Colloquialism Examples to Help You Learn About Them

Perhaps you’re familiar with the term “colloquialism.” They are so common that we might not notice them unless we see one we don’t recognize.

Let’s look at the definition of colloquialisms and some examples.

What is a colloquialism?

A colloquialism refers to a term or phrase commonly used in informal communication. An idiom is an expression with a meaning other than the literal one of the words. A colloquialism can often be confused with a typo. In that they are more closely related to short forms, colloquialisms are different from idioms.


am not in the mood for that right now.

When are you going to join us for lunch?

This ice cream is a must-try. It’s the bomb [very delicious].

Also, colloquialisms often refer to the speech of specific U.S. areas, dialects, or eras.

All O’Connell children are smart [very, very] intelligent. (Northeast)

Ope [oops, oh-oh]! Amazingly, I did this. (Midwest)

Amelia claimed that the noise was coming from above yonder [over here]. (South)

Miller was left with only three rounds to go in his bare-knuckle fight with the champ. (American 1800s)

Note that a colloquialism is dependent on the context in which it is used. Words like wicked are an example of this. If the meaning of the word wicked were not defined in the sentence, it would be considered colloquial.

Different types of colloquialisms

You can see that colloquialisms are often used as words or phrases.

The meaning of colloquial terms can be altered or implied by their usage:

My uncle purchased a pack of cigarettes.

Sandra felt blue[sad] throughout the weekend.

A used-car dealer sold my brother a lemon. This is a car that runs badly.

The same goes for colloquial expressions:

Are you thirsty? Get you [get yourself] water.

Preppy girls can be so arrogant. *Having the appearance or manner of a student in a preparatory school that is wealthy and privileged.

How to use colloquialisms in your writing and speaking

You might be able to identify some colloquialisms that you frequently use now that you better understand what they are. Recognizing the right time to use colloquialisms is key.

The use of colloquialisms can give you a way to express yourself with color, familiarity, or even humor. But, mindful communicators will avoid overusing them. You should ensure that your audience understands colloquialisms if you plan to use them, especially if they are from another region or generation. It is important not to overuse ain’t or gas in your informal writings or speeches. This could make you sound careless.

Finally, colloquialisms are rarely used in academic or formal writings unless they have a specific purpose, such as paraphrasing or quotin

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