‘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).

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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!

“This is America” by Childish Gambino [feat. some others] – Lyrics for English students

Flag of the United States
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A flag featuring both cross and saltire in red, white and blue
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Flag of England
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This Is America (single cover) 2018.jpg
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From Donald Glover’s initial “ya, ya, ya’s” to Young Thug’s closing mumbles, “This is America” has become such an iconic song. Pretty much every country has done their own spinoff at this point. But for those of you learning English out there, did you understand the lyrics? This post isn’t an attempt to explain hidden meanings in the video or deep explanations in the lyrics. I’m just trying to explain some of the common expressions and slang he uses in the song, things that might be harder for non-native English speakers to understand. Watch the video if you like and accompany the song. Ready? So here we go!

Read more: for other Lyrics “Explained”, for just lyrics without my explanations

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Song Lyrics & Explanations

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Yeah, yeah, yeah, go, go away

  • Society: This sounds like what certain prejudiced Americans say to immigrants or groups they don’t like (black, Muslim, poor, etc.)

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Yeah, yeah, yeah, go, go away

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Yeah, yeah, yeah, go, go away

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Yeah, yeah, yeah, go, go away

We just wanna party

  • Informal Speech: *We just want to party

Party just for you

We just want the money

Money just for you (Yeah)

I know you wanna party

Party just for free

Girl, you got me dancin’ (Girl, you got me dancin’)

  • Grammar: *You’ve got me dancing… Also, You have me dancing…

Dance and shake the frame (Yeah)

  • Slang: “Frame” here refers to the woman’s body.

We just wanna party (Yeah)

Party just for you (Yeah)

We just want the money (Yeah)

Money just for you (You)

I know you wanna party (Yeah)

Party just for free (Yeah)

Girl, you got me dancin’ (Girl, you got me dancin’, yeah)

Dance and shake the frame (Ooh)

This is America

Don’t catch you slippin’ now

  • Slang: To “catch” someone doing something is to find or witness that person. It’s usually when you find someone doing an act that is not right. “Don’t let me catch you stealing.” “Slipping” here means to make a mistake or do something wrong.
  • Pronunciation: The lyrics I found say “now” but it sounds kind of like “no.” Gambino could be doing this intentionally. Either way, it has about the same meaning. “Don’t let them find you doing something you shouldn’t be doing, being weak, doing something illegal.”

Don’t catch you slippin’ now

Look what I’m whippin’ now

  • Slang: “Whipping” in slang usually means to make or come up with something. It’s mostly used like “whipping up” something. Whipping can also have to do with cars, as in “Look what I’m driving now.” Whipping traditionally has to do with using a whip to punish someone like a prisoner or slave, or turning milk into a “whipped” cream, for example.
  • Pronunciation: “Now” here kind of sounds like “on,” so it almost sounds like “Look what I’m whipping (beating, hitting) on.”
  • Culture: The “whip” is also a popular dance, by the way.

This is America (Woo)

Don’t catch you slippin’ now

Don’t catch you slippin’ now

Look what I’m whippin’ now

This is America (Skrrt, skrrt, woo)

Don’t catch you slippin’ now (Ayy)

Look how I’m livin’ now

Police be trippin’ now (Woo)

  • Grammar: *Police are tripping now…
  • Slang: “Tripping” here means to act in a way that is wrong or dumb to others, constantly making mistakes and bad choices. “My dad is always punishing me for stuff I didn’t do. He’s tripping.”

Read more: Tripping, also Adventures of Charles

Yeah, this is America (Woo, ayy)

Guns in my area (Word, my area)

  • Figurative speech: His “area” can be his neighborhood, as in, he lives in an area with lots of guns. It can also be literally in his personal area, like in his possession. It most likely refers to America as a whole, though.
  • Slang: “Word” when used like this is just a way to acknowledge what someone says. It’s like saying “really, true, yep, etc.”

I got the strap (Ayy, ayy)

  • Grammar: *I have the strap…
  • Slang: A “strap” in this sense refers to a gun, gun strap.

Read more: Strap

I gotta carry ’em

  • Informal Speech: *I have to carry them.
  • Less Obvious Meaning: He has to carry guns, as if for protection or because that’s the stereotype.

Yeah, yeah, I’ma go into this (Ugh)

  • Informal Speech: *I’m going to go into this…
  • Expression: “Go in” in this sense means to really do well, have a lot of success, really analyze, look hard at, and make an overall really cool song.

Yeah, yeah, this is guerilla (Woo)

  • Double Meaning: Like guerilla warfare where trained common civilians get involved in warlike fighting. “Guerilla” rhymes perfectly with “gorilla” which is kind of a derogatory term against black people. This is probably on purpose as if to say, “This is about black people.”

Read more: Guerilla

Yeah, yeah, I’ma go get the bag

  • Slang: The “bag” here means money. It could also mean drugs since they’re mostly sold in a little bag.

Read more: Bag, also slang terms for money

Yeah, yeah, or I’ma get the pad

a villa style mansion in the evening by the pool, meaning of slang "pad" from Childish Gambino song
a nice “pad” – by Vita Vilcina
  • Slang: The “pad” most likely refers to a house, like a nice home.
  • Double Meaning: In another way, he could be using a double meaning to refer to a writing pad (notepad) where he writes his smart ideas.

Read more: Pad

Yeah, yeah, I’m so cold like, yeah (Yeah)

  • Slang: “Cold” in slang can mean a few things. It can mean that someone is “coldhearted” and doesn’t care about anything, or a mean person. It can also mean that someone is really cool and good at something.

I’m so dope like, yeah (Woo)

  • “Dope” can also mean really cool, something that’s liked by others.

Read more: Dope, also Adventures of Charles

We gon’ blow like, yeah (Straight up, uh)

  • Informal Speech: *We’re going to blow…
  • Slang: “Blow” or “blow up” in slang means to come out and have a ton of success, become really popular. “Straight up” is slang that is usually used to agree with someone. It means something like “true, for real, etc.”

Read more: Straight up

Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, tell somebody

You go tell somebody

Grandma told me

Get your money, Black man (Get your— Black man)

Get your money, Black man (Get your—Black man)

Get your money, Black man (Get your—Black man)

This is America (Woo, ayy)

Don’t catch you slippin’ now (Woo, woo, don’t catch you slippin’ now)

Don’t catch you slippin’ now (Ayy, woah)

Look what I’m whippin’ now (Slime!)

This is America (Yeah, yeah)

Don’t catch you slippin’ now (Woah, ayy)

Don’t catch you slippin’ now (Ayy, woo)

Look what I’m whippin’ now (Ayy)

Look how I’m geekin’ out (Hey)

  • Slang: “Geeking out” is to be dressed in a really stylish but kind of formal way. A similar expression is “geeked up” with about the same meaning. This phrase became popular when a style of dance called jerking got famous. This term also means to get high on drugs, but that’s different from what Gambino’s talking about. “Geek” traditionally is a mean term used to make fun of kids that are seen as nerds or who have awkward style. The meaning was turned to be stylish in a weird way. “Geeking out” can also be to show off one’s intelligence or get excited by “nerdy” or “geeky” subjects.

Read more: Geek, Geek out, Geeked up

I’m so fitted (I’m so fitted, woo)

a female model with nice clothing and heels, representing the meaning of slang word "fitted" from This Is America song
she’s “fitted” – by Matheus Ferrero
  • Slang: “Fitted” means well-dressed or stylish.

Read more: Fitted

I’m on Gucci (I’m on Gucci)

  • Figurative Speech/Dual Meaning: “On Gucci” could mean that he is wearing Gucci and is in a phase where he likes this brand. This could be that he is “on” this brand like a drug since we usually say “on” when someone is using or is addicted to a drug. That would relate to being geeked out/up from before. “He’s on LSD.” It could also mean he likes or is acting like Gucci Mane, a famous rapper. Being “on” someone can also mean to make fun of them, so this line has a few probable meanings.

I’m so pretty (Yeah, yeah, woo)

I’m gon’ get it (Ayy, I’m gon’ get it)

  • Informal Speech: I’m going to get get it… “Get it” could refer to making money. “Get it!” is often what people yell to encourage someone to do something well, like dancing. The way he says it though, “Gon’ get it” is used commonly to mean that the person is in trouble or is going to have serious problems. “Ooh, you broke mom’s lamp. You’re gonna get it! (you’re in big trouble)”

Watch me move (Blaow)

This a celly (Ha)

  • Grammar: *This is a celly…
  • Slang: “Celly” here refers to a cellphone.
  • Society: This relates to some police officers that shot innocent black people confusing their cellphones with a gun.

That’s a tool (Yeah)

  • Slang: A “tool” here refers to a gun, saying the cellphone looked like a gun to the police.
  • Society: They could also be using this excuse as a “tool” to get out of trouble.

On my Kodak (Woo) Black

  • Culture/Figurative Speech: Now he’s on Kodak, which is probably that he’s taking photos or recording what’s happening. Kodak is a company that has produced lots of photography products. Kodak Black is a rapper, so he could also be saying that he is acting like Kodak Black. He could also just be saying Kodak to refer to the word black, as in, he is “being black,” acting in a stereotypically black way.

Ooh, know that (Yeah, know that, hold on)

  • Grammar: *You know that…
  • Slang: “Hold on” means to wait, or also to be strong and not give up, not stop.

Get it (Woo, get it, get it)

Ooh, work it (21)

  • Slang: “Work it” means to do something really well, especially related to dancing.
  • Rapper: “21” refers to 21 Savage, a rapper in this song.

Read more: Work it

Hunnid bands, hunnid bands, hunnid bands (Hunnid bands)

  • Slang: *One hundred bands… “Hunnid” or “a hunnid” is a common slang pronunciation of the word “hundred.” “Bands” means a thousand dollars. A hundred bands is a lot of money.

Read more: Hunnid, Bands, also slang terms for money

Contraband, contraband, contraband (Contraband)

I got the plug in Oaxaca (Woah)

  • Slang: A “plug” is someone who provides illegal contraband for another party, usually drugs. It also can be just a person who has anything another person needs.
  • Society/Geography: He’s saying he has a drug supplier in Oaxaca, a state in Mexico. This state isn’t famous for drug activity, but he says it likely because it’s in Mexico, a country infamous for drug cartels. He’s not being serious though.

Read more: Plug, Oaxaca

They gonna find you like “blocka” (Blaow)

  • Informal Speech: *They’re going to find you…
  • Culture/Sounds: “Blocka” is the sound a gun makes. They’re going to find you and shoot you, basically. This sound has been popularized by rappers of Caribbean origin and is now used by all kinds of rappers, especially in trap music.

Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, tell somebody

America, I just checked my following list, and

  • Media: His following list on social media.

You go tell somebody

You m********** owe me

Grandma told me

Get your money, Black man (Black man)

Get your money, Black man (Black man)

Get your money, Black man (Black man)

Get your money, Black man (Black man)

Black man (1, 2, 3—get down)

  • Culture/Music: This is a popular line in funk and soul music from the mid-1900s, made most popular by artist James Brown. He usually said this before he started dancing, which is exactly what happens in the music video.
  • Expression: To “get down” in music means to start dancing and having fun. Similarly, “Get down!” is what people yell when someone starts shooting a gun.

Read more: Get down

Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, tell somebody

You go tell somebody

Grandma told me, “Get your money”

Get your money, Black man (Black man)

Get your money, Black man (Black man)

Get your money, Black man (Black man)

Get your money, Black man (Black man)

Black man

You just a black man in this world

  • Grammar: *You’re just a black man…

You just a barcode, ayy

  • Deeper Meaning: A “barcode” is that black and white code that people scan to buy something or check the price. He could be saying black people are seen as something to buy or that have a price. Just objects.

You just a black man in this world

Drivin’ expensive foreigns, ayy

a foreign car representing the meaning of English slang "foreigns"
all I drive is “foreigns” – by Mike Von
  • Slang: “Foreigns” are foreign cars. Rappers usually love to sing about foreign cars.

You just a big dawg, yeah

  • Slang: “Dawg” is a word that refers to another person, usually a man. It’s the same as dude, bro, etc.

Read more: Dawg

I kenneled him in the backyard

  • A “kennel” is a shelter where dogs are kept. This plays on the word “dawg” from before, meaning he puts this man in his place or probably buries him in the backyard.

No, probably ain’t life to a dog

For a big dog

  • Understanding: These last two lines I can’t really understand what he’s saying, but this is more or less it.

What Else?

“This is America” is such a cool song because its lyrics are full of double meanings, cultural references, and sarcastic criticisms. Again, I don’t really want to get into the deeper meaning of the lyrics, but it’s apparent that he is criticizing lots of modern hip hop. The video expresses this even more and his criticism shifts against America as a whole, even though he focuses more on the black experience.

Violence, racism, discrimination, and constant stereotypical pressures are just part of what can make life in America very tough for anybody, and especially the disadvantaged groups of people. Of course, black Americans are one of the greatest examples of this, and we see proof of it time and time again. The song is fun to listen to and dance to. The video is enticing with just as much meaningful content as the lyrics, and this song was a hit since the second it reached our screens.

Featured image: Wayne Lee-Sing

Very manly family – “my dude” “bro” “son” and more, meanings & uses

Terms: my guy / my dude / bro / bruh / son

Rip. Scribble. Check. Pass.

These were normal work days for Charles. His life was not any more exciting than a stone’s on an average day. At work, it was at least half of the usual. Paintings had more fun hanging on white walls than Charles did at work. Old sneakers had more fun being trodden through the mud on a cold day than Charles did at work. Even the little fruit flies taunted him as they buzzed after each other in the dead-air room; a financial office at a small community college waiting to be demolished and replaced by new facilities.

Yes, I understand … Okay … But what would you like to do, Sir?

I just really want to get a loan, man. I was hoping you’d help me out with it.

A fellow student, small and muscular, was asking Charles about his options for paying for his upcoming classes. The student really needed a break, but the school’s policy was strict. The situation was leaving him quite irritated.

Charles told him, —I can’t give you a loan this semester because you still owe money from your past classes.

Come on, my guy. Are you for real? I really can’t have just one little loan this time? Man, what the hell?

Really, Sir, I cannot …

You sure? ‘Cus I bet you can’t even read them pages right.

The student was referring to Charles’s accent, assuming he couldn’t read since his English wasn’t totally natural.

Hey, bro, you need to back up. We’re all in line here. Just let the man do his job.

His job—!

But before the small angry student could finish, another larger student calmly grabbed his backpack and shoved him out of the line. The smaller student made a quick gesture to scare the bigger student, but he noticed he would enter into a fight he couldn’t win. He walked away after sucking his teeth and hit the bare office wall hard, one time.

Thanks for getting him out of here, Charles told the big man.

Hey, my grandparents were immigrants. I couldn’t let him disrespect you like that.

Charles took advantage of their conversation to ask a question.

He was pretty mad, but I noticed he called me his “guy.” Is that a bad thing? Because it sounds like he wants me to be his man.

This comment made everybody in the sweaty office laugh; one girl in the back laughed a little too hard.

That was funny, I’m sorry. No, he wasn’t asking you to be “his guy.” It’s just an expression. It’s how you might refer to someone you’re speaking to. Hey, my guyMy dude is another good one that’s used the same. There are some other more derogatory ones, but these two are good to use with anybody.

But he also called me bro, like his brother. Is that right?

The big student scratched his chin hairs for a minute, then said;

Oh. Well, bro is short for “brother,” but it’s the same as with “my guy.” You can use it with any man, doesn’t have to be your real brother. Some people, like me, put more of an “uhhhh” sound to it. Like, bruh. “What’s up, bruh? Wanna buy me a Coke?”

Charles smiled.

I get it now.

Yo, are we still in the classroom? I ain’t got all day, son.

Another student was being impatient and yelled out from his point in line. His comment made the big man turn his head and look at Charles who was staring at him, again, confused.

And that’s another one! Son. And no, he’s not calling you his actual son …

Sure ain’t! the loud-mouthed student replied again.

Charles had a jump on the meaning, though.

Son. It’s the same as calling me “guy” or “bro.” Or “bruh,” even. They’re all the same. Cool alternatives to “man.”

The big guy tapped Charles on the shoulder happily.

You got it! So, uh, bruh, can you help me with a payment plan for the next two semesters?

Then the loud mouth, —Yeah, me too, my dude!

Charles smiled at the fact that even within that hot, boring, smelly box of an office, he could turn his gruesome job into an exciting real-world English lesson. In addition, he was now able to understand all this action coming at him at once. He ruffled some papers and answered his schoolmates;

Sure! One financial plan coming up, bro.

  • Calling men “my guy,” “bro,” and “son” is very informal, and we usually use it with people of a similar or lesser age to us or with friends, not in formal situations! Do you think you could use these words correctly with a friend of yours? Tell me what you think!

*The language used in this dialogue is meant to reflect how different Americans might express themselves. Significant incorrect grammar or sensitive words will be underlined for reference.

Dead talk close ahead – “dead -” “fasho/fisho” and more, meanings & uses

Terms: dead (serious, wrong, ahead, -ass) / fisho / fasho

You’re so round … and floppy. How’d your legs get so slippery? What a strange creature! Silly you.

Charles’s turtle looked up at him with blank admiration. The apartment walls surrounded them both as the little animal stared fixedly at its owner.

—You know, I love to talk with you when I’m alone. It’s good to vent, isn’t it? It helps me to get my thoughts all together in one place. You’re just a sweet little— ah!

The reptile almost fell to the floor.

Crap! I almost dropped you, __

Charles wanted to blurt out a name, but he remembered.

—Ha, that’s right. Sometimes I wonder if I should give you a name. But, names are for people, right? You’re fine as the little turtle you are.

BUM, BUM, BUM, from the door.

The turtle flew in fright out of Charles’s hands and flopped on the floor for a bit. As Charles went to grab the door, the nameless turtle was able to flip onto its legs before sliding itself safely under the bed.

—Who is it? Charles wondered.

He knew it was better to check the door before opening it. It could have been a school girl selling cookies; it could have been a mobster with a gun pointed at his nose. It happened to be something between the two extremes.

Yo, man, I told you to stop with these notices all over my door.

Charles responded to the man outside his doorway, confused.

The man persisted, though; —Like, dead-ass, if you’re not gonna quit it with those posts on my door, we’re gonna have some problems, I’m- I’m dead serious.

—Oh, man. I’m sorry, sir, but I don’t have anything to do with that. Did you try asking the landlord?

—Wait, you’re not the landlord?

Charles shook his head, No.

—Then who are you?

—I’m Charles. I moved here from out of town. Well, out of the country.

The man then laughed at his own mistake.

—Oh, you the foreigner. My bad, man! I thought this was the landlord’s suite for some reason. Let me … Oh! He’s in two-fifty. This is two-O-five. That was embarrassing …

—No, it’s cool. Forget it. Hey, tell me something. What did you mean by “dead serious?” Were you wishing for me to die?

—Ah, no way, guy. I just wanted you to know I was super serious. When we say dead with something, it means it’s “straightforward, serious, just one way.” If I say, “You’re dead wrong,” that means you are “very wrong,” no question about it. Or if you’re asking directions, and I tell you to keep going dead ahead, that means “straight ahead of you.” Same if something is dead in front of you, or dead in your face. It’s not really dead. It just means that it is “directly ahead of you,” without a doubt. Dead-ass is similar, but you’re saying that something is true or serious.

—So, if I say, “I’m going to buy some dead-ass new shoes,” that means I really am going to do it?

—Well, you’d say it the other way: “I’m gonna buy me some new shoes, dead-ass.”

Got it!

They could hear a rustling noise from under Charles’s bed.

—Oh, I forgot about my turtle. I have to save him … or her.

Fasho. I gotta go find this crazy landlord of ours anyway.

—Fa-what? What did you say? Charles asked him.

—You ain’t ever heard of “fasho?” The same as “for sure.” It’s just a confirmation. Or, I always use it to tell people “goodbye,” like a closing statement. Like just now, you said you had to go do something, so I said, “Fasho. I gotta go too.” Sometimes I say, “Fisho,” but it’s the same thing. It means our conversation is about to be through.

Fasho. Well, I’ll see you around here. Good luck with those posts all over your door. Now, I just have to find my little turtle.

Charles’s neighbor pointed down to the floor at a dark object moving around clumsily.

—Isn’t that him? Or her, I mean?

Charles looked.

—Yeah! There he is. He was dead in front of me this whole time.


*The language used in this dialogue is meant to reflect how different Americans might express themselves. Significant incorrect grammar or sensitive words will be underlined for reference.

A stoning fight – “get high” “get wasted” “fade” and more, meanings & uses

Terms: get light / get high / get stoned / get wasted / get faded / get baked / fade

*The language used in this dialogue is meant to reflect how different Americans might express themselves. Significant incorrect grammar or sensitive words will be underlined for reference.

Skies were blue with those thin strips of white like ripped white pillow feathers painted all around. The birds sang and the sun burned a little on the arms. It was a perfect day to sit in a park — or so thought Charles. In fact, it was a great day for the park for another reason. The sun and birds are fine and all, but what Charles really was looking for was music.

He had recently went to a concert with some work buddies of his and he loved it! Now, Charles was itching for more of the live music experience. He wanted to feel the beat vibrate inside his ribs. He wanted to enjoy the energy of people jumping and singing all around him. He wanted to smell the sweat of the singers as they yelled their lyrics at the crowd. Charles would have never guessed it, be he was radically in love with live concerts. And to his luck, there would be one today at the park.

After walking for some time, he finally found where the stage was. Charles found a quiet, clean spot to lay his coat down in the grass and kicked his shoes off. He stretched his feet, closed his eyes, and let the sun sizzle his arms just a little bit. He was nearly falling asleep when the mechanical screech of a microphone pulled his attention back to life. There was a middle-aged lady on stage tapping on the mic as if to test it.

Hello all, she said, greeting the crowd of park-goers. —I hope you are having a wonderful Sunday. My sponsors and I are here to get the show started off tonight. How about that? Are you all excited?

The people around the stage sitting in the grass all yelled and cheered in approval. They were, in fact, all excited. The sun was starting to go away, and the mood was getting set.

Excellent! Well, we’ve got a great show planned for you all tonight. A$AP Rocky and Tyga are here.

Yo, where they at? some guy yelled out impatiently.

A$AP? Aw man. I thought this week was Twenty One Pilots. You’re kidding me, right? another guy moaned.

Yes, the lady from before said, We will get on with the show in just a minute. Firsthand, I want to talk about the “big M.” Mari-what?

Oh, no! We don’t wanna hear it, lady! someone else yelled.

Charles was confused and looked around for someone to help him understand.

What a buzzkill, right? They always bring these old-timers trying to keep us from getting stoned in public. It’s a waste of time. That’s why I stopped coming to public concerts.

It was a young woman about the same age as Charles.

What do you mean? They throw stones at people in public? he replied.

Oh, God no! Haha, ain’t you ever heard of someone getting stoned? Like, high?

Charles shook his head to say No.

Well, to tell you what it means, it’s what happens when you smoke weed. You know, cannabis. Some people say they get faded or get baked. It’s all the same thing.

A guy sitting next to the lady had been listening and made a sound that meant he agreed.

He then told Charles, —Yeah, sometimes we say we get wasted or we get light. Wasted’s a little more for drinking, though. Most people just say high, when in doubt.

Another lady nearby complained, —Don’t teach him that stuff! Poor guy. He was so innocent until you told him all that junk.

The lady next to Charles turned to the complainer and told her, —Shut up, yo. Or do you want to fade?

She got quiet and turned away. The lady next to Charles laughed and bumped her friend to laugh together.

She told Charles, —Don’t worry, I wasn’t really gonna fade. It was just a threat.

Charles asked her, —A fade is a hair style, right? Or were you talking about smoking?

She said “No” and, —By fade, I mean … and she moved her arms around like she was punching someone invisible. —I wasn’t gonna fight her, you know?

Fade can mean fight, then? Charles asked.

Yeah. And if you catch a fade, you end up fighting someone. Or worse, they try to fight you.

Sounds like a heavy hand tapping on the microphone bumbled from the stage once more.

And without further ado, here is your concert! the woman on stage announced. And several people sitting in the grass simultaneously sighed Finally!

Charles looked over and whispered at the pair he’d been talking to.

I’m glad she stopped telling us not to get high, or she was gonna catch a fade from somebody in this crowd.

The three laughed at his comment and invited him to stand up and dance. The sun had gone down, the big lights were turned on. Everyone started to vibrate as the first pounding beats rolled out from the massive speakers.

Bright light pop show – “lit” “show out” “turn up” and more, meanings & uses

Terms: popping / show out / turn out / turn up / lit / light up

*The language used in this dialogue is meant to reflect how different Americans might express themselves. Significant incorrect grammar or sensitive words will be underlined for reference.

Squeaky wheels filled the high walls of the theater with the sound of rubber rolling on the hardwood. The stage lights sprayed all across the room leaving little shadows over the shoulders of the chairs. In front of it all was Charles, front and center on the big stage.

Well, he wasn’t performing, you can bet; he was putting up props, vacuuming the giant curtains, mopping and polishing the smooth stage.

If I mop this up quickly, he thought, I can lay out the carpets for the set design.

In the back of the theater hall were two other young employees watching Charles’s every move.

Look at him go! one said.

I wonder why he likes stage design so much. Doesn’t it seem weird to like stage design so much? asked the other.

It pays the bills. I mean, if I were from another country like he is, I’d be happy to set up stages for some extra bucks.

Hey you guys! What do you think?

Charles yelled out across the hall to the two nosey workers on break. They put up two big thumbs of approval, nodding their heads to say it was good.

Good job! The stage is popping, man. You sure like to show out on your designs.

Charles waved at them to say “Thanks.” He sat down on the edge of the stage and wiped his forehead of dusty sweat.

—But what do you mean by show out? I’m not showing anything. Or popping anything.

The guy who had made the confusing comment sat down in the closest chair to him in the back row. He then explained;

I know you didn’t break anything. I was saying your stage designs are popping. If anything is popping, it means it’s “really cool, exciting, fun,” and whatnot. Kinda like when you show out, which means “to do really well at something,” almost like show off. They’re pretty much the same.

Charles tilted his head and said, —So, if I’m popping or showing out, I’m doing really good at something. So, basically, you gave me a compliment?

Yeah, bro! I’m always impressed by your designs and how much work you put into all this stage stuff. You always turn out when it comes to the theater. And before you ask, turn out can mean the same as “show out.” Or you can say turn out to tell “how something finished.” Your designs always turn out nicely. Then he laughed. Viki here admires your hard work too, don’t’cha?

He turned around and nodded at his co-worker, Viki, so that she would say something nice. She sighed as if she were annoyed by the conversation, then she went to sit next to the other employee.

Oh, yeah. I love the theater. It’s great to clean gum off of the bottom of people’s seats twice a week.

Quit it with the sarcasm, Viks! Look on the bright side. We have that concert we’re going to tonight.

Viki responded, —Whoop! Chris … I’m so glad you said it. We about to turn up out there. The whole block is gonna be lit, for real.

What is she talking about? Charles yelled out again from across the theater.

Nothing, Charles! Just this lit party we ’bout to go to tonight.

Oh, I like parties when they turn up a bunch of lights! It’s so fun.

Viki and Chris laughed while hitting each other.

Chris turned to her and said, —It’s your turn to explain, bro.

Then Viki said, —I mean, turn up just means we’re gonna “have lots of fun.” In fact, we’re gonna show out with how much fun we’re gonna have. And lit has nothing to do with light. It means that the concert is gonna “be really fun, like a big party.” You know, the usual partying vocab.

Chris added, —Yeah, but to light something up can also be “to hit it a bunch of times.” Like in a fight, someone can get lit up by punches. Hopefully no one gets lit up tonight at this concert.

You said that right, Viki replied, and then, —You wanna come with us? It’s just a hip hop concert.

Chris gasped in shock.

What? Did you just invite someone to a concert? Victoria, that is so unlike you!

Shut up, fool. We gotta get going now ’cause the venue is gonna fill up quick. What do you say, Charles? You coming?

Charles hesitated, then jolted out a quick, —Yeah! Let’s go turn up!

They all laughed, and Chris said, —That’s a boy! Man, it’s about to be the most popping night you’ve had all year.

Charles then remembered something.

I’m just gonna finish cleaning the stage real quick. You guys go ahead.

They nodded at him and left out of the theater for the night. Charles opened up the paint buckets and started to experiment with some brushes.

Just a few strokes before I go.