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Popular Boston Slang

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Of course, it's not slang here, it's just how we talk. But if you've been on one of Brian's tours, you might notice a word or two of Boston slang pops out and you have no idea what it means. There are a few ways to tell the someone is from out of town - license plates, an ARod jersey (horrible idea, don't do that!), and the way they talk. Here are a few helpful hints of what to say when you're talking to a Bostonian.

The most commonly known, wicked, means whatever you want it to me. It just intensifies it. That tour was wicked good!

Thirsty? Don't ask someone where the water fountain is, it's called a bubbler. Want something a little more fizzy, if you're talking to an older resident, all sodas/pops/cokes are called tonics. With or without the gin. But in case you do want some gin or wine or beer, you go to a packie. A package store is a liquor store and they are the place to go even for a six pack since most groceries don't have a license. And if you want it made of ice cream, it's a frappe not a milkshake. A milkshake is milk with syrup in it.

You are visiting Boston. No one calls it Beantown. Or the Hub, except Oliver Wendell Holmes. A few areas have nicknames. Medford is Muffa, Southie is South Boston, Dot is Dorchester. Oh, and the Public Garden and Boston Common are singular. As you're walking around the neighborhoods, you might see an apartment, also known here as a triple-decker, unless it has illusions of grandeur, then it's a lace curtain. These might have elaborate piazzas or front porches.

To get around town, you take the T. If you're driving, you make take the rotary, traffic circle - and don't worry if you don't how to drive in this, no one does and since no one else uses a blinker, signal, just be vigilant, or you might get pulled over by a statie.

But for goodness sake, don't pahk the cah in Hahvad Yahd.

About The Author

Brian Burgess

Brian was born in Cambridge and has been living in the Boston area all his life. He is a graduate of Boston's Emerson College with a degree in communications with a journalism/history focus. He has been leading tours for Free Tours By Foot Boston since it was started in the city of Boston in 2012, and enjoys sharing his knowledge of Boston's rich history with not only the guests on his tours, but with everyone he meets.
Updated: October 12th, 2021
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