20 Manhattan Slang Words – Complete List

Manhattan is one of the most legendary areas in NYC. If you’re a local, you probably think of it as basically one giant shopping center these days, since it’s cluttered with businesses on every street corner. It may even be the place you have to commute to every day for work.

If you’re from outside NYC, then it’s probably a tourist destination for you. Regardless of how you think of it, though, it’s an iconic locale, and it has a few slang words to go with that identity. In this list, we’ll be showing you some Manhattan slang words. We’ll also provide examples, so you know how to use them properly.

Manhattan Slang Words (in Alphabetical Order)

Brick

Meaning:

  • (Adjective): Brick is kind of just a general NY slang term. This one is widely used, and simply means cold.
  • Example: “He tries to save on heating bills by keeping his apartment brick.”

Bridge and Tunnel Crowd/Bridge and Tunnel

Meaning:

  • (Noun): This phrase may not be as popular these days. You may also sometimes hear it abbreviated to “B+T” people. It’s a derogatory phrase that refers to anyone who has to take a bridge or tunnel to get into Manhattan. In other words, anyone who lives in another borough.
  • Example: “Watch out for the B+T crowd coming in on the weekends.”

Buggin’

Meaning:

  • (Verb): Another extremely common New York slang word. It means that one is getting extremely upset, usually over something inconsequential.
  • Example: “Bro, I’m buggin’ right now. Help me calm down.”

Copa/Copacabana

Meaning:

  • (Noun): A popular nightclub in Manhattan. The full name is Copacabana, but many locals just shorten it to Copa. It was closed down in the spring of 2020 due to Covid-19, but said it planned to reopen another location sometime in 2021.
  • Example: “If you want to sample the nightlife in Manhattan, stop by the Copa.”

Deadass

Meaning:

  • (Adjective): Another common term in NYC. If you’re deadass, you’re being serious about something. If something else is deadass, that means it really happened or it’s true.
  • Example: “He deadass stole a car this weekend. Now he’s in jail.”

Good Looks

Meaning:

  • (Expression): Good looks is an expression that’s also kind of spread over New York City in general. As such, you’ll come across it in Manhattan, too. You can say it to thank someone for doing you a favor.
  • Example:
  • Person 1: “Don’t worry about the check – dinner’s on me.”
  • Person 2: “Good looks!”

Read Also: Brooklyn Slang Words

Gucci

Meaning:

  • (Adjective): Most people know Gucci as a luxury clothing and accessory brand. In NYC, though, saying Gucci means something is good.
  • Example:
  • Person 1: “You good?”
  • Person 2: “Yeah, I’m Gucci.”

LES

Meaning:

  • (Noun): In Manhattan, there’s a lot of slang for specific areas. LES stands for “lower east side,” indicating a particular area of Manhattan.
  • Example: “He lives in the LES.”

Mad

Meaning:

  • (Adjective): You can use mad in the same way you would say “very” or “so.”
  • Example: “He was mad buggin’ after he lost the game.”

Manhattanite

Meaning:

  • (Noun): Manhattanite isn’t exactly a slang word, but it’s a term specific to Manhattan, which is why we mention it. As you may have guessed, this is just the word referring to someone from Manhattan.
  • Example: “Most Manhattanites lead busy lives.”

Manhatty

Meaning:

  • (Noun): A nickname for Manhattan. Typically used by elitists.

New York’s Finest

Meaning:

  • (Noun): This is a nickname for the NYPD, or New York City’s police force.
  • Example: “She was proud to join the ranks of New York’s finest.”

There are many things in New York City that have nicknames, but did you know the city itself has tons of nicknames? You can learn more about them in our huge list of New York City nicknames.


SoHo

Meaning:

  • (Noun): SoHo is another nickname for an area. In this case, it refers to the area just south of Houston Street in Manhattan. It’s famous for being very artsy and gentrified.
  • Example: “Meet me in SoHo after work.”

The City

Meaning:

  • (Noun): The City is a flexible term. For some, it means New York City in general, and for others, it can specifically mean Manhattan.

The Park

Meaning:

  • (Noun): A casual nickname for Central Park, a large park located in the middle of Manhattan.
  • Example: “She loves to sit in the Park and feed the birds.”

UWS

Meaning:

  • (Noun): Another place-centered slang phrase. It stands for the “upper west side” of Manhattan.

Vanhattan

Meaning:

  • (Noun): A common cocktail in Manhattan. It mixes bourbon with other flavors, and many bartenders make it differently.
  • Example: “My favorite drink to order at this bar is a Vanhattan.”  

Wavy

Meaning:

  • (Adjective): In NYC, this is a widely used slang term that means cool or good.
  • Example: “His new haircut is mad wavy.”

Willage

Meaning:

  • (Noun): Another particular place in Manhattan. It’s a combination of the words “west” and “village,” referencing West Village in Manhattan. Known for its luxury clothing stores and restaurants.

Yurr/Yerr

Meaning:

  • (Interjection): Throughout NYC, this is a popular greeting. You literally just shout it at people instead of saying, “hey.”

Wrap Up

Given how trendy Manhattan is, it makes sense that the region has a few common slang words. Many of the slang words used in Manhattan are general to New York City, though, and there are a bunch more that you’ll find on our list of slang words used in New York.

If you’d like to learn words used in NYC’s other boroughs, check out our list of Bronx slang words and Queens slang words.

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