Learn English Language through Happy Gilmore

Hello Everyone,

Fore! Can a hockey player become a pro golfer? The comedy movie Happy Gilmore starring Adam Sandler seems to suggest that! This movie, although being quite old, is pretty fun to watch. It really captures a lot of the vocabulary and atmosphere of the 90’s!

After watching this video and studying the vocabulary, make sure to make the full movie so that you can review what you learned!


Here are the vocabulary and expressions for those of you who want to quiz yourself later!

 Vocabulary and Expressions for Happy Gilmore
Term or Expression Definition
My Dad worshipped hockey, my Mom didn’t. Worship = to really love and adore something. To consider something to be greater than yourself.
See, after my Dad died I developed a short fuse. To have a short fuse = to get angry very easily/quickly.
You know what? you’re a lousy kindergarten teacher. I seen those finger paintings you brought home and they suck! Lousy = not good, unskillful.To suck = to be a horrible/bad/unfriendly/un-cool person. This word is used very often in spoken English and has a lot of different meanings which are all negative.
Look, I’m telling you, I’m gonna get that 270 grand and we’re gonna get your house back. Grand = a common way of saying thousand. This word is used very often instead of thousand.
Could I trouble you for a warm glass of milk?You could trouble me with a warm glass of shut the hell up. Can I trouble you for = may I please have, please do something.Shut the hell up = shut up, be quiet, don’t talk.
Holy shit. Holy shit = oh my god, unbelievable, incredible.
One more time, double or nothing. Double or nothing = when you make a bet with someone, you can bet that if they win they get double the original bet. If they lose, they get nothing. This is a way to potentially avoid losing your money.
Come on boy, cut that out, you’re making me sick. Cut that out = stop that, don’t do that.To make someone sick = to do something disgusting or rude which makes other people feel bad or literally sick.
Cut me down in my prime. In my prime/in the prime of your life = when you are young, strong, and able to do anything.
Golf requires goofy pants and a fat ass. Goofy = silly, stupid.
I thought you were pro material, prime to make the big bucks. Prime to = ready to, prepared to.Big bucks = a buck is a common American English word for dollar, so he is basically saying ‘lots of money.’
Oh yah, good call. Good call = nice decision, good choice.
I saw Doug play (golf) yesterday and I gotta say, this guy spends more time in the sand than David Hasselhoff. To spend more time in the sand than David Hasselhoff = He is joking that Doug is a bad golfer and is always in the sand trap, spending as much time as the BayWatch (beach) TV star Hasselhoff.
It’s all in the hips. It’s all in something = something is the most important thing to do something; something is the key/secret to doing something. Example) What’s the secret to dancing well? It’s all in the rhythm.
He just got a hole in one on a par four. A hole in one = to hit the ball in the hole in one shot (stroke).Par four = par is the amounts of shots (strokes) the hole should be completed in. A par four on average requires four swings.
He’s worried you’re gonna steal some of his thunder. To steal someone’s thunder = to take someone’s popularity. To become more popular than the previously most popular person. Example) Happy will steal the current top golfer’s thunder if he becomes the champion.
You gotta harness the good energy and block out the bad. Harness = to control/use. Originally, a harness is a set of straps/lines that you attach to a horse so that you can control it.
Happy Gilmore, he’s been the talk of the course today with his huge drives. To be the talk of the *place* = everyone at some place is talking about someone (in this case Happy Gilmore).Drive = The long distance shot in golf.
You were right, he is out of line, his behavior was completely unacceptable. Out of line = not following the rules, not appropriate, not acceptable.
I know, he’s a little rough around the edges. To be rough around the edges = To not be good at something, to be lacking/not have something. In this case, Gilmore doesn’t have manners and he behaves like an animal, so he is rough around the edges.
I’ve worked hard my whole life and paid my dues. To pay your dues = To earn the right to have/own/do something by working hard. This expression was also in our Pitch Perfect video!
Dam you people, go back to your shanties. Shanty = a small, poorly built house. This is usually the type of house that very poor people live in. He is joking that all of Gilmore’s fans are poor/homeless people.
Uh oh here comes the putter throw. Wait, he’s restrained himself. To restrain someone = to stop someone from doing something. To hold someone back from doing something.
You know, what was great today, one of his fans mooned me. To moon someone = to pull down your pants and show your bare butt to someone. Usually this is to show that you dislike someone.
Talk about your all-time backfires. Talk about your = In this situation, this means ‘this situation is really… something.’Backfire = when your plan fails. When something doesn’t go the way you wanted it to.
Welcome to soggy San Francisco. Soggy = wet, continually wet, wet in a negative way.
This guy sucks. Suck = as an adjective, this means to be very bad at something. This vocabulary can also be used to describe a bad situation. Example) It’s raining every day, this sucks!
The price is wrong, bitch. The price is wrong = a joke about the TV show the old man works for called ‘The Price is Right.’Bitch = a bad word in English used to show that you dislike someone. The original meaning of this word is female dog, but the word isn’t used that way in popular culture.
What the hell is the matter with you? What is the matter with you/what is your problem/what is the big deal? = why are you doing this?
Are you ready to get down to business and do exactly what I tell you to do? Get down to business = work hard.
Happy Gilmore, nipping at his heels and trailing by only one stroke. To nip at someone’s heels = to catch up to someone. This expression is from dogs biting (nipping) their owner’s heels.Trailing = following behind.
I don’t know what to say. I stink, I’m not going to win. Stink = usually to stink means to smell bad, but in this situation it means to be bad at something, similar to the word suck that we talked about before.
And if Shooter doesn’t get himself out of the funk he’s in. To be in a funk = to be depressed, sad, or in a losing/unlucky situation.
Happy Gilmore you’re starting to sound like a golfer.I know, keep it down. Keep it down = be quiet, don’t talk loudly, don’t talk.
And you can count on me waiting for you in the parking lot. To be able to count on something = to believe that something will happen, to know that something is/will be true, to depend on something. This guy is basically saying he promises that he will wait for Shooter in the parking lot so he can hurt him.

Report Card Summary:


Genuine Language Usage: This movie uses a lot of really genuine language. However, the language used was popular in the 1990’s, but not used much these days. That’s why, in terms of modern genuine usage, this movie only got a B. That being said, there are still a lot of valuable vocabulary to be learned from this movie that we still use these days.

Educational Value: Just like a lot of the other movies that we have discussed, Happy Gilmore introduces us to a lot of valuable golf and sport-related vocabulary. These can be very useful to know when you watch any other sport-related movies!

Fun Factor: This movie has a lot of great humorous moments, and it is still funny watching it 20 years since I first saw this movie. I would definitely recommend it as a nice light movie to watch.


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