47 Colloquialism Examples You’re Gonna Go Nuts Over

If you’re in search of colloquialism examples, then you definately’re in the appropriate place.

Maybe you’re simply now studying about colloquialisms, or possibly you’re a seasoned author in search of methods so as to add taste to your prose.

Either approach, this submit will outline what colloquialisms are and supply loads of examples to make it clear as day.

Quick query: When was the final time you loved a narrative the place all of the characters spoke excellent, formal American English, no matter their background?

Colloquial language makes characters and tales extra attention-grabbing and, if their background is much like yours, extra relatable. Colloquial utilization helps you, as a author, construct familiarity and belief together with your readers.

Formal writing has its place. But you’re about to be taught why typically colloquial expressions match higher.

Ready to discover ways to have extra enjoyable together with your writing — and to make it extra enjoyable to your readers, too?

Let’s dive in!

What are Colloquialisms?

Most dictionaries outline colloquialisms as phrases or phrases which can be neither formal nor literary – which means they’re casual, unfancy, on a regular basis language.

Typically, when discussing colloquialism (kuh-LOH-kwee-uh-liz-um), we’re speaking about language particular to a chosen nation or area.

It’s the language most frequently utilized in casual conditions between extraordinary folks. In different phrases, it’s how folks speak in an informal dialog.

So, as a literary machine, it helps make your dialogue sound extra sensible.

Now that we all know what we’re speaking about, let’s cope with two issues that always get combined up with colloquialisms: slang and jargon.

Related Terms


Slang contains distinctive phrases, expressions (and even cliches) spoken in particular social teams (like youngsters), whereas colloquialisms are normally spoken by everybody in a selected geographic area.

For instance:

A youngster may use the phrase “swag” or “sick” to explain one thing that meets their approval, whereas older age teams in the identical area usually received’t.

But a youngster is simply as probably to make use of the phrase “pop” as an alternative of cola, or “biscuit” as an alternative of cookie if the folks of their area do the identical.


Jargon is generally technical phrases utilized by folks in a selected career; folks outdoors these professions usually don’t use these phrases in on a regular basis speech.

For instance:

A health care provider may use phrases like “idiopathic” and “iatrogenic” in a sentence with friends and even with sufferers, however most non-medical folks will solely use them when quoting a medical skilled.

Yet, a physician is simply as prone to confer with diapers as “nappies” if that’s the colloquial phrase for it the place she lives.

Even those that agree that slang and jargon are usually distinct from colloquialisms, it’s doable for phrases and phrases that begin as slang or jargon to turn out to be a part of a area’s colloquial vocabulary.

47 Colloquialism Examples

We’ve collected a minimum of 47 colloquial examples as an instance its makes use of and to point out how colloquial expressions are a part of each our on a regular basis language and our most beloved literature.

Examples of Colloquialisms in Everyday Speech

Two people talking

Colloquialisms in on a regular basis speech are available three differing kinds: phrases, phrases (usually idiomatic ones), and aphorisms.

An announcement qualifies as an aphorism if it expresses a fact in a pithy method (consider Polonius in Shakespeare’s Hamlet). 

Idioms — or idiomatic phrases — are colloquial by nature; their literal which means can’t be deduced from the phrases that make them up (in contrast to aphorisms). And they’re distinctive to audio system of a selected language or dialect.

If finishing a job is “a piece of cake,” we could surmise from this idiom that it wasn’t fully unenjoyable, however its which means can also be not self-evident.

Colloquial Words:

  •  “Wicked” (Northeast U.S.) = “very” or (*47*) (intensifier) Ex: “This soup is wicked good!”
  • Contractions like “ain’t,” “gonna,” and “y’all”
  • Profanity that’s particular to a rustic or area: “bloody” is profanity within the UK – however simply an adjective within the U.S.

Colloquial Phrases / Idioms:

  • “Hard to swallow” = troublesome to imagine
  • “Kick the bucket” = to die
  • “Stir up a hornet’s nest” = provoke a powerful adverse response
  • “Up for grabs” = obtainable to anybody
  • “Knee jerk reaction” = a fast or computerized response
  • “Head over heels” = in love
  • “Elbow grease” = arduous work


  • “When it rains, it pours.”
  • “Brevity is the soul of wit.” (Polonius)
  • “All that glitters isn’t gold.”
  • “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”
  • “From the sublime to the ridiculous is but a step.”

The simpler it will get for disparate communities to attach — over the cellphone or by way of the web — the extra probably it’s that colloquial speech will unfold to different areas and even worldwide.

Examples of Colloquialism in Literature


Some of probably the most enduring works of fiction use colloquial language to make their characters extra plausible and their tales extra genuine.

Enjoy the next examples, and see if just a few others come to thoughts.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (Southern U.S. vernacular):

“It’s not necessary to tell all you know. It’s not ladylike-in the second place, folks don’t like to have somebody around knowin’ more than they do. It aggravates ‘em. You’re not gonna change any of them by talkin’ right, they’ve got to want to learn themselves, and when they don’t want to learn there’s nothing you can do but keep your mouth shut or talk their language.”

Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh (mimicking the lilt of the Scottish accent):

“Thing is, as ye git aulder, this character-deficiency gig becomes mair sapping. Thir wis a time ah used tae say tae aw the teachers, bosses, dole punters, poll-tax guys, magistrates, when they telt me ah was deficient:’Hi, cool it, gadge, ah’m jist me, jist intae a different sort ay gig fae youse but, ken?’ Now though, ah’ve goat tae concede thit mibee they cats had it sussed. Ye take a healthier slapping the aulder ye git. The blows hit hame mair. It’s like yon Mike Tyson boy at the boxing, ken?”

“The Class Game” by Mary Casey (UK):

“How are you able to inform what class I’m from?

I can speak posh like some

With an ‘Olly in me mouth

Down me nose, wear an ‘at not a scarf

With me second-hand clothes.”

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (Southwest Missouri):

“What’s the use you studying to do proper, when it’s troublesome to do proper and it ain’t no bother to do fallacious, and the wages is simply the identical?”

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (Yorkshire vernacular):

Vinegar-faced Joseph projected his head from a spherical window of the barn.

‘What are ye for?’ he shouted. ‘T’ maister’s down i’ t’ fowld. Go spherical by th’ finish o’ t’ laith, if ye went to spake to him.’

‘Is there nobody inside to open the door?’ I hallooed, responsively.

‘There’s nobbut t’ missis; and shoo’ll not oppen ‘t an ye mak’ yer flaysome dins until neeght.’

‘Why? Cannot you tell her whom I am, eh, Joseph?’

‘Nor-ne me! I’ll hae no hend wi’t,’ muttered the top, vanishing.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker (American Deep South):

“Man corrupt everything, say Shug. He on your box of grits, in your head, and all over the radio. He try to make you think he everywhere. Soon as you think he everywhere, you think he God. But he ain’t. Whenever you trying to pray, and man plop himself on the other end of it, tell him to git lost, say Shug. Conjure up the flowers, wind, water, a big rock.”

Pat of Silver Bush by Lucy Maud Montgomery (Irish vernacular):

“Oh, oh, is it Aunt Edith?” sniffed Judy. “And it was me fine Edith that dragged her in and blew it all afore Brian and his fine lady wife, ye’re telling me? Sure it was like her. It’s a pity a liddle thing like that cudn’t av been hushed up in the fam’ly. And to punish the tinder-hearted cratur so cruel! Ye ralely ain’t wise, Long Alec. A bit av a tongue-lashing might av been all right but to kape on torturing the poor jewel for a wake and her that fond av ye all! It’s telling ye to yer face, I am Long Alec, ye don’t deserve such a daughter.”

Examples of Colloquialisms for Everyday Items

A thought bubble with random things inside

Ever had a second while you referred to an on a regular basis object by the title you’ve all the time used for it, solely to have somebody from one other state or nation provide you with a humorous look earlier than calling the merchandise a very totally different title?


Here are a few of the most well-known examples:

  • Pop vs. cola or mushy drink
  • Nappies vs. diapers
  • Hot-dish (Minnesota) vs. casserole
  • Klick vs. kilometer
  • Lift vs. elevator
  • Flat vs. house
  • Binky vs. pacifier
  • Subs vs. hoagies vs. submarine sandwiches vs. heroes
  • Parakeet vs. budgie
  • Truck vs. lorry
  • Soccer vs. soccer
  • Pill bugs vs. Potato bugs vs. woodlice vs. roly-polies, and so on.

Examples of Colloquialisms for People

People sitting at tables talking

We have colloquial names for the folks in our lives, too, together with colloquial methods of addressing them.

Check out the next examples and see which of them stand out for you — both since you use them or since you’ve learn them in a e book.

  • Memaw vs. nana, gram, grammy, gramma, and so on.
  • Papaw vs papa or granddad (grandfather)
  • Kinfolk (blood kinfolk)
  • Bestie or BFF for finest pal
  • Y’all (you all)
  • Boo or bae (vital different)
  • Newbie or “noob” vs. newcomer or beginner
  • Bloke (nickname for a male within the UK)
  • Chap = gentleman (UK)
  • Prat = a dim-witted or badly-behaved individual (UK)
  • Slug = hitchhiking commuter (D.C.)
  • Table tapper = beginner preacher (North Carolina)
  • Soak = critical drinker (South Dakota)

Why Use Colloquialisms in Writing?

As writers, we’re all the time in search of methods to hone our writing abilities, whether or not by means of books, on-line programs, or weblog posts.

Inspiration is in every single place in the event you’re open to receiving it.

Listen in on different folks’s (public) conversations to select up on colloquialisms you’ll be able to weave into your dialogue and character improvement.

Colloquial language will make your story sound extra genuine, giving it a extra native taste.

That’s as a result of actual folks use colloquialisms of their on a regular basis speech, and plausible dialogue displays that actuality to construct a way of familiarity within the reader. That familiarity makes it simpler for connections to type.

And a linked reader stays with the story to its finish.

That mentioned, it’s price mentioning that your grammar checker will usually flag colloquialisms. Words like “aint” and “innit” may suit your story’s dialogue simply superb, however Grammarly will nonetheless name it out.

How Will You Use Colloquialism Examples in Your Own Writing?

Now that you just’ve seemed by means of all of the examples within the checklist above, are you able to consider colloquialisms you’ve utilized in your work?

Think about why you used them, in addition to what goes by means of your thoughts while you discover colloquial language in a chunk you’re studying.

As talked about earlier, writers use colloquialisms of their writing as a result of actual folks use them in on a regular basis speech. And actual readers like to search out one thing acquainted and genuine in what they’re studying.

So, how will you utilize colloquialisms in your subsequent story?

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