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I was actually wanting to know how to say this in Spanish when I realized that I didn't have a clear definition of it in my own language — English. My knowledge of this phrase comes from colloquial, experiential usage and/or dialogue I've heard while watching American films. A quick search of the web via Google led me to an Urban Dictionary entry for "Do you party?" but it had only one definition and that was "Do you do drugs?" My experience with this phrase hasn't included drug usage. When I've heard this phrase, it usually means something like:

"Do you know how to relax?"
"Do you know how to unwind?"
"Do you know how to have fun?"
"Do you know how to get loose?"
"Do you know how to get down?"
"Do you know how to have a good time?"
"Do you know how to get your groove on?"
"Do you know how to free your inhibitions?"

However, I can't find a source that actually defines this phrase. I did find a definition of "get your groove on" at a site called "What Does That Mean?" Its definition for this phrase is below:

It usually means dancing to music, finding your rhythm, etc. The idea comes from the grooves on vinyl records, and finding your rhythm with the “grooves” of the music.

The definition above was the most popular one and it certainly seems to at least somewhat support Jimmy Fallon's use of it in this video here:

Dwayne Johnson's "Shake It Off" vs Jimmy Fallon's "Jump In The Line" | Lip Sync Battle

You'll find other definitions on the "What Does That Mean?" site. However, they are, unquestionably, for a "mature" audience (i.e., 17+). If you're curious and such content doesn't bother you, click on the link below:

What does getting your groove on mean?

I tried to find examples of someone on video or in film asking the line, "Do you know how to party?" but didn't find one. However, revising this to just "know how to party" returned a lot more results.

In fact, you'll find a lot of songs with the word "party" in them and even some that include the phrase "know how to party" (more than 1,000 in AllMusic's database). One called "I Know How to Party" by Bryson Tiller certainly is using it with sexual connotations. The video for another one by the same name, but from a different artist — Indian Askin — definitely might make you wonder if "know how to party" is a reference to drugs.

Having said all of that, I am under the impression that the meaning of "Do you know how to party?" goes beyond just "Do you know how to get your groove on?" It appears to have many meanings and I would like to find the most authoritative source possible that lists all of these various meanings.

Overall, my search of the web was, for the most part, fruitless, but I must admit that it was also cursory, so I would imagine someone, somewhere has attempted to define this phrase. Rather than waste gobs of time searching for it myself, I thought I'd post a question about it here.

Also, would you consider this phrase colloquial, slang, and/or euphemistic?

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Party is a colloquial or slang verb. From the OED*:

party, v.

[1. and 2. are obsolete for to side with]

3. colloquial (originally North American).

a. intransitive. To give a party; to attend a party; to have a good time. In extended use: to take drugs or drink alcohol (usually with others in a social context).

b. transitive. To entertain at a party; to accompany to a party.

c. intransitive. colloquial (originally and chiefly U.S.). to party hearty (also hardy): = *to party down *at sense 3d. Frequently in imperative. Cf. PARTY-HEARTY adj.
[The form in hardy seems likely to derive from the expression to party hard < HARD adv., with suffixation (compare -Y suffix6) for reduplicative effect, probably influenced by HARDY adj. and n.1 The interchangeability of hardy with hearty is likely to have arisen because their U.S. pronunciation is frequently identical.]

d. intransitive. colloquial (originally and chiefly U.S.). to party down: to go to parties, celebrate, drink, etc., esp. unrestrainedly. Frequently in imperative. Cf. PARTY-DOWN adj.

e. intransitive. colloquial (originally and chiefly U.S.). to party on: = to party down at sense 3d. Frequently in imperative.

f. intransitive. U.S. slang (originally and chiefly in gay usage) to party and play: to engage in sexual activity sustained, enhanced, or facilitated by the use of disinhibiting and stimulant drugs.
Often in the context of group sex between men at parties arranged for this purpose; cf. CHEMSEX n.

4. intransitive. U.S. slang (frequently euphemistic). To engage in sexual activity, esp. as or with a prostitute.

So, do you know how to do those things?

*Source: Oxford English Dictionary (login required)

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  • I appreciate your answer, but a second cursory inspection of the verb "to party" only further heightens my belief that the meaning of this goes way beyond what is found via Oxford and Merriam-Webster. I'm holding out the green checkmark for someone who can address the more underground colloquial meanings. – Lisa Beck Dec 28 '20 at 8:13
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    @LisaBeck: Party is a colloquial or slang verb. Here's another definition from the OED: 4. intransitive. U.S. slang (frequently euphemistic). To engage in sexual activity, esp. as or with a prostitute... Also listed are party hearty, party hardy, party on, party down, and party and play. Don't overthink it. You have all these to work with: attend a party, have a good time, take drugs, drink alcohol, engage in sexual activity—possibly with a prostitute. Take your choice. – Tinfoil Hat Dec 28 '20 at 20:47
  • I suspect this is a search for something that just isn’t there. If someone asked me if I knew how to party, the meaning is clear — have a good time. – FeliniusRex Dec 29 '20 at 0:16
  • @TinfoilHat I can see that it just may be worthwhile to be a paying member of the OED. Your initial answer did not include the sexual aspect that may sometimes be euphemistically hidden in such a phrase/question, and therefore, I felt it to be slightly incomplete. In general, your last comment to me contains valuable information. If you were to add it to the answer itself, I'll give you the green check mark. (Not everyone reads all of the comments and God forbid if someone were to walk away from this thread not knowing what the phrase/question fully entails.) – Lisa Beck Dec 30 '20 at 7:40
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    @LisaBeck: Updated. Your public library may allow online access to reference materials, including the OED. As for me, I'm planning to party like it's 1999. – Tinfoil Hat Dec 30 '20 at 15:32
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My gut feeling is that when someone asks you if you party, they are asking you if you are comfortable using drugs. It is pure euphemism. It would be similar to someone asking if you partake which also is euphemistic for drugs.

See:

  1. https://forum.wordreference.com/threads/do-you-party.106272/#:~:text=%22Do%20you%20party%3F%22%20means,%3F%22%20or%20anything%20like%20that.

  2. https://movingtolatoday.com/someone-asks-if-you-like-to-party/

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    The question was not about “do you party” it was about “do you know how to party”. Not at all the same thing. – Jim Dec 28 '20 at 5:32
  • I appreciate your answer in that it provides more of the underground, colloquial meaning of this verb/phrase, but I'm still looking for something more authoritative and comprehensive for the phrase "Do you know how to party?" I'm looking for something that addresses all facets of its meaning. I do really appreciate Link #2. Eye-opening. I'll keep that in mind if I ever find myself in the "City of Angels." I also love the way you're wearing your Winter Swag. It fits your avatar perfectly. – Lisa Beck Dec 28 '20 at 8:19
  • @jim - While I agree that there are some minor textual differences, I would argue that someone asking you if you know how to party is either asking you if you are able to enjoy yourself in a large social situation like a party, or they are gauging your interest in using drugs. Context is important. – mankowitz Dec 30 '20 at 1:00

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