American slang words - letter R
American Slang word starting with letter R

Slang Beginning with R

In this lesson, we cover essential American slang starting with letter R with examples. In general, slang are used mostly in casual street talks among Americans such that even international (non-native) speakers living in the USA can not understand them. Thus, you may use slang in your daily casual conversations especially with Americans. Just be careful and do NOT use slang in formal conversations like job interviews or business meetings.

Slang Recap

In our previous lesson, we covered American Slang Beginning with P.


Word of the Day: R


rack up: 1. to accumulate over time; 2. to win or lose something again.

1. It’s easy to rack up a lot of personal debt when you use credit cards.

2. The team racked up their fifth loss of the season with last night’s defeat.


rag: to complain; to say negative things.

My girlfriend keeps ragging about her roommate. She should just find another place to live.


rap: a style of modern music rooted in African American culture, now prevalent around the world.

Juan’s father hates the sound of rap. He prefers more traditional music.


rapper: a performer of rap music. (also, rap star)

Biggie Smalls is a rapper whose life is portrayed in Notorious, a recently released film biography of his life.


rat race: competition in the world of work; competition in business.

Since joining the rat race, Tony has aged very quickly from all the stress he experiences at work.


raunchy: usually entertainment that is a little dirty, a little vulgar.

Madonna is a talented performer, but some of her videos are a little too raunchy for the tastes of some people.


raw: unpracticed; without covering.

This band has a great, raw sound, but they need to practice a little more before they perform in public.


raw deal: a bad situation; unfairness.

African Americans got a raw deal when they were brought to the United States from Africa as slaves.


razzle-dazzle: flashy style.

She’s a very good singer, but I can do without all the razzle-dazzle that goes on behind her.


read: to understand.

It’s hard to get a good read on the new boss. His mood doesn’t change very much.


red-hot: popular; something everyone wants to buy.

Those t-shirts are so red-hot, they’re sold off the shelves as soon as they arrive in the stores.


red tape: government paperwork; bureaucracy.

Starting a business is difficult enough without all the red-tape a person has to go through to get it started.


rep: short for “representative” or “reputation.”

Tom said she didn’t want to go out with Tad because it would give her a bad rep.


repo: short for “repossession.”

Our neighbors had their car taken in the middle of the night by a repo man.


retro: something kind of old, at least 20 or 30 years.

Retro styles of the 1970s are still popular these days.


revolving door: a situation in which people come and go very quickly.

The job was so difficult, it quickly became known as a revolving door at that company, and no one wanted to go through it.


right on: hat’s good; that’s correct; yes. (used to express agreement or happiness)

A: It looks like we’re going to get a raise this year.

B: Yeah! Right on!


rights: your protection under the law; in the United States, protection under the U.S. Constitution–the law of the land.

Did you say the police just came into your house without permission from a judge? They can’t do that. You should know your rights.


rinky dink: something of poor quality.

Joan wants to leave her rinky-dink apartment and find something bigger.


rip off: cheat; to trick a consumer into making a bad purchase.

I feel like I got ripped off when I bought these shoes, so I’m going to take them back.


rip on: to criticize; to say bad things about someone or something.

Nelson has to stop ripping on his kids.


rob the cradle: to marry or have a relationship with a person who is much younger.

Terry likes his new girlfriend, but with a 20-year difference in age, he’s really robbing the cradle. It makes him a little uncomfortable


rocky: difficult; a situation with a lot of problems.

Their marriage entered a rocky period, but they worked through their problems and decided to stay together.


roll: go; leave.

Is everyone ready to roll? Yes? Okay, let’s roll.


rookie: a person who is a new member of a sports team or other organization.

A rookie cop shot and killed someone who turned out to be completely innocent of any wrong-doing.


root for: to support; to cheer for.

A: Which soccer team are you rooting for?

B: Manchester United.


rubber: prophylactic protection for sexual activity; also called a “condom.”

Tom keeps a rubber in his wallet just in case he gets lucky, but he never does.


rug rats: small children, usually under the age of three or four. Called “rug rats” because they crawl a lot on soft carpeted surfaces.

With four rug rats at home, Kurt sometimes doesn’t mind spending a few extra hours at work.


run: to leave quickly.

Oh no! Look at the time! I’ve got to run.


runaround: to avoid a subject; to be indirect.

When the president of the company was asked in a TV interview about the pollution created by his factory, he gave the interviewer the runaround and then quickly left the TV studio.


Attention: Some slang is inappropriate in certain situations. That’s why you see the word “caution” after some of these slang words. Some slang is considered to be vulgar.

vulgar = impolite or considered a swear word. Don’t use it around your supervisor or someone who might be offended.


Next Slang Lesson

In our next lesson, we will cover American Slang Beginning with S.

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English Slang Outline

If you wish to see all HiCafe lessons related to English slang, you can visit the Popular and Practical American Slang page.