The Ultimate '80s Slang Quiz
By: Ryan Choate
Estimated Completion Time
Image: Jena Ardell/Moment/Getty Images
About This Quiz
Every generation can be identified by its cultural contributions in music, films and even the language we speak. Generational language is a broken form of made-up words and catchphrases, which we know as slang, and is used to communicate with friends and eventually becomes woven into the fabric of society. Some of the greatest and yet most outrageous slang terms and phrases were born out of the neon and synthesizer decade of the '80s. With phrases like "Gag me with a spoon" one might be confused when speaking to someone with a heavy slang vernacular.
Pop culture is always a snapshot of a decade's music, fashion and films. The '80s were a decade where films like "Valley Girl," "Fast Times At Ridgemont High," and "Heathers" produced iconic slang terms and firmly put the lingo into society's rhetoric. Even stuffy politicians were using terms like awesome and radical. Some of these terms can transcend a generation or decade and maintain stature in modern day language. Some words become so synonymous with a movie or TV show that we will always associate the two together for decades to come. Don't worry, we don't think you're a dweeb if you can't remember all the slang terms. See if you can get a wicked score on this quiz and show us your tubular skills on the ultimate '80s slang quiz!
What is the name of the portable music player common in the '80s?
A large portable music player is referred to as a boom box. It often contained double cassette players to dub or record music.
If you came upon something that was particularly gross, what phrase might you say?
A common slang term for something gross or disgusting is to exclaim, "Barf me out!" Other terms might be grody to the max or gag me with a spoon.
How would you describe someone who wants to be with the in-crowd?
Someone who wants to be popular and with the in-crowd is often called a poser. A poser will dress like the popular kids in hopes of gaining status in a group.
Which '80s movie made the phrase, "I'll be back" famous?
The classic futuristic movie, "The Terminator," gave us the famous phrase, "I'll be back." Star Arnold Schwarzenegger was an action star with a noticeable accent as he hailed from Austria. The phrase is synonymous with the movie and used in a variety of ways in modern pop culture.
Which of the following terms was actually coined in the '60s but made famous by a TV character in the '80s?
"The Simpsons" is an animated show that started in 1989. The character Bart Simpson famously uses the term, "Don't have a cow" when he wants someone to relax.
How would you describe a nerdy person in the '80s?
There are many terms that refer to a nerdy person. Dweeb is a particularly popular term. Other terms might be geek or doofus.
If someone directed an insult at you, what could you say as a comeback?
Your momma was a comeback that could be used when someone insulted you. This could also be returned with a series of jokes based on the weight of one's momma.
What would be some advice you would give to someone who needs to relax?
When people are spazzing out, a friend might tell them to take a chill pill. While not an actual pill, this was a popular way to calm down a friend in distress.
What term would you use to describe someone who is into heavy metal music?
People in the '80s who listened to heavy metal music were referred to as Headbangers. These individuals often smoked cigarettes, grew long hair and banged their heads to loud music such as Quiet Riot.
This classic slang phrase is used to ask what may be wrong with a person.
When someone suspects there may be something wrong with a friend they may ask, "What's your damage?" This can also be used with a stranger to assess an unsavory situation.
What phrase might someone utter when they want a person to shut up?
Used in the classic movie, "Valley Girl" the term, bag your face means to shut up. This does not refer to the actual suffocation one might assume from an actual bag over the face.
Someone who screwed up or failed at something completely might hear which term?
If you screw up, your buddy might say "Smooth move, Ex-Lax." It is in reference to the constipation medication by the same name.
What is a dance style typically associated with punk rock or hardcore music?
A form of dancing that involves slamming into other concert goers in an aggressive matter is called moshing. Moshing is typically associated with punk and heavy metal music.
Which fast food restaurant gave us the famous '80s catchphrase, "Where's the beef?"
A commercial in the '80s for Wendy's famously coined the expression, "Where's the beef?" The commercial became a sensation and is still synonymous with Wendy's.
If I was referring to a person as a nerd or geek, what term might I use?
A more obscure way to refer to a person as a geek or nerd is also noid. The term was used in the movie "Valley Girl."
In the movie "Fast Times At Ridgemont High" how does the surfer character, Jeff Spicoli, describe waves?
Spicoli describes waves as tasty. He is describing a perfect scenario for himself which also includes a cool buzz.
You just spotted a good looking guy/girl in the park. How might you describe them?
The term bodacious can be used to describe someone who you are attracted to. This can be used by either sex.
If you are overly excited, someone might say that you are what?
Someone who is overly excited might be spazzing, or spazzing out. The term can refer to someone who is a bundle of nerves or a nervous wreck.
If you need to get out of a situation in a hurry, you might do what?
When you need to take off quick, you might say it is time to motor. The term simply refers to getting to a place or from a place in a quick manner.
If you disagree with something or believe that it's wrong, you might declare it what?
Bogus became a popular way to describe something as wrong or unbelievable. It can also describe something that is fake or counterfeit.
What is a term that refers to a cool or popular person?
A preppie is someone who is associated with a prep school look. They appear to have money and dress in sweaters, loafers and collared shirts. Sometimes referred to as snobs.
If something is beyond awesome, how might you describe it?
Awesome can be one-upped with the term trippendicular. This describes something next level. It can also be used in conjunction with something that is totally amazing.
If you want to give someone praise for being correct, you might say what?
Usually, this is an indication that an explanation was just created. It originated from a "Saturday Night Live" sketch with Jon Lovitz who was a habitual liar in the sketch.
Which '80s movie character might you call someone who was a nerd?
In the movie, "Back To The Future" the main character's last name is McFly. When he goes back in time he sees his father is a nerd and gets bullied in school. Thus the term McFly for a nerdy person.
What suffix phrase was added to '80s slang terms in order to magnify the effect of a word?
Out the door was a common suffix phrase to add an additional amount of exaggeration to a term Example: "Gag me out the door" or "Gross me out the door."
How would you define the term radical?
Something that is extremely hip and cool can be radical. This term is closely related to awesome, tubular and righteous.
Of the following definitions, which best describes the word bad as it was used in the '80s?
Bad was a term used in the '80s to describe something that was good. It can also refer to a person who is a little mysterious and dangerous.
Another term for a pair of shoes is what?
Kicks is a slang term for shoes. It can refer to any type of shoe or sneaker. This term is still popular today.
What movie from the '80s does the term, "Say hello to my little friend" refer to?
In the movie "Scarface," the main character of Tony Montana finds himself barricaded in his house. He exclaims, "Say hello to my little friend" referring to a gun, before he blasts through the closed doors.
Who uttered the phrase, "I pity the fool" in an '80s TV show?
Mr. T uttered the phrase on his TV show "The A-Team." He played B.A. and had several catchphrases that outlasted the show.
What is the definition of the word gnarly?
Cool and excellent, beyond rad
Gnarly can mean something that is extreme, cool and beyond rad. It is used in the same vein as awesome.
Which utensil is commonly used to gag one's self when finding something gross?
Gag me with a spoon is a common term used in the '80s to describe something that is gross. It can also be synonymous with barf me out the door.
The term "duh" or "no duh" can be used to do what?
If a person wants to make sure that something seems very obvious, they may say "duh" or "no duh." This makes sure that the other person knows they are way ahead of them.
What are you doing if you use the term psyche?
Psyche can be used to fake someone out or express a vibe that you are just kidding or joking around. Not always directly related to the word psychology.
Giving psychological advice
What does the word "righteous" mean in '80s slang?
If something is righteous, that means it is out of this world and totally cool. The term can be used to refer to anything like food and experience.
A person full of themselves
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