New England Glossary: A Wicked Useful Translation Guide

The New England accent, and its signature phrases, is widely imitated, studied, sometimes mocked, and even revered. Seafaring Mainers, Green Mountain Boys, Granite Staters, and Boston Brahmins have provided endless material to comedians and impersonators for years, but what do New Englanders really sound like? The truth is, local idioms are more colorful than ordering lawbstah and pahking the cah at hahvad yahd. Thanks to a medley of English, Irish, Scottish, Italian, and French cultures, and the seeping influences of Boston and New York, each region in New England has its curious turn of phrase. Though you really have to visit New England to hear it for yourself, this New England phrase glossary is a great start!
Trolley downtown ProvidenceWhere can I find a good grinder around here?

Wicked: An adverb used to give emphasis, wicked often replaces the word "very". Heard all over New England, though perhaps most noticeably a part of the Boston vernacular, wicked is pronounced like "wicket". As in: "I'm wicked hungry, I haven't eaten all day."

Packie: A packie is a liquor or beer store in Boston and Eastern MA at large, a shorter name for "Package Store". When visiting Boston, many parties won't be complete without a "packie run" for supplies. As in: "We're out of ice, make sure you pick some up at the packie."

Jeezum Crow: A version of taking the Lord's name in vain, you’ll hear Jeezum Crow exclaimed when traveling in Vermont and some areas of northern New Hampshire. It can be used simply as "Jeezum" or even the more elaborate "Jeezum Crowbar". As in: "Jeezum Crow, that’s a great cheddar!" 

Bubbler: You’ll hear about a bubbler, known as a water fountain or drinking fountain to most of the country, when in Rhode Island. Often pronounced bubblah. As in: "I'm wicked thirsty, where's the nearest bubbler?" 

Pisser: A term in the general New England dialect, this one refers to an extremely good time. Often pronounced pissah. As in: "we went hiking in the White Mountains and it was a wicked pisser."

I'm All Set: This New England phrase is used when a New Englander doesn't need any help. As in: "She asked me if I wanted anything from the packie but I said I was all set." 

Grinder: A lot of regions in the U.S. have their own names for their favorite sandwiches, and New Englanders are no different. Asking for a sub, a hoagie, or a hero will immediately flag you as an out-of-stater. Grinders rule in New England. As in: "This place has the best grinders in New England."

Frappe: Does a milkshake by any other name taste as sweet? Order a frappe in New England and taste for yourself. A frozen beverage combining ice cream, milk, and syrup (a.k.a. a milkshake). Remember this one: if you make the mistake of ordering a milkshake, you'll get just what you asked for — shaken milk. As in: "I’m wicked hungry, let's head to Southie for some frappes."

Cabinet: While frappe is used in many parts of New England, a cabinet is Rhode Island's special petname for milkshake. The nickname originates from the cabinet that held all of the ingredients. 

Jasm: - A Connecticutian term for extremely intense energy. As in: "He hit the slopes with so much jasm he won the race." You’ll only hear this in specific parts of Connecticut.

Fall Foliage drive in Vermont Leaf Peeper: A widely used New England term to describe those traveling to the region to observe the beauty of New England foliage. As in: "Sorry I'm late, I got stuck behind a couple of leaf peepers who were driving wicked slow."

Dungarees: New England's, and particularly New Hampshire's, version of blue jeans. As in: "My dungarees are wicked clean." 

Jimmies: Jimmies are the New England’s version of multi-colored sprinkles for ice cream. As in: "Would you like jimmies in your frappe or are you all set?"

From Away: When visiting Maine, you’ll be referred to as "from away". This refers to anyone from anywhere in the world that isn’t Maine. As in: "Those leaf peepers are from away."

Put our New England glossary to the test, and don't be afraid to try these phrases and terms the next time you're visiting New England. Have a wicked good time, and make sure to order a frappe with jimmies the next time you’re leaf peeping from away!

Photos: Providence Convention & Visitors Bureau, Vermont Department of Tourism & Marketing