Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Are you familiar with American English slang?

It’s constantly changing and evolving.

In today’s episode, we will share with you a phrase that even Obama used on television recently.

Listen in and learn new English slang to use.

You can easily integrate it into your conversations to get that better connection.

English slang

In today’s episode, we will highlight the English slang ‘buzzkill.’

This word means a person or a thing that spoils the mood or pleasure of other people.

This was used by the former American president, Barrack Obama, in his speech recently.

It was fun hearing him use this slang, which makes him more relatable so the audience can connect with him better.

If we break down the word ‘buzzkill,’ we may better understand its meaning.

  • buzz: the feeling alcohol gives you when you drink alcohol or do drugs

The word ‘kill,’ which means to end something, when added to ‘buzz’ means ending a happy and exciting feeling for someone.

Lindsay mentions that a buzzkill can be the person at a party who keeps talking about their work problems the whole time instead of winding down and having fun.

Another example shared by Michelle is when a fire alarm goes off and interrupts a very happy event.

Buzzkill examples

Here are a few examples of moments when someone or something can be a buzzkill.

Scenario #1:

Michelle: Lindsay, can we talk about our budget for the work banquet?

Lindsay: Ahhh, Michelle, don’t be a buzzkill. I’m just trying to enjoy happy hour!

Michelle: Sorry.

Scenario #2:

Lindsay: Did you have fun at the party?

Michelle: Uh, it was ok.

Lindsay: What’s wrong?

Michelle: Well it’s just that Tracy spent the whole time complaining about the food and it was a total buzzkill.

Lindsay: That’s annoying.

You might hear, “Don’t be a buzzkill” or someone might be called a “total buzzkill.”

You can say this to give emphasis to what you are feeling.

Buzzkill in the work setting

Is using the term ‘buzzkill’ appropriate for both formal and informal settings?

In business English, we would not recommend using this, especially during job interviews or with your superiors who are very formal.

Make an assessment of what the culture is in your workplace.

If your company is very formal, you shouldn’t use it.

You may be misunderstood and someone would take offense when you say it.

There are other words that are similar to the phrase ‘buzzkill.’


The word “killjoy” means the same as ‘buzzkill.’

However, it is used exclusively to describe people, whereas anything or anyone can be a ‘buzzkill.’

Martin is such a killjoy!

My mom won’t let me stay out late. What a killjoy!

Wet blanket

The term ‘wet blanket’ means that you are ruining the mood.

This is a very visual idiom.

Imagine a fire being extinguished by covering it with a wet blanket.

In the same way, fun can be extinguished by a person who is negative or critical.

It is not a positive thing to be called a ‘wet blanket.’

Be careful who you call this, as it can be offensive.

Similar to the term ‘killjoy,’ the phrase ‘wet blanket’ is also used to refer to people.


The following is a roleplay using all the terms shared in this episode.

In this scenario, Lindsay and Michelle are sisters deciding what to get for their mom’s birthday.

Lindsay: Okay, so I love this necklace.

Michelle: Oh Lindsay it’s too expensive.

Lindsay: What? Oh come on Michelle. You’re being such a killjoy. Let’s not worry about the price yet.

Michelle: Wow. Lindsay it’s 1,000 dollars. The price tag is the buzzkill, not me.

Lindsay: Fine you’re right, but don’t be such a wet blanket.


It is hard to be around people who are always negative or are often ruining the joy at a party or in a situation.

Use the phrase ‘buzzkill’ as a playful way to get them to stop ending your fun.

Remember to use these in informal settings and that it is not recommended for a workplace or other formal situations.

It is very useful to know when we ourselves are a buzzkill in certain settings.

Avoid people who don’t share the same idea of fun as you.

Always have fun with what you do and how you learn things.

Life is too short to be taken too seriously or to be spent just worrying and thinking about negative things.

Don’t break the connection with your friends and family by being a buzzkill.

Can you share with us some situations that automatically ruin the fun for you?

Let us know in the comments below.

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