Tips and Terms

Moola, Dough, Bucks, Loot

My students know that a “buck” is a male deer. But it also means a dollar bill. “One buck” is one dollar. “Big bucks” is lots of money!

There are several other slang words that mean money. Here are a few.

Dough, which the same word as in bread dough (what bread is before you bake it).

Got any dough, my friend? I’m broke!

Loot, which used to mean money you got from stealing stuff from others.

My father has a lot of loot., but he never shares it with anyone.

and my personal favorite …

Moola, which just means money. I like it because it sounds fun. 🙂

We paid some serious moola for our new house!


“Bling” is jewelry, usually diamonds. Bling is unusually flashy, not simple. Not just a single diamond, but a whole lot of them, lots of jewels that catch the light.

“I think that’s too much bling!”

“Oh, a little bling won’t hurt. It just makes me look rich!”

Head in the Clouds

When someone isn’t being realistic, we say they have their “head in the clouds.”

“What a dreamer! He thinks we can build a spaceship to take us to Jupiter. He has his head in the clouds!!”


Beat Around the Bush

Some people are direct. They like to say exactly what they mean. Some people don’t. They would rather avoid an unpleasant topic, so they say things that are vague. In English, we say those people are “beating around the bush.”

Someone who is direct says:

“I don’t like that at all!”

Someone who beats around the bush says:

“I’m not sure if it’s good, maybe it is, maybe not, and I might like it, or I might not.”

The phrase may come from bird hunting practices in old England. Men would take sticks and hit a bush to make the birds fly out.


What do you think of when you think of cucumbers? How about cold? Cucumbers are always served cold!

So when someone is cool as a cucumber that means he’s not angry. Angry is hot. Not angry is cool. Being totally cool? You’re like a cucumber.


How well do you know bananas? Yes, that soft yellow fruit with the protective peel. That banana! 

In English, we use the word “banana” in metaphors and expressions that have nothing to do with fruit. For example….

TOP BANANA refers to the boss, the most important person.

SECOND BANANA is the second most important person.

“You’ll have to ask the top banana. I’m only second banana around here.”

GOING BANANAS means to be going crazy. Not clinically, perhaps, but when you feel like there is a lot going on and you are too busy, you are forgetting things, you can say “I’m going bananas!”

Or if you want to have a lot of wild fun, you can say to your friends, “Let’s go bananas!”