Explore how to speak like a Bostonian
Speak like a local
The Bostonian accent and vernacular are world famous and recognizable by most people. It is a unique blend of old English and Irish influences with a heavy dose of the city's personality thrown in for good measure. While some words may be unfamiliar to those not from New England, many are part of everyday speech for Boston natives. Armed with this guide, you'll soon be speaking like a local!
When visiting Beantown, there's no better way to fit right in than by mastering the local lingo. Here are some common terms and phrases used by Bostonians:
Bang a U-ey: To make a U-turn, Bostonians will say 'bang a u-ey' instead.
Beantown: Avoid using this term to refer to Boston, as it announces that you are not from the city and are somewhat of an outsider. The locals prefer to call their beloved city by its proper name 'Boston' or 'The Hub.'
The Cape: People from the area also sometimes refer to Cape Cod as simply 'the cape.' It is often used in sentences such as, "We're heading out to the cape this weekend."
Chowder: When ordering chowder while in Boston, make sure to order it 'New England style' instead of the Manhattan variety. Also be sure to pronounce it correctly as 'chowdah.'
Comm. Ave.: Commonwealth Avenue is a major thoroughfare running through Boston, and its suburbs and locals often refer to it simply as 'Comm. Ave.'
The Dot: Dorchester is referred to as 'The Dot' by many natives of the city. This nickname arose from the fact that, when viewed on a map, Dorchester looks like a dot between two larger points - downtown Boston and South Boston.
Dunks: Dunkin' Donuts is known locally as 'Dunks.' Originally from Quincy, a Boston suburb, Dunks is a local favorite.
Fens: This is short for the Emerald Necklace Parkway that runs through Fenway Park - home of the beloved Boston Red Sox. Locals will often refer to it simply as 'The Fens.'
Frappes: Frappes are not just coffees with ice cream blended in – they are milkshakes usually made with vanilla ice cream and flavored syrup like chocolate, maple, or strawberry. They are very popular throughout the region.
The Hub: One of Boston's many nicknames, 'The Hub' refers to the city's role as a center of culture and economic activity in New England.
Mass Ave.: This nickname for Massachusetts Avenue is used by many locals when referring to this major street that runs from downtown Boston to Cambridge.
Nor'easter: A strong winter storm characterized by strong winds from the northeast often hits the East Coast during the late fall and winter months, and it is referred to simply as a 'Nor'easter' by locals.
Packie / Package Store: Liquor stores are known locally as 'packies' or 'package stores.'
The Pats: The New England Patriots football team has been affectionately nicknamed 'The Pats' by its loyal fans.
The Pike: This nickname for the Massachusetts Turnpike is often used when referring to this major highway that runs through the state.
The Pru: The Prudential Tower is the tallest building in Boston, and locals often refer to it as 'the Pru.'
Regular Coffee: A 'regular coffee' in Boston is one with cream and sugar. It is not the same as black coffee.
Rotary: Traffic circles are known as 'rotaries' throughout New England.
Southie: South Boston is often referred to affectionately as 'Southie' by locals.
Statie: State police officers are known locally as 'staties.'
T: The subway system in Boston is known simply as 'the T,' so when asking for directions, you can say you need to take the T.
Wicked: Bostonians often use this local slang to describe something that is really good or very impressive. It can be used in sentences such as, "That pizza was wicked good!"