Do You Know What These Slang Terms From Around the World Mean?


By: Robin Tyler

6 Min Quiz

Image: Gotero / E+ / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Although there are many languages spoken around the world, they certainly are not always used in the exact way they were intended. Take English, for example. The phrase, "the Queen's English" refers to its purest form, one that royalty may use. And you can bet your bottom dollar that Queen Elizabeth isn't going to use any slang words... well not in public at least!

That said, slang is a part of just about every language in the world and is found all over the globe. And you know what? Slang can be regional as well. What might a slang word in Australia isn't in England or the United States. But it gets even better than that. What might be a slang word in London, England, might not be a slang word in Liverpool, England! How cool is that?

So let's get to the task at hand, shall we? And it's a fun one, that's for sure. We've found slang phrases from around the world and we want to see just how much you can work out what they actually mean. Make sure you read them carefully, as sometimes their names could be a clue. If you aren't sure, make use of one of our clues! Good luck!

In South Africa, what does the slang term "kiff" mean?

Although it is not as much of a slang term as in the '80s and 90s, "kiff" basically means awesome, for example, "That was a kiff wave you surfed there."


Do you know what the Indonesian slang term "BT" or "bete" means?

In Indonesia, the term "BT" or sometimes "bete" is used to refer to a negative mood or emotion. People use it to convey that they might not be in the best of spirits.


In Malawi, the slang term "BT" refers to which city?

Malawians love to shorten their city names to slang terms. Blantyre is known as "BT" while Lilongwe is known as "LS." Interestingly, the city of Zomba is called "Texas."


From the options below, what do you think a "clope" is slang for in Paris, France?

Paris has its own set of slang words that you won't find anywhere else in France. And in that slang, someone asking for a "clope" wants a cigarette.


When you are a little hot under the collar in Rome, someone might tell you to "scialla." What does that mean?

As with many major cities in the world, residents have a form of slang that is used daily. When you someone needs to chill out in Rome, they will be told to "scialla."


While in Australia, you might get offered a "snag" for lunch. What do you think it is?

It seems like Australians like to rename pretty much everything, because a snag is simply a sausage! 'strewth!


When on a 5-minute "fika" in Sweden, what are Swedish people doing?

Coffee culture is huge in Sweden. And they take their coffee breaks seriously. A "fika" will usually include a pastry of some kind as well.


Someone going to "get the messages" in Ireland is going to do what?

Irish slang is just weird. How can "get the messages" mean going to get groceries? We're not sure either, but it does.


A Spanish person asking for "pasta" in Madrid is _______

How weird it that? Spanish slang for money, is "pasta." And when you visit there and spend it, it's a case of pasta-la-vista, baby! Except, it won't be back.


Do you know what the South African slang term "howzit" means?

"Howzit" is a combination of two phrases, hello and how are you. It is used as a form of greeting when meeting someone you will end up chatting with.


In England, what does the slang term "argy-bargy" mean?

"Argy-bargy" is a U.K. slang term for an argument! This generally happens on nights out at the local pub, usually over a game of football!


Someone Poland wanting to "paw" is going to do what?

Ok, so "Paw" is actually pronounced "pav" in Polish and means peacock. To let the peacock out in that country means to get sick.


Can you tell us what a slang word for an Octopus is in Japan?

Not only is "tako" a slang word for octopus in Japan but it can be used to as an insult as well, inferring a person is stupid.


"Peng" is a term used in the United Kingdom to describe something that is ________?

"Peng" is can be used to describe anything that is of the highest quality. It is often used by men to describe good-looking women, however.


When in the United States, hearing the word "podunk" to describe a town means it is what?

Little towns in America, with one main street are often called "podunk." They are see as boring, not worth visiting and insignificant.


"You little ripper" is an Australian slang phrase meaning what exactly?

"You little ripper" is a classic Australian term. It's a congratulatory saying, along the lines of "That's fantastic." Another similar Australian saying is "Good on ya, mate!"


In the 1980s, if someone in South Africa told you "bowl me the ages," what would they expect from you?

Yes, South Africans had some strange slang terms in the 1980s. But if you think about it, "bowl me the ages" sort of refers to time, doesn't it?


If someone in the United Kingdom says they "honked" what did they do?

"Honk" is a term used throughout the United Kingdom to describe someone throwing up. This usually happens after a night at the local pub or nightclub, when someone consumes a few too many! Just keep their hair out of it!


In New York, what is a "dirty water dog"?

They're a New York classic, but the locals have a name for their city's favorite fast food - a "dirty water dog" and that's because the water they cooked in doesn't get changed that often during the day (if at all).


When invited to "have a gargle" in Ireland, you will be _______?

If you "have a gargle" in Ireland, you are going to have a drink. If you have "been on the gargle" you have been out drinking. Gargling seems fun!


In London, the cockney rhyming slang for "brown bread" means someone is what?

Cockney rhyming slang has many terms like this. And it's simply based on rhyming. So "brown bread" is dead and "Adam and Eve it" is believe it. Strange!


Spending a night in the "idiot box" in the United Kingdom means keeping ________ company?

No, don't worry, it's not your significant other! Another word for it is the "telly." Yes, the "idiot box" is simply a television. Is it still an "idiot box" if you watch general knowledge game shows? Now there's a question...


What does the Australian term, "no drama" mean?

Most people in Australia are pretty chill. "No drama" is something someone might say to you if you stood on their toe at a concert and apologized. All it really means is, don't worry, it's cool.


In the United Kingdom, who are the "fuzz"?

"The fuzz" is United Kingdom slang for the police imported from North America. Interestingly, the ordinary policeman is not armed with a pistol. And that noisy neighbor? He might call the policeman a "copper," yet another slang term for law enforcement in the U.K.


What animal would be called a "mozzie" in Australia?

They come out at night... and in droves, looking for blood. No, it's not a zombie invasion, it's just mosquitos! In Australia, they simply call these pests "mozzies."


Someone suffering from a "babbelas" in South Africa has a ______?

In South Africa, "babbelas" is an Afrikaans language term for a severe hangover! Steer clear of the person who has it!


From the options below, what does the slang term "gaffer" mean in the United Kingdom?

Not so much in the corporate world, but in construction and other industries such as that, workers will call their boss "the gaffer." It is also a term that soccer players use for their manager.


New Orleans residents often wrench their vegetables. What does that mean?

What a strange term for the act of cleaning vegetables. Does a mechanic "wrench" food as well? How confusing!


In England, what would be a person's "ivories"?

Yes, your "ivories" are your teeth in the U.K. But in both countries, as well as in the U.S. and beyond, the word can also be used for piano keys (tickling the ivories) or even to describe dice. Why? Well, the keys of a piano and dice were made out of ivory in days gone by.


In Sweden, what does the term "ursäkta" mean?

"Ursäkta" can be used in many ways. For example, you could use it to call your waiter or when you hurriedly pass people while running for a train.


"Thongs" in Australia are a slang term for what?

No, "thongs" are not what you think, and yes, you can wear them to the beach. Thongs are simply sandals or flip-flops, the perfect footwear for the beach or all summer long down under!


“Ganbatte" is a Japanese slang term of encouragement meaning which of these below?

“Ganbatte" roughly means do your best in or keep it up in Japanese. It is often shouted at sports events in support of a team.


In the city of Boston in the United States, someone refered to as a "chowdahead" would be said to be ______

"Chowdahead" is a form of an insult in Boston, United States. It is used to refer to someone who is seen to be doing something stupid, as in "Don't be a chowdahead, you can't park in the disabled zone."


Australians in the Outback love their bush tucker. What is it?

"Tucker" is an Australian term for food, along the lines of "tuck in." Bush tucker is found in the Outback, a vast region of Australia that is largely uninhabited. An example of bush tucker would be something like witchetty grubs, or perhaps even crocodile meat.


If someone says they going to "bliksem" you in South Africa, what are they going to do?

"Bliksem" is an Afrikaans language word that means that some is going to do some bodily harm to you, as in "I am going to bliksem you." Interestingly, it can also be used to show amazement as in "Bliksem, did you see that?"


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