Prove You Know Your '70s Slang Words by Acing This Quiz

Ian Fortey

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About This Quiz

The '70s were a real solid time, ya dig? There were rollerskates as far as the eye could see, "Star Wars" was in the movie theaters and Ziggy Stardust was making people wonder why he looked so much like David Bowie.  Disco was all the rage but rock n' roll was strong and powerful, too. Jaws made everyone afraid to go swimming and the Brady Bunch made everyone afraid of step-siblings. It was a real far-out scene, man! But it all seems so long ago.  In order to ace this quiz, you're going to need to be some kind of '70s slang ninja.  A veritable encyclopedia of disco and roller rinks and super questionable hairstyles.  Are you up to the task?   

Do you live for lava lamps and "Starsky and Hutch?"  Are you still mad that no one asked you to star in "That '70s Show?"  Now's your chance to go full "Charlie's Angels" and show us your stuff.  It's time to say see ya later, alligator to the present and dig deep into the slang of old.  It's time to prove you're the funky, cool cat you always knew you were.  It's time to take the quiz!   Right on, man!



Someone called you "far out!" What did they mean?

Think of far out as another way of saying something is out of this world. In the age of "Star Wars" and "Battlestar: Galactica," being out of this world was clearly cool.

You just got invited to go "boogie." What are you going to do?

When you were heading out to boogie down, you had a night of dancing planned. It's worth noting that if you want to boogie right, it's got to be cool and fun. Square dancing probably didn't qualify as boogie dancing.

Your friend needed you to "do them a solid." What did they need?

When you need a friend to do you a solid, you're asking them for a serious favor. You're in need and you know you're asking a lot, but you're counting on your friendship to make it cool.

You have a test in math class this afternoon, but you're going to "blow it off." What are you going to do?

Sometimes you just can't commit to showing up for something so you need to blow it off and just not go. You can blow off responsibilities and people, too, if you dismiss them.

You show up late to the party and your friend tells you they already ordered a cheese pizza. They want to know if that's OK. What might they ask?

Can you dig it is a pretty versatile question that just seeks to know if you're on the same page. If you like what someone is saying, or understand it, or agree with it,, then you dig it.

You're watching a new movie, and man is it a "drag." What is that?

You can see where this one comes from. Something that's a drag is really dull and boring, and that tends to drag you right down and kill your mood.

Your friend says they've got $50 for you but then they pull it away. It's a trick! What do they yell?

Popular well past the '70s, yelling "psyche" at someone is a surefire way to let them know you just tricked them with a solid psyche out.

You might call someone this if they're being a jerk.

Jive turkey basically means any kind of person who acts or talks in a foolish way. They lie, they're inconsiderate, they're just not cool to be around.

You just got some news and man is it "heavy." What does that mean?

Something that's heavy is something that is kind of intense. It's not unimportant or goofy or the kind of stuff you can brush off. This is a big deal.

Your friend just walked into the middle of a story and wants you to fill them in quickly. What do they say?

When someone wants the skinny on something, they need you to fill them in on the important details.

You just got bad news and it's bringing you down. How would you describe that news?

Something is a bummer because it bums you out. And why does something bum you out? Because it's just not cool at all, man!

You might toss out this term to describe someone who's not the smartest.

If someone's an airhead, it's not a good thing at all. Basically you're saying their brain has been replaced by an empty space.

You could say your friend is just a cool person, or you could say they're a cool what?

Cat was a pretty blanket term for people. You can use it in all kinds of situations. "This cat just sold me a far out burrito!" or "These cats have HBO!"

If someone is a little klutzy, they might get called one of these.

"Don't be a spaz" is the kind of thing you might say to someone who's freaking out, or keeps messing things up. You didn't want to be a spaz because it meant you were uncool and not in control.

This was a term for a police officer, particularly on the highway.

Popularized by the movie "Smokey and the Bandit," the name smokey was a reference to the hat worn by highway patrol officers that looked a lot like the one worn by Smokey the Bear.

Uh oh! You were skipping school and then ran into the principal. He hasn't seen you yet so you should run. What do you tell your friend you need to do?

If you need to get somewhere in a hurry, you're going to book it. Why that term? Maybe it had something to do with "Hawaii Five-O" and the catchphrase "book 'em, Danno" as someone was being taken away.

Someone on the street just called you a "chump!" What did they mean?

It's never a good thing to be called a chump. This name isn't vulgar, but it does imply that you're a fool or a loser. Definitely not someone to be taken seriously.

Your mom wants you to hang out with your cousin, but he's a real "square." What does that mean?

Hanging out with a square was never fun because squares just aren't cool. They're rigid and strait-laced and just don't quite fit in with all the cool people. Of course, maybe you just need to get to know them.

If you wanted to tell someone they were attractive, what might you call them?

You can thank Jimi Hendrix for making this term super popular with his song "Foxy Lady" that came out just before the '70s started. It still gets tossed around today, so people must like it.

"The Man" has been giving you trouble lately, but who is "the Man?"

In many instances "the Man" was a reference to police, but it could also stand in for the government, teachers at school, your boss or even your parents if you were feeling a little dramatic.

Your friend is going to "catch you on the flip-side." What are they going to do?

Saying goodbye or see you soon are perfectly acceptable ways to part company, but telling someone you'll catch them on the flip-side to let them know you'll see them later just sounds cooler.

Everyone has invited you to go streaking. What do they want to do?

It's hard to say why streaking was a fad for a while, but it seems to have been. Essentially it was just someone getting naked and running through a public area, presumably in warm weather.

The Commodores had a song called "Brick House." What did people mean when they said that?

If the Commodores were to be believed, a brick house was "well put-together, everybody knows this is how the story goes." It was a really popular song, so take their word for it.

What did it mean if someone told you to "keep on truckin'?"

Trucker culture was oddly popular in the '70s, so this probably came out of that. Keep on truckin' is a pretty weird saying that doesn't actually mean much of anything except affirming that you agree with whatever the person you're talking to is doing.

Your friend wants to become a rock star but can't sing. You think it's pretty unlikely to happen, so what do you tell them?

Dream on became big thanks to Aerosmith and their song of the same name. When you tell someone to dream on, you're implying that obviously, they're dreaming right now, because it sure isn't reality they're talking about.

What might someone be feeling if they yell "Dy-No-Mite" out loud?

This phrase was very much rooted in the '70s thanks to the show "Good Times." Jimmie Walker played a character name J. J. Evans who used to regularly say "dy-no-mite" to express his excitement and appreciation for this.

This term to express that you have heard and understood someone is still used by truckers. What is it?

CB Radio and trucker culture were big in the '70s and that made things like "10-4" take off with use in movies and TV shows. There's actually a whole list of number codes with different meanings. 10-6 means you're busy and 10-9 means you need someone to repeat themselves.

What just happened if someone yells "burn!" at someone else?

The word "burn" has had a long life and "That '70s Show" is probably responsible for resurrecting it in more modern times. But it was a product of the '70s and used to indicate that not only was someone insulted, but they were also insulted badly.

If a friend tells you everything is copacetic, what do they mean?

Copacetic is a strange word and apparently, no one even knows where it came from. There are some theories, but they're pretty diverse and range from Chinook to Hebrew to the African-American community of the early 1900s. Where it came from, it just means things are going the way they should.

What kind of beans would you mention if you were really in agreement with someone?

The term "cool beans" existed well into the '80s but it was popularized in the '70s as a way to express that not only did you agree with someone but you also had a pretty positive feeling about what they were saying.

If something was cool but also a little bit different than the usual, what might you call it?

Lots of things were cool but if they were funky, they were a bit different. Funk music was popularized in the '70s with songs like "Play That Funky Music." That song still pops up today and is still pretty funky.

Your friend just said, "Slap me some skin." What do they want?

If you're slapping some skin, you are giving someone a high-five. That makes sense since it's an extremely literal definition of what a high-five actually is.

If someone got described as a "burn out," what would that mean?

Someone who is a burn out is someone who is known to use drugs, generally in excess. It's not a complimentary term at all, so when someone gets labeled a burn out, it usually means people think they use drugs way more than they should.

What TV show made "Up your nose with a rubber hose" famous?

Up your nose with a rubber hose was arguably an insult, though it didn't mean much. It was the go-to phrase of Vinnie Barbarino on "Welcome Back, Kotter" when he couldn't think of anything else to say.

If your surfer friends describe a wave as "gnarly," what do they mean?

The word gnarly used to mean something knotted and rough, like old tree branches. In the '70s, it became surfer slang for an intense or dangerous wave and then through the '80s, it could stand in for something awesome or something disgusting. Context is everything.

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