The Texas Slang Quiz

By: Deborah Beckwin
Image: Cooke Photo/Moment/GettyImages

About This Quiz

Many Texans will still call Texas the Republic of Texas, hearkening back to the 19th century when Texas was a republic for 10 years (1836-1846). And in many ways, Texas has its own distinct culture because of its diversity.

Although it is considered to be a part of the South, Texas has many different influences. But that doesn't mean that Texan slang doesn't have Southern influences--it definitely does. If you know a little bit of Southern culture, you'll recognize some of the words and phrases in this quiz.

But Texas also is a part of the Southwest, which mean cowboys, ranchers and rodeos. Horses and cattle--and the people who handle them--are important parts of Texan culture.

Beyond the stereotypes of the West, there's the racial and ethnic diversity of Texas which affects Texan slang. African Americans, people of Hispanic origins (including Tejanos), and people with European ancestry have all contributed to Texas' unique culture.  It's really the ultimate American melting pot, despite what the folks on the East and West coasts might say!

So we hope that find this quiz to be a hoot and that it ain't too hard for ya. Good luck!




What's Texan slang for telling someone to be quiet?

The word "hush", which had its first recorded instance in the mid-16th century, can be used in multiple ways. Sometimes it's in jest if someone says something funny or scandalous ("Oh, hush!"). And other times, hush is meant to be a stern warning, especially to children.

Where is "over yonder"?

The word yonder is not a word that Texans created. It's a much older word from the 14th century. But for anyone outside of Texas, or the South for that matter, this word is deemed to be archaic.

How are you feeling if you're "tuckered out"?

Usually, you will see "tuckered out" vs. "tuckered" just by itself. You will also see tuckered out with other adjectives like plain or plumb, which increases the intensity of exhaustion (e.g., completely tired). The first recorded mention was in the 1830s.

What's Texan slang for the word family?

The word "kin" goes back many centuries and is connected to many different cultures and languages, including German, Greek, English and Sanskrit. Kin means relative related by blood.

If you're going out to eat some "wangs", what are you eating?

Wangs is another word that Texans use that is a part of their own unique Southern drawl or twang. You can imagine someone saying this rather slowly.

Someone tells you that you need to "git"--what do you need to do?

"Git" is another way of saying get. So git here is a short way of saying "get out". But there's a big difference in meaning between git out and "all git-out".

After your Texan friend finishes dinner, he says, "This brisket is good as all git-out!" What did he just say?

"All git-out" is the Texan accent of all get-out, which is a superlative, the highest degree. "All get-out" was first documented in the late 1840s.

What does it mean when someone tells you to "git 'er done"?

"Git 'er done" is Texan for "get her done", and it's a rallying cry to seize the day (or the task). Texans can also use this saying as praise or celebration for accomplishing something (e.g., good job!).

What in the world does "tarnation" mean?

This question was a little leading, because "what in the world" is similar to tarnation--it's usually an exclamation or interjection of wonder and awe. So a typical phrase would be "What in tarnation..." The first time this word was documented in 1790.

What's Texan slang for "quickly"?

"Right quick" is typically used if you need someone to help you or if you need to do something quickly and someone is waiting on you. "Hey, I need to jump on the phone right quick. Won't take long."

Who or what is "y'all"?

If there's ever a word to identify someone from Texas or the South, it's y'all. Y'all means the plural you (second person plural), all of you, you guys. And please note: ya'll is not the correct spelling--it's only y'all since it is a contraction of "you all".

If you're "fixin'", what are you doing?

"Fixin'" usually is with the word "to" (e.g., "I'm fixin' to go to work."). Note that this is different of fixin' as a noun, specifically with food, e.g, "We have pot roast with all the fixin's"--so side dishes or trimmings.

"This child just pitched a hissy fit right in the middle of the store!" What did this child do?

Hoo boy, pitchin' a hissy fit is usually something that children will do. Hissy may be a shortened version of the word "hysterical". The first time this phrase was recorded was in the early 1930s.

What's the Texan way of saying "gosh darn it"?

We all have our PG-rated curse words, and one Texan way to curse is to say dad gum it. It seems to have come around the time when similar phrases like "doggone it", "goldurn" and "cotton-pickin'" came about.

"If you say that one more time, I will have a conniption!" What does conniption mean?

A conniption is similar to a hissy fit, but a conniption is usually attributed more to adults than to children. But a conniption is a fit (of anger, rage, upset), and sometimes it's called a conniption fit. According to Merriam-Webster, the etymology is unknown, but the first known use is from the 1830s.

What is the Texan version of "all talk, no action"?

From a cattle ranching culture, "all hat, no cattle" is the Texan version of "all bark, no bite". Another version of this saying is "big hat, no cattle". There are a couple of ways of taking this insult--the person is not all that smart or the person is full of bluster and hot air.

If someone calls you "uppity", what have they called you?

Putting on airs, being arrogant, thinking you're better than everyone else--uppity is something you do not want to be. And although Texas is very metropolitan with cities like Dallas, Austin and Houston, there's still a big country culture that focuses on Southern hospitality and politeness. Uppity was first recorded in the late 1880s.

What is one of the most commonly used contractions for Texans?

Besides the word y'all, ain't is an oft-used word in Texas. It's a catch-all verb/contraction: am not, are not, is not, have not, has not. The first known use of this word was in the mid-1700s, and this word is also used in Britain.

If a situation has gone "cattywampus", what does that mean? What's happened?

Cattywampus seems to be a variation of the word "catawampus", which is like a bogeyman but in animal form. Both words are probably variants of catercorner (i.e., across the way or diagonal) and catamount (i.e., a medium-sized to large cat, such as a cougar). All the same, this word means something is off or not quite right.

What's another way of saying something has gone amiss or askew?

Whomperjawed and its variations--whopperjawed, lopperjawed and wapperjawed--have been in existence since at least the 19th century. Whomperjawed used to mean a jaw with an underbite. If applied to a person, whomperjawed means weird or bizarre.

Someone just told you that you're such a "hoot". What did this person say about you?

Hoot is an interesting word because it can mean that someone or something is funny. But it can also mean a cry of disdain or derision. Hoot in a humorous sense is probably connected to the possibly Scottish but definitely Appalachian word "hootenanny," which is a fun, festive occasion (usually with folk musicians and singers).

If a "Blue Norther" is coming through, what's happening?

When a Blue Norther (or Texas Norther) comes through, there are darker skies, lots of precipitation and a larger temperature drop. The sudden cold front typically comes from the Midwest region. Usually, a Blue Norther will occur during November through March.

What's the Texan way of greeting someone?

So howdy is most likely short for "how d'ye", which was short for "how d'ye do", which was another way of saying "how do you do?". Other variations of how do you do include "howdie doodie" (just like the puppet Howdy Doody) and "howdy pardner." Howdy is also the official greeting at Texas A&M University.

If someone says they are going to "whup" you, what is going to happen?

The first recorded instance of whup was in the mid-1800s. It's a variation of the word whip, and usually it's used as a way to talk about getting into fisticuffs, sporting events or games (e.g., one team beating another team), or with corporal punishment.

"Who is causing all this ruckus?" Well, what is a ruckus?

"Ruckus" is the Texan way to say disturbance. This word seems to be a combination of the word ruction and rumpus--and both words mean the same thing as ruckus. This word was first recorded in the late 1800s.

"This clodhopper is making such a mess of everything." Who or what is a clodhopper?

The word clodhopper was first recorded in the early 18th century. Clodhopper can also mean that someone is a dolt--someone who is not that very smart or a fool.

If you have a "hankering," what do you have?

Typically, if you have a hankering in Texas, you have a desire for some Texan food, like Tex-Mex fare or some Texan barbecue. But you can have a hankering for anything, anyone, any place, or any action--it's just a yearning.

What is another Texan slang word for food?

Vittles definitely as an old-timey feel to it. That's because it's based on an older word, victuals, which means food that humans can eat. Vittles also seems a little older because dictionaries consider it to be archaic.

"Hey, you need to stop all your hollerin'!" What needs to stop?

The word holler isn't just associated with yelling or making a loud cry. If someone tells you that they'll give you a holler, it means they will give you a call or reach out.

"Just tump that soil over yonder there." What does "tump" mean?

Usually, if tump is used, it's in an accidental manner (e.g., a flower pot is tumped over). According to Merriam-Webster, it may be related to the British word "tumpoke," which means to fall head over heels. But the use of the word was first recorded in the late 1960s.

In Texan slang, how do you say "very" or "sure enough"?

"Sho' nuff" is a phrase that you can also say in agreement to a statement. This phrase most likely has its origins in African American Vernacular English (AAVE).

If you're invited to a "shindig", what are you being invited to?

Shindig can actually have two meanings. The first is the more well-known one--a party, and usually it a fancy affair (and this is the Texan meaning, too--party). But shindig could also be a shindy--an uproar.

"He's just piddling his life away, it's a darn shame." How is this person spending his time?

The Texan way to explain that something is a waste or ineffective use of time is "piddle." Piddle doesn't have a known origin, but it was first recorded used in the early 16th century.

If someone says, "bless your heart," what does it NOT mean?

If you're not from Texas or the South, "bless your heart" can be a very confusing phrase. It's a Swiss Army knife of a saying and can mean so many different things. But this phrase's main goal is to smooth things over and keep things light--whether it's a tense moment with an enemy or you're hearing about your friend's stressful situation and want to offer your sincere support.

What is the Texan way of say, "I suppose" or "I guess"?

The word reckon is an old one, with its first appearance in the 13th century. But reckon in the Texan sense, this word may be more familiar with those who watch Westerns. It's not really used much in other parts of America.

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