According to CD:

guts means bravery and determination OR courage in dealing with danger or uncertainty


It takes a lot of guts to admit to so many people that you've made a mistake.
Not many people have the guts to follow their dreams, whatever it takes.
He has that combination of skill and guts that every champion needs.

I've got the general idea of this phrase, and that's why I'm not sure if the following is natural since I don't think going bungee jumping needs the level of determination in the three above sentences. I feel that we mostly need courage when we want to try it.

I don't know if I have the guts to go bungee jumping one day.

(P.S. At this point, I feel like I can surely use it, but it took time to write such a long question, so I'll still leave it here. If this is a bad question, feel free to tell me and I'll delete it.)

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    "one day" in that sentence is quite funny.
    – TimR
    Commented Jun 21 at 10:20
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    What does "one day" mean to you as it is used in that sentence?
    – TimR
    Commented Jun 21 at 11:56
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    Like "someday". Commented Jun 21 at 14:21
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    Some day far enough in the future that there's little reason to be concerned about it now. That's why it's humorous in the context of "rising to an occasion"-- the occasion has been considerably postponed, so to speak.
    – TimR
    Commented Jun 21 at 18:02
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    @AnIELTSLearner “…one day” is odd in your sentence because it refers to a future goal, but your sentence uses the present tense. The most common use of “one day” is at the head of sentence to introduce something that you believe will happen (“One day we will end hunger”). Using it at the end, suggests that you have confused it with “some day”. “Some day” is less definite and has more of a sense of wishing for the thing (“We will end hunger some day”). Using “some day” would also be wrong at the end of your sentence, as you’re not stating anything that could be wished for.
    – KrisW
    Commented Jun 22 at 13:11

2 Answers 2


"Guts" is a slang word for "courage". Courage requires determination in a sense, like having the determination to do something dangerous despite the risk. But I suppose one could have a "casual courage", like he is so dismissive of danger that he does dangerous things without hesitating for a moment.
And of course one could have determination without being particularly courageous. Like one could be determined to stick to a diet and not eat that dessert. There's nothing particularly courageous about not eating dessert.

Short answer: Think of it as "courage", not as "determination". There might be an element of determination there and there might not.

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    The original source is that 'guts' is also a slang word for 'the stomach or belly', and people used to think that physical courage (i.e. not 'feeling' scared) was connected to that part of the body (a physical symptom of fear may be abdominal pain). 'Guts' was consider a rather vulgar word when I was a boy in England. Commented Jun 21 at 8:08

In my experience "to have the guts" refers to having the strength of character to do what is right even if doing so would be difficult.

With daredevil acts like bungee jumping it's not used as much as "have the balls". If you have a few reckless daredevil acquaintances who are trying to make you one of them, they're more likely to pressure you with "Don't you have the balls?" than "Don't you have the guts?"

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    This site is about learning English, not about doing well on exams. Many of the things daredevils say would be considered inappropriate in a "polite" essay. "Don't you have the balls?" is one of them.
    – TimR
    Commented Jun 21 at 11:52
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    This is probably something that has changed over time. Slang references to genitalia would not have been acceptable in polite society 50 years ago, but we've become more casual. OTOH, nowadays people are more likely to object to "balls" as being a sexist term (implying that courage is a male attribute).
    – Barmar
    Commented Jun 21 at 14:50
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    @AnIELTSLearner You're quite right, and I hope TimR didn't mean that questions about appropriate settings for a phrase (including exams) are off-topic here. The point should be, though, that this question hasn't asked that. It might be a great one to ask separately, though! This is a great example of the kind of "gray area" that is not highly offensive—it would be fine for chatting with friends—but not a good choice in many contexts (the office, tea with your grandmother). In the office I'd use "guts"; with some grandmothers I'd worry that even that is too "gross" and stick to Courage. Commented Jun 21 at 15:01
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    I don't agree that "guts" connotes a moral fortitude specifically. There was a 90's TV show called "Guts" that was nothing but a series of over-the-top physical challenges, with the title connoting the courage needed to best an opponent at an intimidating physical game - it wasn't a show about doing the "right thing". The term speaks to character, but I wholly disagree that someone who "has guts" is necessarily someone who does the morally correct thing. Commented Jun 21 at 15:07
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    @AnIELTSLearner Oh and yes, there are settings in which "pissed" would be too off-color or "coarse" as well. And "bro" isn't offensive, but is marked as "slang" and inappropriate for some more formal contexts. Commented Jun 21 at 15:10

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