15 New York Slang Expressions You May Hear When Visiting The Big Apple

I think every town has some words and phrases that make that town unique. Well, New York City is no exception. As a city of immigrants, a lot of words common in the immigrant communities became usual slang and casual expressions in everyday English, here in the Big Apple. Today, let’s have a look at some of this language!

1. Agita (n) [A-ji-duh]: (1) Heartburn from eating something. (2) A stressful feeling from aggravation because of another person’s words or actions.

  • That pizza gave me agita.
  • I can’t stand hanging out with Johnny. Just being near him gives me agita.

2. Boss (n) [Bawss]: A word that a deli clerk may use to address a male customer whose name he doesn’t know.

  • What do you need, boss?
  • How can I help you, boss?

3. Buck (n) [Buck]: US Dollar. Note that generally, $1 is pronounced “a buck.”

  • I can’t believe he charged me a buck and a half ($1.50) for a cup of ice.
  • The DVD’s are five bucks ($5) each.

4. Flying Rat (n) [FLY-ing-RAT] Pigeons.

  • There were a whole bunch of flying rats in the park this morning.
  • Look! It’s a flying rat!

5. Fuhgedaboudit (exclam.) [fuh-GED-uh-bow-dit] This is fast pronunciation of “Forget about it.” We use this to mean, “No way! It’s no good” Or “Definitely!”

  • Are you thinking of eating pizza there? Fuhgedaboudit! (no way)
  • You want me to walk all the way from Central Park to Chinatown? Fuhgedaboudit! I’m taking the subway. (no way)
  • Is New York the best city in the world? Fuhgedaboudit! (definitely)

6. Gavone (n) [gah-VONE]: A person who eats too much with poor table manners.

  • Look at that gavone, shoving pizza in his mouth.
  • Those kids are a bunch of gavones. They left such a mess on this table.

7. Not Fuh Nuttin’ (exclam.) [NOT-fuh-NUT-in]: “Not for nothing.” This phrase is used when you give your opinion about something that you believe is true, and maybe the listener doesn’t know or realize it. It’s is generally followed by “but…”

  • Not Fuh Nuttin’, but this is the best pizza I’ve ever had.
  • Not Fuh Nuttin’, but I wouldn’t date that guy if I were you. He’s a looser.

8. Regular coffee (n) [REG-u-lar KAW-fee]: Coffee with milk and sugar. Sometimes we just use regular by itself as an adjective.

  • Can I get a regular coffee?
  • “How do you take your coffee?” “Regular, please.”

9. Schlep [Schlep] (1) (v) to carry something heavy or bulky a long distance or in a difficult situation. (2) (n) a low-class person:

  • I’m not looking forward to schlepping these grocery bags up three flights of stairs.
  • I’m glad Jane broke up with Harvey. He’s such a schlep!

10. Scutch (n) [Skuch]: A person who is bothersome, and generally someone who is intentionally bothersome. Also known as “a pain in the neck.”

  • I said no five times, but you keep asking me. Stop being a scutch!
  • Jack is being such a scutch today. I wish he would stop bothering me.

11. Stoop (n) [Stoop]: The steps that go from the street to the front door of some older apartment buildings.

  • We were sitting on the stoop talking about the Yankees.
  • It’s too hot in this apartment. I’m going to sit on the stoop for a while.

12. Sup? (interr) [SUP or  TSUP]: This is fast pronunciation of “What’s up?” A greeting question meaning “What’s new?”

  • Hey Jack, sup?

13. The City (n) [the CIT-y]: Manhattan. Many people who live outside of Manhattan refer to it as “the city.”

  • Nick just got a good job in the city.
  • I commute to the city every morning by train.

14. The One (n) [the-ONE]: One means the #1 Subway Line. Most New Yorkers refer to a subway line just by the number or letter of the line.

  • If you want to go to SOHO, take the six from Grand Central.
  • I usually take the F when I want to visit my friends in Forest Hills.

15. Yooz: (pronoun) [use]: Some New Yorkers have created and use a plural form of you, “yooz.” Sometimes also “yooz guys.”

  • Where are yooz going after work?
  • I don’t know about yooz guys, but I’m tired. I’m going home.

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One-Point English Lesson: Taboo Words – Hell

There is a lot of slang and many idioms using “hell”

According to many religions, Hell (n) is the underworld, the place the devil lives, and a place of punishment in the afterlife for those who do bad or evil things in their life on earth. This mysterious place called hell is also the source of a fair number of slang expressions and idioms in English. You can hear this word and its expressions/slang in movies and TV shows quite often. Let’s have a look at the word hell today.

IMPORTANT! Keep in mind that using the word hell can be considered offensive, and because of that, hell is considered a “bad” or “taboo” word in English. Because of this, I am presenting this lesson for your information and for educational purposes only. While I think it is good to know these expressions, I can not recommend that you use them. Please, be careful!

We use the hell to emphasize the question word, usually (but not always) when we are upset or irritated.

  • What the hell are you doing?
  • Where the hell is Jack?
  • Who the hell left these dirty dishes here?
  • Why the hell did you say that to me?
  • How the hell did he do that?

We use go to hell when we are angry with someone. It means “go away!” or “I’m so angry at you!”

  • Go to hell!

We use be + hell to mean an unpleasant place or situation:

  • Driving to work in rush hour traffic is hell.
  • My job is hell!
  • It was hell trying to a parking space in Manhattan during the snowstorm.

We use [someone (or) something] from hell to mean an unpleasant person or situation:

  • Last night at the restaurant we had the waiter from hell. He spilled my wine but didn’t apologize!
  • Jane hates her new job. She said she has the boss from hell.
  • Tom had the vacation from hell. He lost his passport, got his wallet stolen and then missed the flight coming home.

We use a/one hell of a + [noun] to mean “a really great/impressive [noun]” in a positive meaning.

  • That was a hell of a party last night. I really enjoyed it!
  • That is one hell of a big birthday cake!
  • Did you see the baseball game last night? That was a hell of a home run!

We also can use hell to emphasize our yes or no response in a conversation:

  • Jack: Did you enjoy the party?
  • Joe: Hell yes! (Yes, very much!)
  • Jane: Do you like that guy?
  • Cathy: Hell no! (No way!)

Have you heard hell in a movie or TV show recently? How was it used? Leave a comment here and let me know. Would you like to learn more Taboo words? Let me know

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Thanks for studying today!

English Lesson: Idioms from Sex And The City [Hook Up With]

English Lesson: Idioms from Sex And The City [Hook Up With]

She hooked up with him

Today we will start looking at some idioms and slang from the hit HBO series, Sex and The City, Season 1, Episode 1. Careful, this program uses sexual language and topics. This English lesson is written for adults.

Hook up with [someone] means to get together or make a connection with someone. There are generally two different ways to use this idiom, and each has its own nuance. Have a look at this line:

 “Elizabeth was attractive and bright and right away she hooked up with one of the city’s typically eligible bachelors.”

1.  You can hook up with someone for romance or sex. In SATC, it seems like this is the implied meaning:

    • Elizabeth hooked up with Joe.
    • Tony went to the club with his friends because they wanted to hook up with some women.
    • Did you hook up with anyone at your high school reunion?

 2. You can hook up with someone for a hobby, interest, or a business service:

    • My laptop broke, so Lori hooked me up with her computer tech.
    • Paul McCartney first hooked up with John Lennon in art school. That is how The Beatles began.
    • I’m trying to hook up with someone who likes sailing, so if you know anyone please let me know.

Practice questions:

  1. Do you know anyone who goes to clubs to hook up with someone?
  2. Have you tried to hook up with a repairman, or technician?
  3. Think of your favorite pop or rock group. Where and when did the members hook up with each other?

Thanks for studying with me today. If you have any comments or feedback on this lesson, please let me know.

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