Philadelphia is known not only for their soft pretzels, history, and cheesesteaks, but also their own unique vocabulary and “accent.” Most cities/states have words that are native to themselves, but Philly really has a vast range of words that make other places turn their heads at us in confusion.
Here are some words that only Philadelphia natives may understand.
Everywhere else in the country, this word means a clear liquid frequently drank by many, or simply “water.” People don’t even blink an eye when you order “wooder” at a restaurant. Everyone who lives here knows exactly what it means. It is one of the times our ‘accent’ really shines through.
No, this is not a group of men named Jimmy. It is what tops your ice cream. Other places call it sprinkles. My whole life people have referred to sprinkles as jimmies and it’s been the norm. “Jimmies” are the chocolate kind while sprinkles are rainbow. Sometimes jimmies are both. There is no exception.
Water Ice or “Wooder Ice” is Philly’s version of Italian Ice. We head to our local Rita’s to eat some wooder ice or get jimmies on our ice cream.
This is not a sound a baby makes when they want water. It is the best convenience store/gas station on the planet. WaWa is more than a convenient store. Sure, you can pick up lottery tickets, cigarettes, coffee/ hot chocolate, and numerous snacks, but can you get hoagies (subs or hero sandwiches for you out of towners), sandwiches, food bowls, smoothies, milkshakes and so much more. Every summer, Hoagiefest is held where you can get a variety of sandwiches from veggie to meatball parmesan to quesadillas and chicken tenders bowls with mashed potatoes and mac and cheese.
Scrapple is a mush of pork scraps and trimmings combined with cornmeal and wheat flour, often buckwheat flour, and spices. The mus is formed into a semi-congealed loaf and then are pan fried before serving. It doesn’t sound good, but trust me, it tastes better than it sounds. People eat it with breakfast
What Philly is best known for! No, it is not a piece of steak with cheese on top. It is what everyone else knows as a steak sandwich. Natives know that Pat’s and Geno’s aren’t the only good place to find a cheesesteak, either.
You will commonly hear Philadelphians order a “cheesesteak wit whiz” meaning a steak sandwich with cheese whiz and onions.
It can literally mean anything. A person, place, thing, or event that one does not need a specific name to.
Ex: “That jawn over there is very expensive.”
If you don’t live in Philly do you even know how to pronounce this word? Probably not. The Schuylkill is a river in eastern Pennsylvania.
Down The Shore
Most people would go to the beach in the Summer. Philadelphia natives ask their friends if they are going down the shore this summer, which are the various beaches and vacation stops in Jersey. Others may know some of these locations from the TV show, “Jersey Shore.”
On New Year’s Day, people dress up in elaborate costumes all day and strut down Broad Street. They compete in four categories: comics, fancy, string band, and fancy brigade. They play instruments and perform various skits related to different themes.
Tastykakes are a line of snack foods that are mini cakes covered in chocolate, icing, jelly, and various other flavors. They often are dessert foods and come in packs of two in boxes of 12.
What everyone else calls their downtown. Center City covers a wide range of neighborhoods that feature colleges, sports complexes, shops, parks, and so much more.
South Eastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority is how we get around town. It is buses, the el, and trains, and even though we may not be a fan of it, we couldn’t live without it.
Try explaining a lot of these to out of towners. It’s not easy is it?