Game time! Match the term to the sport with this quiz!


By: Olivia Cantor

6 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Sports all have their own little terms. Are you familiar with some terms from more popular sports that may sound a bit far-out or unusual? Then take this quiz to find out how well you know them!

In tennis, when you're in "love," it's not a good thing. How many points does this mean?

"Love" in tennis is when a player hasn't scored a single point. It supposedly has French origins.


"Par for the course" means something was expected of the situation. In what sport did this term originate?

In golf, a score that is par for the course means it is the average score players get on a particular course. If you're doing as well as can be expected, then it's par for the course.


The "curveball" can be the most unpredictable weapon in a pitcher's arsenal in baseball. Why is it called that?

A curveball is called that because it really does curve in flight, which can be different for every pitcher. That makes it difficult for batters to hit it.


When people "drop the gloves," you know that it's about to get messy in a fight. In which sport did this term originate?

In ice hockey, when players drop their gloves, you know a fight is about to happen. Gloves get in the way of a good fistfight.


In boxing, aggression is important. When you're ready and willing to win, you come out doing this. What's the right word?

The "swing" is how your arms move in boxing when you're punching your opponent. To come out swinging means you're going to give it your all.


When you're the one to do the "break," this means you're the very first player to strike the balls on the table. Which sport uses this term?

Billiards is a game where you have to gather all of the balls in the middle, and break them apart with an opening shot. That's why they say "break it" when you do the opening shot.


When you "lunge" or "parry," it means you're attacking or defending yourself from an armed opponent. In which sport did these terms originate?

When you're fencing, you lunge when you attack, or you parry to defend yourself.


In this sport, "stealing a base" is a good thing. Which sport is this?

Baseball is a sport where stealing is permitted. In particular, stealing a base is good, since you get to inch closer to scoring a run.


When you say "no holds barred," that usually means all rules are out the window. In which sport did this term originate?

"No holds barred" originated in wrestling. Some moves, or holds, aren't legal, but if none are barred, it means anything goes.


In this classic full-contact sport, "going to the mats" means getting down to serious business, or a fight. What hand-to-hand sport is this?

Wrestling today has protective mats, so people don’t get too hurt when playing. "Going to the mats" means that both players are already trying to outmaneuver each other. It can also mean getting into a fight, when tempers flare.


It goes to show that anyone can get religious, if there's hope. In American football, what do you call a last-ditch attempt to score?

Some players and coaches feel that prayers can turn the tide. A Hail Mary can mean a last attempt to score, particularly if that scoring attempt can win the game.


When you "go down the wire," it means you're going to make it barely on deadline. What sport was originated this phrase?

In horse racing, the finish line used to be a wire that would be broken once a horse and rider crossed over the finish line. "Down to the wire" must be a close race, indeed.


When you’re a swimmer preparing for a meet, there is a period called “taper.” What happens during this period?

In swimming, tapering means cutting back just enough on your exercises to let your muscles recover. By the time the swim meet happens, you should have balanced correctly for your recovery and your fitness level.


This sport doesn't endorse violence, but its players like it when they get a "strike." Which sport is this?

A bowling strike means all of the pins are knocked down with one strike of the ball. Hence, a strike.


When you're doing a "flying kick," you're practicing this kind of sport. Which one is it?

In martial arts, you hear the term "flying kick." This literally means you're up in the air when you give a blow with your foot.


In volleyball, when you're warming up, there's a popular sequence named after a famous herb. What is this herb?

Pepper is a volleyball term for a specific warm-up exercise. The action sequence is bump, set, spike, and repeat.


In hockey, there's a term known as "deke." Where does this term come from?

It's straightforward. "Deke" stands for decoy, where a hockey player puts another out of position with a fake move.


A "hat-trick" means that you've had a couple of successive wins under your belt. In which sport did the term originate?

The hat-trick is a term in cricket for multiple consecutive wins. This is done by knocking three batsmen out of the game, one after the other.


You experience a "wipeout" when you're knocked off your board when you're above water. In which sport is this term used?

When you wipeout in surfing, it means you encountered massive waves head-on. They're so huge, you get knocked off your surfboard.


In every sport, there are players who are either stuck just cheering or are sitting the game out. What is the term when people are benched like this?

This is a term used in many sports. When you're "stuck on the sidelines," it means that for one reason or the other, you can just observe, not participate.


In golf, you always have a club -- but it's not for partying. What's it for?

A golf club is what you use to hit the ball. It's like the bat in baseball, only designed differently.


When you "catch a crab" in rowing, it can be a very jarring experience. What happens to one's oars when they catch a crab?

When you are rowing, you have to be careful about the angle of the oar. The wrong angle can throw you off the boat as the oar stops moving. It's like "catching" an angry and strong crab.


"Bonk" may be a sound effect, but in running, it's a little bit more serious. What does it mean?

If you're bonked, that means you're at the limit of your endurance. If you want to keep on going, you have to either slow down or get some fuel into your body quickly.


A "five-hole" is a term used in hockey for a winning shot that goes through a goaltender's defense. Which space around the goaltender is the "fifth space?"

The "five-hole" is the code name for the space between the goaltender's legs. Numbers 1 to 4 are at the sides of the goaltender.


"Icing" is a term in football or baseball, where a time out is used as a weapon. What does the timeout do?

In sports like basketball and football, players and entire teams can go on a scoring streak. Icing, or a strategic timeout, can break the momentum, thus ending the streak.


In horse racing, what does it mean when a jockey wins "hands down?"

When the jockey relaxes his grip on the reins on the way to the finish line, it means he's sure to win. The horse doesn’t have to run at top speed to be the first across the finish line.


When everybody is working as a team on the basketball court, it's sometimes called this. What is the term?

A full-court press happens when all players in a basketball team are working together to score. It means everyone on a team is engaged in pressuring the opposing team.


In hockey, what does "to light the lamp" mean?

When one "lights the lamp" in ice hockey, it means the puck went into the net. If you keep on succeeding in something, you're lighting the lamp.


The term "deuce" is one you normally hear in card games. In tennis, though, it's a game ender. If both players are tied at 40 points each, what does the term mean?

A deuce situation in tennis happens when both players have 40 points. There are some guidelines, but in general, whoever gets two more points first, wins.


It's not what you think: When you're hitting something called a "birdie," which sport are you playing?

In badminton, two or more players hit a birdie over a net. It's also called a shuttlecock.


In basketball, if the ball "don’t lie," a certain shot was missed. What shot was it?

If the foul throw was missed, it means the foul was wrong.


In football, when people say it's time to "block and tackle," what does it mean?

Blocking and tackling are basic moves for the players on a football team. To go “block and tackle" means that one goes back to basics.


In auto racing, being "black flagged" is a serious issue. What does it mean for a driver?

Drivers and their cars are black flagged to get them off the track. It can be for anything dangerous, from breaking rules, to car damage that can affect other cars.


When you sit on a "saddle," you're not mounting a horse, but this instead. What is it?

One of the most important parts of a cyclist's ride is the saddle. When it's time to ride the bike, it has to be both comfy and sturdy.


In lacrosse, a player is called a "FOGO" when he has only a short time on the field. What does "Face-Off, Get-Off" mean?

In lacrosse, some team members are FOGO, meaning they're just there for the face-off itself. After that, they go back to the sidelines.


Explore More Quizzes

About Zoo

Our goal at is to keep you entertained in this crazy life we all live.

We want you to look inward and explore new and interesting things about yourself. We want you to look outward and marvel at the world around you. We want you to laugh at past memories that helped shape the person you’ve become. We want to dream with you about all your future holds. Our hope is our quizzes and articles inspire you to do just that.

Life is a zoo! Embrace it on