35 Things Only True Texans Know

Maria Trimarchi

Image: YouTube

About This Quiz

Several flags, including France, Spain, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, and the Confederacy, have flown over Texas before it decided to become a U.S. state and fly Old Glory. From its time as an independent nation to its own regional slang -- and the best way to do barbecue, see how Texan you are, through and through.

What's a "washateria"?

Of course a Texan will know what you mean when you ask where the laundromat is -- but they'll know you're not from Texas. There, it's nicknamed the "washateria."

When are "homecoming mums" worn?

Homecoming mums had a pretty normal beginning. High school girls wore chrysanthemum corsages, pinned on by their dates, to school Homecoming (football) celebrations. Those were small corsages with real flowers. Fast-forward to today, and you'll see girls decorated with massive displays of fake flowers for Homecoming -- including some lit with LED bulbs.

Instead of a hello or how are you, how will a Texas greet you?

"Howdy" is the official informal greeting of Texas, used like "Hi" or "Hello" in other states. "Howdy," in case you weren't aware, is also the official greeting at Texas A&M University, College Station -- which is considered the friendliest campus in the world.

Which season is considered "the season"?

Not summer, fall, winter or spring -- "the season" is football season. Many Texans follow not only pro NFL teams, the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans, but high school and college football, as well -- in fact, Texas is home to some of the largest high school football stadiums in the country.

Who was biggest football rival of the Texas A&M Aggies, before they left the Big 12 and joined the Southeastern Conference?

The rivalry between the Texas Longhorns of the University of Texas at Austin and the Texas Aggies of Texas A&M University began when the teams first met in 1894. It became legendary, every year between 1915 and 2011, until the Aggies left the Big 12 Conference and joined the Southeastern Conference.

If you're from Texas you're not tired, you're what?

If you're from Texas you're not tired, you're tuckered out -- just like all the cowboys in 1930s and 1940s Hollywood Westerns.

Which Texas city is largely acknowledged as the Live Music Capital of the World?

Willie Nelson. Janis Joplin. Stevie Ray Vaughan. Austin's not only the capital of the state of Texas, it's also known as the live music capital of the world. The slogan was made the city's official motto in 1991, after discovering how many music venues (and musician residents) the city had.

"Y'all" is a contraction of which two words?

"Y'all" is a contraction for "you all" -- and then there's "all y'all," for when you're referring to a larger group. And the apostrophe in this contraction is always after the "Y" (because that's where the missing letters are).

What will you get if you order a barbecue plate with "all the fixins"?

When "fixins" is used to talk about food, it means you'll get a few extra things on your burger or barbecue plate, including onions, peppers and pickles, as well as other available sauces and sides.

What's a "skeeter"?

Mosquitoes are a-plenty in Texas, and "skeeter" is slang for that bothersome biting insect. Additionally, the Skeeters are a professional independent baseball team based in Sugar Land, Texas.

Which fast-food restaurant is known for its orange- and white-striped logo and architecture?

Couples have married there. The crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia asked for Whataburger cookies on board. And, the restaurants don't mind if you bring your horse through the drive-thru. Texans are devoted to this San Antonio-based burger chain, Whataburger -- just make sure you're at the right one, because "What-A-Burger" isn't the same thing.

In the song, "Get Along Little Dogies," what are dogies?

"Dogies" aren't an extinct type of animal. They're cattle, specifically calves, and more specifically motherless calves.

When was Texas an independent nation?

When Texas declared independence from Mexico on March 2, 1836, it became the Republic of Texas. It remained that way until it became the 28th state, admitted to the Union officially on February 19, 1846.

What is a "blue norther"?

A blue norther describes a specific type of weather phenomenon: cold, biting wind that happens in North Texas or in the Panhandle.

What happens if something "tumps over"?

It's used like this: Be careful your elbow doesn't hit your water glass -- it might tump over. Which means, simply, that you almost knocked over your glass.

What type of flower is famous for its beautiful median-strip blooms?

The Texas bluebonnet is the official flower of the state. And it's a big deal when it's in bloom -- you can find it anywhere that's uncultivated, like along roadsides, in the median, and in pastures.

How does a Texan determine driving distance?

Ask a Texan how far it is from Houston to El Paso, and you probably won't hear that it's about 750 miles -- see, Texans are legendary for measuring distance by time, not by how many miles away the destination may be. Instead, think of the distance between Houston and El Paso as more like 10 hours and about 30 minutes.

What's the name of this Czech pastry that's a staple in Texas?

A kolache is a soft pastry that's traditionally filled with fruit or a sweetened cheese, but in Texas' doughnut shops it's sausage-stuffed flavors that are often embraced. Oh, and for those outside of the "Czech Belt," which runs through central and south-central Texas, it's pronounced, "ko-LAH-chee."

Which isn't considered one of the iconic food groups of Texas?

There are three food groups in Texas: barbecue, Tex-Mex and chicken-fried steak -- which, btw, doesn't actually contain chicken. Deep dish pizza, while enjoyed everywhere across the country, is an iconic Chicago food, which is not in Texas.

A freezer's called a freezer, but what's the fridge section of a refrigerator called in Texas?

A freezer's a freezer. But in Texas, you may hear a refrigerator called more than the fridge -- it's also known as the icebox.

Which well-known ranch is bigger than the state of Rhode Island?

At 825.000 acres, King Ranch is the biggest ranch is Texas. It spans across the southern part of the state, from Corpus Christi to Brownsville, in a town named Kingsville (named for the ranch's founder, Captain Richard King, just eight years after Texas became the 28th state in the union).

If a Texan thinks you're pretentious, you might be called what?

Is he all talk and no action? Does she talk the talk but not walk the walk? It's perfectly acceptable to say they're both all hat and no cattle.

At what Texas amusement park did the world's first inland surfing ride, the Boogie Bahn, open in 1992?

The Schlitterbahn Waterpark & Resort, in New Braunfels, Texas, was the first of now five family-owned Schlitterbahn outdoor waterparks in Texas and Kansas City, Kansas. And there you'll find the first inland -- or anywhere -- surfing ride called the Boogie Bahn, which opened in 1992.

What ingredient is not included in Texas chili?

No two Texans will agree on what "authentic" Texas chili is, exactly. Some will include masa. Others might have chocolate. But there's one thing they'll both leave out: beans.

"Tuna" is a fish, but in Texas what might it also mean?

The most common cactus in Texas, the prickly pear is used in both meals and drinks. But how did a prickly pear get to be called tuna? It makes sense, because "tuna" means fruit in the Nahuatl (Aztec) language.

What are you saying if you describe someone as, "glowing as he walks"?

If a Texan comments that a person "glows" when he or she walks, what they're really saying, if you know to read between the lines, is they think that person is self-absorbed.

Which city is El Paso closest to, in miles?

It's about 743 miles via US-54 to drive from El Paso to Wichita, Kansas -- almost the exact same distance as it is between El Paso and Houston via I-10. Nevada isn't much closer -- it's about an 11-hour drive from El Paso to the Las Vegas Strip, just about 730 miles. It's Denver, Colorado, that's about 636 miles straight up I-25, and takes just shy of 10 hours to drive one way.

What is Topo Chico?

Top Chico is a salty, sparking mineral water that some say is the only hangover cure you need. Since 1895 it was bottled in Monterrey, Mexico, and in 2017 The Coca-Cola Company acquired the rights to the brand.

Which finger do you raise when making the "hi sign"?

This one-finger salute doesn't involve the, ahem, usual finger. This is an index finger greeting, exchanged on country roads.

Which is not a key ingredient in Tex-Mex food?

Ingredients typical to Tex-Mex include these ingredients: beef; yellow cheese, such as cheddar; wheat flour; black beans; canned vegetables (especially tomatoes); and, last but not least, cumin.

Just how big is Texas?

It takes up a little more than 7% of the total U.S. land, and at 268,580 square miles, Texas is the second-biggest U.S. state -- sorry, Texans, but Alaska is bigger. Globally, Texas is twice as big as the country of Germany.

How isn't the city of Waxahachie pronounced?

Whether you say, Walks-uh-hatch-ee, Wox-uh-hat-chee, or Wocks-uh-hatch-ee, you won't be considered an outsider. Just don't say Wax-ahachie.

How will you hear Manchaca (of Manchaca Street) pronounced if you're in Austin?

Pronouncing some destinations in Texas can make an out-of-towner a bit nervous. Around Austin, there are only two ways to pronounce Manchaca Street: Man-chack (MAN-chack) or, very similarly, Man-shack (MAN-shack). Just don't call Manchaca, "man-cha-cha" - yikes!

What is the "Texas Dip"?

If it's the "Dip," it must be debutante season. The "Texas Dip" is not a food item. It's actually the most formal -- and lowest -- curtsy that a Texan debutante can perform.

What will you get if you order a "soda" in Texas?

Ask for a soda in Texas and you'll end up with sparkling water, which is fine, if that's what you meant. But if you were looking for a sweet soft drink, order a Coke -- then tell your server what kind (such as "Dr Pepper").

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!

Explore More Quizzes