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22 Boston Slang Words You Need to Know Before Visiting

Knowing these 22 Boston slang words will make it easier for you to speak to locals and navigate the city.

The George Washington Statue in Boston Garden

So you’ve booked your trip to Boston, but have you familiarized yourself with the language?

Sure, Bostonians speak American English (for the most part), but there are a number of slang words Bostonians use that are unfamiliar to visitors.

Most of these words are simply shortened versions of real words or names. But a few words are unique to the area or have their roots in the region’s early English settlers.

Note too that many Bostonians pronounce these words with a Boston accent which can further add to a visitor’s confusion.

Here’s a list of some of the most common Boston slang words you’ll potentially hear during your visit:

  • “Wicked” – Bostonians use this word to replace “really” or “very”, as in “That’s wicked cool!”
  • “The T” – the MBTA, Boston’s public transportation system but more specifically Boston’s subway
  • “The train” – the MBTA’s commuter rail
  • “The Cape” – Cape Cod
  • “The Common” – The Boston Common
  • “Fenway” – typically the Boston Red Sox Fenway Park, but also refers to the neighborhood
  • “The Pike” or The Mass Pike” – the Massachusetts Turnpike
  • “Bubbler” – what New Englanders call a water fountain
  • “Carriage” – a cart used to shop for groceries
  • “Grinder” – a submarine sandwich
  • “Frappe” – a milkshake
  • “Cellar” – the basement of a house
  • “The Charles” – the Charles river; the river that separates Boston and Cambridge
  • “The Garden” – TD Garden, where the Bruins and Celtics play
  • “Comm Ave” – Commonwealth Ave in Boston
  • “Dunks” – Dunkin’ Donuts
  • “Southie” – someone who lives in the Boston neighborhood of South Boston
  • “The Hub” – a nickname for Boston (just don’t say Beantown)
  • “Jimmies” – chocolate sprinkles for ice cream
  • “Regular” – a coffee with cream and sugar, most likely ordered at Dunks
  • “Nor’easter” – a wicked fierce winter storm
  • “Pissa” – a word that replaces awesome
  • “The Pru” – the Prudential Center in Boston
  • “Rotary” – a roundabout that connects numerous roads
  • “Triple Decker” – a three-floor apartment building
  • “Townie” – a city native who still lives in the neighborhood they grew up in

See related:

34 Fun Facts About Boston You Probably Don’t Know

What is Massachusetts Known for?

What Food is Boston Known for?

The Best (and Most Unique!) Stores on Newbury Street in Boston

A photo of Kerry Flatley leaning against a wall

About Kerry Flatley

Kerry Flatley has lived in New England for the past 26 years. She has roots in Maine & Massachusetts, family in New Hampshire, and grew up close to the Connecticut border. She loves all that this region has to offer – the ocean, mountains, islands, history, villages, and cities. When she’s not writing about New England, she’s relaxing at home in the Boston suburbs with her two teenage daughters and husband.

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