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10 American Slang Phrases You Didn't Realize Were Exclusive To The USA

Every country has some specific phrases that the people from that country say that are really not common anywhere else. Although there are some words that are used and understood around a lot of the world, some countries have some that people from other parts of the world just won't understand.

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In America, there are several different regional accents and dialects that vary depending on where people live in the country. Although it may not seem like there are a lot of America-specific pieces of slang, there are a surprising number of them that you won't usually hear in other countries.

To see 10 slang phrases you had no idea were specific to the US.

10 Jump On The Bandwagon

If you've gotten into something really popular, it's likely that someone has told you that you're "jumping on the bandwagon." A bandwagon was the vehicle in a parade or other group of performers, like a circus, that carried musicians and performers.

This phrase is one that feels so common that people would never realize that it's actually a phrase that's mostly specific to the US. It's often used by people criticizing politicians who have taken interest in something they believe will get them voters. Even when it's not used politically, this phrase is one that people use to criticize people that have become interested in something popular.

9 Riding Shotgun

When you're going somewhere in a car with multiple people, there's often someone that calls "shotgun" so that they can ride in the front seat, right next to the driver. Although this is a phrase that many people use, how many actually know where it came from?

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The phrase "riding shotgun" goes all the way back to the Old West when it referred to the guard that sat in the front seat of a stagecoach, holding a shotgun so that they could defend the driver, if necessary. Because the Old West is a time period fairly specific to the US, it makes sense that this phrase is specific only to America.

8 Going Dutch

Have you ever been out to eat and had trouble deciding who was going to pick up the bill at the end of the night? Odds are that if you've been in this situation, you and the person you were at dinner with chose to split the bill and each of you paid half. If you're from the US, you likely called it "going Dutch."

Even though this phrase refers to another country, it actually originated in America and isn't used that much anywhere else. It was first coined in an 1873 article in the Baltimore American where it was referred to as a "Dutch treat" but has evolved over time.

7 John Hancock

If you've ever been asked to sign a document with your signature, the person asking for it might have used this common slang phrase. Being asked to give your "John Hancock" doesn't mean that you need to find a member of your family named John and have them sign for you. Instead, it means to give your signature.

John Hancock is the name of one of the people that signed the Declaration of Independence, a completely American document that was signed in 1776. He became well-known enough for his large, lavish signature that his name became a common slang phrase around America but not really anywhere else.

6 Take A Raincheck

If you've ever needed to reschedule a meeting or appointment, you probably told the person that you were going to be meeting with that you'd "take a raincheck," right? Have you ever wondered why you say this even when your reschedule has absolutely nothing to do with the rain?

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This phrase is one that comes from sports. In the early days of baseball, if it started to rain and a game had to be cancelled or rescheduled, everyone who had purchased a ticket and planned to see the game that day would be given a new ticket. Baseball may be popular in other countries now, but this phrase hasn't caught on everywhere.

5 The Whole Nine Yards

Where exactly the phrase "the whole nine yards" came from is a little confusing. There are a lot of different origins that have been assigned to this phrase over the years, including sports, military, and even measuring fabric, as it's shown in one early usage. Many people are now familiar with it because of the football-centered movie by the same name.

No matter where this phrase got its start, it's one that isn't popular outside of America for one good reason: other countries use the metric system. While Americans are familiar with how far a yard is and know that "the whole nine yards" means "everything" or "the whole thing," other countries don't use yards in their measurement system, so they don't use this phrase.

4 Bang for Your Buck

Spending money on something can be tough. Earning money means working and then spending it on something that wasn't worth it can be a major bummer. But if you spend your money on something that really shows its worth, you might say that you got some "bang for your buck."

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Since "buck" is only really slang for dollars in America, this phrase hasn't caught on in other countries. Other countries call their currency a variety of different things and while some may have similar phrases that they use when they get a good deal, this one is specific to the states.

3 Jonesing

If you're seriously craving a burger, a milkshake, or another tasty treat, you might say you're "jonesing" for it. Although this phrase is slightly less common these days, it's still one that you'll only really hear around the US. It's said to have gotten its start in the mid-20th century in New York City as a way to refer to people who were craving an illicit substance they were hooked on.

It spread and became used as a way to describe any kind of food-based craving that someone had for a while. The fact that it's not very commonly used anymore might be one reason that it hasn't spread outside of the US anymore, but this phrase is still one that's specific to the states.

2 Podunk

If you've ever lived in a small town, you've probably referred to it as "podunk" before. This word is one that's used to describe something that is small, out of the way, and not exactly exciting. While many people who live in small towns might think this describes them perfectly, a lot of them are still fun tourist destinations.

Although the word "podunk" can describe small towns around the world, this phrase hasn't become all that popular outside of the US. This phrase got its start in the earlier parts of the 20th century and there are even towns around America that are literally called Podunk.

1 Monday Morning Quarterback

Have you ever said or done something and later on thought about how you would have done it differently? If so, you might have been referred to as a "Monday morning quarterback." This phrase is one that is used around the US to describe someone who does something and then, later on, expresses how they wished they had behaved differently.

This phrase is a reference to football players who play games on Sunday night and then, Monday morning, they have a press conference or interview to discuss things they would have done differently in the game. Because American football isn't popular outside of the US, it makes sense that this phrase hasn't become popular overseas.

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