How Well Do You Know These Stereotypical ’80s Phrases?



By: Brian Whitney

6 Min Quiz

Image: Tom Kelley Archive/Retrofile RF/Getty Images

About This Quiz

So, like, this quiz is all about totally radical '80s slang. There was a time back in the day that all of these phrases were used a lot, and everyone knew of them. The '80s were a decade that was all about Walkmans, rollerblades, mixed tapes, and Teddy Ruxpin, but it was also a time that a whole bunch of phrases appeared out of nowhere. Some of them are still used today, while others disappeared almost as fast as they came.  If you used to say the words "gnarly" "not even" or "party hardy" you probably grew up in the '80s. These were times when people didn't even have smartphones, believe it or not, so they had to think of ways to keep themselves entertained.

But even if you did grow up in that decade, that doesn't mean you still have the lingo down all this time later. Time marches on, and the '80s are officially so yesterday. Who would have thought there would come a time that the '80s were almost 30 years ago? Take this quiz and tell us whether you think that this quiz is totally righteous or whether you think we're all just a bunch of wannabes.

What does it mean if something is "wicked" cool?

If you're on the West coast you probably don't say this word, but if you're someone that has spent time in New England, "wicked' is used all the time as a substitute for "really."


What would it mean if your new car was "bad to the bone"?

"Bad to the Bone" was a popular song by George Thorogood and the Destroyers back in the day. The word '''bad" is often used to say something is good but this phrase takes it to another level.


What would you be saying if you went surfing and caught some "bodacious" waves?

Bodacious was said a lot during the movie, "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure," starring Keanu Reeves, but it's origins are from the mid 19th century. How cool is that, dude?


if your parents want you to get a job, and you think that's "bogus," what does that mean?

Bogus was a word originally used in the 18th century as a way to describe counterfeit money. It's still used today when talking about something that is fake, but not as much as it was used in the '80s.


Is it a good thing if someone has a "cheesy" mustache?

You might think that this term started in the '80s because that is when it became popular. But its origins are as a British slang word way back from the 19th century. Why would anyone hate on cheese?


Do you think that if you don't do well on this quiz you're an '80s phrase-knowing "wannabe"?

A wannabe is a total poser, the word comes from "Wants to be." This is the type of person who looks up to people and copies everything they do. No one wants to be thought of as a wannabe.


What kind of person would you have called a poser back in the day?

A poser is a person who acts in an affected manner in order to impress others. This is quite similar to being a wannabe. Being yourself always works out better than being a poser.


What in the world could "tubular" possibly mean?

Tubular was originally a word used in surfer slang that means something is excellent. This one has totally died down. You pretty much never hear anyone say something is tubular these days.


What would you be doing if you did something "to the max"?

To the max means something is amplified to the extreme upper limit, in other words, to its maximum. If you turn something up to the max, there is literally no higher place where it can go.


If you were a guy and you were a "stud," what would you be?

In the animal world, a stud is a male with many strong qualities that is kept for breeding. When the word "stud" is used when it comes to men, it means that they're virile and good looking.


Where would you be doing a "slam dance" at a concert?

Slam dancing is a type of dance that people do to punk music, or sometimes hardcore. People gather near the stage and literally slam each other around. Sounds pretty cool to do,i= right?


How good is something if it's "righteous"?

If something is righteous, it means that it is really cool. The word originally meant that someone was morally righteous, before the '80s changed its meaning just a tad.


If your new skateboard is "rad," how cool is it?

This one is kind of a slang word for a slang word. Rad is short for radical, which was once a slang word of its own. It means something that is very cool, unique and different.


What does it mean if you say "psych" to someone?

Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior so it should be no wonder that this word means to play a trick of the mind on someone. This one is almost never heard anymore.


You got a fancy new car and your friend says its "phat." What's he saying?

Yeah, we know, this one doesn't make a whole lot of sense. If something is phat, it means it is awesome. It is a takeoff on the word "fat," which obviously means something is large.


If you went out at night and decided to "party hardy" what would you be doing?

People in the '80s really liked things that rhymed, and this does. Kind of, anyway. It means to party really hard. If you "party hardy," you're ready to have a good time all night long.


Your friend asks you if you like a boy, and you say "Not even." What are you saying?

This is another one that used to be used everywhere and is not used at all anymore, for the most part. Saying "not even" meant you weren't interested in something or didn't like it.


If you say you like something in a "major" way, what are you trying to say?

Major just meant something was pretty high up there. If you did major damage to something, then you did a lot of damage to it. If you messed up in a major way, then you really messed up.


You were going to go out, but you have stay home and do homework instead. How "lame" is that?

This word is still used a lot today and has held on better than many of the words from the '80s. If something is lame, it means it is bad or that it really stinks. If you missed this one, that's pretty lame.


What kind of music is most similar to what was called "House music"?

This is a form of very popular electronic dance music created by club DJs and music producers in the early 1980s. It was heard a lot at underground dance parties known as raves.


What does Bart Simpson mean when he says "Don't have a cow"?

While this expression has been used many different times, it's most well known for being said by Bart Simpson on the long running television show, "The Simpsons." It means don't have an anxiety attack.


What was your meal like if it was totally "grody"?

Grody sounds a bit like gross and this is exactly what this word means. Anything that is grody, is nasty, disgusting, unappealing, revolting and yuck. You get the point. Being grody is not a good thing.


If you had a lunch that was totally "gnarly" how good do you think it was?

If something is gnarly it means it is pretty awesome. But every once in a while, it means something difficult. But either way, something that is gnarly is almost always something that is pretty extreme.


If your little brother is a "dweeb" what is he like?

If someone calls you a dweeb, it pretty much means they think you're boring and socially clueless, maybe even unattractive or socially inept. So, you don't want to be called that too many times.


How much exercise do you get if you're a couch potato?

This one isn't too hard to figure out. If you're sitting on the couch all day and never moving around or doing anything, then you're pretty much nothing but a complete couch potato.


If you're really angry, how "chill' are you?

While some of these words make no sense at all, others are pretty easy to figure out. If you're wound up and getting totally mad, you're not going to be chill, which means calm and cool.


What does the word "preppy" remind you of?

The word was "preppy' all over the place in the '80s and was often used to describe a certain look. While it is still said today, the whole "preppy" thing isn't quite the thing it used to be.


Would you be "stoked" to win $1 million?

Stoke means to poke or thrust and is the word used when one tries to get a fire going. If someone is stoked, they are getting just as pumped up as the fire would be.


What would you think a "mall chick" might be?

In the '80s, malls were really big deals. While now it isn't considered all that cool to hang out at the mall, for a little while, it actually was. Going shopping at Chess King was where it was at.


What kind of person might say "Gag me with a spoon"?

While many people might not remember them now, back in the day, there was a whole subculture of young women who were known as Valley girls. And they said things like "Gag with me a spoon." How charming.


From where did the phrase "big bucks, big bucks, no whammies" originate?

The expression "Big Bucks, Big Bucks, No Whammies" comes from the game show, "Press Your Luck." It started being used as a catch phrase by people who were attempting something difficult.


Where did you hear "Clap on, clap off" for the first time?

Some of the television commercials were very bad back in the day and one of the absolute worst was the commercial for "The Clapper." Or maybe it was actually good, since we are still talking about it now.


What are you going to be doing it you want some serious "grindage" later?

Pauly Shore was actually a really popular comedian for a bit of time. His persona was a character called "The Weasel." Shore first brought up grindage and the term stuck around for a few years.


"Da plane boss, da plane" was said on what show?

"Fantasy Island" was a television show in the '80s that featured the famous "Da plane boss, da plane" line. The show lasted for close to seven years and was enormously popular, but seems dated now.


"Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?" was said by a man in a what?

"Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?" was a very famous line said in a commercial between two wealthy men in fancy cars. The phrase became famous and has never truly gone away.


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