One of the most impersonated — and let’s face it, mocked — regional dialects in the U.S. is Boston’s. And while everyone knows the “pahk the cah in Hahvahd Yahd” gag, there’s plenty of slang that only the locals know. I’ve lived here for 10 years and while I still don’t drop my "R"s, I have picked up plenty of local lingo. Since I’m now raising a kid here, I think a lot about the fact that these words will be totally second nature to her, because they'll be words that only a kid from Boston will learn. Each region in the U.S. may have its own accent, slang, and dialect, but Boston’s is totally unique.
Our accent is very difficult to get right (I can’t even do it), and bad Boston accents abound on the big and small screen. It even varies from neighborhood to neighborhood. But most Boston slang makes sense no matter where you're from within the city, and when I first moved here a decade ago, I remember wondering what the heck people were talking about half the time. Now when I go back home to Florida, people wonder what I’m talking about. There are so many things to love about Boston, but I've come to find that the insider lingo is definitely something I love (even if I'll never drop my "R"s completely.)
Here are some of the lesser known slang words that your kid will learn growing up in Beantown.
“Wicked” means “very,” as in, “My kid is wicked smaht.”
A frappe is what the rest of the country calls a “milkshake.” A "milkshake" is milk and syrup with no ice cream. (Yuck?)
The packie (short for package store) is where you buy your booze. And talking to a kid about packies is a very Boston thing to do.
Jimmies are the chocolate sprinkles that go on your ice cream. I learned this one scooping at Ben and Jerry's on Newbury Street. Whatever you do, do not call them sprinkles. Just don't, OK? Trust me on this.
"Townies" is slang for people from Charlestown, a neighborhood in Boston, but is now used to more widely describe people from towns right outside the city, who often have thick Boston accents. Or, probably, my kid. My kid is a "townie."
6. "Dot," "Southie," "JP," "Rozzie," "Eastie," "Westie"
Nicknames for the Boston neighborhoods of Dorchester, South Boston, Jamaica Plain, Roslindale, East Boston, and West Roxbury. My daughter's first birthday party had a "Welcome to Dot" theme, where everything was polka-dotted or Boston-themed because, you guessed it — we live in Dorchester.
Dunkin’ Donuts, of course. Also, the above gif is the most Boston thing that ever happened. (And people in Boston do not drink Starbucks, FYI.)
A "bubblah" is a water fountain. And I have no clue why.
9. "The T"
The public transportation system in Boston that is old and constantly breaking down, particularly after winter storms, is called “the T.”
10. "Triple Decker"
No, not a sandwich. A three-family home common to Boston neighborhoods outside of the downtown area are known as "triple deckers." They often have awesome porches on the front and/or back.
Slang for “turn,” as in “bang a U-ey” (make a u-turn) or “bang a left.”
Otherwise known as a trash can, or Oscar The Grouch's home.
Candlepin is what New Englanders think of as regular ole bowling. Smaller pins, and smaller ball with no finger holes. Bostonians consider candlepin to be the only kind of bowling you need.
"Pissah" is good. As in, “that party was wicked pissah!” (Oh, yeah, it has nothing to do with a bathroom, obviously.)
15. "Patriot’s Day"
Patriot's Day is celebrated on the same Monday that the Boston Marathon is run, and therefore also known as "Marathon Monday." It commemorates the anniversary the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the first battles of the American Revolutionary War. It's mostly just a giant drinking day for adults, and one more day off of school for the kids.