Phillyisms: Your guide to local lingo

Welcome to Philadelphia! By now, your ears have probably adjusted to our melodious twang. In addition to the Accent of the Gods — admit it, you want to light it on fire less and less with each passing day — we have some local lingo you’ll want to familiarize yourself with while in town.

A friendly greeting, frequently followed by “buddy.” Also, a threatening shout, frequently followed by “buddy.”

The plural of “you.” Duh.

A handy, catch-all pronoun. We love this jawn.

Technically, this is the local convenience store chain of choice, although it also functions as a house of worship for many locals. We love this jawn, too.

A sandwich that you should not call a sub when ordering at Wawa, even though it’s basically a sub.

This is how we say “water.” Surrender now and let it wash over you like a warm bath.

Water ice
Somewhere between sorbet and shaved ice, a local summer treat with an admittedly confusing name. It is, of course, pronounced “wooder ice.”

Also known as sprinkles, a lovely addition to your ice cream. But not to your water ice — we tried, and it was gross.

A breakfast “meat” of mysterious origin. For whatever reason, we never bothered to find out what’s in this stuff.

A local drink special consisting of a shot of Jim Beam alongside a PBR pounder. This is why we can’t have nice things.

“Go back to Jersey!”
If someone screams this at you, they don’t agree with the way you’re driving. Being from Jersey or driving poorly isn’t a prerequisite.

The El/The Blue Line/the Market-Frankford
Fun fact: These all refer to the same subway, and this will be the least confusing part of your ride.

“Down the shore.” As in, the Jersey Shore, which Philadelphia effectively claimed as its own with one messy mumble.

You probably call it a “street.”

Before inviting you to lunch, this person wants to know if you’re hungry and is asking “Did you eat?” Really.

This person is referring to our football team, the Eagles. Really.

Whiz-Wit, etc.
According to local lore, when ordering a Philly cheesesteak, you must do so quickly and in precise, secret code: “wit” means onions, “wit-out” no onions, “whiz” is for Cheez Whiz, the list goes on. This, however, is not true. Like the infamous legend about Philadelphians throwing snowballs at Santa — which happened yes, but a very long time ago and we’ve already apologized, thank you very much — the quirk has become wildly exaggerated. The truth is, we’re honored to host you in our fair city, and we’ll happily help you order lunch. Unless you try to sub a salad for fries, in which case, you’re on your own, buddy — and go back to Jersey.

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