We Arizonans seem to have a language all our own, whether it’s using commonly spoken words in a completely different way or making up our own phrases altogether. See how many of these words and phrases you recognize and use on a regular basis:
1. "It's a dry heat."
Oh, those infamous four words every Arizonan loves to hate. The phrase manages to, without fail, escape our lips each time summer rolls around, no matter how hard we groan while saying it.
2. Swamp box
When it's hot outside, we don't turn on the air conditioner - we turn on the swamp box. The term doesn't make much sense considering we live in an arid desert climate, but it stuck nonetheless.
3. Motor Vehicle Division
We don't go to the "DMV" here in Arizona - instead, we go to the MVD: Motor Vehicle Division. It's a subtle difference, but one that makes no mistake about where a person is from.
If you're a native Arizonan, chances are this term makes a regular appearance in your everyday dialogue. It refers to the intense dust storms that dry areas, like our state, experience seasonally.
5. Sonoran dogs
Hot dogs are classic American fare, but our version takes the dish to a whole new level. The dogs are bacon-wrapped and grilled, served on a bolillo-style bun, and topped with pinto beans, onions, tomatoes, and several more condiments depending on the vendor.
Local to Tucson, this quirky term is a portmanteau of the words "street" and "avenue" and refers to a roadway that runs diagonally between the two.
These people might refer to themselves as "winter visitors," but locals needed a means to distinguish them from regular tourists. This special breed of visitor migrates to Arizona during the colder months (often to escape the bitter winter weather in their home states), staying just long enough to learn our ways without ever being a true native.
While the rest of America calls these refreshing summer treats "snow cones" or "shaved-ice," we prefer to use the Spanish term. Derived from "raspar," which means "to scrape," the frozen delicacy is a must when temperatures start rising.
9. "The 10"
More Southwestern slang than exclusively Arizonan terminology, prefacing the name of a highway with "the" is a telltale sign of where in the U.S. someone hails from. What can we say? It just rolls off the tongue so much more smoothly.
When Monsoon season arrives during the summer months, it can be quite disruptive. The term "Chubasco" originated in Mexico and Central & South America, meaning a "violent squall with thunder and lightning, encountered during the rainy season." You might get strange looks using the word anywhere else outside of Arizona, but natives won't give it a second thought.
11. "The Big Ditch"
Of course, we'll never deny the Grand Canyon's awe-inspiring beauty, but living so close to it has spoiled us for life. This term isn't intended to be offensive, but rather to serve as a lighthearted joke showing how desensitized us desert rats are to one of the world's most incredible natural wonders.
How many of these words and phrases do you use on a regular basis? Are there any you’re just now hearing about? Are there others you would add to this list? Let us know your thoughts!