The Playbook For The Modern Man

Hilarious New York Slang Only Locals Understand

Empire State Of Mind.

Think you know your dogs from dawgs? You may just fit in with New York locals.

Head to any major city in the world and you’ll be greeted with a barrage of different accents and dialects. But buried within the large demographic are certain words and phrases specific to that city, that will have you scratching your head with bemusement should you be greeted with any.

New York City is the most densely populated city in the United States, with nearly 8.5 million residents, and around a third of those being born outside of the US. It comes to pass then, that the city has given birth to its own language, that only true locals understand.

If you’re planning a trip to The Empire State, you’ll want to brush up on your lingo before you travel. Fortunately, Adam Sandler and Idina Menzel are on hand to do just that, as the Hollywood stars were both born there – Adam in Brooklyn and Idina in Manhattan – so are well-versed in the local slang. The two currently star in the well-rated Netflix movie Uncut Gems, which takes places in New York’s Diamond District. If you’ve seen it, you’ll know there’s plenty of slang bounded around in virtually every scene.

Appearing in a video for Vanity Fairthe two are presented with slang terms and asked to define them, to make it easier for us non-native-speakers to understand. Pay attention and you’ll be able to kick it with the locals in no time.

Advertisement

‘Bodega’

A convenience/grocery store. Stems from the Spanish word meaning cellar. Introduced to New York by the Hispanic communities that arrived in the 1940s and ’50s.

Advertisement

‘Schmear’

A word derived from the German language to mean spread, although in American English, it refers more specifically to cheese or cream cheese.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by ∆ и ∂ Я ◊ и ⅰ к ⅰ (@nikkiva7) on

‘B&T’

A ‘Bridge & Tunnel’ person is anyone who has to commute into the city from outside the main Manhatten area.

‘Bed-Stuy’

Bedford-Stuyvesant. A neighbourhood in Brooklyn.

‘The Village’

Greenwich Village. A neighbourhood on the west side of Manhatten.

Advertisement

‘Downtown’

Any area below 14th Street.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Brooklyn Eagle (@bkeagle) on

‘B.Q.E’

The Brooklyn Queens Expressway, a three-level cantilever designed highway, with the Brooklyn Heights promenade sitting on top.

‘SoHo’

South of Houston Street. SoHo has become an area populated by hipsters, due to its loft-style apartments, boutique stores, and its historic cast-iron architecture.

‘Schvitz’

A Yiddish phrase to mean a sauna or steam bath.

Advertisement

‘Oy Vey!’

Another phrase from the Yiddish language, meaning ‘Oh God!’.

‘Yooz!’

Literally means two or more people you’re talking to. ‘Hey yooz!’. Other cities have variations, but none are quite as harsh at the New York ‘Z’.

‘Gotham’

Could mean the City, or could refer to Gotham Bar & Grill restaurant.

‘B’

A way to greet someone, ‘what’s up B?’. We’re not sure why B was chosen out of the 26 letter alphabet.

Advertisement

Read Next

THE PLAYBOOK FOR THE MODERN MAN, SIGN UP NOW

Get exclusive content, special offers and latest news delivered to your inbox.

  • Alex Obinali

    B is for Bro. Sometimes Bitch but it’s bro for your friends

  • daniel tosh’s cousin steve

    OH, yuuz forgots about DeBlowzio! Buy eyy, Fuggetaboutitt.

NEW ON D'MARGE


Show More
Close

The playbook for the modern man

Get the very best of men's style, health, travel & culture delivered to your inbox.

Dont show me this again