Destination Slang: Boston
Bostonians have a very distinct accent and a slew of their own local slang, making them rather difficult to understand at times – and this is coming from someone who lived there for 17 years. Going from living in Boston, to Orlando, back to Boston and then back to Orlando has really helped me understand why people have a hard time adjusting to our accents and slang words. Here is a list of some commonly used slang words to be aware of next time you’re in Boston. But be warned, these words sound even weirder when used by someone without a Boston accent.
A collection of Bostonian slang just wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the word wicked. Wicked has become a one word substitute for: really, incredibly, very, amazingly, exceptionally, and most other adverbs. Wicked is a gem of a word because it intensifies anything we say. For example, think about which sentence would catch more attention: “That pizza is really hot!” or “That pizza is wicked hot!” All I know is that if I am wicked excited about something, nothing is more soothing to my lymph nodes than exuding a quick wicked as my go-to adjective.
I really should be spelling this as “bubbler” but we all know that words ending with er are the enemy in Massachusetts. A bubbla is what we call a water fountain. For example: “Ms. Smith can I go to the watah bubbla? I’m wicked thirsty!”
This is one time where Bostonians make sense. Trashcans are in no way similar to cans. They are more similar to barrels than anything else, which is why we call them trash barrels in Boston. I will defend this until I die, because you are all wrong. Example: “Timmy, go throw that piece of gahbage in the trash barrel on your way to the water bubbla!”
When you go to Target, the four-wheeled contraption you put all of your purchases in is not called a shopping cart. We call it a carriage. I have no idea why. Maybe it’s because we like to romanticize simple tasks like grocery shopping, so by calling it a carriage we are imagining ourselves as a fairy princess riding a horse drawn carriage on our way to meet Prince Charming. Or it’s probably just because we like to be difficult and confuse tourists. Example: “Timmy stop putting all those Twinkies in the carriage!”
A basement. I had never even heard the word basement until I moved to Florida, and they don’t even have basements there. This is also another word where the last two letters do not matter. It’s cella. Example: “Timmy get outta the cella and do your homework!”
Hopefully these examples provide more of an insight to how Bostonians think and speak. We may seem wicked crazy, but there is often some logic behind that madness. And next time you think of making fun of a Boston accent, just remember where the Pilgrims landed, where Harvard is, and who invented Dunkin Donuts. You’re welcome.
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