Recently I just rented a Beacon Hill apartment to a couple from New York and they mentioned there were some terms we here in Boston use that they weren’t familiar with. 

Look below for 12 New England slang words and what they mean. In no time you’ll be convincing people you’re from the snowy Northeast!

Bubbler

In the rest of the country, a bubbler is known as a water fountain or a water cooler. In the Northeast (particularly Massachusetts), it’s a bubbler, most likely because of the bubbling noise it makes when you empty it. Props to you if you say it with a broad Boston accent, turning the “r” into an “ah” sound.

While other people know this as the TV remote, Northeasterners refer to this device as the clicker. This one also makes sense, because of the clicking noise of the buttons as you push them to change the channel.

Frappe

In most of the United States, milkshakes are made with ice cream, milk and syrup or flavoring. In New England, however, a milkshake is only milk and syrup. A frappe is the thicker version that includes ice cream. This can get confusing for out-of-towners who are used to milkshakes containing ice cream, but just remember to ask for a frappe and you’ll be fine.

New England bonus: Cabinets are the Rhode Island-specific name for a frappe.

Jimmies

Sprinkles for cakes and ice creams in New England are known as jimmies. No one knows where the term came from, but it’s been around since roughly the 1930s.

Leaf peeper refers to tourists who come to New England to drive slow, eat doughnuts, and look at leaves throughout the fall season. New England has beautiful fall foliage and plenty of traditions that are unique to the autumn season, and leaf peepers are an important part of the economy during those months. We say it with affection!

Rotary

Instead of a roundabout (the traffic control where you drive in a circle, exiting and entering on a curve), New Englanders call it a rotary.

Mud season

Mud season is the worst possible season. Existing after winter but before spring, mud season is that so-called fifth season that’s cold and gray, but just warm enough that the ground turns to mud. The mud gets everywhere — in the car, in any establishment or home you walk into, on your clothes — and it’s just cold enough so the mud sometimes freezes, only to melt again and get everywhere.

In most of the country, people hold yard sales: a weekend event where you put items for sale on your front lawn and sell them to people walking by. In New England, they’re called tag sales, most likely because of the tags you attach to the items you want to sell.

Wicked

This one’s a given and perhaps the most well known of the New England slang terms. Wicked in New England, particularly around Massachusetts, is an intensifier of very, such as “wicked hard” or “wicked beautiful.” It’s a useful catch all, and it’s a wicked easy way to tell if someone’s from the area.

Carriage

Grocery carts are known as such in the rest of the country but in New England, they’re known as carriages. It’s just a fancier word for something you put eggs in. And if you hear buggy, you’re talking to someone from the South.

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The property listing data and information set forth herein were provided to MLS Property Information Network, Inc. from third party sources, including sellers, lessors and public records, and were compiled by MLS Property Information Network, Inc. The property listing data and information are for the personal, non commercial use of consumers having a good faith interest in purchasing or leasing listed properties of the type displayed to them and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties which such consumers may have a good faith interest in purchasing or leasing. MLS Property Information Network, Inc. and its subscribers disclaim any and all representations and warranties as to the accuracy of the property listing data and information set forth herein.
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© 2019 MLS Property Information Network, Inc. (MLSPIN). All rights reserved.
The property listing data and information set forth herein were provided to MLS Property Information Network, Inc. from third party sources, including sellers, lessors and public records, and were compiled by MLS Property Information Network, Inc. The property listing data and information are for the personal, non commercial use of consumers having a good faith interest in purchasing or leasing listed properties of the type displayed to them and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties which such consumers may have a good faith interest in purchasing or leasing. MLS Property Information Network, Inc. and its subscribers disclaim any and all representations and warranties as to the accuracy of the property listing data and information set forth herein.
MLS PIN data last updated at October 17, 2019 11:38 PM ET

Author Profile

John Ford
John Ford
EXPERIENCE

Over the course of 20 years in the Boston downtown real estate market, John represented and sold numerous, condominiums, investment and development properties in Greater Boston and in the surrounding suburbs



In addition to representing Boston condo buyers and sellers, John is currently one of the most recognized Boston condo blog writers regarding Boston condominiums and residential real estate markets. John's insights and observations about the Boston condo market have been seen in a wide variety of the most established local & national media outlets including; Banker and Tradesman, Boston Magazine The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald and NewsWeek and Fortune magazine, among others.



HISTORY

For over 24 years, John Ford, of Ford Realty Inc., has been actively involved in the real estate industry. He started his career in commercial real estate with a national firm Spaulding & Slye and quickly realized that he had a passion for residential properties. In 1999, John entered the residential real estate market, and in 2000 John Started his own firm Ford Realty Inc. As a broker, his clients have come to love his fun, vivacious, and friendly attitude. He prides himself on bringing honesty and integrity to the entire home buying and selling process. In addition to helping buyers and sellers, he also works with rental clients. Whether you’re looking to purchase a new Boston condo or rent an apartment, you’ll quickly learn why John has a 97% closing rate.

AREAS COVERED

Back Bay

Beacon Hill

Charles River Park

Downtown/Midtown

North End

South End

Seaport District

South Boston

Waterfront

Brookline

Surrounding Communities of Boston
Contact
John Ford and his staff can be reached at 617-595-3712 or 617-720-5454. Please feel free to stop by John's Boston Beacon Hill office located at 137 Charles Street.




John Ford
Ford Realty Inc
137 Charles Street
Boston, Ma 02114

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