Cheerleader Lingo Is Totally a Thing: How Many of These Words Do You Know?



By: Deborah Beckwin

6 Min Quiz

Image: Image Source/Image Source/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Think that cheerleading is just yelling chants and cheers, shaking pom-poms and indiscriminately jumping around and yelling? That's only just the surface of what cheerleading is about.

Cheerleading is a legitimate sport, and if you haven't watched a cheerleading competition--then prepare to not believe your eyes.

Cheerleading is part dance, part gymnastics, part acrobatics, but 100 percent athleticism. What cheerleaders do in the air with aerial moves in a short amount of time can be jaw-dropping to behold. The tumbling passes rival those on the floor routines in gymnastics.

All team members have to work in unison to not only safely get the jumps and stunts done safely, but also to be synchronized.

Many cheerleaders start training when they are really young, hoping to one day make it to the Worlds--the Cheerleading World Championship, the biggest cheerleading competition by the U.S. All Star Federation.

So, do you have big bows ready? Ready to sell it to this quiz? Stretch, get flexible and then flip on into this quiz! Good luck!

Who is a "flyer"?

If you're watching cheerleading competitions, or just watching cheer routines at a game, the flyer (or floater) is the person you have your eye on. And flying and floating is what these folks do when lifted or thrown in the air.


Which is NOT a part of a jump?

A jump sequence typically has to have both feet off the ground. And a jump has three parts, in this order: the prep/approach, the lift, and the landing.


When you're a cheerleader and a flyer, someone's got to hold you down. Who is the "base"?

The base holds flyers up in the air, and they (safely!) bring floaters and flyers down. The base also consists of the people on the bottom of a pyramid.


In the cheerleading world, what is a "sponge"?

The sponge is one of the easier stunts. A flyer is in a sitting position, is pushed up, and then dropped back down by the bases.


If you're competing, you probably have a lot to tease. What are you teasing?

In cheerleading competitions, having your hair teased and held up by hairspray in a big, beautiful ponytail is pretty normal. You just need to top it off with a big, beautiful bow.


What is NOT another name for briefs?

Briefs are the matching bloomers that coordinate with your cheerleading skirt. Spankies, tights and lollipops are all other names for briefs--and you definitely don't call them panties.


If someone tells you to "suck it up," what are they telling you to do?

This message is to the base! When a flyer is doing a stunt, you need to brace yourselves! It's important so that the flyer can do their thing up there--and safely.


If you're "attacking the crowd," what are you doing?

"Attack the crowd" is not something you should do literally, of course. It's just a way to get people enthusiastic and involved about the cheering you're doing.


What jump is also known as the "cheer sit"?

The double hook jump has your arms in a high V, with your front leg and back leg hooked to the same side. The double hook is known as a cheer sit because it's a position a cheerleader learns to use while sitting on the ground or the floor during a game.


What cheerleader jump is named after the man who created it?

The herkie is named after the founder of the National Cheerleaders Association, Lawrence Herkimer. With this jump, one leg is stretched out straight and the other leg is hooked to the side.


What move has one leg straight down and the other leg is extended straight behind you?

With the arabesque, many times a flyer is performing this stunt while being held up by the base. It's like your legs for a 90 degree angle--or a little bigger than that.


Arching your back and reaching upward is which stunt?

The banana stunt usually happens in one of two ways. You're doing a combo jump or you're getting up to a basket toss.


Which move has your arms out straight with fists down?

Buckets is a basic cheerleader move, and it gets its name because it looks like you're holding a bucket. This isn't to be confused with actual cheerleader buckets, which are usually fun buckets with bright and colorful decorations.


What stunt has the flyer standing on one leg and then grabbing the toe of the bent leg and bringing it behind their head?

The Scorpion is an advanced stunt for a cheerleader. It requires strength and flexibility--especially to do the leg extension behind the head.


When a flyer switches their feet during a stunt, what is this called?

This move involves the flyer's base because they will be holding the straightened leg. They provide the stability for you to do this move.


If someone yells, "Squeeze!", what should you do?

As a flyer, when you tighten your muscles, you become lighter for your bases. Flyers should remain tense and tight while up in the air.


Which stunt has a flyer with one foot in the base's hands, with the free foot brought to the other knee?

The Liberty stunt is a more advanced move for a cheerleader since it involves a lot of poise and strength to stand on one leg while the other is bent.. It was called Liberty because originally, the flyer would punch an arm in the air, holding it like the Statue of Liberty would.


Which is NOT an example of a facial?

Facials in cheerleading are not about spa treatments, but are moves that show personality--from your face. It's a way to engage the crowd and judges and amp up the enthusiasm. Another kind of facial would be sticking out your tongue.


If you're doing the "deadman," you're doing what?

The Deadman has a flyer falling forward or backward out of a stunt. The base should have a few people for this maneuver. The Deadman could also be a move to push the flyer back upright into another stunt.


What is NOT the name of the stunt which has the flyer's feet in one base's hand as the base's arm is fully extended?

So, what's the difference between the Cupie or the Awesome? A Cupie has the base's free hand on the hip while the awesome has the base's free hand up in a High V. This is a "one man" type of stunt, where one person alone acts as the base for a flyer.


What variation of the Liberty has the flyer looking like a weapon?

Like many cheerleading terms, the Bow and Arrow is named that because the cheerleader takes on that shape. With the Bow and Arrow, the flyer stands on one leg and takes their opposite leg with the opposite arm and pulls it around their body, with the other arm usually pushed straight out (like an arrow).


If you're working on tumbling, you're going to want to be able to do a "full." What does that mean?

The full-twisting layout is a gymnastics move, but you see it in cheerleading a lot. Whether it's a full-twisting layout or a double-twisting layout, you'll probably need to know other moves, like layouts, back handsprings and roundoffs first.


What jump is also known as a "candlestick"?

The Pike is a move that even beginner cheerleaders can perform. It gets more advanced and expert when the knees are locked straight, arms are out front and straight, pointed toward your toes.


What pyramid stunt has a flyer standing on top of two other cheerleaders?

The Table Top is a pyramid stunt with three levels. The top flyer stands on top of at least two other cheerleaders.


When cheerleaders talk about a "rewind"--what are they talking about?

A rewind can look like someone hit the rewind button on a stunt. Many times, a flyer is doing some sort of reverse flip or stunt into another stunt. For example, a flyer could do a rewind into some kind of mount.


Well, it's time to "sell it"--so what are you doing as a cheerleader?

OK, for the record--no bribing judges is ever necessary. If you need to sell it, it just means to punch up the sass and attitude in your routine. It helps engaging judges and the audience.


Which of these arm motions is NOT a cheerleader move?

The motions typically have to do with one's arms. And the motions can create letters with the body--and there isn't one that creates the letter "M" with one's arms.


When a flyer holds a fully extended leg to the side while standing on the other leg and extending their arm in a High V, what is this stunt called?

The scale is an advanced stunt that requires flexibility and balance. The needle is similar to the scale, but you'd hold the extended leg with both hands behind you so your legs look straight as a needle.


A flyer is dismounting and the base creates a what to catch them?

This is a basic dismount position. The base members put one arm under the flyer's thighs and the other arm under her back. The flyer should be in a pike position in the cradle.


Which stunt involves being passed through someone's legs?

The dirty consists of three moves. First, a flyer is tossed into a laid out x-position (arms and legs stretched out to make the body look like an X). The flyer then lands on the base's back with their arms. Then the flyer passes the base's legs--typically to move into a transition skill like the scooper, where they will be pulled up to do something else.


Time to do a "log roll"--what is that?

The log roll, also known as the barrel roll, should have at least three bases and a flyer. The bases actually help the flyer to twist in the air when they toss.


A coach is yelling "hit!"--what should you do?

Hit is a good word of encouragement here. Whoever is yelling at you wants you to hit your jumps on time and be in sync with your other teammates and the music.


In cheerleading language, what is a "whip"?

This type of movement can be pretty fast. It's a quick feet-over-head motion without one's hands touching the ground, landing on one's feet. In succession, it can look like you're whipping your body around an imaginary horizontal axis.


If you're performing a toe touch, which direction are your legs and arms?

Although this is a basic cheerleading move, to jump high enough and get the correct for takes time to learn. The legs should be in what's called a straddle split.


A flyer just put their foot under their chin while standing on one leg. What is this NOT called?

Whether you call it no-hands, chin chin or cry baby, this stunt has the foot resting under the flyer's chin when arms are in a High V. The flyer can transition in and out of similar stunts with this one, such as the Liberty or the Scorpion.


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