February 12, 2020

21 Slang Words You’ll Only Hear in New York

4 minute read

New York, New York! If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere… but first, you need to understand what the people around you are saying.

Yes, like many major cities, New York has it’s very own, unique slang words that you’re unlikely to hear anywhere else. Here are 21 essential words and phrases to listen out for.

  1. Brick

Very cold or almost freezing, e.g. “I’m not going out tonight – it’s brick out there!”

  1. Whip

A very nice or expensive car. E.g. “Check out my new whip, man!”

  1. The City

Yes, the whole of New York is a city, but to New Yorkers, this just means Manhattan!

  1. Schmear

A lot of cream cheese, for example, “One bagel with schmear, please”

  1. Pie

Nope, unlike the rest of the English-speaking world, New Yorkers aren’t talking about a pastry-based food when they say pie. They’re talking about pizza!

  1. Schvitz

A Jewish word for sweat that everyone in New York uses. E.g. “The subway was packed. I was schvitzing my ass off.”

  1. Grill

To stare at someone for a long time, usually in a hostile way. E.g. “I’m gonna punch that guy if he doesn’t stop grilling me.”

  1. Stoop

The stairs in front of an apartment building. E.g. “We sat out on the stoop and talked all night.”

  1. Schtupp

To have sex with someone. E.g. “Yeah, I’d definitely schtupp her”.

  1. Dumb

Very. E.g. “They do dumb good pie at the place on the corner”.

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  1. Gotham

New York City. It’s the name of the corrupt major city in Batman, so it’s a joke about New York.

  1. Son

This is an affectionate term to call someone you know well. E.g. “C’mon son, we’re going out”.

  1. Thirsty

To look desperate, e.g. “Don’t act so thirsty, man. Play it cool!”

  1. Thirstbucket

A really, really desperate person. E.g. “Chill, son! You’re acting like a total thirstbucket”

  1. Dead-ass

This means you are completely serious about something. E.g. “I’m dead-ass, son. You can’t do that.”

  1. Tight

In other places, this is slang for being close friends with someone, for example, “I used to be tight with him before we had that fight.” In New York, though, it means upset. E.g. “Man, you shouldn’t have sent her that message last night. She’s tight over that.”

  1. Mad

This isn’t about being crazy or angry. In fact, it just means “very”. E.g. “Yeah, she’s still mad tight over what you said to her.”

  1. Spaz

To get really angry, violent or aggressive with someone. E.g. “The guy knocked my drink over and I just spazzed out at him.”

  1. Take it There

Another phrase for getting into a fight. E.g. “Why you grilling me like that? You wanna take it there?”

  1. Bodega

A small shop / grocery store where you go to get all your essential items, snacks and morning coffee.

  1. Yooz

Plural version of you. E.g. “Are yooz guys coming with us?”

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