The city of Philadelphia prides itself on being a little bit out there. From the food we eat to the ways we celebrate to, most notably, the way we talk, Philly locals aren’t exactly known for blending in. In a city of creativity and individuality, it seems only natural that we Philadelphians would have invented a language of our own. While Philly slang isn’t recognized as the prettiest dialect in America, it’s ours and no one can take it away from us (not that they want to).
That being said, if Philly is on your list of potential destinations, make sure to brush up on the more popular Philadelphia slang terms before your visit. Learn the lingo, it just might enrich your visit.
We made youse a list just in case:
WHAT PEOPLE SAY
Wooder ice -
You know, the stuff that comes out the tap? No, we’re not pronouncing it wrong and if you say different, you’re gonna be in some hot wooder, pal. Or iced and in a paper cone, if that’s what you prefer. Wooder ice is certainly popular!
Down the shore
Once the weather gets hot and the schools are no longer in session, the great migration to the Jersey beaches is sure to follow. But we’re not going ‘to the beach,’ we’re going down the shore. No, not ‘down to the shore,’ ‘Downtheshore.’ Sometimes three words, sometimes one.
The El -
is a way of life
If you’re going east or westbound, you’re taking the El aka the Market-Frankford Line aka an ELevated train.
If you’re tailgating, you’re tailgating at the Linc. Short for Lincoln Financial Field, this Philly institution is where igles (Philly slang for Eagles) come to fly. If you’re not screaming “Go Birds” at the top of your lungs while stuffing your face with a Philly pretzel, get outta here!
Well, did you?? Here in Philly, we don’t waste our breath. If three words can be mushed into a single syllable, all the more efficient. ‘Jeet’ is simply a faster way to ask, “Did you eat?” Work smarter, not harder.
Obviously, you can’t talk about Philly without talking about cheesesteaks. A classic Philly cheesesteak is smothered in none other than Cheese Whiz. You need to distinguish between a steak with or without onions, you’re either going to ask for a wiz wit or a wiz witout.
Pretty self-explanatory. Youse is just ‘you’ or ‘you all’ with a little Philly flair. For full effect, make it ‘youse guys.’
Similar to jawn, but a little more specific. Bul or Boul (we still haven’t reached a consensus on the spelling) can refer to any person but usually signifies a male.
If you’re drawlin’, you’re acting out of character or doing something shady. For instance, you’re drawlin’ if you don’t like this food.