New York slang is an important part for many New Yorkers. If you’ve watched shows like Brooklyn Nine-Nine, How I Met Your Mother or Gossip Girl, then chances are that you have encountered New York slang. Like British slang, New York slang also exposes you to the rich, and diverse culture found in New York City.
From museums and food to Rockefeller Center, Central Park, and Broadway. It’s easy to see why New York City is considered to be one of the greatest places in the world and the place where dreams are made of. If you’re planning to live in New York, you’ll have to learn some of their slang in order to fit in, avoid misunderstandings, and learn fun, new nicknames to call your New York friends.
Here’s a list of the most commonly used New York Slang for you to learn!
Culture Behind New York Slangs
New York City is a densely populated area, with over 8 million residents. A large number of these residents, almost a third, are immigrants from other countries. As a result, New York City has developed its own unique language, that has been heavily influenced by the city’s linguistic and cultural diversity, combined with hip-hop culture.
Without further ado, let’s get down to learning New York slang!
New York Slang Words Meaning “To Get Into a Fight”
The slang words/terms below are all different ways of saying “get into a fight.” If you like to throw hands, then these are the perfect New York slang terms for you to learn.
When New Yorkers say that they’re going to “scrap” with someone, it means they’re going to fight with someone.
- “I got into a huge scrap with your brother last night”
Shoot The Fair
This term means, let’s fight just you and me, with no help from others.
- “You can keep talking, or we can go shoot the fair”
This term is used when people are about to get into a fistfight.
- “You keep running your mouth and I’m about to throw hands”
Take It There
This is yet another phrase for getting into a fight.
- “Why are you staring at me like that? You wanna take it there?”
New York Slang Words Related to Food/Drinks
The slang words/terms below are all food or drink-related terms, used commonly by New Yorkers to describe their favourite food or drinks.
This slang word refers to a single slice, of delicious New York style pizza.
- “Can I get a slice to-go, please”
Unlike the rest of the English speaking world, New Yorkers aren’t talking about pastry-based food when they say “pie,” they are talking about pizza.
- “Can we get a pie tonight from the pizzeria down the street? It’s delicious”
When you hear the words “Regular Coffee” you may think it’s ordinary black coffee. But, in New York, this means a coffee with a large helping of milk and sugar.
- “I get a regular coffee every morning before work”
A bev (short for beverage) describes the most important companion to New Yorkers – a drink!
- “I’m thirsty. Better go get a bev”
This is a Yiddish/Jewish word that means “to slather.” When you hear this term it’s usually used to mean a large helping of condiment, usually cream cheese.
- “One bagel with schmear, please”
New York Slang Words to Describe a Person or a Behavior
The slang words/terms below are commonly used by New Yorkers to describe a person or their behavior.
This word is used to describe an unfair and very selfish person.
- “Don’t go out with her, she’s grimy”
A New Yorker is usually made “staticky” by a situation that causes a desire to fight, or unwanted friction.
- “This guy bumped into me on the train, and got all staticky, like it was my fault”
Originating from the word aggravating, aggy is a condensed way of expressing extreme annoyance. People, places, things and situations can all be aggy.
- “Riding the subway makes me so aggy”
This New York slang term means to get really angry or aggressive with someone.
- “That guy knocked my drink over, and I just spazzed out at him”
This term describes a really big, strong, and muscly person
- “I heard he got really brolic after years of hitting the gym”
New Yorkers describe a person who is pretending to be better than they really are, as a person who is “Frontin’.”
- “Don’t be frontin’”
This word means to be absolutely absurd, preposterous, or unpredictable. It is to be wild to such a degree that it comes as a shock to others.
- “McDonalds’ in wildin’ for taking the snack wrap off their menu”
In New York City, to book it means to run very fast, or sprint. You can book it to the bus or train that’s leaving, or even from the cops.
- “Do you see that lady that’s booking it to the bus? It’s gonna leave her”
This slang word is usually used in the New York dating world, to describe someone who is acting desperate.
- “Don’t act so thirsty dude. Play it cool”
When someone in New York is trippin’ they are being dramatic or blowing things out of proportion.
- “Stop trippin’ over what I said. I didn’t mean it”
New York Slang Words that Mean New York or Other Areas
The slang words below are all nicknames for New York or other nearby areas.
This is a nickname for New York City. This name came to be long ago, when New York used to be a really corrupt city, like the one described in the Batman comics.
- “Crime is all too common here in Gotham”
Local New Yorkers call the island of Manhattan, The City.
- “Let’s go to the city this weekend”
This is anywhere south of Canal Street in Manhattan.
- “She went downtown to meet with her friends”
Other NYC Slang Words
Drid means to be annoyed, or irritated with a situation.
- “The transfer at Grand Central to the 7 makes me drid”
When a New Yorker says “it’s lit” it means that something is fun or amazing. It can also sometimes be used to refer to someone who has consumed too much alcohol.
- “Did you go to the New Year’s party last night? It was lit”
When something in New York is “wavy,” they’re not referring to the ocean. It means that something is cool or hip.
- “That concert last night was wavy”
This New York slang term is used to describe a situation or object that feels or looks suspicious.
- “That piece of cheese looks sus – don’t eat it”
In New York these two words can mean a whole range
- Are you okay?
- How are you doing?
- How have you been?
- You’re cool
- Is there a problem?
- “Don’t worry about it. You good”
- “I haven’t seen you in a long time. You good?”
In New York, if you’re going to “flip” on someone, it means you’re going to cancel your plans with them last minute.
- “Sorry to flip out on you tonight. I don’t feel very well”
When two New Yorkers have unresolved business or tension between them, these two people have beef with each other.
- “I think she has beef with you”
If you haven’t heard this phrase, you’ll be surprised to learn that it doesn’t actually mean a minute. “A minute” means a very long time. If two New Yorkers say they haven’t seen each other in “a minute” it means they haven’t seen each other in a long time.
- “I haven’t seen you in a minute! How have you been?”
This New York slang is usually used in place of “very” or “really when describing something or someone.
- “That place is hella far from here”
When New Yorkers call something or someone “ratchet,” it isn’t a good thing. It usually refers to someone who has a filthy appearance, or a place that looks really run down and filthy.
- “I heard the bathrooms in that place are ratchet. Don’t go there”
This word is used by New Yorkers to describe the extreme frigidity of the weather in winter, in New York.
- “It’s brick outside. Grab your coat”
This is a very short way of saying “do you know what I mean” in New York.
- “Our new boss is so rude. Na’ mean?”
If you live in a very lively New York neighborhood, you might hear bops blasting through car windows throughout the day. A bop is simply a New York term for a really good song.
- “Stray Kids’ song ‘Maniac’ is such a bop”
This New York slang word adds emphasis to the word that follows it, and can also be used to replace the words very, really or extremely when describing something.
- “Get your coat. It’s dumb cold outside”
This slang word is usually used to refer to a very expensive car.
- “Did you see Brian’s new whip?”
This is the New Yorker’s intensifying adverb of choice. It means “a lot” in New York slang.
- “This pizza is mad delicious”
This slang word has absolutely nothing to do with the luxury fashion brand, it’s merely a creative, and fun way to say “good” in New York.
- “Don’t worry about it. You’re gucci”
This slang word is usually used in a motivational context and simply means to give it your all, and do your absolute best.
- “Did you see her at the gym today? She was totally beastin’”
If a New Yorker ever calls you “kid” or “son” you should take it as a compliment, it means they see you as a very close friend.
- “Hey kid, what you doing tonight?”
- “You gotta calm down, son”
This New York slang word means to stare at someone in a relentless way or ask them questions in an accusatory way.
- “She kept grilling me all the way home yesterday”
When someone in New York says that they are “deadass” about something, it means they are completely serious about it.
- “I was deadass when I said I didn’t want to see you, yesterday”
A “bodega” is a small grocery store or convenience store, that isn’t a chain like 7-11 and is usually locally owned. You can usually get daily essentials and liquor here.
- “Are you going to the bodega? Can you pick me up some eggs and milk, please?”
FAQs for New York Slang
What does “word” mean in slang?
“Word,” when used correctly, can be one of the most versatile words in the English language, with about 18 different uses. It is one of the rare words that can mean exact opposites, depending on context, and tone. Let’s look at some of the ways in which “word” can be used:
It can be used to mean “okay”, or to communicate that you heard someone.
I’ll be there in 10.
Secondly, it can also mean “cool.”
I got an A on my test.
It can be used to mean “really” or to mean disbelief.
I got a new car!
What are the nicknames of New York?
New York is known by many nicknames, some of which have been mentioned above. These nicknames include, “Gotham,” “The City that Never Sleeps,” and perhaps the most popular one of all, “The Big Apple” this term used as a nickname for New York became popular in the 1920s.
Learn English with Lit New York Slang
Slang words are unique to every region of the world, and every language has its own slang words and phrases that they use. Only relying on formal grammar and vocabulary is very limiting, especially in conversational English, where people tend to use more informal language. Just like in your native language, using and learning the appropriate English slang words can help you express a broader range of feelings, thoughts, and emotions.
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