The Dialect of Boston
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Ahnt- Your uncles wife.
All set- When one is done or ready. As in when a waitress brings your food and asks Now yall set? or when youre ready to leave
American chop suey- Has nothing to do with Chinese food (then again only in Boston do Chinese restaurants serve French rolls) Macaroni with hamburg a little tomato sauce and a bit of onion and green pepper.
Av- An avenue with a long official name for example Mass-av (instead of Massachusetts Avenue) and Comm-av (rather than Commonwealth Avenue). For many years the Boston Globe even used av. (yes in lower case) rather than Ave.
Bahn- Garage especially in the Haverhill/Merrimack Valley area.Usually bigger than the house but attached.
Bahnie- In Cambridge a Havihd student. In Sommaville a Cambridge resident. Local speakers argue about its derivation Some say its from Bahnyahd a derisive term for Hahvihd Yahd; others argue it comes from the old MBTA cah bahns just outside the Squayuh (the bahns went away when the Red Line was extended to Sommaville).
Bang- Make an abrupt left turn (see hook for the right-turn equivalent) He went to bang a left and take a uey but lost control. For more normal turns the appropriate word is hang.
Bankin- A small hillside or river bank The best place to see a game at Fallon Field is on the bankin.
Barrel- What you deposit trash in.
Basement- A school restroom at least in the Stoughton area. Pete Costello recalls The lavatories in all the schools I went to grades 1-12 were called the basement even if they were not on the lowest floor of the school.
Bazo- Drunk at least in Southie.
Bdaydas- You can serve them mashed or whipped or boiled.
Big Dig- Massive project to build a new underground highway through the heart of the city while keeping the existing elevated Central Ahtery open during construction. Now covered by the Rose Kennedy Greenway.
Big-ball bowling- What the rest of the country calls 10-pin bowling as opposed to the homegrown candlepin bowling.
Bluebird- Old-style Red Line train.
Boahded- Exclamation to confirm a selection for example when selecting seats
Bobos- Boat shoes i.e. Keds.
Bomah- Somebody whos wicked smaht; a Brain. At least in Saugus that is. From the Bomar Brain one of the first affordable calculators which was made in Acton.
Book- To make tracks The cops came and we booked outta there!! Sometimes book it.
Boss a tonic- Two-liter bottle of tonic.
Boxball- Game similar to punchball except the ball had to first bounce in the infield. Played with pinkies or pimple balls - soft small white balls.
Brahmin- A member of the WASP overclass that once ruled the state. Typically found on Beacon Hill. Cleveland Amorys The Proper Bostonians remains the definitive study of this group.
Brar- Female undergrament. I have to buy a new brar the straps on this one have had it.
Breakdown lane- Highway shoulder. Also an oxymoron - the last place you want to break down in greater Boston is in the breakdown lane especially during rush hour when it becomes the high-speed lane (in some places even legally). The state has built a series of emergency turn-outs along Rte. 128 so you can pull out of the breakdown lane if in fact your car breaks down.
Bubbla- Thats a water fountain to you bub.
Bucka- A Charlestown term for a stupid person; comes from bucket head.
Budge- To steal I budged a bag of chips from the store.
Bug- A druggie at least in Weymouth.
Bulkie roll- A soft fluffy roll you know like a Kaiser roll. Only in Boston are they sometimes served at Chinese restaurants.
Bullshit- Adjective meaning very upset as in
Bundle- Grocery bag.
Cabbage Night- In the western suburbs the night before Halloween and a time for throwing cabbages eggs and the like.
Cah- 1. Green Line train Take the next cah to Nawth Station; get off at Haymahket.
Calm ya livva- Cool your jets.
Candlepin bowling- Boston bowling; involves tiny little pins and tiny little balls (the pins are so hard to hit you get three tries a frame). R.I.P Candlepin Bowling on Saturday mornings. Also R.I.P. Major League Lanes in West Roxbury.
Cant get- Can get. An example of the negative positive in Boston English
Carriage- What you use to wheel your groceries around at the Stah Mahket.
Cawna- Where two streets meet; sometimes a small neighborhood.
Cella- Basement. You go down cella to get some bdaydas.
Central Ahtery- The sclerotic north-south highway that once separated the North End and the waterfront from the rest of the city. Now replaced by the Big Dig and the Rose Kennedy Greenway.
Chowdahead- Stupid person. The phrase has spread westa Wihsta but its definitely of local origins. Casserine Toussaint reports It comes from back when people would make a massive bucket of chowder and lay a clean rope in it so that when they put it into the unheated back room it would freeze solid and could be hung up. Theyd slide off the bucket by putting a hot towel on it and voila! Anyone wanting a bowl of chowder went in and chipped off a piece to be warmed up on the stove. After a while the frozen block of chowder took on a round shape like a head.
Cleansas- Where you bring your clothes to be Mahtinized. Youll never actually hear anybody say the word but there are still any number of dry cleaners named Such and such Cleansers in the Boston area
Coffee regulah- Coffee with some cream and two sugahs.
Common- The green in the center of a town (Boston Common is perhaps the most famous). So-called because it was land held in common for residents for uses such as cow grazing; however one rarely sees cows meandering about Boston Common these days.
Cool kid- Obnoxious rude and generally not wanted person (especially at a kegga) at least in Acton
Corrupt Midget- Former state Senate President (and former University of Massachusetts president) William Bulger. George Daher chief justice of the Boston Housing Court hurled the epithet after Bulger cut funding for the court in retaliation for Dahers refusal to hire a Bulger crony. Herald columnist Howie Carr picked it up and then in typical Carresque fashion used it to death (sometimes substituting a simple CM).
Cow Hampshire- A stretch of toll plazas liquor stores and fireworks stands on the way to Maine. Also known as New Hampster.
Cracking- Game of verbal insults; Bostons version of the dozens.
Cuber- Island south of Florida; capital is Havanner.
Cumbies- A Cumberland Farms mini-mart
Curse of the Bambino- Lame-ass taunt formerly hurled by Yankees fans at the Red Sox whenever they played in New York. One word 2004.
Cyclops- The old-fashioned two-toned trolleys with one large headlight that run on the Mattapan high-speed line.
Decked- Dressed nicely.
Diesel- 1. In Roxbury its heroin but in West Roxbury Hyde Park and Roslindale its angel dust.
Digga- A fall
Directional- What you use to signal that youre about to make a turn - or to signal to the guy behind you that youve just cut him off and you want to rub it in.
Divan- Die-van. A couch to people over 50.
Divvia- Crazy person at least in Newtons Nonantum neighborhood.