Do You Know the Meaning of All of These Old-Timey Phrases?


By: Talin Vartanian

6 Min Quiz

Image: Leo Patrizi / E+ / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Old-fashioned phrases and slang words were commonly used before the 1950s to describe hot and cold temperatures, drunk individuals and personality traits. In this quiz, we're testing you on 35 different old-fashioned phrases that will take you back in time!

Let's do a couple of warm-ups to help get you ready for this nostalgic quiz. A "rain napper" was a fancy way of saying an umbrella. For example, "It's raining cats and dogs out here, where is my rain napper?!" Other phrases were used to describe someone's facial features, and a "gigglemug" was one of them. This old-timey phrase meant that someone was always smiling. This could be meant as either a compliment or an insult, depending on the context of the situation.

Another phrase was to "cop a mouse." This was used when somebody was injured in a fight, which usually resulted in a black or blue eye. Other phrases were used to describe objects, like a coffin. This was otherwise known as a "pine overcoat."

Now that you're prepped for this quiz, it's time to show us how much you know about old-fashioned phrases. Take a trip back to the past by scoring at least an 80% today!

If I said to you "Don't sell me a dog," what does that mean?

"Don't sell me a dog" is another way of telling someone not to lie to your face. For example, "Don't sell me a dog Jim, I know what you're up to."


What did a "fly rink" refer to?

A "fly rink" referred to someone who had a bald head. For example, "You can tell Andrew is getting older. That guy's got a fly rink now."


If I tell you to "take the egg" in a race, I want you to...

"Take the egg" refers to winning something. Another example would be, "John took the egg in the spelling bee."


If I say "Shut that sauce box of yours," what do I mean?

A "sauce box" referred to someone's mouth. So if I say "Shut your sauce box," it actually translates to "shut your mouth."


If someone is "off his/her chump," they are...

To act crazy or wild means to be "off your chump." For instance, "Dan has been off his chump lately since he got into drinking."


A "leanaway" refers to someone who is...

A tipsy person used to be called a "leanaway." For instance, "I can tell Stacy is being a leanaway since she's had two drinks already."


If I want you to listen to me, I want you to...

If I want you to listen to me, I might tell you to "focus your audio." For instance, "Focus your audio Tim, these instructions are important."


Which of these breakfast items was known as "chicks on a raft?"

In this context, "chicks" means eggs and "raft" means toast. Hence, chicks on a raft, means toast with eggs on it.


Another way of saying "water" was...

Believe it or not, back in the day, water was referred to as "dog soup." For instance, "Can I have a burger and some dog soup on the side?"


What did a "George Eddy" refer to?

Someone who was a bad tipper was referred to as a "George Eddy." For example, "Don't serve that guy at table 32, he's always such a George Eddy."


French fries were also called...

Though "frog sticks" were not made of frogs, they were referred to as french fries. For instance, "Can I have a small order of frog sticks?"


Which of these phrases refers to someone who was well-rounded (in intellect)?

"Claws sharp" meant that someone was well-rounded and intelligent. For example, "That new kid is pretty claws sharp."


If I say "It's colder than the hinges of hell," what does that mean?

As the phrase implies, "colder than the hinges of hell" means that it's very cold in temperature. You could also say, "This ice cream is colder than the hinges of hell."


If someone says "The bear got him," what does that mean?

If someone says "The bear got him," they mean that someone was injured or killed due to heatstroke. For example, "Grandpa passed away because the bear got him."


If someone is drunk, they are...

If someone is striped or owled, it means that they are drunk. For example, "I wouldn't go near Matt, he's pretty owled right now."


If I say that it's "hotter than Dutch love in harvest," what does that mean?

Hot weather was described as "Hotter than dutch love in harvest." For example, "Tomorrow is supposed to be hotter than dutch love in harvest."


What does "hump the swag" mean?

If you're carrying bags on your shoulder or back, this is known as "humping the swag." For example, "Jim's falling behind because he's humping a lot of swag."


If someone vomits, this is known as...?

"Happy returns" is what you would vomit up if you were too sick or drunk. For instance, "I wouldn't look in that trash can if I were you. Steve puked up a lot of happy returns."


What do you think a "red onion" means?

A "red onion" referred to a dive bar (which is a place for drinking). For instance, "After work, let's hit up that new red onion in town."


If someone is "in the ketchup," what does that mean?

If someone is bankrupt, or really broke, this is known as being "in the ketchup." For instance, "Tom should never have started that company. Now he's in the ketchup big time."


If I want my steak "on the hoof," how do I want my steak cooked?

A rare steak refers to the phrase "on the hoof." Another example would be, "This burger is on the hoof, I want it cooked a little longer."


If someone cheats on their spouse, what is this is known as?

If you were considered to be a cheater, you were "being on a left-handed honeymoon." For instance, "I broke up with Andrew because he's been on a left-handed honeymoon with Sarah."


What did "due backs" refer to?

"Due backs" were another way of saying cigarettes. For instance, "I need to stop at the store to buy some due backs."


If someone is a "cube," they are...?

Someone who is boring or dull was called a "cube" back in the day. Nowadays, these types of people are known as "squares."


If I say "My friend is a bit kookie," what does that mean?

If someone is nuts, crazy or wild, they are known as "kookie." Another example would be, "I hate my English teacher, she always acts so kookie!"


If I say "That new kid is such a fream," what does that mean?

Someone who is a reject or loser was once known as a "fream." Another example would be, "After I dropped out of school, I became such a fream."


"Far out sounds" was another way of saying...

Back in the day, music was referred to as "far out sounds." For example, "I've got a CD of far out rock sounds that you might like!"


A "duck butt" was the name of a...

A "duck butt" was actually a type of hairstyle that involved spiked hair on the back of the head. For example, "Eww look at that new duck butt on Steve."


If you're feeling really happy, you are in...

"Fat City" was not an actual name of a city, but used as a feeling of happiness and relaxation. For example, "I just got a new job and I feel like I'm in Fat City!"


What does "Adam's ale" mean?

"Adam's ale" referred simply to water. For instance, "I'm so thirsty, do you have any Adam's ale?"


If I want 2 cups of coffee, what should I tell my server?

In this context, "drawers" actually refers to coffee. So, if I want a pair of drawers, it means that I want two cups of coffee.


What kind of food is a "cluck and grunt?"

In this context, "cluck" means ham and "grunt" means eggs. Therefore, a cluck and grunt refers to ham and eggs. For instance, "Can I order the cluck and grunt special?"


If I say "I have to start wearing binoculars," what does that mean?

The correct answer is glasses. Back in the day, binoculars was a nickname for glasses. For instance, "My binoculars broke so I have to get new ones."


If someone is acting "swacked" at a party, they are acting...

To be "swacked" is to be "drunk" in a situation. For example, "I've been swacked all week from the non-stop partying."


If I say "That guy is such a flutter bum," what do I mean?

When a male is very attractive in physical appearance, they are often called a "flutter bum." For instance, "I'm so lucky to be dating Tom, he's such a flutter bum."


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