Chicago slang

Posted on Wednesday, Feb 14, 2007

My mom emailed this to me today. Some of them are funny. Some of them are not. They also forgot the Chicagoan propensity to refer to everything as “the” something. Also, they left off the tendency to end sentences with prepositions. To wit – “I’m going to the Dominick’s. Want to come with?”

  1. Grachki (grach’-key): Chicagoese for “garage key” as in, “Yo, Theresa, waja do wit da grachki? Howmy supposta cut da grass if I can’t git intada grach?”

  2. Sammich: Chicagoese for sandwich. When made with sausage, it’s a sassage sammich; when made with shredded beef, it’s an Italian Beef sammich, a local delicacy consisting of piles of spicy meat in a perilously soggy bun.

  3. Da: This article is a key part of Chicago speech, as in “Da Bears” or “Da Mare” (the latter denoting Richard M. Daley, or Richie, as he’s often called).

  4. Jewels: Not family heirlooms or a tender body region, but a popular name for one of the region’s dominant grocery store chains. “I’m goin’to Jewels to pick up some sassage.”

  5. Field’s: Marshall Field, a prominent Chicago department store. Also Carson Pirie Scott, another major department store chain, is simply called “Carson’s.”

  6. Tree: The number between two and four. “We were lucky dat we only got tree inches of snow da udder night.”

  7. Over by dere: Translates to “over by there,” a way of emphasizing a site presumed familiar to the listener. As in, “I got the sassage at Jewels down on Kedzie, over by dere.”

  8. Kaminski Park: The mispronounced name of the ballpark where the Chicago White Sox (da Sox) play baseball. Comiskey Park was recently renamed U.S. Cellular Field (da Cell).

  9. Frunchroom: As in, “Getottada frunchroom wit dose muddy shoes.” It’s not the “parlor.” It’s not the “living room.” In the land of the bungalow, it’s the “frunchroom,” a named derived, linguists believe, from “front room.”

  10. Use: Not the verb, but the plural pronoun ‘you!’ “Where use goin’?”

  11. Downtown: Anywhere near Da Lake, south of Da Zoo (Lincoln Park Zoo) and north of Soldier Field.

  12. The Lake: Lake Michigan. (What other lake is there?) It’s often used by local weathermen, “cooler by Da Lake.”

  13. Boystown: A section on Halsted between Belmont and Addison which is  lined with gay bars both sides of the street. “Didn’t I see use in Boystown in front of da Manhole?”

  14. Braht: Short for Bratwurst. “Gimme a braht wit kraut.”

  15. Goes: Past or present tense of the verb “say.” For example, “Then he goes, ‘I like this place’!”

  16. Guys: Used when addressing two or more people, regardless of each individual’s gender.

  17. Pop: A soft drink. Don’t say “soda” in this town. “Do ya wanna cannapop?”

  18. Sliders: Nickname for hamburgers from White Castle, a popular Midwestern burger chain. “Dose sliders I had last night gave me da shits.”

  19. The Taste: Da Taste of Chicago Festival, a huge extravaganza in Grant Park featuring samples of Chicagoland cuisine which takes place each year around the Fourth of July holiday.

  20. “Jieetyet?”: Translates to, “Did you eat yet?”

  21. Winter and Construction: Punch line to the joke, “What are the two seasons in Chicago?”

  22. Cuppa Too-Tree: is Chicagoese for “a couple, two, three” which really means “a few.” For example, “Hey Mikey, dere any of dem beerz left in da cooler over by dere?” “Yeh, a cuppa too-tree.”

  23. 588-2300: Every one in Chicago knows this commercial jingle and the carpet company you’ll get if you call that number — Empire! (Famous for their salesmen using 30 inch yard sticks to measure your home for carpeting).

  24. Junk Djor: You will usually find the ‘junk drawer’ in the kitchen filled to the brim with miscellaneous… but very important, junk.

  25. Southern Illinois: Anything south of I-80.

  26. Expressways: The Interstates in the immediate Chicagoland area are usually known just by their ‘name’ and not their Interstate num ber: Da Dan Ryan (“Da Ryan”), da Stevenson, da Kennedy, da Eisenhower (da “Ike”), and da Edens.

  27. Gym Shoes: The rest of the country may refer to them as sneakers or running shoes, but Chicagoans will always call them gym shoes!

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