130+ New York Slang Words and Meanings (The Ultimate Guide)

One thing all people have in common, regardless of where they are, is that they communicate with others around them. The difference is how we all communicate with each other.

In specific regions of the same country, unique terminology develops that only people native to that region use. New York is a great example of this, with slang words it can proudly call its own.

We’ve created this master list of New York slang words. Keep checking back to see our additions to the list as we learn new phrases, so you can learn them, too.


New York Slang Words (in Alphabetical Order)

730

Meaning:

  • (adjective): Meaning crazy or insane. Comes from the code used by the police, meaning a criminal or perpetrator is deranged and unstable. 
  • Example: Davey’s 730! You don’t mess with him.

A Dub

Meaning:

  • (noun): An event or task you really don’t want to do.
  • Example: “This party is a dub. Let’s go home.”
  • (verb): To snub or reject someone.
  • Example: “The guy I was talking to dubbed me.”

A Hunnit 

Meaning: 

  • (Adjective): To be straight or 100% real with someone.
  • Example: "He was being a hunnit when he told his girlfriend what happened." 

Ace

Meaning:

  • (adjective): Really good.
  • Example: “That movie was ace! Let’s go see it again!”

Aggy

Meaning:

  • (Adjective) Someone or something that is irritating or agitating.
  • Example: Stop making that sound! It’s really aggy for me.
  • (Verb) To annoy or make fun of someone.
  • Example: John doesn’t get that he aggies me when he tries to woo me with gifts.

Ah Ah

Meaning:

  • (expression): An alternative way of saying etc. or so on, so forth.
  • Example: "My mom said she invited my cousin, my sister, my grandma, ah ah ah."
  • (expression): Acknowledgment of a person, thing, or statement.
  • Example: "He said ah ah to me when I walked past." 

Akh

Meaning:

  • (noun): A friendly term indicating respect or familiarity.
  • Example: Thanks for the help, Akh! 

B

Meaning:

  • (noun): A true friend, someone you are close to.
  • Example: “How’s it going, B?”

Baba

Meaning:

  • (noun): A promiscuous woman, or someone who sleeps with many people insincerely.
  • Example: "I don't trust her - she's a baba."

Bacon Egg and Cheese

Meaning:

  • (noun): A popular type of sandwich with bacon, egg, and cheese on it. Usually condensed into one word. Sometimes abbreviated to BEC.
  • Example: "If you go to the bodega this morning, can you get me a baconeggandcheese?"

Basic

Meaning

  • (Adjective): Someone who is boring and unoriginal. 
  • Example: "You're just a basic thot." 

Beasty

Meaning:

  • (Noun) Something unpleasant or foul
  • Example: Henry’s car is beasty. The smell is disgusting and it doesn't seem like he cleans it.

Beef

Meaning:

  • (noun): A fight or grudge with someone.
  • Example: “Did you have beef with her last week?” 

Bet

Meaning:

  • (Expression): An acknowledgment, similar to saying "okay."
  • Example: "You don't want to go to the bar later? Bet." 

Bev

Meaning:

  • (noun): An abbreviation for the word "beverage." A drink.
  • Example: "He ordered the surf and turf, no bev."

Bird

Meaning:

  • (noun): Your middle finger.
  • Example: "She's buggin - she gave me the bird and I don't know why."
  • (noun): Someone who is really loud or obnoxious.
  • Example: "She's a real bird when she's with her friends." 

Bodega

Meaning:

  • (noun): A smaller business or grocery store you can get all your basic supplies from.
  • Example: “I stopped by the bodega on my block to grab a few snacks.”

Book it

Meaning:

  • (Verb) To flee.
  • Example: I just hate this small city; nothing ever happens here. I wish I could just book it.
  • (Verb) To make a bet, especially in a competition.
  • Example: Cryptocurrency seems to be a really great investment these days. Book it.

Bop

Meaning:

  • (noun): A really good song. Also can be used as a verb to describe when you're vibing with a song.
  • Example: "Every single song on that album is a bop." 
  • Example 2: "I'm really bopping to this song right now."

Brick

Meaning:

  • (adjective): Extremely cold or chilly in regards to temperature.
  • Example: “Make sure to wear a coat, because it’s brick out there.”

Brolic

Meaning:

  • (adjective): Someone who's extremely muscular or fit.
  • Example: "He makes me thirsty because he's dumb brolic." 

Buck Fifty

Meaning:

  • (noun): A type of cut on someone's face that goes from one side of their mouth to their ear. Supposedly, the cut is only done by gang members.
  • Example: "Alicia got a buck fifty after running into some sus people last week."

Buggin

Meaning:

  • (verb): To freak out or behave in an overly dramatic manner.
  • Example: "My dad is buggin because the Yankees lost tonight."

Bussin

Meaning:

  • (Adjective) Something that means extremely awesome or great.
  • Example: Their music is bussin. Let's go and watch their show this Saturday.

Cat

Meaning:

  • (Noun) Refers to a person that is spiteful, usually a lady.
  • Example: Don’t get on her bad side. She’s one mean cat.

Catch these hands

Meaning:

  • (verb): Indicates you are going to start a fight with someone.
  • Example: “If my sister keeps eating my snacks, she’s gonna catch these hands.”

Chicken

Meaning:

  • (Noun/Adjective) Someone who is afraid, cowardly, or timid. 
  • Example: Dave ran away when the light went out. He is such a chicken
  • (Noun) Refers to cash, money, prizes, or anything of value.
  • Example: Dinner is on me fellas. I got the chicken from last week’s work.

Chief

Meaning:

  • (Verb) To smoke marijuana or pot.
  • Example: Freddie chiefed yesterday but he’s still high until now.

Chopped

Meaning:

  • (Adjective) High and drunk at the same time.
  • Example: I don't think they'll let you in the club with how chopped you are right now.

Clachet

Meaning:

  • (Noun): A person who would be trashy and class-less normally, but tries to make up for it with classy things like a makeover. 
  • Example: "My girlfriend is a bit of a clachet, but I love her, anyway." 

Clean

Meaning:

  • (Adjective) Often used by someone to describe themselves or others as without any fault or not having touched drugs or alcohol. 
  • Example: Raffy has been clean since leaving rehab 6 months ago.

Clipped

Meaning: 

  • (Adjective): Over with or done. 
  • Example: "My life is going to be clipped when my mom finds out where I was." 

Cop

Meaning:

  • (verb): To purchase or buy something
  • Example: “I think I’m going to cop that purse.”
  • (noun): A police officer
  • Example: “Watch out – there’s a cop looking at you.”

Crusty

Meaning:

  • (adjective): Use this to refer to a person who is filthy or disgusting.
  • Example: “My boyfriend needs to take a bath, because he’s getting crusty.”

Cuddy

Meaning:

  • (Noun) It is used for people whom we consider friends or “homies.” Similar to buddy.
  • Example: Michael and I have been cuddies for a long time. We go way back.

Cut up

Meaning:

  • (Verb) To act like a clown or in a nonsensical manner. May also mean to misbehave.
  • Example: He's the worst when he's drunk; he cuts up and embarrasses himself.

Dayroom

Meaning:

  • (Noun) Any person whom you are acquainted with or friends with but don’t talk often with. Can also be used to describe when someone is being immature. 
  • Example: Riley is a dayroom, Bro. I mean we just nod and greet but that’s it

Dead

Meaning:

  • (Adjective) An expression of something that is really funny, amazing, or adorable.
  • Example: I’m dead, dude! I cried laughing at that video you sent.

Dead-ass

Meaning:

  • (adjective): Behaving in a very grim, serious manner.
  • Example: “I definitely wasn’t laughing in the class – I was dead ass.”

Dime Piece

Meaning:

  • (noun): An attractive woman.
  • Example: "I really wanna link with that dime piece later." 

Drid

Meaning:

  • (Adjective) When you feel mad, annoyed, or irritated, especially when it is directed at someone.
  • Example: "Nicole really got on my nerves. I was drid when she started talking trash." 

Dude

Meaning:

  • (Noun) A catch-all term for any male person you know. However, it can also be used for females that you are close with. 
  • Example: "Dude! You said you would get us some hotdogs!"

Dumb

Meaning:

  • (adjective): Adds emphasis to something, like “very” or “so.”
  • Example: “The bagels from that bakery are dumb tasty.”

Dun

Meaning:

  • (Noun): An alternative way of saying "son." Used to refer to good friends.
  • Example: "My dun bought me a bacon egg and cheese this morning."

Eats 

Meaning:

  • (Noun): You can probably guess what this one mean. Eats is just a general way of referring to food.
  • Example: "I'm hungry, bro. Let's go grab some eats." 

Facts

Meaning:

  • (noun): Something that’s true.
  • Example: “I swear I’m not lying – these are cold, hard facts.”

Finesse

Meaning:

  • (Verb): Using clever means to get what you want. 
  • Example: "She had to finesse her way into the bar, but it was easy."

Fire

Meaning:

  • (Adjective): Attractive, gorgeous, or visually stunning. 
  • Example: "You're looking mad fire today." 

Forget about it

Meaning:

  • (phrase): Can be used to indicate agreement, disbelief, or that something is really good.
  • Example: "There's no way your bagels are as good as mine - forget about it!"

Front

Meaning:

  • (verb): Pretending to be something you aren’t.
  • Example: “He’s fronting like he cares about her, but he really doesn’t.”

Gangster

Meaning:

  • (Noun) Originates from the gangsters and mobsters that dominated the 1930s. It means someone has this tough and street style. It may also be used for someone who is hostile and violent.
  • Example: You don’t mess with me! I’m a gangster that will destroy your life!

Good Looks

Meaning:

  • (Interjection): No, this doesn't mean you're complimenting someone's appearance. You say good looks when someone does you a favor as a way of thanking them.
  • Example: 
    • Person 1: "Here, let me get the door for you."
    • Person 2: "Good looks!" 

Gotham

Meaning:

  • (noun): In the Batman universe, this refers to the central corrupt city patrolled by the Dark Knight. New Yorkers jokingly refer to New York City as Gotham sometimes.
  • Example: “I’ll be hanging out in Gotham this weekend.”

Green

Meaning:

  • (Adjective) Conveys that someone is young, does not have a lot of knowledge, or is too inexperienced
  • Example: Boy, you’re too green to help out. Go back inside!
  • (Noun) Refers to cash or money.
  • Example: Jackie got the greens after she received her inheritance.

Grill

Meaning:

  • (verb): To investigate/examine thoroughly.
  • Example: “Hey, why’re you grilling me?”

Grimey

Meaning:

  • (noun): A traitor, someone you can’t trust.
  • Example: “Don’t trust her – she’s a grimey.”

Grit

Meaning:

  • (Noun) Strength, courage, or spirit of someone or something. 
  • Example: They may be amateurs but they have the grit of the Knicks.

Guap

Meaning:

  • (noun): Another way of referring to money.
  • Example: “I go to work every day so I can bring home that guap.”

Gucci

Meaning:

  • (Adjective): In New York, if someone says something is gucci, they're just saying it's good.
  • Example: "Don't worry, I'm gucci." 

Heard You

Meaning:

  • (Expression) This means that you acknowledge what the person said and they need not repeat it. It may be used in an affirmative or negative method.
  • Example:  "Heard you, Mom! I’ll clean after my game."

Holla

Meaning

  • (Verb): To talk to someone.
  • Example: "Stop asking me what he did last night and holla at him." 

Hollywood

Meaning:

  • (adjective): Someone who's really busy or seems too good to hang out with you.
  • Example: "Stop acting so Hollywood and talk to me." 

Homeslice

Meaning

  • (Noun) A fun and more whacky way of saying “homie.”
  • Example: Yo, Homeslice! Haven’t seen you much since the basketball game.

Hooptie

Meaning:

  • (noun): A crappy car.
  • Example: “I know my car is a hooptie, but it gets the job done.”

Hump

Meaning:

  • (Noun) Famously used in New York, Hump means ass or butt, in a figurative and literal manner
  • Example: Stop busting my hump, Gloria. I did everything I could to win that deal.
  • (Noun) Derogatory, a stupid person.
  • Example: That hump used my car without permission and got caught by the police.

Hurd

Meaning:

  • (Verb) It just means “heard.” It originates from the same word and is like “heard”, often used when texting.
  • Example: Stop shouting. I hurd you from the next street.

Jacking

Meaning

  • (Verb) to steal something, usually of low value, from somebody.
  • Example: He makes good money from his job so I don't understand he jacked the hotel towels and toiletries.

Jawn

Meaning:

  • (Noun) An umbrella term for anything or anyone. A very flexible and versatile slang word used to substitute any noun.
  • Example: "We were driving across the street and the car broke down in the middle of nowhere, somewhere where there was absolutely no jawn."

Jiggy

Meaning:

  • (Verb) A 90s slang word for “getting loose," or uninhibited, usually in a sexual sense.
  • Example: "The city changed her, I don't think she was this jiggy back home."

Jimmy

Meaning:

  • (Noun) A marijuana joint or cigarette
  • Example: Hide that jimmy from Mom. Just smoke it later.
  • (Noun) Condoms or any sexual protection
  • Example: "Don’t go out partying without any jimmies. You never know."

Jit

Meaning:

  • (Noun) Generally, a person younger than you but in New York, it has come to be used for younger thugs or gangster-wannabes.
  • Example: "You crazy jit! Would your mom be proud of what you’re doing."

Jones

Meaning:

  • (Noun) An old slang word in New York referring to a craving (food, alcohol, illicit drugs).
  • Example: Joseph’s life came crashing down because of his heroin jones.

Ice

Meaning:

  • (noun): Jewelry.
  • Example: “She must be rich – look at all that ice she’s wearing.”

I’m good.

Meaning:

  • (expression): Indicates you’re doing all right, usually as a response to a question like, “how are you?”
  • Example: “I’m good. Thanks for asking.”

I'm weak.

Meaning:

  • (Expression): This is actually a good thing. You say this when someone has made you laugh to the point of physical weakness or tears.
  • Example: "That was the funniest thing I've seen in awhile. I'm weak!" 

Jatty

Meaning:

  • (Noun): A woman's butt that is large and attractive. 
  • Example: "You know my girl has that jatty." 

Kid

Meaning:

  • (noun): A good friend, someone you’re close to.
  • Example: “How’s it going, kid?”

Kicks

Meaning:

  • (noun): Shoes.
  • Example: “I just got some new kicks yesterday.”

Lit

Meaning: 

  • (adjective): Really good or amazing.
  • Example: “That song was lit. Let’s play it again.”

Link

Meaning:

  • (verb): To meet up with someone.
  • Example: "Let's link later and get some drinks."

Ma

Meaning:

  • (Noun) A pretty, hot, or cute lady. 
  • Example: Janice is a ma. I won’t deny that.

Mac

Meaning:

  • (Noun) A slang word used by men to address a man they don't know.
  • Example: Hey, Mac. Can I borrow your phone to call someone? My phone just died, and I have an emergency.

Mack

Meaning:

  • (Verb) To try and seduce or flirt with someone.
  • Example: Roxanne is a fox. She is macking with the boss.

Mad

Meaning:

  • (adjective): Places emphasis on another adjective. Very or so.
  • Example: “That song was mad lit.”

Mo

Meaning:

  • (Noun) Short for modus operandi. A style or manner in which something is done.
  • Example: I wonder what his mo is, he's really been able to finish so much more work in the last couple of weeks.

Moe

Meaning

  • (Noun) A nickname used to refer to any male. It is similar to “son” or “boy.” 
  • Example: Yo, Moe! Let’s go get dinner. My treat.

Mook

Meaning:

  • (Noun) A New York Slang for crooks or criminals. May also be used for a foolish person. 
  • Example: The police caught a bunch of mooks robbing the TV store.

Moving Funny

Meaning:

  • (Verb): Behaving in a way that's suspicious or concerning.
  • Example: "My boyfriend was moving funny last night. Do you think we should break up?"

My Fault

Meaning:

  • (Interjection): You say this to apologize to someone or when you mess something up.
  • Example:
    • Person 1: "Why did you eat my last slice of pizza?"
    • Person 2: "My fault. I didn't know it was yours."

My Guy

Meaning

  • (Noun) A very versatile slang term used to point out to any person. Might be used in a disrespectful manner, depending on the context.

Na’mean

Meaning:

  • (expression): A shortened way of saying, “Do you know what I mean?”
  • Example: “This place gives me a bad feeling, na’mean?”

Ocky

Meaning:

  • (Adjective) Muscular or buff. Muscles are visibly bulging.
  • Example: You’re ocky, dude. Did you go to the gym last summer.
  • (Adjective) Something that’s fake or unoriginal
  • Example: Her bag might seem expensive but it’s all ocky.

OD

Meaning:

  • (verb): A short way for saying “overdoing” or “too much.”
  • Example:  “Her boss just asked her to make OD sales at work.”

Odee

Meaning:

  • (Adverb/Adjective): A slang originating from Brooklyn, New York. It is similarly to the word “very” and denotes exaggeration.
  • Example: "I’m odee tired from all the house cleaning."

Pause

Meaning:

  • (Expression) It is used similarly to “no homo.” It means that something that was previously said might be homosexual in nature but the speaker does not mean it that way.
  • Example: "Hey, man, you look great! You must have spent all summer going to the gym and getting a good tan. I can't believe you're this handsome and tanned. Pause."

Peep This

Meaning:

  • (Expression): Another way of saying, "watch this."
  • Example: "I always get wary when someone tells me to peep this." 

Pie

Meaning:

  • (noun): Pizza.
  • Example: “Let me get a piece of that pie for dinner.”

Rat

Meaning:

  • (Verb) To rat out means to expose someone with what they had done
  • Example: You ratted me out to Mom? But you didn’t tell her that you were a part of it!

Ratchet

Meaning:

  • (noun): A trashy or gross woman.
  • Example: “I don’t hang out with her, she’s a ratchet.”

Real Talk

Meaning:

  • (expression): Use it when you’re indicating you’re about to say something serious.
  • Example: “Real talk, I think I need to go to the hospital.”

Schmear

Meaning:

  • (noun): A large amount of cream cheese, usually in regards to a bagel topping.
  • Example: “Give me an everything bagel with schmear.”

Schtupp

Meaning:

  • (verb): To sleep with someone.
  • Example: “I’d love to schtupp him. He’s gorgeous.”

Schvitz

Meaning: 

  • (verb): A Jewish word that means “to sweat.” Used commonly by everyone in NY.
  • Example: “My boss had me schvitzing when he stood over my shoulder.”

Scrap

Meaning:

  • (Verb) To fight someone.
  • Example: Horrace and John scrapped outside after John getting wasted.
  • (Noun) Looking untidy/dirty/filthy
  • Example: You look like scrap; at least shower and wear a fresh change of clothes before seeing people.

Sherm

Meaning:

  • (Adjective) Conveys that something or someone is lame or not good.
  • Example: The latest season was sherm. They should have just cancelled it.
  • (Noun) Tobacco mixed with weed, PCP, or drugs that people smoke to get high.
  • Example: Jackson loves to smoke sherm but sometimes takes it too far.

Shorty/Shawty

Meaning:

  • (Noun): An affectionate way of referring to a beautiful woman.
  • Example: "Did you get that shorty's number?" 

Sleaze

Meaning:

  • (Noun) A slang term similar to “sleazeball.” A vulgar and horrible person.
  • Example: "After what he did to his parents, everyone considers him a sleaze."

Spliff

Meaning: 

  • (Noun): A joint or blunt.
  • Example: "Put down your spliff for a second and look at me." 

Static

Meaning:

  • (Noun) A complaint or criticism of something, especially when there is no progress or there is a mishandling. 
  • Example: "The whole neighborhood aired static about how horrible the new mayor was at his job."

Stoop

Meaning:

  • (Noun) The small staircase that leads to a New York apartment.
  • Example: "My stoop got all moldy because of the lack of cleaning and constant rain."

Spaz

Meaning:

  • (verb): To freak out or explode.
  • Example: “If he keeps chewing with his mouth open, I’m going to spaz out.”

Note: These days, spaz is considered an extremely offensive term to use because of its relation to people with certain disorders. You may want to be cautious when using this word or simply avoid using it entirely. We've included it here purely for informative purposes.

SoHo

Meaning: 

  • (noun): Refers to a particular part of New York City that’s south of Houston Street.
  • Example: “I’m living in SoHo these days.”

Son

Meaning:

  • (noun): A close friend. Kind of like saying “dude.”
  • Example: “How you doing, son?”

Snuff

Meaning:

  • To throw a punch or hit someone or something.
  • Example: “Don’t pick a fight with him, because he has no problem snuffing you in the back.”

Sus

Meaning:

  • (adjective): Short for suspicious.
  • Example: “You should check his phone, because he’s acting mad sus.”

Take it There/Taking it there

Meaning:

  • (expression): Starting a fight with someone.
  • Example: “I’m gonna take it there if you keep talking to my girlfriend.”

The City

Meaning: 

  • (noun): Another way of referring to New York City as a whole. It’s also often used to refer specifically to Manhattan.
  • Example: “I’ll be hanging out in The City tonight.”

Tight

Meaning:

  • (adjective): Angry or upset.
  • Example: “He’s tight because you snuffed him in the throat.”

Timbs

Meaning: 

  • (Noun): A specific brand of shoes often worn by men. There are many who will say that you're not a real Nw Yorker if you don't own a pair of Timbs.
  • Example: "I always wear my Timbs when it's brick outside." 

Thirsty

Meaning: 

  • (adjective): Desperate and clingy, usually in regards to romance.
  • Example: “Stop being so thirsty, or you’ll scare her off.”

Thirstbucket

Meaning:

  • (noun): A person who’s really thirsty (desperate).
  • Example: “You’re being a real thirstbucket right now. No wonder she’s ignoring you.”

Treesh

Meaning:

  • (noun): Another term for a promiscuous woman. Often said with "baba" in front it.
  • Example: "I'd stay away from her - she's a treesh."

Trippin’/tripping

Meaning:

  • (verb): Behaving in an overly dramatic fashion or freaking out.
  • Example: “She’s tripping because she thinks her boyfriend is cheating on her.”

Wavy

Meaning:

  • (adjective): Cool or neat.
  • Example: “Her new haircut is wavy. Maybe I should get one like that, too.”

We out

Meaning:

  • (expression): A way of indicating that you’re heading out or leaving somewhere.
  • Example: “Thanks for inviting us, but we out.”

Whack

Meaning:

  • (adjective): Gross, weird, revolting, or repellant in nature.
  • Example: “Her attitude is mad whack, so I blocked her.”

What’s good?

Meaning:

  • (expression): Another way of asking, “how are you doing?”
  • Example: “What’s good, B?”

What it do?

Meaning:

  • (expression): A way to ask someone what they’re up to.
  • Example: “Yo, son, what it do?”

What's the Word?

Meaning:

  • (Expression): A way to ask someone what's up or what's going on.
  • Example: 
    • Person 1: "What's the word?"
    • Person 2: "I'm just linking up with my friends now." 

Whip

Meaning:

  • (noun): A high-end or luxurious car.
  • Example: “Look at that whip he just bought.”

Wildin/Wylin

Meaning:

  • (verb): Freaking out or overreacting. Usually pronounced like "wylin."
  • Example: "He was wildin when the screen on his phone broke."

Wock/Wocky

Meaning:

  • (Adverb/Adjective) When someone is acting unlike their normal state or is acting fake, they are wock.
  • Example: "Chandler was acting wock yesterday because he got in trouble with his wife."
  • (Noun) A type of cough syrup that is added with soft drinks. Wock is often used to get high.
  • Example: "Monica says that she takes Wock recreationally to ease her anxiety."

Woo

Meaning:

  • (Noun) A gang with famous rappers that originated in New York.
  • Example: "Woo is legit, bro! They are real and all badass."

Woody

Meaning:

  • (Noun) An erection (vulgar).
  • Example: "Don't call it a woody, be an adult and say erection."

Word to My...

Meaning:

  • (Expression): There are many variations of this phrase. You can say word to my dead, word to my mom, or word to my dad. They all mean the same thing: you're swearing that something is the truth.
  • Example: "I saw a ghost in my bedroom last night. Word to my mom." 

Yerr/Yurr

Meaning:

  • (Expression) Often used in the New Jersey and New York area. It is a form of greeting amongst friends and done in a screaming passion
  • Example: Yerrrrr! How are you doing after all the stuff that’s happened?

Yooz

Meaning:

  • (pronoun): A plural way of saying you. Similar to saying “you all.”
  • Example: “Yooz want to run to the bodega with me to grab some snacks?”

You Good?

Meaning:

  • (Expression) When used in a sincere manner, It means that you are asking people if they are okay.
  • Example: You Good? Losing your dog must have been hard.
  • (Expression) A form of gratitude or “Thank You.”
  • Example: I appreciate your help with my paper. You good.
  • (Expression) When in a conflict and this phrased is used, it is equal to saying “Do we have a problem?”
  • Example: You’ve been staring at me all night. You Good?
  • (Expression) It can also mean that we are finished, the conversation has ended, or you may go now.
  • Example: You good. I’ll just follow up if I have any questions.

Your Mom's Dead Outside

Meaning:

  • (Expression) It says that your mother is outside right now and she might be furious or has been waiting for very long.
  • Example: Looks like you're gonna be in trouble again. Your mom’s dead outside.

New York Slang 1920s

Bee's Knees

Meaning:

  • (Adjective) Originally means small or insignificant during the 1800s but in the 1920s, its meaning became something or someone that is outstanding or great.
  • Example: Anthony’s burgers really hit the spot. They are the bee’s knees.

Bootleg

Meaning:

  • (Noun) During the 1920s, alcohol was banned and the term “bootleg” came to be used for illegally made and sold liquor or alcoholic beverage. 
  • Example: It's a known fact that their family got rich off of bootleg in the 1920s.

Bronx Cheer

Meaning:

  • (Noun) Believed to have originated in the Bronx area, it is akin to “blowing a raspberry”. A Bronx Cheer is an insulting action that is made to sound like a fart by blowing air through a closed mouth while the tongue is out.  
  • Example: At the game, the star pitcher of the rival team got a loud Bronx Cheer from the home crowd.

Hooch

Meaning:

  • (Noun) Another term for booze or alcohol in the 1920s. Alcohol had to be called another name because it was banned. 
  • Example: Mike’s hooch is quite tasty. I hope he shares a barrel with us. 

Jack

Meaning:

  • (Noun) Jack means money, cash, or valuables.
  • Example: Mom, I don’t have jack to give. I lost my job. 

Jake

Meaning:

  • (Adjective) It means great, fine, or okay.
  • Example: Everything’s Jake. Just got tired from cleaning up.

Know One's Onions

Meaning:

  • (Expression) To know what someone is referring to or to be knowledgeable about something. 
  • Example: Mary knows her onions, especially with running the house.

Scram

Meaning:

  • (Verb) Comes from “scramble.” It means to leave, get out, scatter, or escape immediately.
  • Example:  They had scrammed just right before the police arrived.

Spiffy

Meaning:

  • (Adjective) Having a fashionable or elegant appearance. 
  • Example: Wow, you're looking all spiffy. Going anywhere fancy?

Swell:

Meaning:

  • (Adjective) Meaning great or fine but could also imply being rich or well-off.
  • Example: Tim’s life is swell. That’s what happens when your dad is an oil tycoon. 

New York Slang 1970s

Big Apple

Meaning:

  • (Noun) New York City was known as the “Big Apple” because of the tourism campaign during the 70s.
  • Example: The Big Apple is a dream place for many. Opportunity and cultural diversity in it is amazing.

Bomb

Meaning:

  • (Adjective) Something cool, amazing, or just plain interesting.
  • Example: He turned his old truck into this bomb customized car. 

Boogie

Meaning:

  • (Verb) To dance in a funky and groovy manner. 
  • Example: Jackson was boogieing at the disco. Everyone loved his energy.

Bummer

Meaning:

  • (Noun) Bad news. May also mean something or someone that will ruin the mood or create some depressing environment.
  • Example: They cancelled the exchange student program. I've always wanted to live in Europe for sometime. What a bummer.

Catch You On The Flip-Side

Meaning:

  • (Expression) Since the other side of today is tomorrow, this expression simply means “See you tomorrow.”
  • Example: Catch you on the flip-side, bro. I had fun today at the amusement park.

Crib

Meaning:

  • (Noun) Refers to one’s apartment or room.
  • Example: My crib is pretty sick. It’s got nice furniture, stereo speakers, and a big TV.

Far Out

Meaning:

  • (Expression) it means something is really cool or amazing.
  • Example: Far Out! Your crib has the latest tech for easier living. 

Skinny

Meaning:

  • (Noun) May substitute “truth,” “story,” or “real deal.” Often used in phrases that reveal what really happened.
  • Example: Here’s the skinny. Jackie got pregnant and her parents decided to meet the dad.

Take A Chill Pill

Meaning:

  • (Expression) It means taking it easy and just relax.
  • Example: Take a chill pill, dad. Daniel knows what’s up and you don’t have to get worked up.

Zippy

Meaning:

  • (Adverb) To move fast or quickly.
  • Example: Taxi! To the JFK Airport, please, zippy!

New York Slang 1980s

Boho

Meaning:

  • (Noun) A bohemian or anyone who does not conform to society, often focusing on art and expressing uniqueness. They wear strange and quirky clothes. Became famous due to the influx of bohemians during the 1980s. 
  • Example: Dad doesn't like bohos because of their weird disposition and hippie-like way of living. 

Bounce

Meaning:

  • (Verb) To leave or get out of here
  • Example: It’s time to bounce, man. We’re in trouble if we don’t go back in time.

Duh

Meaning:

  • (Expression) Used often in a condescending and insulting manner to express that something that was stated was very obvious or was very stupid.
  • Example: Duh! You shouldn’t leave children with scissors!

Gnarly

Meaning:

  • (Adjective) Originally a surfing term for challenging or dangerous, it transformed and was often used to denote something that is amazing or bizarre.
  • Example: Gnarly, bro! How did you pull off that skateboard trick.

Have A Cow

Meaning:

  • (Expression) To have an emotional fit or getting overly upset about something.
  • Example: Don’t have a cow, Brenda! You’ll get your money back.

Not Even

Meaning:

  • (Expression) This is something you say when you think someone is incorrect. It simply denies or refutes the statement without any proper reason.
  • Example: Not even. Jenny does not have a thing for me.

Radical/rad

Meaning:

  • (Adjective) Like gnarly, this one is borrowed from surfer vocabulary. Radical, also used as rad, meant something extremely good or jaw-dropping. 
  • Example: The way the football game went was just radical. Who knew we would have won!

Tubular

Meaning:

  • (Adjective) Tubular was one of the most prominent slang word in the 80s, Also coming from surfer lingo, tubular meant breathtaking, awe-inspiring, or just plain awesome.
  • Example: Everything’s tubular, bro. We got to ride some legit waves at the beach.

Zeek

Meaning:

  • (Noun) A nerd or geek with a huge amount of charm and appeal that make them very desirable.
  • Example:  You are a total zeek. You like nerd stuff but you are also really cute and genuine.

New York Slang In The 1990s

Be Easy

Meaning:

  • (Expression) Same as “take it easy.” You say this to someone who needs to relax and not get upset.
  • Example: Be easy, man! You don’t need to shout at a kid. 

Brick

Meaning:

  • (Adjective) It means really, really cold or near freezing.
  • Example: Get a coat because it’s mad brick outside.

Bugging Out

Meaning:

  • (Expression) Generally means the same as freaking out.
  • Example: Stop bugging out. It’s just dark and ghosts are not real.

Fresh

Meaning:

  • (Adjective) When something is original and good. Then it is fresh.
  • Example: The new show is fresh. It had all kinds of stuff and so I got hooked.

Herb

Meaning:

  • (Noun) Someone who is lame or dumb.
  • Example: Be cool and don’t be a herb. We don’t get a chance like this every day.

OD

Meaning:

  • (Adjective/ Adverb) Originally from the Bronx area. OD is used to say that something is far too extreme or just too much, likely short for "overdo/overdone".
  • Example: The prank was just OD, dude. You got to apologize.

Phat

Meaning:

  • (Adjective) When something is nice or cool, you can say Phat to denote your interest.
  • Example: Dave’s workshop is so phat that I want to work with him.

Shorty

Meaning:

  • (Noun) A term of endearment for attractive, young, and short women. 
  • Example: Shorty! Brought you some flowers and tickets to the game.

Talk one's hand

Meaning:

  • (Expression) When you want to reject someone or just stop talking to them, you say this slang phrase. 
  • Example: Talk to my hand! I’m tired and I’m outta here. 

Tight 

Meaning:

  • (Adjective) Tight means best, great, shocking, and the like. 
  • Example: The action was tight in last week’s WWF episode. 

Wrap Up

If you’re ever traveling through New York, this guide should help you understand what the locals are saying. Feel free to keep checking back on this guide for additional words.

As we learn more new phrases or new slang naturally develops, we’ll be adding to this list. It’s never a bad idea to familiarize yourself with the terminology of places you’re visiting.

Slang develops that's unique to each neighborhood, too. The Bronx is a historical neighborhood with its own original terminology, and you can look at this post to learn more about slang used there.

Or check out all of our related NY articles below!


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