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Here Are 20 Words That You’ll Only Understand If You’re From Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has one of the most varied vocabularies in the entire country, representing five distinct dialects. Here are 20 of the most distinctive words that you will encounter in Pennsylvania.

1. Buggy

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In some places it’s a shopping cart, but often in PA we put our groceries in a buggy.

2. Crick

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This isn’t something that happens to your neck, rather it’s a small stream.

3. Gum bands

Rubber bands! Just don’t chew on them.

4. Hoagie

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There seems to be a great debate as to whether these delicious sandwiches are hoagies, subs, or gyros. All I know is that, no matter what you might call it, I wish I had one right now.

5. Jagoff

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Jagoff is an especially disparaging Pittsburghese word used to convey a feeling of someone being generally stupid, inconsiderate, or inept.

6. Philly

Philadelphia is referred to as Philly by almost everyone in Pennsylvania.

7. Djeetyet?

Did you eat yet?

8. Yinz, yinzer, yous, you guys

Depending on where you are in the state, you might encounter yinz (in Pittsburgh) or you guys (closer to Philly.) The term is so prevalent in Pittsburgh that residents of the city are referred to as Yinzers.

9. Mummer

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The Mummers Parade is held in Philadelphia every year on New Years Day. It is believed to be the oldest folk festival in the country.

10. State store

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Here in Pennsylvania, we can’t buy liquor at grocery stores or convenience stores, so we go to state stores to purchase our booze instead.

11. Dippy eggs

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Referred to as eggs over easy most other places, dippy eggs hold a special place in Pennsylvanians’ hearts.

12. Wooder

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Water! This is a variation found more commonly in the eastern part of the state.

13. Wawa

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Another eastern PA thing, Wawa fulfills all of our hoagie and quick snacking needs. We feel sorry for anyone who doesn’t recognize the name.

14. Dahntahn

Downtown.

15. N’at

A Pittsburghese staple, n’at means “and that.” It’s usually thrown onto the end of a sentence, as in, “We’re going down to the Steelers game n’at.”

16. Down the shore

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The Jersey shore.

17. Gesundheit

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This one comes straight from Pennsylvania’s Germanic roots. Gesundheit is the German version of “bless you,” said after someone sneezes, and it’s more prevalent in Pennsylvania than anywhere else in the U.S.

18. Slippy

Slippery.

19. Babushka

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A headscarf tied under the chin, worn by Russian or Polish women. Pennsylvania’s Polish roots brought the term to the region.

20. Scrapple

Yummmm.

There you have it… Your own Pennsylvania dictionary. What words or phrases have I left out?

Christi
Christi is from Allentown and currently lives and goes to school in Pittsburgh.