Living in the wilds of Western Massachusetts has given me a unique opportunity to use and be influenced by words and phrases you just won’t hear anywhere else in the country. Here’s my top 10, in no particular order.
1. Wicked – adjective, exclamation. Means “very” usually- especially when used in conjunction with other adjectives. “Dude, that show last night was wicked awesome! My relatives living in the Pacific Northwesthad a wicked hard time figuring out how something could be “wicked good” at the same time.
2. Pissed, pisser: noun, adjective. In Western MA if you are mad you are pissed, or pissed off. If you are very very angry you’re “wicked pissed”. Out towards Boston, the meaning changes. ” That party last night was a wicked pisser!” meaning a great time was had by all. Getting pissed also can mean getting very drunk. Pronounce this word “pissah” if you live east of Worcester. (wuh-stah)
3. Blinker- descriptive noun. You activate these when you want to make a turn or change lanes while driving.
4. “Down Cellar”- indicates location. Cellar, meaning the basement to the rest of the US. “I gotta go down cellar and put the laundry in the dryer.”
5. “So Don’t I.” a negative-positive phrase, indicates that you can totally relate to what the other person is saying, that you’ve done or do the same thing. (ie: “Me too”) “I hate when my food touches on my plate. So don’t I!”
6. Grinder: large long sandwich that can have either hot or cold ingredients. Also called a sub, or submarine sandwich (shaped like one), a hero, or a hoagie. (hoe-gee), if you live in Eastern MA. Not to be confused with a meat grinder, which can process ingredients for your grinder.
7. Rotary: circular road where other roads converge. Can be difficult to get off of if you’re unfamiliar with the area. “I drove around the rotary like 5 times before I figured out which lane I needed to be in to exit”.
8. Milkshake: blended ice cream, slushy consistency. Out towards Boston, this is referred to as a frappe. (frah-pp) What we consider a milkshake they call an ice cream soda. Thick milkshakes served at Friendly’s restaurants are called Fribbles. (rhymes with Tribbles, lol)
9. Pocketbook- what us lady folk keep our wallets, makeup ID and other things in. You might call it a purse or a handbag. We don’t.
10. Soda- as in Root Beer, Dr Pepper, ginger ale, Sprite, and Coca-Cola or Pepsi. Or, we call it the brand name. Upstate New Yorkers call a Coke a “Red Pop” or just “Pop”. Older Tennesseans call a Coke a “Black Dope.” I got a real kick out of that one!
Western MA is also the only region I know of that calls the evening before Halloween “Cabbage Night”. Apparently there weren’t enough pumpkins to smash…. So there you have it, my top 10 linguistic oddities/eccentricities native to my little corner of the world. Feel free to add yours!!!