How Well Do You Know American Slang?

By: Stella Alexander
Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

PIECE OF CAKE! That's what this quiz will be, right? When it comes to American slang, there are tons of words and phrases whose meaning veers far off from its actual words. From getting under one's skin to hitting the road, how well do you know American slang?

Throughout the entire world, English is the third most spoken language with more than 360 million native speakers. While that doesn't seem like a lot, this is just the number of people who speak English as their first language. Around the world, there are around 1.5 billion people who can speak English, which is 20 percent of the world!

There are dozens of countries around the world where English is the official language. You'd find it in countries like Singapore, Jamaica, Australia, Ireland, and of course, England. While all of these countries speak English, just as we do in the United States, they probably wouldn't understand most of the slang that is used even though it's English. Would you?

If someone says something is "cheesy," they're most likely not talking about a pizza! They could be referencing something that is cheap or cringe-worthy, but not in the monetary sense! 

From "shooting the breeze" to "giving the cold shoulder," how much American slang do you know?

Are you ready to bring your A-Game or will you make it by the skin of your teeth? There's only one way to find out!

Let's find out how much American slang you know!

Finish the phrase that means to ride in the front passenger seat of a car: Ride __________

Many times in American culture, you'll hear someone say, "I call shotgun." This means they call the front passenger seat of a car.

What does it mean to "put up your dukes?"

If someone tells you to put up your dukes, it means you're getting ready for a fight! This also comes from "duking" it out, which means fighting.

Which of these phrases is used when you want something badly?

If you're "jonesing" for something, it means you really want it! Maybe you're jonesing for a good time. After a long day of work, you might be jonesing for a stiff drink!

What does it mean if someone says you have nice "wheels?"

In American slang, if someone is complimenting you on your wheels, they are telling you that you have a nice car. This can sometimes be used for a motorcycle, bike, or any vehicle that has wheels.

Which of these phrases is used when you need someone's signature?

When someone asks you for your John Hancock, they're asking for your signature. John Hancock was a popular figure in American history who is known for signing the Declaration of Independence.

What does "buck" mean?

If someone tells you to give them a "buck," it means they want you to give them $1.

Which of these phrases is used to say that you're tired?

While in the traditional sense, if you 'beat' someone it means you defeated them, that's not what it means in American slang! Many people use the phrase "I'm beat" to describe that they are tired.

What does it mean to "take a rain check"?

When it comes to "taking a rain check," it means you are currently unable to take part in an activity, but you'll try again another time.

If your meal was superb, you might say "that _____ the spot."

If you say "that hit the spot," you're more than likely talking about a meal. It is used to say it was exactly what you needed.

Which of these phrases is used to say you're listening?

If you're speaking to someone, they might say they're "all-ears." This means they're listening to you so, talk away!

If you're speaking badly about something you've never experienced, someone might tell you "don't ______ it 'til you try it."

Rather than the physical act, when someone uses the word "knock" in this sense, it means to speak badly about something. That's why the common phrase, "don't knock it 'til you try it" means don't talk badly about something until you've experienced it yourself.

Which of these phrases is used to describe something you were just barely able to do?

If a passing score is 65 percent and you get a 66 percent, you could say you passed by the skin of your teeth! This phrase is used to describe something that you were just barely able to do.

Finish the phrase that means to ignore someone: Give the _______ shoulder

When you "give the cold shoulder," it means you're deliberately ignoring someone.

Finish the phrase that is used to refrain from answering a question: Plead the ______.

This is a phrase that comes from the court system. The Fifth Amendment states that a witness can refuse to answer a question that will incriminate himself. Rather than telling people you don't want to answer, you can say "I plead the fifth."

What does it mean to be a "couch potato"?

If someone were to call you a "couch potato," they're telling you that you're a lazy person. This is used for someone who just hangs around on their couch all day doing nothing productive.

If someone is charging an absurd price for an item, you might say it's a __________.

If something is a rip-off, it means a seller is trying to charge you way more than what the item is worth.

Which of these phrases is used to describe someone who's feeling sad?

When someone says they are "feeling blue" or they "have the blues," it means they are sad. This is often a popular term in regards to music. If someone is "singing the blues," they are singing a sad song.

Finish the phrase that means casual conversation: ______ the breeze

"Shoot the breeze" is a popular American slang term. While it might sound a little aggressive, all it means is to have casual conversation with someone.

What does "around the clock" mean?

When someone is doing something "around the clock," that means they are consistently doing it for hours upon hours.

If one says "I bombed the quiz," what does bombed mean?

When someone says they "bombed" something, this isn't always in reference to an actual explosive device. If someone bombs a test or an interview, that means they didn't do well.

Finish the phrase that means not very often: Once in a ______ moon

People use the phrase, "once in a blue moon" to describe something that doesn't happen very often. If you rarely go on vacation, you could say that you go on a holiday "once in a blue moon."

What does it mean to "drive up the wall"?

The phrase "drive up the wall" is synonymous with saying to irritate. It is commonly used in the context of "That person is driving me up the wall."

Finish the phrase that means to pass on responsibility: Pass the ________

A common phrase you'll hear is if someone said they "pass the torch." Someone might say this about their protege, that they're passing on their responsibilities to that person.

If someone "screws up," what did they do?

When someone "screws up," it means they made a mistake or did something wrong. While this is often used as a verb, the phrase "screw up" could be used to describe someone who is constantly making mistakes.

Finish the phrase that means to reveal a secret: Spill the _______.

If someone "spilled the beans," they told a secret they weren't supposed to.

If someone used the phrase "busted cheating," what does that mean?

If someone is "busted," that means that they got caught. This is also a popular slang work to use in reference to the police.: "The driver got busted speeding."

What does "crash" mean?

When it comes to going to sleep, you might hear someone say they're going to "crash." This is also used to describe someone who is extremely tired and is ready to fall asleep at the drop of a hat.

What does it mean to do something at "drop of a hat"?

When you say that something will happen "at the drop of a hat," it means it will happen instantly.

Which of these is not a way to say something is great?

In American slang, there are many, many ways to say that something is great. Awesome is the most common. You could also say a "party was wicked" or you missed "a sick game!"

Finish the phrase that means to act tough: Put up a ______.

When someone "puts up a front," it usually means they are trying to look tough even when it's not their nature to do so,

What does it mean to have a "blast"?

If someone is said to "have a blast," this has nothing to do with an actual explosion. In American slang, if you have a blast, it means you're having a good time!

What does it mean to cram?

When someone says they need to "cram," it means they need to study A LOT of information in a short period of time.

What does it mean if a venue is "dead"?

If someone describes a venue as being "dead," that means not only is it boring, but it's probably also close to empty. If someone tells you a party is dead, don't even bother!

What would you call someone who is muscular?

In American slang, jacked is used for multiple things. If you want to say someone is muscular, you might say they're "jacked." If someone got robbed, you could say "they got jacked."

Which of these phrases is used to tell someone to relax?

Chill out is a popular phrase that is used to tell someone to relax. Someone can also say they are "chilling" as a way to say they are simply relaxing.

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