either way is fine. Let me know. Maybe we can catch a ride together.”

Phrasal verbs: Catch on, Catch up

And that’s just “Catch” by itself. Of course, there are also phrasal verbs like catch on — to begin to understand something — or catch up — to reach a desired point in understanding or place from behind.


 — It used to be so much fun to speak in German around your friends. I think they’re starting to learn now.

 — Right, especially Mark didn’t use to understand our conversations, but now he’s catching on.

 — It’s about time! Why is Mark so far behind in his German, anyway? He needs to catch up!

.

A Catch, as a noun

All verbs aside, there is also catch used as a noun. A catch is a hidden condition or problem when something seems too good to be true.


Charles looked at his neighbor in disbelief. 

“You’ll give me this car for four hundred bucks and all repairs are up to date? What’s the catch?”

 — “No catch! It’s a good car, man. What, you don’t believe me?”

.

A catch can also be a person who seems like a perfect match, or a great person to be in a relationship with. They are like the ideal partner.


 — I don’t know why you’re so in-love with Sheila. Look at Jenny. She’s the boss of her own business, helps her community, and owns a Benz. She’s a catch, for sure.

 — “Uh-huh, Jonah. Total catch.”


**These are just some of the main uses of “catch”. Can you think of any others meanings? Can you think of your own examples for these words? Share it with us and spread the English love! Thanks for reading and learning. Take care out there.

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Contact or collaborate at tietewaller@gmail.com

Slang words for House and Home | English & A Story ‘Soft Place Baby Bed’

Welcome to my house, we don’t have to go-wo out …” 

It’s a good thing you didn’t hear me sing that! To pick up on the topic though, we’re going to look at some different ways to refer to someone’s house. Well, the most popular slang ways, that is. There are multiple words one might use to describe a person’s house in English, whether it’s yours or somebody else’s. Some of these words can make the house sound better and others are … a lot less flattering. 

When referring to a small place (or when being sarcastic) people often refer to their home as a “humble abode.” Some people take it to the next level and call it a shack (hence the expression, shacking up). When people get a little carried away, they might say “hizzouse” or something like it. There are so many types of houses too. For example, a cabin, a duplex, townhome, country home, condo, split-level, etc., etc. Okay, swell. But what about common slang terms for a house?

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Crib

From my African-American perspective, this has got to be the most common slang for “house”. Literally, a crib is a protective bed where we usually put babies to sleep. It’s a comfortable, safe place, so maybe this led to cribs being used to talk about homes. This is one of the more common slang words for a house, at least in the U.S. This is especially due to the show, MTV Cribs, ever since it started airing (and re-airing). 

  • Do you want to go to the crib and play video games? 

Spot

Spot has a lot of different meanings in English. Being slang for a house is one of them. Given all these many meanings of spot, it can sound a little more vague or ambiguous than other words when referring to your house. This is especially since “spot” is sometimes used to refer to a place in general. Note, this is very similar to the use of “place” to specifically talk about a house. Check the links below to learn more!

  • We should go to his spot after the movie. (Similarly, “go to his place”)

Pad

A pad in normal English is something nice and soft. It’s mostly used to soften a physical impact or any other kind of damage. I don’t know why we’d call a house that, but maybe it’s because a home is our safe place? So, possibly similar to “crib.” Again, these are mostly American slang, so I don’t know how extensively this word and the others are used in all English-speaking countries. 

  • So, what do you think of my new pad?

So these are just a couple of the most common slang you might use to talk about a house in English, or at least the American variety. There are many other ways to refer to a house in an informal, exaggerated, or silly way. You can check the links below for more information.

Also, below is a short story with dialogue to show you how today’s words might be used in context. Check it out if you like! Thanks, and take care out there.


Soft Place Baby Bed – slang words for ‘house’

 — There we are. Wanna come in?

Sheila turned a wide grin at her friend, Charles. In the happiest way possible, she urged him to come into her house. Charles, on the other hand, was utterly shocked.

 — Wow, I didn’t know your house was so big, he said. — Don’t you ever get lost?

Sheila brushed away his statement and pushed him along. He had good reason to be nervous; it was his first time alone with Sheila, a friend he’d been crushing on the past few months. The friend zone is a hard wall to cross, but a big house with no one in it could be the “tunnel” underneath he was looking for. Suddenly, he wasn’t so nervous after all. They arrived at the front gates.

 — Ready to see my crib? she laughed and led her friend further.

Once inside the front gates, they came to a yard filled with strange objects. There were plastic women and rubber bones lying on the ground. Mixed in with the dry scattered leaves, the yard looked like a sort of toy wasteland. 

They eventually made it past the garden and into the house. Sheila shut the high wooden doors behind her and revealed her world to Charles. 

 — So, this is my pad. Sorry about the mess. I picked up a couple’a side gigs while I wait for my album to finish. Covid kinda ruined my schedule. I know! Let’s go upstairs. I can show you my room.

She stuck out a hand and grabbed onto Charles. Before he could figure out where he was, they had already arrived at her room. Was this his moment? “This is finally it!” he thought to himself.

BWAAA!

The sound of a thousand babies flushed into both of their ears. Okay, it was just two, but they were yelling super loudly. 

 — Oh, crap! I forgot about you two! 

Sheila rushed over to pull the two babies out of their tiny beds, repeating “Sorry, sorry” to them. 

 — I know you were talking about your house, but I didn’t know you were gonna show me your actual “cribs,” Charles told her. 

He reached his arms out to help hold one of the babies. She cried for a minute but soon relaxed against his chest.

 — Look at you! You’re a natural with the kids.

Charles felt extremely uncomfortable, but he couldn’t deny how nice it felt to hold the baby girl. 

 — If you say so. What’s her name?

 — That is Janey, and this here’s little Maxy. She stroked Maxy with her hands.— Sorry I couldn’t show you the house. I know you really wanted to see more of my place. 

That was just part of the plan, Charles thought, but okay. 

 — It’s fine. The house is really nice. But next time let’s go to my spot, alright?

Sheila laughed and agreed. After sitting a while the babies were finally asleep. 

 — Shh! Look, they’re sleeping, she advised Charles. 

He nodded, and Sheila tapped the bedside next to her as if to invite him to come sit closer. Charles got up and sat next to Sheila. They smiled wide at each other, then he reached his hand over to fix her hair. Then …

BAH-BAH-BAH-WAH!

 — Oh, no, I forgot … I also take care of dogs!

To be continued …

Want to collaborate or contact me personally? Shoot me a message at tietewaller@gmail.com or go to the Give Me a Shout! page 🙂

10 Everyday(-ish) English Expressions about Cars & Driving | part 3

We are hitting the road on another adventure! Well, it’s just an article, but you get the point. Learning a language is a long and arduous process, but it’s easier when made fun. One cool thing about English is all the varied expressions it uses to describe daily happenings. There seem to be an interesting (or suspicious) amount of terms derived from cars and driving, as you could see in parts 1 and 2. In today’s article, I intended to describe even more of these kinds of expressions. However, I realized a lot of these are a bit more specific than your average terms.

Read more:

  • Parts 1 and 2 of Expressions about Cars and Driving

Still, these are useful, so why not give them a try? These are 10 more words and expressions about driving and cars … oh, and some can be used in other situations too. Enjoy! 

Fender Bender

Making a “whoopsy”

This term is very helpful in the specific case that one gets into a minor car accident. It’s not quite a “wreck” but there is a little bit of damage. It’s less common, but sometimes this expression can be used to refer to a minor accident off of the road, too.

Hits & accidents

  • Terry got into a fender bender last night on the highway. I sure hope he wasn’t drinking. 
  • Sometimes we get into little bumps and fender benders that we have to overcome. 

Crash Course / Collision Course

On the road to chaos

In some cases, these two expressions can have a similar meaning. Being on a collision course (or a crash course) towards something is like being on the road to disaster. This danger can be on an actual road or on a metaphorical “course” in life. Something bad is coming, and there will be conflict if nothing is done to stop it. 

In other contexts, a crash course can specifically be a highly intensive academic course or class. Just like this channel I love on YouTube called Crash Course! I’m sure you all will love it if you don’t already.

A crashing lesson

  • When the truck’s emergency brake failed, it went on a collision course down the hill until it eventually hit a wall.
  • If we don’t put John and Michael into separate classrooms, they are going to be on a collision course until one of them throws the first punch.
  • I’m taking a crash course next week on thermodynamics. Wish me luck! 

Hit the Road

Go away! Or not

“Hit the road, Jack!” Pretty much everyone knows this song, and by consequence, the meaning of those famous words. Saying this can be the same as telling someone to leave or go away. Usually, though, the meaning has to do with traveling or beginning a trip.

Get going 

  • You need to hit the road, Jack. I don’t want you around here anymore. 
  • Come on, kids! Let’s hit the road. Disneyland isn’t coming to us. 

Get the Show on the Road

It’s showtime!

Following the theme of roads, here’s another useful expression to bring up. When someone says, get the show on the road, it means to begin some process or to proceed with it. The “show” is normally a reference to something important like a major event, a meeting, a procedure, and so on. Sometimes, it’s used in a similar sense to “hit the road,” or in other words, let’s start this trip! 

Move along, now

  • We need to get the show on the road, so don’t worry about the microphone. You can start without it.
  • Come on, kids! Let’s get this show on the road. Disneyland won’t wait for us.

Joyride / Joy Ride

Bad joy

Joyriding is such a “joy!” Well, for some. Going on a joyride usually involves stealing a car or using a car that doesn’t belong to the driver. The new driver may do other illegal activities with the car or just use it to ride around with friends without any particular motive. This obviously isn’t a joy for whoever got their car stolen. 

Riding dirty

  • Carla loves to joyride in other people’s cars. One day she’ll get caught.

Road Hog

The hateful hog

A road hog is someone who drives in multiple lanes and likes to take up lots of space on the road. This recklessness usually puts other drivers in danger, but it is always super annoying. Road hogs are normally careless drivers or intentionally trying to get in others’ ways. The verb version of this is to“hog the road.” 

Danger, danger, space taker

  • Don’t be a road hog, let the other drivers pass.
  • I really wish that guy would quit hogging the road. It’s so dangerous.

Road Rage

Raging in the machine

Do you have road rage? Oh, it’s such an exhilarating disease! Just kidding. Road rage is exactly what it sounds like. This is when someone gets intensely angry, filled with rage while driving on the road. They usually perform such behaviors as honking excessively, speeding, and doing dangerous maneuvers to get around people. Road ragers may also yell or make obscene gestures at other drivers, and more. Doesn’t that just sound pleasant?!

They call me “angry driver”

  • Why do they keep honking? Just let the poor lady cross the street. Everybody’s got road rage these days.

Hit and Run

Left to hurt

This is probably the most controversial expression on this here list, if there is such a thing. A hit and run is what happens when a car hits another car or person, and then “runs” or drives away. The person at fault often drives away out of fear, but the accident oftentimes causes serious injury, property damage, or even death in the saddest cases. 

This nature of “cause damage and flee the scene” is sometimes used in the context of relationships. A hit and run in this sense can mean that someone had relations (usually sexual) with another and left without saying anything. A similar expression in these cases is “hit and quit.” 

Whether it’s a car or a relationship, the impact on the “victim” has a familiar feeling of being abandoned and vulnerable. 

Fleeing the scene

  • Did you hear the crash last night? I know, it was a terrible hit and run.
  • Chuck is an infamous ladies’ man. You better prepare for a hit and run. then.

Hotwire

Breaking in hot

H-o-t-w-i-r-e, Hotwire.com! No, not that kind of hotwire. Normally, this word is used to describe a crime where someone uses the electric circuits of a car to start it without a key. This is a useful skill for when one loses their keys, but it is normally performed to steal a car. Wow, this part 3 is a little dark, eh? 

One can also hotwire a system or program. In this sense, it’s not so much about stealing as it is about figuring out how to break into something for your own advantage. In an informal sense, it can have a similar meaning to “hack” or “breaking a code.”

Cracking the code

  • Vanessa is a professional car thief. She has hotwired everything from Mitsubishis to Bentleys.
  • My company’s new interface is very complex, but I’m sure I can hotwire it and figure it out within the week. 

Pumped (up) / Gassed (up)

Fill ‘er up!

Similar to pumping gas into an engine, being pumped up is feeling full of excitement and energy. It’s how I imagine a car must feel after going to the gas station. This expression works as pumped up or simply pumped. A similar term is gassed up, which is feeling high energy and excitement too. This is different from simply feeling gassed though, which is the exact opposite, for some reason. 

A gassy tank

  • The kids are so pumped about going to Disneyland. I’m sure it will be tons of fun. 
  • Many athletes like listening to music to get pumped up before a game. 
  • Let’s get gassed up, you guys! The game is about to start. 
  • We’ve been traveling all day long, I’m totally gassed. Can we please take a break?

That’s it, you guys! Thank you for reading and I hope you learned some new phrases. How would you use these in your own sentences? What is your favorite expression about cars and driving? Tell us about it. And, as always, take care of each other. Peace!

For contact or collaboration: tietewaller@gmail.com or Give me a Shout!

Careful looking outward – How to use expressions with ‘Watch’ (watch out, watch it, & more)

Looking at a kangaroo juggle fire can be interesting. But watching a kangaroo juggle fire is a lot better. The difference between “look” and “watch” is often a struggle for English learners to understand, but consider this; “watching” is like “looking” more attentively.

Look = just using your eyes to observe something.

Watch = looking at something and paying attention to / processing what is happening.

Watch

That’s part of the idea behind some informal meanings of “watch.” In some situations, people may use watch as a way to tell someone to be careful. This relates to someone paying attention, usually because they’re being a little careless.

  • Watch your step. The sidewalk is very uneven here.

Watch it

This is similar to the term watch it which has the same meaning, telling someone to be careful. When said in a disciplinary tone, it can be used to warn someone about their (bad) behavior too.

  • Watch it. The drivers at this intersection don’t check for pedestrians.
  • You better watch it! I told you to stop being rude.

Watch yourself / your back / your mouth + more

Oftentimes, “watch it” can be short for expressions like watch your mouth or watch yourself. All of these have the same general meaning of being careful with what you say. We usually say this to people who are acting wildly, saying offensive things or simply behaving badly. You may also hear people use several variations of this, like “watch what you say,” “watch your words,” “watch your tone,” “watch your back,” and so on. That last one, by the way, is more of a threat than the others.

  • Nina from third period called you ugly? I hope you told her to watch her mouth.
  • Excuse me, Sir! You are being extremely rude. You need to watch yourself.
  • You better watch your back when you come around here next time.

Watch out!

Another precautionary expression that is pretty popular is watch out. Telling someone to “watch out” is the same as saying be careful. This is usually because something is putting them in danger, although the danger could be physical or otherwise. When telling someone to be careful about something specific, we would tell them to “watch out for” that thing.

  • Whenever they tell George of the Jungle to “watch out for that tree,” he always ends up hitting it anyway.

Those are some of the key points you’ll want to know about the expressions using “watch.” How would you use these in a sentence? Have you heard these expressions before? Let us hear your thoughts!

Below is a short story, part of the Adventures of Charles series where we explore the above terms in their everyday usage. If you like stories and want to get some reading practice in, I encourage you to read along!


Careful looking outward – Short Story

Nothing could be heard but the rush of the wind blowing into the open windows. The sight, on the other hand, was much more beautiful. There was a mountain on one side covered in emerald grass and a few heads of cactus; the dark gray asphalt extended and curved out ahead of them, lined down the middle with yellow stripes the whole way; the crashing waves of the ocean burst onto the rocky shores. The most scenic part of it all that Charles could place his eyes on was Sheila, who was sitting next to him in the driver’s seat.

–All right! You ready to drive? she asked him.

–Who, me? Oh, I don’t know. I haven’t driven since I came to this country. I don’t really feel safe.

–Come on, it’s like riding a bike! Sheila insisted.

The two hopped out of the blue BMW M and traded seats. Charles suddenly noticed how new and, especially, how fast the car looked.

–You’ll do fine. Just don’t crash us into the ocean.

Sheila said this as a joke, but it didn’t make him feel any better. Charles started the car, shifted gear, and drove off. For a minute he felt pretty comfortable. Hey, I could get the hang of this. He was so relaxed that he started looking off at the waves, the green hillside, and got stuck on Sheila’s charming face. From the cheeks to the eyes, down to the nose, and then the chin …

–Make sure you watch the road, yeah?

Charles suddenly jerked the steering wheel, making the whole car jump until he could settle it. At that moment, a big rig truck started coming at them from the other direction.

Watch it

When he saw the truck hurling his way, Charles panicked and turned sharply onto a narrow stony road. He kept going from there.

–I’ll hand it to you. I never have come down this road, Sheila said in a sarcastic tone.

–Where did I take us? Oh, son of a–

–Hey! Watch your mouth. There’s a lady present.

Sheila snickered at her own comment. Charles pulled the car over to contemplate. After about a minute, they noticed a rumbling coming over the countryside. They both looked at each other, like, What is that? A few dark spots peeked over the green pastures until the hills were suddenly covered with them. One of the creatures ran towards the BMW, apparently interested in the vibrant paint job.

–What are those things? asked Charles.

–You’ve never seen these? They’re called bison, I think.

And bison, they were. A curious cow nearest them was licking Sheila’s rearview mirror, comically trying to check her teeth. She gave a hard sneeze and fogged the mirror, then she ran away to graze on some grass.

Sheila then said, –Hey, I’ve got an idea. Put the car into reverse, and try to make it back to the highway.

–Why reverse? Charles replied. –Can’t I just go straight?

–There’s a lot more bison ahead of us, and if you scare them they might stampede. You just have to steer, you’ll be fine.

–That’s what you said the last time.

Sucking up all the confidence he could find, he put the car into reverse and started backing up. The bison initially weren’t interested in the two of them at all. That was until Charles accidentally revved up the motor really loud, and all the bison started to scatter.

–Go faster, faster! We have to get out of here!

Charles steered one way and Sheila grabbed the wheel trying to steer another. The bumps and stones on the ground made the car jump and shake uncontrollably. They crisscrossed through bison, being extra careful (or extra lucky) not to hit any of them. After being nearly frightened to death, somehow Charles was able to get them past the maze of bison and onto the highway again. To Sheila’s surprise though, one stray bison had made its way onto the pavement, and a car was coming right at it.

Watch out, little bison! she yelled.

The sound of screeches and the smell of hot rubber filled the air around them. Charles and Sheila shut their eyes in horror. When they opened them again, they were surprised to see the other car stopped to a complete halt. The bison, probably the same cow that had come to Sheila’s car, was at the other car now, licking the rearview mirror as before.

–Oh, thank God, Sheila sighed. –That was too close.

Charles looked at her now, smiling.

–So, how did I do? Ready to drive back?

Sheila was quick to respond, “Ohh, that is okay. I’d better take over on this one.”

Everyday Expressions about Cars and Driving (part 2) – English List

dark Porsche car driving at sunset, related to the topic of words about cars and driving
Peter Miranda

Welcome to this version of English List. Cars have had such a huge impact on that language–the English one–and we’re here to prove it! This is part 2 of Everyday Expressions about Cars and Driving, including some terms that can be used for both vehicles and other life situations.

For English students, these can be a cool way for you to liven up your word choice and vocabulary. Otherwise, you may just like driving cars or be an awesome English-speaking person that loves to learn. Whatever it is, I hope you enjoy the article. Feel free to give your own examples, ask questions, give feedback, do whatever!

Alrighty, let’s get rolling.

Read Part 1: Some Everyday Expressions about Cars & Driving

Full Tank

Powered up

It’s easy to imagine the benefits of a full tank of gas. Similarly, when talking about people, we can say that person has a full tank. This is like saying that they are full of energy, ready to go, and pumped full of enthusiasm. There’s also the expression “on full,” which is the opposite of “on E” (on empty). Careful, though! “On F” isn’t quite a popular expression (yet).

No stopping … no stopping

  • Let’s make sure the truck’s got a full tank so we don’t have to stop the whole trip.
  • He has been running for hours and is still on a full tank! Can you believe it?

Roll up (the window)

Windows shut

This one may sound obvious, but it might not be so for English learners. When talking about making the window go up in a car, we can say roll the window up or roll up the window (it works the same for “down” too). Roll up by itself also has a multitude of meanings. It can be as simple as “to roll something” or to “arrive or go somewhere.”

Read also: Roll out, rolling, & other expressions

Getting there

  • Can you please roll the window up? It’s freezing in here!
  • I have to roll up my clothes so that they can fit in my suitcase.
  • Do you feel like rolling up to my cousin’s house? You know, she’s the one with the big TV.

Junk in the trunk

Big things in the back

This phrase is near and dear to many English speakers. Literally, it refers to having too much “junk”, or lots of random and useless objects, in the trunk of one’s car. Junk in the trunk can also be used to talk about people, especially women, saying that they have a big behind. This is actually the first thing that will come to mind to most English speakers when this silly phrase is said.

It is a very playful expression, used mostly with people we are really comfortable with, and it can be a really funny thing to say.

A beautiful mess

  • Do you know if Tyler has any jumper cables? There’s so much junk in his trunk, I can’t find it.
  • Mark told me I had a lot of junk in my trunk. Uh, I think he likes me.

Backseat driver

No driving from the back

Just picture it: you are riding along happily in your car, not a care in the world. Suddenly, you hear a voice from the back seat telling you to turn your blinkers on before you switch lanes. That’s decent advice, but still, nobody likes a backseat driver.

This expression is used to refer to someone who is giving instructions or directions but is “out of line” to. Maybe they are unqualified, or maybe they just weren’t a part of the conversation, to begin with.

Input from the sidelines

  • I thought to tell you to slow down, but I didn’t want to be a backseat driver.
  • The parents on the other team are such backseat drivers. They should just let the coaches do their jobs, right?

Down the road

What is to come

Driving is a lot more comfortable when you can see far down the road. This expression refers to what is ahead of you, further down the street. In a figurative sense, it means what is ahead in life, as opposed to the actual street or highway. Still, it’s a very useful idiom to know.

Looking forward

  • There’s a new Chipotle that opened up down the road. Want to try it?
  • You should always be prepared because you never know what might happen down the road.

U-turn

Turn it around

When driving, some people get the sudden urge to want to completely change directions on the road. That round 180-degree change is called making a U-turn. Likewise, people can make a “U-turn” in life as they completely change directions or go back to old habits.

Another very informal way of saying this is making a U-ey. (Some also say “pulling” a U-ey, “busting” a U-ey, “flipping” a U-ey, it’s all the same)

Bring it back

  • Sheryl was so happy in retirement. Now, all of a sudden, she did a big U-turn and went back to teaching again.
  • Do you think we can make a U-ey on this road? I think we can.

Run out of steam

Steam-less

No one wants this. When you’re driving and the car suddenly stops working. Apparently it’s got no more gas, no power, and everything says that is has run out of steam. The same idea can go for people when they don’t have the smallest bit of energy left in them.

Run until the running’s done

  • Boy, I sure hope this old truck doesn’t run out of steam before we make it home.
  • Alex started the day off full of energy, but now she looks like she ran out of steam.

Driving (me) nuts!

Nuts and (crazy) berries

Many people like to drive, while others get enraged by it. Driving someone nuts is the same as making them feel crazy. Other ways to say this are driving someone “mad,” driving someone “crazy”, driving someone “bananas,” and driving someone “coocoo”, among others.

This “driving” is usually used with negative emotions, so you would not say “driving me happy,” for example.

Ja-Making me crazy!

  • Is this Camila Cabello? Oh no, her music drives my brother insane.
  • I can’t handle being around kids while they’re crying. They drive me nuts!

Read more expressions about cars and driving: Hubpages


**Thank you for reading! Do you know any other car-related expressions or phrases? Can you use them in a sentence? Feel welcome, this is your place!

Contact for personal messages, English advice, or collaboration: tietewaller@gmail.com (Contact Page)

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Peace & love, y’all!

Some Everyday Expressions about Cars and Driving – English List

Speed-racing, fast-flying, metal-clunking, oil-charged … these useful little machines called cars have a lot more to do with the English language than one might imagine. There are so many popular idioms and expressions that were inspired by these furiously fast vehicles. Whether for a compliment or a “total wreck,” this language has you car-lovers covered.

Below is a list of some expressions that were inspired by cars or driving. Most of these can be used in a literal driving context but also in a figurative way. It’s not a complete list at all, and there are many more expressions out there. Still, these are some that, in my life, seem to be the most commonly used. So let’s get the motor runnin’!

Oh, and I’ll be writing more lists about this topic in the future if you want to know even more phrases related to cars. So, stay tuned for that!

a wrecked car on the side of a green hill, representing an English expression about cars and driving
How did that get there? Tobias Tullius

Total Wreck / Totaled

Utter Destruction!

Let’s go ahead and start with one that I just used. A total wreck, whether for a car or in general life, is a complete disaster. Something has been destroyed and it doesn’t look like there’s going to be any coming back. If you total a car, it’s totaled, and this has the same meaning as a “total wreck.” It’s “totally” destroyed … totally, man!

This word is used more specifically for cars, but can be used for other things if you want to get creative. A complete wreck is another option with the same idea.

Messed up car, messed up life

  • My life is just a total wreck right now!
  • Did you see? Max totaled his Audi the other day.

Rev Up

Getting things hot

Revving up an engine is to get it started, get it hot. You press your foot on the gas and get ready to run (as in driving, of course). It’s similar as a figurative expression, where it means to get really excited, get “fired up,” and start an activity with lots of power and energy. It’s also used as an adjective in the same way.

Passion from within

  • Cars are so noisy when they rev up their engines.
  • Be careful with Charlie. He gets all revved up at football games.

Curb

Take a pause …

Has someone ever been talking to you and you just wanted to stop them and change the topic? Well, you could have curbed them, which is doing exactly that. It usually means to stop something in order to change its course. Think of a car’s wheels hitting a curb.

An abrupt stop

  • Joey’s car got scratched when he curbed it last week.
  • Guys at bars always come at me with terrible conversations. I wish I could just curb them and move on.
a speedy lime green car racing on a track, representing common phrases about cars and driving in English
It’s okay to speed on the race track. Wes Tindel

Speeding

That’s doing too much

This means going really fast, simple as that. It works in cars as much as in life situations. It generally has the context of doing more than one should or more than needed.

Breaking the limit

  • Is it okay to speed in Germany?
  • All his speeding through life is going to catch up with him someday.

In The Rearview

A look back

As in, in the “rearview mirror.” When looking in their “rearview,” someone can see what’s behind them. Outside of driving, something in the rearview or looking in the rearview has to do with being in the past. Usually we say it when something gets put in the past or when someone is focusing on their past.

Checking what’s past

  • Make sure to check in the rearview while you drive.
  • I used to work as a waitress, but that’s all in the rearview now.

On E

No fuel for the fire

This is can also be expressed as “running on E.” On E literally means on empty, which happens when a car has no more gas in the tank. This is helpful to express when a car has an empty gas tank, or when a person has no more energy in their metaphorical “tank.”

Running on 0%

  • I got this new rental car, but the tank was already on E.
  • Messi looks so tired out on the field. He must be running on E by now.

Full Throttle

Going strong

When talking about cars, full throttle means the vehicle is moving at full capacity or is driving very quickly. Well, that’s about the same as someone doing something at “full throttle,” or with lots of enthusiasm, energy, and speed.

Full speed ahead

  • She loves to drive with her convertible at full throttle through the desert.
  • If you choose to do something in life, make sure to do it full throttle.

Like A Deer In Headlights

Caught you looking

Sometimes people say “headlamps,” but it means the same thing. Often said as a deer caught in headlights, this phrase intends exactly what comes to mind when you read it. Someone usually makes this look when they are caught doing something they shouldn’t be. They can be very shocked or even embarrassed.

Scared deer, scared baby

  • Have you ever actually seen a deer caught in headlights?
  • When Sean’s mom caught him stealing cookies from the cabinet, he was like a deer in headlights.

Hit The Brakes / Hit The Gas

Just press go … or stop

Hitting the gas or the brakes in a car means to push your foot on the gas or brake pedal to make the car go or stop. These expressions sometimes get used in other situations, like when you want a person to speed up or slow down. Pumping the brakes or the gas is another alternative, as well is pushing the brakes / gas. Although, the sensation is a little less “rushed.”

Advice for driving, dates, and driving dates

  • Never hit the brakes too suddenly. But when the light turns green, you need to hit the gas.
  • Jake tried to kiss me on our first date and I was like, pump the brakes! Now it’s been two weeks, and I wish he would push the gas!

Park It

Bring it in, sit it down

Parking, we know, is to pull your car over to the side of the road and leave it. Or, you can leave it in a parking lot. When someone says to park it, they usually are asking you to sit down. Sometimes it can mean to stop what someone is doing, too.

Pull over and leave it there

  • When you learn to drive a car, you must learn how to park it.
  • Hey, Jimmy! Come park it next to me.
  • He knows he was wrong. He should just park it and apologize.

Swerve

Evade, avert

A swerve (action) or to swerve mean to make a sudden and unexpected turn while driving. This is usually to avoid an obstacle in the road, like a tree branch or something. Figuratively, one can swerve to avoid a situation or person, mostly because they don’t like them. I think it can also be used to talk about making a sudden change in life or in movement.

This is part of where all those “skrrt” sounds came from in Trap and Hip Hop music these days, since car tires make a skrrt sound when they swerve.

Going around, literally

  • Why is this guy swerving? There’s nothing in the road.
  • Yeah, man. When Gina called me, I had to swerve.
  • Sometimes in life we have to swerve around and try something new.

Rolling

Wheels and squeals

Car wheels roll, and that’s the idea behind this word. To roll can simply mean to drive, but it can also mean that someone is leaving or going, as if they were “driving” away. People also use rolling to mean that they are laughing really hard, as if they were “rolling” on the ground and holding their stomach.

Funny trip

  • Do you want to roll in my truck tonight, or are we taking dad’s?
  • After the party we can roll to my house.
  • Oh my God, that movie was hilarious! I was rolling the whole time.

Read more: Rolling, Roll, Roll Out, & more

Cruising

Riding cool

Some people love to just get in their car and enjoy the ride. Cruising is driving low and slow with nowhere to go, but just having a cool time. Outside the car, it usually means the same thing but in a more general life sense. It can also mean to move through some situation really easily and smoothly.

Smooth move

  • Every Tuesday me and my cousins go cruising in our Chevys. Wanna come?
  • Everyone says how bad airport security is, but we just cruised through the last time.
a smiling man behind the steering wheel with his seatbelt buckled up
This guy’s buckled and ready to go. Humphrey Muleba

Buckle Up

Safety first … or not

Well, everyone’s got a different opinion on whether to buckle up their seatbelts or not. Whether you’re an all-the-time buckler or a never buckler, one thing remains consistent. Buckle up is also used to tell someone to get ready, because something big is surely coming.

Get ready!

  • Alright, Maddie. Let’s buckle up before we drive to school.
  • Buckle up, boys. This year’s vacation is going to be insane!

Riding / Rider / Ride Or Die

On the road together

Riding in a car or any vehicle can be lots of fun. Outside of that context though, riding might have to do with going together with someone, or being there for someone no matter what. A true and loyal companion. A rider or a ride or die also have these noble qualities.

True company

  • It’s fun to ride in the back of a pick-up truck.
  • I’m going to get some pizza. Are you riding?
  • Yeah, Marcy is a rider too, but Janelle is my ride-or-die. We’ve been through it all together.

Read more: Ride, Rider, Ride-or-Die, & more

Shift Gears

Switching course

No matter how popular automatic transmission gets, there always seem to be enough manual cars to practice driving stick shift. When you change from gear one to two and so on, that’s shifting gears. Now that I think of it, you can “shift gears” in an automatic car too. Just change from park to drive and whatnot.

Okay, so shifting gears has a similar meaning in other contexts, too. Changing one’s situation or circumstance comes to mind.

Nice maneuvers

  • Shifting gears can be hard for beginner drivers.
  • He was a great athlete before shifting gears and becoming an actor.

Pedal To The Metal

Pressing ahead

This is like putting your foot on the gas pedal as hard as you can, all the way to the floor. In a car, this means to drive as fast as you can. We tend to hear it a lot outside of cars too, since it can be used to tell someone to hurry up, give it all they’ve got, and put one’s full energy and effort into something.

Fast life youngsters

  • Did you see how fast Sarah was driving? She really likes to put the pedal to the metal.
  • Come on, son. Put the pedal to the metal and finish that homework. It’s almost midnight.

Also, here’s a resource I found useful for helping me write this article. They have plenty of cool car expressions!

**Thank you for reading. Great job coming to practice your English skills (or just for being curious)! Feel free to read similar posts here on the Blog, as well as share or comment. Can you think of other expressions that have to do with cars and driving? There are a lot out there. Well, drive safely, be careful, and happy learning! Peace.

Lead fame hit | What is ‘Clout’? – with dialogue

a businessman and his colleagues in the office, resembling the meaning of clout in business, politics, etc.
Yan Krukov

Meanings of Clout

Welcome to another post and yet another word explanation … sort of. Today’s focus is on “clout,” a word that has resurged up into popularity lately. Clout in normal situations has a couple of different meanings already. It can be a hit or a strike, and also some kind of cloth.

But we don’t want to focus on those definitions. If you’re looking this up, you’re likely searching for the most common use for this word in — American English, anyway — which is having strong influence either in business, politics, or some field related to these.

Read more: Clout in the learner’s dictionary

This meaning, though, has slightly changed in recent times. In some casual or slang contexts, usually in music or on social media, clout refers to general fame or recognition. Someone with clout is in control, calls the shots, and makes the decisions. It’s pretty much the same as being popular.

Read: Clout in the Urban Dictionary

Also, having clout on social media is having lots of popularity (on those media platforms), having lots of followers, getting lots of attention, and so on. Sometimes people who are looking to be more popular or chasing after fame and influence are called clout chasers.

Oh, and perhaps you’ve heard of this?

.

Like I said, these meanings are all pretty close to the same thing. Still, informally, clout is more about having fame online or being popular when you go places. The traditional meaning is less about having showy popularity where everybody knows you and more about having real power and leverage to make big changes. This is often in an elite field like politics or business.

Below is a short story featuring the characters from Adventures of Charles. Here, clout is explored with some more or less realistic examples, if you care to see that. Either way, thanks for stopping by. Good luck with your English studies!

‘Lead fame hit’

clout used in sentences

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What a weird story! I can’t believe you and Jonah saw all of those crystals, though. That must have been amazing. You’ll have to take me on your next trip.

Read previous story: Depth trap dive

Charles looked over at his friend, Sheila, with a smile as she steered the wheel. She had a way of making everything seem exciting. Oh, and she made driving look so cool.

–I know, it was amazing! The crystals were just beyond belief.

I guess Charles was also good at that.

Sheila thought for a moment, then decided to say, –I just don’t know how you guys afford these elaborate vacations. Are you guys, like, secretly rich or something? ‘Cus you need to tell me if you are.

Charles laughed and decided to tell the truth.

–Well, you know, I have nothing to do with it. Jonah is the one with all the connections. I think he has some clout with the airlines because of his cousin, so they let him travel when he wants.

  • He has some influence or leverage with this company, he has a certain amount of power and freedom with them.

–That’s dope! she responded enthusiastically, paying closer attention to the street signs now. Charles watched as the red and green streetlights skimmed over her face. –It must be good to have a friend like that.

–Well, I’m sure you have clout too in the music world. You could probably walk into a club and everybody would know who are. And want to buy a drink for you, too.

  • I’m sure you have influence, I’m sure that you are popular in the music world.

Sheila laughed.

–Hey! I ain’t that famous. Not yet, anyway. But I do wish I could get some of that clout on Instagram or something. My songs aren’t reaching the right audiences yet.

  • Get some popularity, more attention, influence on Instagram.

Charles placed a hand on her shoulder, about to say, “Don’t worry, grasshopper. Your time will come,” or something like that. But before he could shed his words, Sheila jerked her neck and turned to the side, pointing her finger at a dark corner building.

–Oh my God! That’s the old studio, she said.

–Really? Charles replied. –It looks barren.

–I know, huh? Let’s go record something! I bet you they still have all the old equipment.

As he undid his seatbelt, Charles nodded and replied, –Old equipment? Look out! Now you’ll really be famous.

Sheila parked the car at the corner by the dark-looking ruin of a building. Charles then took a deep breath, and they went in.

To be continued …

That’s ‘Wack!’ Video Quick Examples – English Expressions

A film projector in the dark, representing a short video about the use of the expression "wack"
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Hello, English learners and enthusiasts. We have this expression or slang word called:

Wack!

This word is used to describe things that are boring, not interesting, of bad quality, or simply not fun. The video below shows how you might use or hear it in normal speech, so please check that out. Let me know what you think! Sorry, my hair was kind of crazy that day. 😀

In the Urban Dictionary

Watch more Videos

Read “wack” in a short story

Contact me!

‘Get police bad excuse’ – meanings & uses of Cop, Cop-out

If you’ve listened to English for long enough, you’ve probably heard the word “cop” before. It can have a couple of different meanings, though. We’ll take a look at these differing definitions with some explanations and some dialogue using our old trusty friend, Charles. Let’s read along!

Cop (n)

wi.ng o

Like I said, Cop can have a number of meanings in English slang. The most common meaning is a “police officer.” This use is used a lot by people all over the world and is not seen as particularly informal or rude to say. Copper is a more old-fashioned or silly way to say this, but it means the same thing. Don’t confuse it with the metal, copper, though.

dialogue

Jonah was rustling through his carry-on bag as the airplane gates closed. In his movements he disturbed Charles a bit, knocking him with his elbows. Other passengers were looking at him suspiciously.

Charles — What are you doing, man? You lose something? You keep hitting me with your arms, making everybody nervous.

Jonah — Oh, my fault. I’m just checking here. Gotta make sure I don’t have any weapons on me.

Charles — What are you talking about? Security already checked all that.

Jonah — Didn’t you hear the flight attendant? They said the cops are coming on the plane to search for some criminal.

  • The police are coming.

Charles — Well, it isn’t you. I hope …

Some police officers stepped onto the plane. Jonah started to panic.

Jonah — Oh, shoot! It’s the coppers. Put your head down!

  • It’s the police (in a silly or sarcastic tone).

.

To Cop (v)

“Cop” has a different meaning when used as a verb. To Cop can mean to get or obtain something, usually from buying it. In this way, it’s normally used as “cop something,” as in, some object or item.

Read more: Cop

dialogue

Some of the nearby passengers gave Jonah a weird look. He was seriously being overly dramatic.

Charles — Calm down! Why in the world are you so scared for? You’re just going to call more attention to yourself.

Jonah — Nah, they’re probably gonna try to arrest me. I got all this cash on me. And look at my watch! It’s way too fancy to go with this face.

He pointed at himself in the face. This made Charles laugh.

Charles — You’re crazy. Where’d you get that watch from anyway? It’s nice.

Jonah — Oh, this old thing? I copped it from that rapper you went to see over on the east side.

  • I bought it, he gave it to me, I received it in some way.

Charles — Really? You know Lil B Dowry?

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Cop out (v)

Another use is as a phrasal verb, combined to make it “cop out.” This is when someone doesn’t stay true to who they are. It is mostly used when someone becomes rich, famous, successful, or just has their reputation threatened. These situations can make a person do things that are not like them, act in a “bad” character, or with poor morals. In a similar way, to Cop out can also be when someone falls back on something they promised to do. This usually isn’t malicious or intentional, but it is a way for the person to escape responsibility or not admit to doing something. It often is when the person is afraid to face the consequences of their actions.

dialogue

Jonah — Yeah, I know him. He’s a cool dude. He gave me this watch, afterall.

Charles — I thought he lived in a much nicer part of town. He’s a smart guy and he’s always dressed up nice.

Jonah — Well, I’m not surprised. Most of these rappers come from neighborhoods like that. Then they all cop out and forget who their friends are. Sad.

  • They all forget where they came from, stop caring about their friends, change their character.

At this moment, the police were finishing their search and were leaving the airplane. Jonah hadn’t noticed.

Charles — I’m sure he won’t do that. Lil B seems pretty down-to-earth. I can’t see him turning his back on people like that.

Jonah — I’m just saying, he wouldn’t be the first artist from the hood who says he’s gonna help out his block only to get rich and then cop out on everybody. Anyway, let me finish hiding my watch …

  • And then turn his back on everybody, then forget about everybody, then not do what he promised to do.

Charles — For what? The police left already. You’re a free man.

Jonah gave a big smile and jerked his knee, accidentally kicking the seat in front of him.

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Cop-out (n)

Cop-out can also be a noun. In this case, it is describing a person who has “copped out,” or gone back on their promise, done things that don’t fit their character. A similar expression in English is a “sell-out.” A sell-out (person) can sell out (action) and do things that go against their morals just for fame, wealth, success, or other reasons. It’s essentially the same idea as “cop-out.” A Cop-out can also be the excuse itself used by a person to escape consequences.

dialogue

Passenger — Excuse me! Can you stop kicking my chair?

Jonah — So sorry, sir. Won’t happen again.

Then he turned to Charles.

Jonah — Now we’re home-free! And it’s a good thing because I was totally gonna cop out and say you stole whatever they were looking for.

  • I was totally going to take the easy way out, was going to lie so I wouldn’t get in trouble, run away from the consequences.

Charles — Gee, thanks. I’m sure that cop-out would’ve worked.

  • I’m sure that lie would’ve worked, that bad excuse.

Jonah — Welp, are you ready for this trip? It’s your first time out of the state, right?

Charles — Yeah, kinda. I always get nervous on planes. It’ll be nice to see another part of the country, though.

The engines revved up and the plane started to move. Habitually, Charles started to pray and kissed his hands.

Jonah — That’s what I’m talking about! Even in a foreign country, you keep your traditions. That’s what I mean by not being a cop-out! Don’t sell out your traditions, don’t forget where you come from.

  • Not being a sell-out, not giving up on your identity, not changing who you are.

Charles — Yeah, yeah, yeah. Let’s just enjoy the flight, okay?

Jonah — Enjoy? I’m relaxed as can be. I don’t know what you’re so scared about anyway!

Charles bumped his friend in the ribs with his elbow.

Charles — So, now I’m the scared one?

Last thoughts

I would say by far, the most common use of Cop is relating to police. This will probably be the first thing that comes to most people’s minds. Cop out is also very common and used across the U.S., if not the world. Talking about police, “cop” is the most common slang word for a police officer, even though there are several others. It is also the least offensive and most neutral term for the police.

Copping something is more of a regional slang and I don’t think it’s as common for so many English speakers. I’m sure lots of people understand it, but it is the least used meaning out of the others we talked about here.

**Thanks for reading! I hope this helped you to better understand these expressions. Can you use “cop” or “cop-out” in your own sentences? Comment below! And feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, or if you want to collaborate on the page (tietewaller@gmail.com). You’re more than welcome! Until next time. Peace.

Contact me: Give me a Shout!

“Catch work trap device” – meaning and use of ‘Trap, Trapping’

From “Beez in the Trap” to “Trap Queen“, trapping has become a part of mainstream and popular English slang nowadays. Lots of native speakers are now getting used to this fun little word. But what about all my learners out there? Do you know what a “trap” is? We’ll take a look and explain what this word is and how to use it. To do that, we’ll read some dialogues with our favorite character, Charles. (To find other short stories and dialogues where I explain English expressions, check out Adventures of Charles) All set? Here we go …

The Trap

brown mouse inside mouse trap, representing the slang meaning of "trap"
by ardeshir etemad, Pexels.com

Explain

First of all, the trap can refer to a place. Normally, a “trap” is a situation or device used to trick someone or capture something. Think of a mousetrap used to catch mice. Well in slang, the trap has been used a lot to talk about a place, sometimes an actual house (trap house), where drug deals happened. I know, that’s a little dark. It’s also been used to talk about a place where any illegal activities and transactions happen on a regular basis.

On a similar tone, sometimes it’s used to talk about the “hood” or lower-class neighborhoods in general. That’s probably because these kinds of neighborhoods have usually been where you could find a trap house. Now, the whole block is considered a “trap.” This is also where you get names like trap queen and trap music, now a whole subgenre of hip hop.

Dialogue

One thing had been on Charles’s mind for the longest time: Sheila. But he’d heard some rumors about her that he wanted to clear up. One man knew more about Sheila than anybody else, and Charles was in the neighborhood to find him.

Charles — Okay, I hope this is the right stop. Goodness, what is this place? It’s so dirty and empty. I better find this guy soon … before it gets dark.

A boy from the neighborhood came up to Charles, noticing he was kind of lost.

Local boy — Hey, yo. What’s your name? You looking for the trap or what?

  • Are you looking for the drug house, looking to buy some illegal things?

Charles — Who, me? No. I mean, sorry. I’m not from around here. I’m just looking for somebody.

Local boy — I figured, cuz I ain’t ever seen you around here before. Why you look all scared? You never been to a trap before?

  • Haven’t you ever been to a hood, a ghetto, a poor neighborhood before?

Charles’s nervousness was showing all over his face.

Charles — No, I mean … I don’t know. I didn’t know there were places like this in this city. It’s so different. Just trying to find somebody.

Explain

All illegal activity aside, nowadays a trap can also be a place where one makes their money or just spends their time. It’s a bit more sarcastic used this way though. The idea is still of a place or situation that is hard to get out of. Trap is also used to refer to trap music in general, in the sense of “listening to trap.”

Dialogue

Local boy — I could help you find “somebody.” You know her name? What street is she on?

Charles — Oh, no, it’s a he. I’m looking for this rapper or singer or whatever– He records at the studio on Wilmington Ave.

Local boy — Oh, dang. He doesn’t owe you anything, does he? That boy is so bad at paying people back.

Charles — No, no. I need to talk to him about a girl. Sheila. They record together.

Local boy — Ahh, okay! You’re talking about Lil B Dowry, that old trap rapper from down past the alley.

  • That rapper who makes trap music.

Charles — You know him?

Local boy — Yeah, I know who he is. If he’s not at the trap right now, he’s probably at home. Want me to take you over?

  • If he’s not at work, at the place where he makes money.

He thought for a second. Then Charles gave the boy a nod, and they started walking down the street, around the corner, and past the alley.

To Trap

Explain

This is basically the verb version of the above. Just like how “trap” in regular usage can be a situation/device and an action, “trap” in slang can also be an action. More often than not, people refer to the action as trapping. Trapping is used a lot to talk about making illegal transactions, especially dealing with drugs. But you’re all saintly people, so you won’t need to use it like that 😉

Dialogue

As they got near to Lil B Dowry’s house or hang-out spot — or trap, as the local boy called it — Charles noticed a couple of strange-looking people with tired eyes and smelly clothes wandering around. They looked sick in the face, and they couldn’t stop shuffling around on the floor like they were searching for worms.

Local boy — Ha. You see them? They’re probably coming from Lil B’s place right now.

Charles — Yeah? Does Lil B … trap?

  • Does he sell drugs, make money illegally?

The local boy laughed and shook his head. He then turned to Charles.

Local boy — Well, that’s what people say. Let’s find out.

Explain

Now, trapping doesn’t have to be all bad. In the loosest sense, it’s used to talk about any kind of work that one makes their money from. Some people use it to talk about making money in general, even by legal means. That’s right; even on their legal paying jobs, sometimes people say trapping.

Dialogue

When they arrived at the house, Lil B Dowry was already on the front porch. He put out his cigarette and stood up, ready to encounter two strangers. But he realized they weren’t so strange after all.

Lil B Dowry — Hey, bro! What’s happening with you?

Local boy — You know this guy? He was wandering around the block, lost, looking for you.

Lil B Dowry — Heck yeah, I know this fool. I’ve seen him around at the studio. You know, the one on Wilmington. Come on up, don’t be scared!

The sun was getting low in the sky. The sick people were still shuffling around in the streets.

Local boy — So, I see you’ve been hustling out here. Making hit songs and making deals on these fiends.

Lil B Dowry — Nah, that’s not on me. You know I don’t trap like that.

  • You know I don’t sell drugs, make money illegally like that.

Local boy — You mean, you don’t sell …

Lil B Dowry — All of my trapping is legal, kid. I make my music, and that’s it. Don’t get misconstrued. If anybody is dealing drugs, it’s Charles over there. Probably got ties with the Colombian Cartels, the Haitians. He might even be in the Japanese mafia, for all we know.

  • All of my ways of making money are legal.

They broke out laughing, and Charles realized that the rapper was joking with him. Thank God!

Explain

Just a quick note. Trap can also be a person that is lying or deceitful. It’s especially used towards women or trans people who lie about their identity, but that’s another story. You can read more about that meaning if you want to here.

Dialogue

Charles — Yeah, you all better run from me. I’ll get the mob after you. But for real, I came to ask you about …

Lil B Dowry — Sheila? I know, I remember you liked her. You come to find out if she’s a trap or not. Listen, Sheila’s cool, okay? You don’t have to worry about her. And you can ask her for yourself, she doesn’t hide anything.

  • Find out if she’s a liar, if she’s deceitful, if she’s a fake.

A sigh of relief swept over Charles. Nerves came back when he realized how dark it was.

Local boy — That’s cool you rap at a studio though. You should get me a spot in the booth.

Lil B Dowry — For sure! If you want, I’ll take you down there right now. Sheila’s probably getting done making a song right now, Charlie. I’ll take y’all if you want.

Charles — That’s alright! Where’s your car parked?

Closing

Alright, my learners! I hope this made some sense to you. These aren’t all the possible meanings of “trap,” but this is mostly what you’ll want to know. Since it’s a term that originates from illegal activities, it could be a tricky word to know how to use. If you’re an English learner, I suggest not using it unless you’re around people who use it commonly. If you’re around younger people, you could surprise them with your use of “trap” in the healthy, legal sense.

Whatever you decide, at least you now understand these slang expressions. Use them in your own sentences. Think of songs where you’ve heard these expressions. And whatever you do …! Don’t give up learning. Peace out! And take care.