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. πŸ˜€

In the Urban Dictionary

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Read “wack” in a short story

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Pretty fancy red pepper – “hot” “bougee/boujee” meanings & uses

Welcome back to another Adventures of Charles! We’re going to look at just two words today, but these two pack a lot into them. Both of these are considered slang or informal words, and I’ll explain more about how they are used with some example dialogues. So, let’s read on.

Red hot peppers, Photo by Laker on Pexels.com

HOT

So you know the first and most obvious meaning of this word. When the temperature is high, you get “hot,” or when food comes out of the oven, it’s “hot.” Similarly, there’s another meaning that has to do with food. A lot of the time we use hot to mean spicy, like a chili pepper. It’s used so frequently that often when someone says their food is hot, another person will ask if it is “hot hot” (temperature hot) or “spicy hot.”

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It was a bright and sunny day, great for an ice-cold drink. Charles was finally “going out” to eat with his friend Sheila after several unofficial dates.

Charles β€” Goodness, it’s hot out. Is there a specific place you want to eat?

  • The weather is hot, high temperature.

Sheila β€” I know right? Let’s see … What about that Indian place. They have some good cold drinks there.

Charles β€” You like Indian food? I don’t know, I haven’t tried it before.

Sheila β€” Come on, it’s tasty! Super flavorful. The food can be a little hot though.

  • It can be a little spicy, have lots of spices.

Charles β€” Hot? You mean spicy?

She opened her eyes wide and gave Charles a big nod.

Sheila β€” Yeah!

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A “hot” day at the beach πŸ˜‰ Photo by Shifaaz shamoon on Unsplash

Besides the meanings above, “hot” can mean a few other things. When referring to a person as hot, it usually means they are very attractive. It’s basically a synonym for “sexy.” When referring to an item or object, however, it usually has one of two meanings. Calling something hot might mean that it is really fresh, brand new, and so it is really good. Think of how a cake, loaf of bread, or pizza are best when fresh and hot out the oven (at least in my opinion). Another meaning for hot when referring to an object is that it is stolen. That’s right, stolen goods can be resold for a bigger profit, and those goods are known as “hot.”

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The two friends entered the Indian restaurant and sat down to order their food.

Sheila β€” So, what should we order?

Charles β€” I don’t know, you’re the Indian expert. Which one is less hot?

  • Less spicy.

Sheila β€” These options in green are less spicy. One thing I like about these restaurants is they always have Indian T.V. shows and Bollywood movies playing. Look.

He looked up at the screen and saw a small group of women dressed in loose colorful dresses and garments. Their heads and necks were covered in gold accessories, and they were shaking every inch of their bodies.

Charles β€” Yeah, I see what you mean. They’re kind of hot.

  • They are kind of sexy, attractive.

Sheila made a snort laugh at this comment and shook her head.

Sheila β€” Bold man. Hey, what’s that guy doing?

A strange vendor entered the restaurant with a bag full of random items.

Vendor β€” I’ve got items for sell, I got it all. Everything’s hot off the store shelves. Hey, nice young couple. Y’all want to buy a DVD, bottle of wine? Let me see …

  • Everything is new, in good quality, fresh.

Suddenly the restaurant owner comes out from the kitchen.

Owner β€” Yeah, I bet all of that stuff is hot! Go away, sir. This is the last time I tell you!

  • I bet all of that stuff is stolen, you’re selling it illegally.

The vendor left without saying a word, probably next door to try to sell his stuff.

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Bougie – Boujee

The last word we’ll look at is this. Both of these are the same word, and in fact, they are pronounced the same way too. Spelling depends on the individual, and there are probably more ways to spell it. This word comes from the French term, bourgeoisie, which was used especially in the 1700s to refer to the French upper-middle class. The term became more derogatory because it referenced the materialistic values and stuck-up ways of the upper class. It got into English and apparently, “boujee” is an easier way to say it. Nowadays, it’s used almost in the same way, to refer to people who are stuck up, who put lots of value on material things, or those upper-middle-class people. Boujee is also used the same way as fancy or for someone who has expensive taste. Think of the song “Bad and Boujee” by Migos.

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The food was finally ready and arrived at their table, sizzling hot.

Sheila β€” Oh, and here. I ordered you a lassi. It’s like a mixed yogurt and fruit drink. Maybe it’ll cool you off.

Charles β€” Thanks!

Sheila β€” Hey, slow down! You’re not gonna have any drink to wash down all this spicy food.

The waiter stayed and asked if they needed anything else.

Sheila β€” No thanks.

Then she said a few things to the waiter in a language Charles had no chance of understanding. The waiter smiled at her and walked away happily.

Charles β€” I didn’t know you spoke another language.

Sheila β€” Yeah, you’re not the only foreigner here, haha. Well, I was born here, but my parents weren’t. All my friends think I’m boujee for eating here because it’s kinda expensive. I’m just trying to keep connected with my roots. And the food is amazing.

  • My friends think I am trying to be fancy, have expensive taste.

Charles nodded in agreement and took a bite. He immediately started sweating.

Charles β€” Oh my God, this is so hot!

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Like most of the words I cover in this series, boujee and hot may or may not be considered offensive when you’re describing a person. It really all depends on the tone of voice, the way that you say these words, and the perception of the person you’re talking about. For example, men usually don’t take offense to being called “hot,” but for women it could go both ways; some women might take offense while others could be flattered. It’s similar with boujee, because some people are proud to have expensive tastes. Others might be offended by being called stuck-up or trying to look rich. Regardless of if you use these words or not, you will definitely hear them in common speech and especially in popular music. And calling food “hot” is never offensive!

Practice Questions:

  1. Can you use hot and boujee in your own sentences? What situations are best for these words?
  2. Why might someone take offense to being called hot or boujee? Why might someone be flattered?
  3. Have you heard these words in your English studies or listening to English? When was that?
  4. Have you tried Indian food before? What did you think?

society + Coming to America [1988] – What’s it say about us?

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Popcorn anyone? Candies? We are back at The Movies! This time we are going to look at a classic, “an oldie but a goodie” you might say. Where else can you find African warriors, an obvious McDonald’s ripoff and Arsenio Hall in a wig? That’s right, we’ll look at one of the funniest movies of all time and see what it has to say about our good and friendly Americans. Ready to read?

*There may be spoilers here if you haven’t watched the movie yet, but, I mean, 1988.

Zamunda on the map, from Jungle Maps

Now, I know this movie’s a little old. For those who don’t know, the sequel finally came out this year (2021), cleverly named Coming 2 America, and has many of the same cast members as the original. That title alone tells you how much we love puns and double meanings in the U.S., particularly when it comes to naming stuff. The movie is worth a look on Amazon Prime, but I’ll leave a link to the trailer here in case you don’t pay for that service … yet. The first movie has countless jokes that plenty of people reference to this day. It wasn’t just an American success either since this movie and its crazy scenes have fans from all over the world. Despite the fact that the story follows a young African prince β€” of Zamunda to be exact, please check your nearest map β€” and his royal assistant who basically tour New York in order to find a princess, the movie itself has a lot to say about our U.S. of A. And what better way to do this than to start with Africa?

The nation of Zamunda is like one of those ongoing jokes about Americans not knowing geography. Now, it is pretty common for filmmakers to come up with a fake name for countries in their movies, but Zamunda sounds like one of the answers you’d get from a classmate after a teacher asks them, “Name a country in Africa.” I know, Zamunda! It just sounds African, even if it isn’t real, and that’s why it sheds some light on American culture. Many people (around the world, but especially in America) don’t know much about Africa at all. You might be surprised just how little many African Americans know about Africa. Zamunda was meant to be fictitious, but I bet you there were many people that thought it was real, and as a matter of fact, probably still think so.

Stepping off the plane in Zamunda, Photo by Frans Van Heerden on Pexels.com

Not to speak poorly of my fellow citizens, to be fair, there are many who know a lot about geography. But, I’m going to go ahead and say that most of us don’t. Poor geography skills aside, the movie says some other things about our view of Africa. It was admirable that they chose to show African royalty as opposed to poverty, and the royal family is very wealthy in the movie. Coming to America stars pretty much all black people too which is appropriate for a movie about Africans, though this has not always been the case. The movie came out at a time when black people were really growing in their pride and interest in African heritage, and this trend has swept over black American culture ever since. In Zamunda we can still see lots of random animals you might find on a safari just running around the palace. This plays on the idea that many Americans have this view as if Africa is full of lions, elephants, giraffes, and whatnot. Many people think you can step off a plane and see a rhinoceros, for example. It goes the same for other countries, like some people believe Brazil is all Amazon or Australia is all kangaroos. Don’t blame the people, blame our T.V. … and Kangaroo Jack, of course.

Many people’s image of what Africa is like (sorry for the moon), Photo by Faris Munandar on Pexels.com

Americans perceive that it is hard for foreigners to speak and understand English the way it is used naturally. Even for Zamundans, a nation that speaks English, cultural differences create a big gap. We see several scenes where Akeem (that’s Eddie Murphy) has hilarious misunderstandings with people because of the way he talks. Often, foreigners learn English in formal schools and their speech sounds very proper to us here. This explains why they had Akeem embarrassing himself so much. He’s also a skilled warrior and fights with spears, which is a sort of stereotype about Africans being wild and hunting with old weapons. Some rural or hunter-gatherer communities do, but most Africans aren’t quite as skilled as Akeem is with the spear.

Soul Glo & the Jheri curl

Going back to ’80s trends, that Soul Glo hairspray stuff has some major moments in the movie. The Jheri curl is the hairstyle that this spray makes, and it was fairly popular, especially among black people in the late ’80s to early ’90s. You had some ladies in tight bikinis, which relates to a sort of sexual revolution that was going on at the time, starting in the ’60s and getting more and more, um, liberated, up until modern times. And talk about that crazy pastor and the “Sexual Chocolate” guy! Most pastors and reverends are decent people, but you do get some bad eggs every once in a while. That creepy one in the movie references these “bad” pastors who care too much about money, yelling loudly, and watching half-naked women. Despite that stuff, you do still see many pastors who speak in the same style that he does. “Yess-uh, I wanna thank yah Lawd, uh-yas Lawd!” I don’t know where this style came from, but it’s very common for pastors to talk like this, especially in black churches in the South or smaller cities.

You know it’s a barbershop when you see this, Photo by LOGAN WEAVER on Unsplash

Another part of the movie I want to talk about is New York. They spend most of the movie in Queens, a borough of New York City. Queens during the ’80s and before was known for having lots of black people and being sort of a poor neighborhood. Queens still has some rough parts, I hear (I mean I am from Los Angeles…), but it also has lots of nice neighborhoods nowadays. In the movie you see people throwing trash out their windows, cursing at each other, and people robbing each other. New York is fairly safe now, but before the 9/11 attacks some parts of the city were a lot more dangerous. The barbershop scenes are very important since they are seen as key parts of black communities. All communities have barbershops, but in black communities they are places of communion where people go to hear local news, talk with friends, and tease each other. So it’s really a family atmosphere. Hair has always been really important for black people, and hair care is a big deal for us. Remember that when you visit, and please don’t touch anybody’s weave, wig, afro, braids, or Jheri curl. Well, you can cut off their Jheri curl, I approve.

In the last post on Doctor Sleep, we saw lots of big houses and how they represent the modern American home. However, in big cities and especially in lower-class areas, there are lots of apartments like the ones in the movie; small, dirty, ugly, with neighbors who are noisy or kind of grouchy. In big cities you can see more angry people who are in a rush too. I’ve heard from several foreign people who visited New York and thought Americans weren’t nice people. Remember that New York is just one place and it’s the biggest city, so you get lots of stressed people all having to live on a couple of congested islands. Still, mean and nice people can be found anywhere you go.

The most-played sport in America, Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Akeem watches basketball and tries to talk about American football, which are the two main sports in the U.S. He gets a little confused by the rules which is a normal thing. We also see Akeem and his friend, Semmi (Arsenio Hall), interact with several promiscuous women, including his future wife Lisa’s sister. This might relate to how American or Western women in general are seen as more sexually open than Eastern and African women. That’s why this was sort of a culture shock to the African prince, and it is actually a good point made by the movie. I can’t say too much else. McDowell’s is an obvious ripoff of McDonald’s, but many successful companies and products have come as a ripoff of another product. McDonald’s itself used the idea of two brothers in California to create a worldwide enterprise, and didn’t even change the name. Ah, the things you learn from Netflix.

That’s it people! Thanks for reading. If you want to practice your writing skills, you can answer these questions in the comments:

  1. Do you like the movie Coming to America? What about the sequel?
  2. Have you ever felt like Akeem when traveling to another country? Did you travel for love too?
  3. What is your favorite part of this movie?
  4. Would you rather live in Queens or Zamunda?

Other Random Channels for Listening

YouTube Channels for Inspiration, Curiosity or a Simple Laugh

Better Than Yesterday: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpExuV8qJMfCaSQNL1YG6bQ

  • Great daily tips for living a better life and being a better person

Today I Found Out: https://www.youtube.com/c/Todayifoundout-official

  • Lots of random and unique topics or facts that are always interesting to learn about

Geography Now: https://www.youtube.com/user/GeographyNow

  • Channel about all the countries in the world. He’s not done yet but the videos are funny and use lots of pop culture references

PBS Eons: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzR-rom72PHN9Zg7RML9EbA

  • Channel about prehistoric stuff, outer space, and general geeky science topics. The speakers are very pleasant people

Joel & Lia: https://www.youtube.com/user/joelandlia

  • Two British buddies who like to compare the UK to the U.S.

Masaman: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1vVNQN-TCy8d3Mb_Owr2Kw

  • A guy who likes to explain history and misconceptions about history or race/ethnicity. Might be interesting to you

Drew Binsky: https://www.youtube.com/c/drewbinsky

  • A world traveler who goes to some of the most unusual and intriguing countries on the planet. He’s also very positive

LangFocus: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNhX3WQEkraW3VHPyup8jkQ

  • Everything about languages, from English to the Khoisan languages of Africa. He’s got it all

Russell Brand: https://www.youtube.com/user/russellbrand

  • Insightful channel focused on current issues, meditation, better thinking and mental wellness. Includes many podcasts and interviews long and short

JRE Clips: https://www.youtube.com/user/russellbrand

  • The Jeff Rogan Experience. Mostly interviews by Joe Rogan with leading professionals in all kinds of fields. Sometimes inspirational and other times just plain entertaining

iWriterly: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKeBsBrWDtIBrnrCkxHo5MQ

  • A channel focused on becoming a better fiction writer, if you’d like to do that

After School: https://www.youtube.com/c/AfterSkool

  • Interesting interviews turned into colorful drawings and artwork to help create a clearer picture of the subject matter

thejuicemedia: https://www.youtube.com/user/thejuicemedia

  • Short and hilarious parody ads that critique the government, including some podcasts. Centered on Australian concerns

TED-Ed: https://www.youtube.com/user/TEDEducation

  • Short videos that explain diverse and interesting topics in English

TED: https://www.youtube.com/user/TEDtalksDirector

  • Live talks and speeches about important topics from around the world in English and many other languages

TED Talks: https://www.ted.com/talks

  • TED also has their own website, of course

Bilingue Blogs: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCa57CLZlqhFtn1m-e-tWhpg

  • His channel is geared more toward Spanish learners, but he uses mostly English. You can be inspired by his near-perfect Spanish skills despite being an American with no Hispanic background

Anne Grady Group: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCU8shqCISYnwLzf650HBwcA

  • Uplifting channel for feeling good and self growth

The School of Life: https://www.youtube.com/user/schooloflifechannel

  • Cool channel about personal growth, reflection, and other helpful life topics

BBC News: https://www.youtube.com/user/bbcnews

  • World news channel in English

Have Fun Reading

Interesting blogs and articles about English (mostly)

Places to take free online classes, Business Insider: https://www.businessinsider.com/where-to-take-classes-online

  • An article about some places to find free online classes for many different subjects

Fluent U: https://www.fluentu.com/blog/english/

  • A blog with lots of helpful tips for English, learning languages in general and some cultural points

English Live: https://englishlive.ef.com/blog/

  • Blog with tons of helpful articles about English-speaking culture, society, and those confusing aspects of the language

Only in Your State: https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/

  • Cool site that has quirky information about the things only found in specific U.S. states

*Reading is a great way to improve your listening and speaking skills too. The important thing is to find subjects that interest you. Happy reading!