Boston Slang: 30 Boston Sayings You Should Know!

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Planning a visit to Boston and need to brush up on your Boston slang? Quite understandable, because as much as New England has its own strong dialectBoston has its own very strong dialect within New England!

Learning Boston slang, sayings, and pronunciation will help you navigate and have a much better time during your trip to Boston.

We’ve rounded up the best Boston sayings and slangs that will help you understand everything that happens to you when you’re touring the city on a hill. You are going to have a great time!

boston pronunciation

There have been plenty of movies shot in Boston to popularize Boston’s unique accent, so most know that many words in Boston that end in an “r” aren’t actually that way when a Bostonian says them! That’s how you know where your money is being paid, isn’t it?

If you’re having trouble understanding what you’re hearing, consider trying adding an “r” sound to it. You don’t understand when someone tells you there are eggs on the north side? It’s finishr themre on the north side.

Editorial credit: Stefan Ugljevarevic /; Knowing some Boston sayings will definitely come in handy when visiting Boston!

Boston Slang to Know


Let’s start with something easy. At this point, nasty is pretty well known in the United States as being synonymous with very: “That’s nasty cool!”


If you’re thirsty in Boston and looking for a drinking fountain, you’re going to have to go ahead and ask where the nearest bubbler is, because that’s how a Bostonian knows it! Oh, and that final “r” sound? Not really important when they tell you where the nearest bubble is.


A remote control in Boston is a clicker. This one is quite simple!


If your friend asks if you want something from the pack, he asks if he can pick you up something from the local liquor store. What’s your favorite packie drink?


It’s fun Bostonian slang that isn’t strictly Bostonian, but if someone tells you something is mint, that means it’s excellent…that’s a rave review!


It’s what the people of Boston call rubber bands.


If you order your “regular” coffee in Boston, be aware that this is shorthand for coffee with cream and sugar, not black as it usually refers to most others!


The cart is what Bostonians call a cart.


If someone tells you to go to their living room, that’s Boston slang for living room.


For most of New England, a milkshake is not a milkshake as most of the rest of the country knows it, but rather a mixture of shaken milk and syrup. If you want to drink thick ice cream in Boston, you want order a strike.


This is old Boston slang for jeans, but you mostly only hear it from older generations today.


It’s one of those Boston slang words that doesn’t sound like a good thing, but you really want to be pissah because pissah is Boston slang for awesome. If something is nasty pissah? Wow.

The T

The T is Boston slang for the Boston subway and you’re going to want to get familiar with it because it’s the best way to get around town!


Cellar is a Bostonian slang word for basement, so if you visit a friend and he tells you he has to run to the cellar for something, he rushes to the basement very quickly.


Kid is Boston slang in its mildest form and is often used as an endearing term for your close friends, regardless of age.


On the other end of the spectrum, Masshole is an insult in Boston and around New England, especially to someone who makes questionable choices in traffic: “Did you see that Masshole pull back in front of me?”


A city dweller is someone who was born and raised in the same Boston neighborhood where they still live.


In Boston, a traffic circle or traffic circle is called a traffic circle, and there are a ton of them in Massachusetts. Over the past few years they’ve been updated with clearer signage to improve safety and efficiency, so navigating these traffic patterns is a little easier than navigating the Boston Rotaries of yesteryear.

Pocket book

Pockabook is Boston slang for wallet, but it’s often used to refer to any purse. In true Boston fashion, you have a solid “ah” sound in there!


If someone in Boston tells you to watch out for staties on your journey, they’re watching over you, warning you to watch out for state troopers who might pull you over if you speed up.

Boston Slang for pitches

An aerial view of the city of Boston under a blue sky
Knowing the names of Boston neighborhoods is definitely worth it!

Communications Avenue

Did someone tell you something was going on on Comm Ave? Comm Ave is Boston slang for Commonwealth Avenue.


If someone tells you something is in Rozzie, they’re referring to the Roslindale neighborhood in Boston.

Is it

Eastie is Boston slang for East Boston; East Boston is home to the incredible Harbor Walk and more fun Oriental things to do.

The garden

The garden refers to TD Garden in downtown Boston, where the Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins play year-round. It’s not pronounced “The Garden”, of course, it’s “The Gahd’n”.


Southie is Boston slang for the neighborhood in south Boston that is predominantly working class Irish Catholic residential and historically; Southie was once considered a very “dangerous” area. It is NOT the same as the South End, which is more artsy and is designated on the National Register of Historic Places as a neighborhood.

Boston Sayings

In the city

Bostonians use “in town” to refer to things or places happening in Boston. Hardly anyone calls it “the city”.

The Cape

If someone in Boston talks about The Cape, they’re talking about Cape Cod, not Cape Ann.

Bang a Uey

If someone tells you to hit a uey in Boston, they’re telling you to turn around!

bang out

If you have to take time off from work or some other type of obligation, you need to go wild.

Yeah no

This saying from Boston is a definite NO.

While this isn’t an exhaustive list of Boston slang, it’s a good start. If you are planning a visit to Boston, it would definitely help to familiarize yourself with Boston slang, sayings, pronunciation, and neighborhood names.

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