(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Boston slang words and sayings have transcended generations here in Massachusetts. Let’s take a closer look at some favorites.


I need to give credit where credit is due before I go any further, however. TimeOut‘s Boston arm put together this list of 50 Boston slang words and sayings you should know. Their list has been around for awhile, but I just came across it recently for the first time. It’s tremendous. The authors give parts of speech and definitions to all 50 of the slang words and sayings they share. Excellent work.


I decided to use the list as a jumping-off point to really dig into Boston slang. And although I’m using “Boston” as the identifier here, just know that I really mean all of Massachusetts. These references and sayings are most associated with the Boston accent, of course. But they’ve outgrown the city and belong to all of us Massholes, from North Shore to South Shore to Metro West to the Cape and beyond.


Boston Slang Words: How Many of These Do You Say?

I’m a North Shore kid. I grew up in Greenwood, which is the cool, edgy, back-woodsy part of Wakefield, right over the Melrose line. My parents both grew up in Wakefield, too: my dad in Greenwood, my mom downtown. Their parents were North Shore folks as well. You see where I’m going with this. I am of the generations of Boston-area residents who have used and passed this slang along, just like you.


I’m not doing to dig into TimeOut’s entire 50-word glossary. Again, you can do that yourself here. What I am going to do is cherry-pick some of my favorite slang words and terms and share how my family and I have used them over the years. Hit the ROCK 92.9 Twitter or Facebook if you’d like to share yours.

  • Bang A Uey

    I don’t think I’ve ever uttered the term “U-turn.” It’s always “bang a uey,” especially now that I’m helping my kids learn how to drive. I’ll make sure he never bangs a uey like this clown.


  • Bubbler

    Pronounced BUB-luh, of course. Why would you say “drinking fountain?” So many unnecessary syllables. And you gotta drop the “R.”

  • B’daydas

    I’m using the TimeOut spelling here. Every Thanksgiving, my Nana Jeanie made the best mashed b’daydas. And that’s exactly how she pronounced them. None of that instant crap. From scratch.


  • Carriage

    Again, why would you say “shopping cart?” We Massholes don’t have time to waste on extraneous words. It’s a carriage, which sounds way fancier for when you’re doing your grocery shopping.

  • Cellar

    Pronounced SELL-uh. I’ve never been in a basement in my life. When I was a kid, I hung out in the cellar with my friends when the summer days got too hot. Now, I go down cellar to do my laundry.

  • Clicker

    Pronounced KLIK-ah. “Remote control?” No. Clicker. Shorter. More to the point. Are you seeing a theme emerge here? Of course, the whole argument is moot if you have one of these.

  • Dungarees

    This was the only word my mom ever used for blue jeans. I don’t think I ever heard “blue jeans” referred to as anything other than dungarees until I was in middle school. Then I learned about Guess and Z. Cavaricci. But I never wore them.

  • Dunks

    Wild to think that since probably 2 days after the original Dunkin’ Donuts opened in Quincy, locals started calling it Dunks. Now they’re all called Dunkin’. I like to think we all had a part to play in that rebranding. We should all get a free medium regular for that.

  • Frappe

    Again, I don’t think I even knew the word “milkshake” until I was well into grade school. My Uncle Michael worked at Friendly’s, and my Nana Jeanie would take us there and she’d order a Fribble and we’d say: “What’s that?” and she’d say: “It’s a frappe.” And here’s where you say: “but a milkshake isn’t a frappe” and where I reply with: “shut up.”


  • Jimmies

    Speaking of Friendly’s, it was always jimmies, not sprinkles, that we asked for on our ice cream. Some folks will tell you those are two different things. I don’t know much about that. All I know is I’d like some jimmies on my cone, please.

  • Kid

    My buddy Michael and I have had entire conversations using just this word. All we do is change the tone and inflection and volume. “Kid” is a decidedly Massachusetts thing. Kid.

  • Packie

    A derivative of “package store.” And that’s just a fancy, Boston Brahmin way of saying “liquor store.” I’m going to the packie. The Simpsons know.

  • The Pike

    The stretch of Interstate 90 referred to locally as the Massachusetts Turnpike. But again, why waste your breath? Get to the point! And make sure to watch out for Staties (see below).

  • Pissah

    A synonym of “awesome.” Often combined with “wicked” (see below). Classic Boston/Masshole move, right? Take something awful like urine and somehow make it into a slang word that means something good.

  • Regular

    From the TimeOut piece: “a coffee with cream and sugar, presumably ordered from Dunks and iced, even when it’s below freezing out.” It took me years of hanging out with my buddy Kev during his Dunks shifts to figure out what people were ordering when they asked for this.

  • Rotary

    It’s what’s called a “traffic circle” in other areas of the country and world. But traffic circles are boring. Rotaries are dangerous. Massachusetts is dangerous.

  • Statie

    A Massachusetts State Trooper. Commonly found patrolling The Pike (see above). Just don’t call a Statie a Statie if one pulls you over. It’s disrespectful.

  • Supper

    I have never no not ever in my life eaten “dinner.” I eat supper in the evening. This clip says there’s a difference. I respectfully disagree.

  • This F'in Guy

    While I can’t prove that “this f*cking guy” originated in Boston, TimeOut has it on their list and who am I to argue? And besides, any excuse to share this clip from What We Do in the Shadows. Which will probably be blocked. Because of the whole “f’in” thing.

  • Tonic

    God bless Nana Jeanie. Would she give me a sip of her soda? No! She’d give me a hit of her tonic! Just mind that tonic water. Different deal altogether.

  • Townie

    If you grew up in or around Boston and never left? Congratulations! You’re a townie. Hell, they even made a TV show about you back in the ’90s.

  • Wicked

    A synonym of “very.” Often combined with “pissah” (see above). You know, like: “this is a wicked pissah list!” Thank you.

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