Handy Guide to Regional Slang in the 50 US States

Handy Guide to Regional Slang in the 50 US States

Handy Guide to Regional Slang in the 50 US States

Blog67_USSlag_AmericanFlagFireworks-300x200 Handy Guide to Regional Slang in the 50 US StatesWe’ve written before about how the same language can sound completely different in different countries. Specifically, we’ve explored the differences between American and British regionalisms and the various Spanish expressions used in the different Spanish-speaking countries. But what about regional slang within the same country? Have you ever traveled within the United States and had trouble understanding someone from a different state, wondering if you had somehow ended up in a completely different country? Just as the different countries around the world have their unique regional characteristics, including their use of language, so too do the 50 US states. In honor of America’s birthday earlier this week, let’s have a look at some regional slang, expressions, and terms in each of the US states.

Alabama

Cattywampus: crooked, sideways, crazy, messed up

Flip: slingshot

Roll tide: a multipurpose term used to greet someone, show appreciation, or show agreement

Alaska 

Sourdough: a longtime Alaska resident

Blog67_USSlang_Alaska-300x200 Handy Guide to Regional Slang in the 50 US States
Sourdough

Lower 48: the continental United States (i.e. all the states except for Alaska and Hawaii)

Banana belt: the warmest sub-region of an otherwise cold region

Arizona

Greasewood: creosote bush

Snowbird: a visitor from somewhere colder who comes to Arizona to escape harsher winters

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Snowbirds

Arkansas

Renthouse: a house that’s rented out

Tump: to tip over or dump out

Gallery: a porch on a house

Blog67_USSlang_Porch-300x200 Handy Guide to Regional Slang in the 50 US States
Gallery

California

Hella: very, extremely

Colorado

Fourteener: a mountain more than 14,000 feet above sea level

Connecticut

Packy store: short for package store—a beer or liquor store

Blog67_USSlang_LiquorStore-300x200 Handy Guide to Regional Slang in the 50 US States
Packy store

Delaware

Sneak: tennis shoe

Blog67_USSlang_Sneakers-300x200 Handy Guide to Regional Slang in the 50 US States
Sneaks

Bag up: to laugh loudly or for a long time

Jeet: “Did you eat?”

District of Columbia 

Slug: hitchhiker

Blog67_USSlang_Hitchhiker-300x220 Handy Guide to Regional Slang in the 50 US States
Slug

Bama: loser

Florida 

Toad-strangler: a heavy or severe rainstorm

Blog67_USSlang_Rainstorm-300x201 Handy Guide to Regional Slang in the 50 US States
Toad-strangler

Scaper: rascal or critter

Green: a way of describing something messed up. Another Floridian term to describe this concept would be “flaw.”

Georgia 

Burk: vomit

Dingnation: damnation or hell

Get to gettin’: “It’s time to go.”

Blog67_USSlang_StudentsInRush-300x200 Handy Guide to Regional Slang in the 50 US States
Get to gettin’

Hawaii 

Huhu: angry

Aloha: greeting or farewell

Da kine: a universal term for describing something, especially if you can’t remember the name of it

Auntie/Uncle: older family friends or elders you respect

Blog67_USSlang_HawaiianMan-200x300 Handy Guide to Regional Slang in the 50 US States
Uncle

Idaho 

Whistle pig: prairie dog

Blog67_USSlang_PrairieDog-300x200 Handy Guide to Regional Slang in the 50 US States
Whistle pig

Rig: a large vehicle

Illinois

Scramble dinner: potluck

Grabowski: a hardworking, tough, blue collar worker

Blog67_USSlang_BlueCollarWorker-300x200 Handy Guide to Regional Slang in the 50 US States
Grabowski

Gym shoes: tennis shoes

Indiana

Belling: loud celebration

Hoosier: someone from or who lives in Indiana, or a country bumpkin

Sweeper: vacuum cleaner

Pitch-in dinner: potluck

Blog67_USSlang_Potluck-300x200 Handy Guide to Regional Slang in the 50 US States
Pitch-in dinner

Iowa

Kittenball: softball

Blog67_USSlang_Softball-300x240 Handy Guide to Regional Slang in the 50 US States
Kittenball

Padiddle: what you say when you see a car with one working headlight

Kansas

Doodinkus: a random object

Shucky darn: “Wow!”

Ornery: a troublemaker

Kentucky 

Ridy-bob: seesaw

Blog67_USSlang_KidsOnSeesaw-300x200 Handy Guide to Regional Slang in the 50 US States
Ridy-bob

Clughole: pothole

Coke: any soda/soft drink. If you actually want a coke, you would ask for a “regular coke.”

Louisiana 

Banquette: sidewalk

Cher: (pronounced “sha”) cute or endearing

Cream cheese: cottage cheese

Blog67_USSlang_CottageCheese-300x200 Handy Guide to Regional Slang in the 50 US States
Cream cheese

Mom’n’em: family

Wrench: to wash

Maine 

Putty around: be idle

Blog67_USSlang_ManRelaxing-300x200 Handy Guide to Regional Slang in the 50 US States
Putty around

Ayuh: yes

Maryland 

Snoopy: finicky

Sice: exaggerate

Massachusetts 

Rotary: traffic circle or roundabout

Blog67_USSlang_TrafficCircle-300x200 Handy Guide to Regional Slang in the 50 US States
Rotary

Wicked: awesome or cool; also very

Frappe: milkshake

Michigan

Sewing needle: dragonfly

Blog67_USSlang_Dragonfly-300x200 Handy Guide to Regional Slang in the 50 US States
Sewing needle

Yooper: someone from Michigan’s upper peninsula

Pop: soda or soft drink

Minnesota 

Uff da or ish: expressions of disgust

Ohfer: a way of emphasizing what you’re trying to say

Mississippi

Squab: a fat person

Nabs: peanut butter crackers

Blog67_USSlang_PeanutButterCrackers-300x201 Handy Guide to Regional Slang in the 50 US States
Nabs

Bless your heart: Unlike how it sounds, this is a way of insulting someone.

Missouri

Hall tree: clothes rack

Blog67_USSlang_ClothesRack-300x200 Handy Guide to Regional Slang in the 50 US States
Hall tree

Montana

Coulee: valley

Graupel: a ball of ice

Whiskey ditch: whiskey and water

Nebraska

On pump: on credit

You betcha: an exclamation uttered when experiencing something good

Nevada

Pogonip: thick, icy fog

Blog67_USSlang_Fog-300x200 Handy Guide to Regional Slang in the 50 US States
Pogonip

New Hampshire

Crawm: food waste

Poky: scary or eerie

Janky: of poor quality

New Jersey 

Laggy: lethargic

Blog67_USSlang_TiredGuyAtComputer-300x200 Handy Guide to Regional Slang in the 50 US States
Laggy

Jug handle: an intersection where you’re forced to turn right in order to then turn left

Down the shore: the beach

New Mexico 

Christmas: a green and red chili mix

All: very

New York

Mad: very, much, a lot

Tureen dinner: potluck

Blog67_USSlang_Potluck2-234x300 Handy Guide to Regional Slang in the 50 US States
Tureen dinner

North Carolina 

Cackalacky: a nickname for North Carolina

Yonder: a place; “over there”

Table tapper: amateur preacher

North Dakota 

Uff da: an expression of surprise, disgust, or exasperation

Hotdish: casserole

Ohio 

Carry-in: potluck

Please: what you would say if you want someone to repeat themselves

Devil strip: a small patch of grass between a sidewalk and a street

Oklahoma 

Quakenado: an earthquake that occurs at the same time as a tornado

Fixin’ to: getting ready to

Blog67_USSlang_ParentsGettingKidsReady-300x200 Handy Guide to Regional Slang in the 50 US States
Fixin’ to

Oregon 

Jojos: potato wedges

The coast: the beach

Blog67_USSlang_Beach-300x200 Handy Guide to Regional Slang in the 50 US States
The coast

Pennsylvania

Yinz: you all, you guys

Jagoff: a jerk

Woolies: collections of dust or lint that build up in places you rarely sweep or vacuum

Jawn: an all-purpose word that can be used for a stand-in for just about anything—objects, concepts, events, places, and people

Rhode Island

Driftway: access road to the sea

Cabinet: milkshake

Bubbler: water fountain

Frappe: milkshake

Blog67_USSlang_Milkshakes-300x188 Handy Guide to Regional Slang in the 50 US States
Cabinet or frappe

South Carolina 

Cascade: vomit

Sucree: an unexpected gift

Might could: another way of saying “could”

South Dakota 

Soak: serious drinker

Taverns: sloppy joes

Blog67_USSlang_SloppyJoesAndFries-300x200 Handy Guide to Regional Slang in the 50 US States
Taverns

Tennessee

Buggy: shopping cart

Blog67_USSlang_ShoppingCart-300x200 Handy Guide to Regional Slang in the 50 US States
Buggy

Whirlygust: a strong wind

Hunk: bumpkin

Texas 

Worrit: nag

Hoss: partner or friend

Washateria: a laundromat

Blog67_USSlang_Laundromat-300x200 Handy Guide to Regional Slang in the 50 US States
Washateria

Utah 

Sluff school: to cut school or play hooky

Oh my heck: “Oh my God!”

Vermont

Pestle around: putter around

Creemee: a soft-serve frosty treat

Blog67_USSlang_KidsEatingIceCream-300x200 Handy Guide to Regional Slang in the 50 US States
Creemee

Virginia

Might could: another way of saying “could”

Brick: a long time

Garlicky: having a bad flavor

Washington

Jumble sale: yard sale/tag sale

Blog67_USSlang_GarageSale-300x200 Handy Guide to Regional Slang in the 50 US States
Jumble sale

West Virginia

A mess of: a lot of

Holler: road

Blog67_USSlang_Road-300x200 Handy Guide to Regional Slang in the 50 US States
Holler

Wisconsin

Whoopensocker: something extraordinary

TYME machine: an ATM (automated teller machine)

Bubbler: a drinking or water fountain

Blog67_USSlang_GirlDrinkingFromWaterFountain-300x192 Handy Guide to Regional Slang in the 50 US States
Bubbler

Wyoming

Dout: to put out a fire

Barking squirrel: a prairie dog

Blog67_USSlang_PrairieDogAndFlowers-300x221 Handy Guide to Regional Slang in the 50 US States
Barking squirrel

 

If you’d like to learn more English, regional slang and expressions, or prepare for your next trip in the United States, Konversai is the place to do it. Konversai is your one-stop shop for any and all personal human knowledge on any subject you can imagine. The online platform connects providers of knowledge with seekers of knowledge through one-on-one live video conversations. Knowledge providers have the opportunity to make money by sharing with others what they know on their own time without having to leave their home. Knowledge seekers have the opportunity to engage in a personalized conversation on exactly what they’re looking to learn with an actual human being. All users are encouraged to be both knowledge providers and knowledge seekers on any and as many topics as they wish. Whether you’re on the platform as a provider or a seeker, you are sure to come out of the conversation feeling enriched. So whatever you’re passionate or curious about, bring it with you to Konversai. Get started today!

Sources:

  1. Hershberger, Matt. (2016). The 13 best regional slang words in America. Matador Network.
  2. Kofyman, Stef. (2017). The Best of American Regional Slang. Babbel Magazine.
  3. Malady, Matthew J.X. The United Slang of America. Slate.
  4. Rackham, Casey. (2018). Here are the Best Slang Words From Each US State.
  5. The Daily Meal. The Weirdest Regional Slang Across America.
  6. Weeks, Linton. (2015). Do We Talk Funny? 51 American Colloquialisms. National Public Radio.

 

 

 

 

 

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