New England Expressions
New England Sayings, and Slang
It’s often been said “They speak a different language up there in New England. It’s true each region owns its own unique and entertaining popular phrases, sayings, slang, and dialects.
What did she say? Read on as we share the meanings of some of the most frequently used sayings and slang from the six New England states.
New England, the land of lobsters, Patriots, and picturesque fall foliage. But did you know that the people here have a language all their own? If you’re not “from around here,” it can be a bit bewildering.
36 NEW ENGLAND SAYINGS (and then some)
1. Wicked: Wicked is your go-to intensifier in New England. It can mean “very,” “extremely,” or “incredibly.” For example, “That chowder was wicked good!” or “I’m wicked tired.”
2. Ayuh: This Down East variation of “yes” is a classic Maine saying. “Ayuh, it’s gonna be a cold one tonight.”
3. Pissah: If something is great or awesome, it’s “pissah.” “The game last night was pissah, dude!” A pissah is large clam found on the shores of New England.
4. You Can’t Get There from Here: A classic saying when giving directions. If you ask for guidance, you might hear, “You can’t get there from here, but if you head up the road a piece, take a left, and it’s just past the Methodist Church”.
5. Bubbler: In Rhode Island and other parts of New England, a drinking fountain is called a “bubbler.” “I’m wicked thirsty; I need to find a bubbler.”
6. Grindah: A grinder, hoagie, or submarine sandwich. “I’ll take an Italian grindah with extra pickles.”
7. Jimmies: These are the sprinkles you put on your ice cream. Don’t ask for “sprinkles” unless you want rainbow-colored confusion.
8. Hoodsie: A small cup of ice cream, typically served at New England family gatherings. “Pass me a Hoodsie, will ya?”
9. Packie: A liquor store or package store. “I’m heading to the packie to grab a six-pack.”
10. Wicked Pissah: Combine both phrases for maximum New England emphasis. “The sunrise in Maine this morning was wicked pissah!”
11. The Cape: Cape Cod, MA of course. “We’re spending the weekend on the Cape.”
12. The Vineyard: Martha’s Vineyard, a popular island getaway for New Englanders.
13. The Berkshires: A beautiful mountain range in western Massachusetts, perfect for hiking and skiing.
14. Chowdah: New England clam chowder, rich and creamy, a regional delicacy.
15. Lobstah: Lobster, a staple of New England cuisine. “I’ll have the lobstah roll.”
16. Fluffernutter: A peanut butter and marshmallow fluff sandwich, a childhood favorite of many New Englanders.
17. Stubburn: A blend of stubborn and stubborn, a quality you might attribute to someone from these parts.
18. Buggy: A shopping cart (also called a “carriage”) used in supermarkets. “Don’t forget to grab a buggy at the store”, or “get your own carriage”.
19. Bang a U-ey: To make a U-turn while driving. “I missed the exit, so I had to bang a U-ey.”
20. Scrod: A type of small, white fish, often found on seafood menus. The actual species of this fish may vary.
21. Grinder: A submarine sandwich, AKA “Sub” or “Hoagie” typically filled with cold cuts, veggies, and condiments.
22. Townie: A local resident whose family has lived in the town for generations. “He’s a real townie for sure.”
23. Wicked Smaht: Someone who is extremely intelligent. “Harvard students are wicked smaht.”
24. The ‘Burbs: The suburbs of Boston, including places like Newton and Brookline.
25. Baked Beans: A classic New England dish. “We’re having Jacob’s Cattle (baked beans) and Franks (hot dogs) for dinnah.”
26. The T: Short for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, Boston’s subway system.
27. Cape Ann Kiss: A term for a very light rain or drizzle.
28. Staties are heavy on the Pike tonight: The Mass Pike: The Massachusetts Turnpike, a toll highway that runs through the state is heavily patrolled by Massachusetts State Police.
29. Down South: This refers to any location south of Northern New England, which could mean any place from Connecticut to Florida.
30. Dunks or Dunkie’s: Dunkin’ Donuts, is a popular coffee shop chain found throughout New England.
31. Baked Bean Supper: A community event featuring a meal of baked beans, brown bread, hot dogs, and more.
32. Hike a mountain: In New England, there’s no shortage of stunning peaks to climb.
33. Blanket Party: A surprise party or gathering. “We threw a blanket party for her birthday.”
34. Meet at Town Meeting Day: A form of direct democracy where residents of a town gather to vote on various issues. Democracy at work.
35. Flatlanders: What New Englanders call people from outside the region, often with a mix of amusement and exasperation.
36. You can’t park theah from heah: If you’re looking for parking in Boston, good luck! This phrase perfectly captures the frustration of finding a parking spot.
A few more local New England Phrases and Sayings include
- Meet me at Dunk for regulah: Meet at Dunkin Donuts for a Regular Coffee
- Pick Up a Whoopie on the way home. A Whoopie pie is a pastry, two pieces of (usually) chocolate cake surrounding a center of sweet creamy filling or frosting
- I’d love some Boston cream pie: A cake, similar to an eclair, consisting of a white or yellow cake with creamy custard in the center topped with rich chocolate frosting.
- Don’t Forget the Hoodsies: A Hoodsie is type of ice cream manufactured by Hood Dairy that comes in a little cup. Hoodsie Cups are half-vanilla, and half-chocolate and comes wth a small wooden spoon-like eating utensil.
- We are off the see the B’s tonight: The B’s or The Broons: The Boston Bruin is an NHL franchise.
- Going to Sox at Fen: Planning to attend a Boston Red Sox MLB Baseball game at historic Fenway Park, in Boston.
So, now you’re all set to “pahk the cah in Hahvahd yahd” and “down a bowl of chowdah” like a true New Englander. Whether you’re in Boston, Providence, or Portland, you’ll be speaking the local lingo in no time. So grab a Dunkie’s, enjoy a lobstah roll, and soak in the New England charm—wicked awesome!
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