All Ears English Podcast - 1904: This New English Vocabulary Is Not a Buzzkill

This is an All Ears English podcast, episode 1904.

This new English vocabulary is not a buzzkill.

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In today’s episode, we’ll highlight a fun phrase that even Obama used on TV recently.

Get new English slang to talk about how well you integrate with other people for better


Hey there, Michelle, good to see you on video.

How’s it going?

Hey, Lindsay.

I’m good.

I’m good.

How are you?

I’m good.

I’m happy to be here.

What are we getting into in today’s episode?

Well, today we are talking about a very, really useful, I think, a slang word, and that word

is buzzkill.

I know, Michelle.

I went to a party over the weekend and someone was just talking about their work problems

the whole time.

It was a total buzzkill.

Just kills me.

You know, it’s funny, guys, before we started this episode, Lindsay and I were, you know,

talking about what we’re going to discuss on this episode, and I told her, I said, oh,

it’s because I heard Obama use this word buzzkill, and Lindsay said, oh, I heard that, too.

Yeah, we listen to the same media, clearly.

Obama was interviewed on a podcast that I like to listen to called Pod Save America.

You guys can check it out.

It’s actually hosted by the guys who used to be his speechwriters when he was in office,

so he knows them, which is kind of cool.

So they had a nice rapport going on.

But he was saying that the left shouldn’t be such a buzzkill, right?

And it was fun hearing him use that.

Why is that kind of fun hearing Obama use that phrase, Michelle?

Because it’s slang.

And also, I think because it’s quite direct, like Obama has done this before, where he

kind of like, you know, I don’t know, he’ll he’ll talk about things on the left or his,

you know, his side that he doesn’t like and yeah, you know, I think sometimes people are

afraid to do that.

So it’s kind of, I don’t know, he sounds cool, just like being like, okay, don’t like ruin

the party, but yeah, it’s also kind of like a younger phrase, I think, you know, and he’s

not that young.

So so that’s kind of fun.

So what does it mean, Michelle, this phrase buzzkill?

Okay, well, so in the dictionary, says a person or thing that spoils the mood

or the pleasure of others.

Yes, yes.

And literally, if you break it down, I guess we’re probably going to break it down here.

I mean, what is a buzz?

If you if you talk about like, the makings of that word, having a buzz is what?


Well, so to have a buzz, I think of drinking alcohol.


You know, I mean, because when you when you’ve had, you know, even just a little something,

and then all of a sudden, you feel that little something Yeah, you’re not it doesn’t.

So if you’re kind of like your head is buzzing, even even just like a little bit, like, it’s

not even necessarily like, really drunk or anything, just like, oh, buzz, like a little


Yeah, exactly.

And kill is when something is gone.

So of course, Obama is not saying that he was drinking and then then he felt bad, whatever.

No, it’s not what he means.


But if we break it down, literally, that’s what it’s saying, right?

It’s killing your, your good vibe or your feeling, right?

Yeah, yeah.


You’re like happiness or excitement or something like that.

So yeah, I mean, I think, you know, a thing can be a buzzkill.

Yeah, right, or a whole person can be there are people that can be a buzzkill.

I mean, it’s true.

I mean, do you does anyone come to mind?

You don’t have to name names.

But you know, there are people in our lives that you know, when they kind of tend to put

like a dark shade on everything.

Yeah, right.

Like, I think we’ve talked about Debbie Downer, Debbie Downer before.


Yes, I do.

And sometimes you can accidentally say something and then you realize like, oh, that might

have been a buzzkill.


Like, I don’t know.

Yeah, for sure.

For sure.

Oh, right.

So saying something or a person.

So let’s give some more examples.

Like, what are some things that might be considered a buzzkill, Michelle?


So maybe somebody talking about work or school during a social event.

Yeah, totally.

I mean, it can be okay.

It can be okay.


Like, it kind of depends.

But like, let’s say everybody’s like talking about something fun.

And then you’re like, oh, well, we have that paper due on Friday.

That’s a buzzkill.


Or on this show, Michelle, we’ve talked about the Sunday scaries, right?

Sunday scaries.

You know, like, let’s imagine you’re out with your friends.

It’s Sunday afternoon, you’re going to some breweries, having fun in the city in the sun.

And someone’s like, oh, work tomorrow.

And that might be a real buzzkill.

And brings that up, because they remind you, right, that you’re going back to work.

Although for us at All Ears English, I don’t really mind Mondays, to be honest.

I kind of look forward to it.


But yeah, so either talking about work or just a serious topic at a party too, right?

Or like, what do you think about this, like an interruption to an event, like a fire alarm?

Like that could be a buzzkill.

Yeah, that could be.

Yeah, especially if you’re if you’re having a nice conversation or you’re playing a game

or something.

And then all of a sudden, the whole apartment building has to empty out.

And that was a buzzkill, right?

That kind of thing.

I’m trying to think what else would be a buzzkill.

I think these are great examples, though, Michelle.

I mean, these really hit the nail on the head in terms of it’s just something that kills

our mood.

We’re feeling good.

And then someone says something or does something that kills it.

Yeah, exactly.


All right, so, Michelle, let’s show our listeners how to do this in a roleplay.

You ready?

All right.

So here we go.

All right.

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

Oh, Michelle, don’t be a buzzkill.

I’m just trying to enjoy happy hour here.


All these are separate roleplays, right?

Yeah, these are.



These are.


We’re going to do a few.

All right.

Let’s do another one.

Hey, did you have fun at the party?


What’s wrong?

Well, it’s just that Tracy spent the whole time complaining about the food and it was

a total buzzkill.

That’s annoying.

Oh, no.



That’s kind of a faux pas, too, right?

If you go to some kind of a party like complaining about the food, why complain about the food?

What’s the point?






Just having a good time.

Just have a good time.

Be grateful that you’re able to, you know, they’re serving food and it’s nice and that’s






You ever hear people?

People will say something like, don’t be.

All right.



Or they might say say something is a total.

So in these two, like you said to me, Michelle, don’t be a buzzkill.

So you might say that to someone.



Or I hear a total buzzkill a lot like that together.


Like it was a total buzzkill.

That makes me think, Michelle, have we done an episode on adding total before?

I think.


I don’t know.

I don’t know.

We have.

We don’t think so.

And I don’t know.

And also, it’s funny that you say that, because as I was planning that, I was like, that would

be a great idea.

I’ll take a look.

I’ll take a look.


The archives.


Oh, great.


So guys, hit follow on All Ears English.

Hit that follow button.

Smash that follow button right now to make sure you don’t miss that one.

That’s going to be a good episode.

I’m ready for it.





Would you use this?

So let’s talk about, you know, different contexts.

I mean, we talk about how this is slang.

Would you use this in a work situation or job interview?

No, I’d probably avoid it in a work situation.


I mean, I’m wondering if you agree.

I think you might agree.

Like, I just I well, I mean, you know, I think in our work situation, it would be OK because

we’re pretty casual.

We work online, but I would probably be careful using this in the corporate world, guys.





I mean, you know, it is.

Keep in mind, it is a slang.


It’s slang.



You know, just always have that in your head.


If your company culture allows for that kind of slang, then go for it.

But right.

I wouldn’t do it on a job interview.


When you don’t really know, unless maybe it was for some sort of really young company.

And yeah.

And even then, even if you’re applying for like Twitter or something cool, right.

Or maybe Twitter is not cool anymore.

I don’t know.


I don’t know.

I don’t know.

Even then, you want to play it safe.


And remember, it does come back.

You know, at its core, it is referring to being drunk.

So like that’s the other part of why it’s a little edgy to use at work.

I think.

Again, remember, guys, we’re not saying you’re drunk right when you’re using this, but it’s


It’s using that as an analogy.







So, I mean, I mean, do you think it’s offensive?


Like if somebody says to you, don’t be a buzzkill.

Is that offensive?

Well, I would be, you know.

I think sometimes personalities just don’t match.


Like sometimes you could be misunderstood, like maybe everyone’s super light and having


And then maybe I ask like a deeper question.

I like to go a little deep, probably sometimes a little too deep at parties.

I’ll ask someone like an interesting question that makes them think about their lives and


Someone might say that’s a buzzkill if they’re already kind of having fun, just trying to

keep it light.

But that’s because we’re a mismatch of personalities.


So in that sense, I would get offended if someone said that I don’t be a buzzkill, like

I’m just being myself.







That makes sense.


It makes a lot of sense.

So another way that we could say this is they have a hair kill joy.


Mm hmm.



That’s another one.

Or then there’s wet blanket, which we may have done, but I couldn’t find it.

But those are two similar ideas.



That’s the.



It holds everything.

It holds everything down.

It’s an interesting analogy, isn’t it?


Yes, it is.

So, yeah, a person could be a killjoy or a wet blanket.

A buzzkill could also be about the thing, not just the person.


Like, I don’t think like a situation is a killjoy or a situation is a wet blanket.

I think it’s more about.

Oh, that’s interesting.


So that’s kind of the key difference, right, Michelle, between buzzkill and killjoy and

wet blanket.

That killjoy and wet blanket are really just for people and a buzzkill is for both a situation

and a person.




That’s what I think.

That’s what I think.

So should we throw them all together?

Let’s throw them together.

Here we go.

All right.

So here we are, sisters, and we’re deciding what to get for our mother’s birthday.



I love this necklace.

Oh, Lindsay, it’s too expensive.


Oh, come on, Michelle.

You’re being such a killjoy.

Let’s not worry about price yet.


Lindsay, it’s a thousand dollars.

The price tag is the buzzkill.

Not me.


You’re right.

But don’t be such a wet blanket.


I’m really unleashing on you here, Michelle.


There’s like a lot of pent up anger towards me.

I know.



So first I said, what?

Come on, Michelle.

You’re being such a killjoy.





And then I said, so this is I thought I wanted to put it in the middle.

And then I said, so this is I thought I wanted to put this example in here.

So I’m saying the price tag is the buzzkill, not me.

So can you explain that a little bit?

And also, like, the tone of voice.

What’s going on there?


That’s kind of a fun switch you did there.


From a language perspective, I said you’re being a buzzkill or a killjoy.

And you said, actually, the problem here, the thing that’s making us sad is or feel

bad is the is the price tag.

It’s a thousand dollar necklace, which is a lot to spend on.

I think it’s a lot.

I don’t know.



And like.

So I’m kind of saying, like, don’t blame me.



And so and also with my intonation, I wouldn’t say like the price tag is the price tag is

the buzzkill, not me.

I would say the price tag is the buzzkill because I’m emphasizing that.


So you’re doing that little switch and you’re you’re like moving the point of attention.

The price tag is the is the buzzkill, not me.

I love that.

So good, Michelle.

So good.

And then I said, fine, you’re right.

But don’t be such a wet blanket.

We’re sisters here.

So I guess it kind of makes sense.


This is the way siblings talk to each other sometimes.





So, yeah, guys, this this is how you could use all of them all together.

And I mean, Lindsay, any any other thoughts on what’s a buzzkill or do you do you actively

try to avoid being a buzzkill?

Well, I would just say that when I moved to Colorado, I just became very I became very

aware of this because here in Colorado, on the East Coast, maybe I’m not sure if you

agree with this, Michelle, but on the East Coast, people talk a lot about their jobs

and a lot about their careers, like it’s a big part of who they are.

Whereas when I moved here, I noticed people when they ask you, what do you do?

They’re actually asking you, what do you do on the weekend for activity?

Do you snowboard?

Do you ski?

Do you mountain bike like that?

And so I was very aware to try not to be a buzzkill because I identify a lot with my



And but I was worried.

Am I going to be a buzzkill if I go in and I tell everyone about the business we’re creating

and all is English, all this exciting stuff and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Is that a buzzkill?


For some people, it might be.


In Colorado.

That’s it.

But that’s smart that you, like, realize that.

I mean, I happen to think that, you know, what you do is like and what we do is like

especially cool.

So I feel like it’s like fun to hear about.

I don’t know.

But I don’t know.

Maybe not everybody would agree.

It’s cool.

I mean, it’s cool to be a podcaster now, for sure.

No question.

But yeah.

So there’s a different vibe.


Like, I mean, like, like, maybe they just don’t agree that they want to hear about work

is what I mean.


That they wouldn’t think it was cool.

That’s it.

The problem is it might remind them of their work, which they don’t necessarily like their


So that’s the problem.

So that’s where you could become a buzzkill.

What about you, Michelle?

Where do you do you ever feel like or what to you as a buzzkill?

Is there anything specific?

Oh, man.


I wish I had thought of a very specific example.

I can’t think of anything off the top of my head.

But yeah, just if like, you know, you have someone who you’re always talking to and it’s

like, you know, you know, everything and every single time is a complaint, you know, that.

Yeah, that’s hard.

It’s hard to be around people that always see the negative side of things.

That’s tough.

I try to keep my distance.

Yes, yes, yes.


So, Lindsay, this has been great.

Guys, if it’s good enough for Obama, I think it’s good enough for.

I love that.

That’s very well put.

If Obama can use this, you know, the ex-president of the United States, you guys can use this



So, guys, go out and use it and think about context.


I mean, this is part of connection is know where you are, know what people value, decide

what topics you want to bring up strategically based on how it’s going to land, but also

stick to who you are at the same time.

Like I can’t I can never not be an entrepreneur in my mind.

I have too much excitement and too much energy.

So I have to make sure I’m around people that will receive that.





All right.

Well, this was fun.

This episode is not a buzzkill.

Not a buzzkill.

All right, Michelle.

All right.

I’ll see you very soon.

And to our listeners, guys, hit follow on All Ears English if you love this kind of


Good stuff.

All right.

All right.

Have a good one.


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