Side note: does anyone know why "high pass" is the standard term, instead of "low cut"?
To me a "high pass" is a binary-gate. Everything above the selected frequency will go through. everything below is dropped off by -inf db.
a low cut, can mean: reduce frenquency X by ydb (which means that is not a hard cut).
At least, that's how i use the terms.
I think this explanation works depending on the person you are talking with. To a non-musical person who might only barely know what a bass knob does, this works well as an explanation. However, once you are talking about someone who knows a bit more about signals and such, it becomes less of a on vs off debate and more of a sliding scale of loudness. That is important to remember, you can set your highpass filter at 80hz but you will still hear 75hz, 70hz, etc, even though it is decreasing exponentially (logarithmically? idk)