Pennsylvania slang words and phrases can reveal much about the state’s culture. Some commonly used terms include ‘yinz’, meaning ‘you all’, and ‘hoagie’, referring to a sub sandwich.
Through understanding Pennsylvania’s unique slang, outsiders can gain a greater appreciation for the culture and heritage of this fascinating US state.
Pennsylvania Slang Words And Phrases – 13 Most Popular
When driving through Pennsylvania, one is sure to hear some interesting phrases and slang unique to the area.
Oftentimes these expressions are derived from a melding of Yiddish and German dialects or influenced by the melting pot of cultures that make up the Keystone State.
Commonly used Pennsylvania slang includes “bub” (meaning buddy or friend), “scram” (meaning get away quickly), and “retted out” (meaning extremely tired).
These words may vary in different parts of the state but can give insight into how the locals interact with each other.
Next time you’re traveling in Pennsylvania, why not use a few of these Pennsylvania slang words with your buddies?
If you are on the same point, let’s learn some of the common ones.
1. Bologna – Something Nonsense:
Bologna is not just a type of sausage but also a term used in some parts of Pennsylvania! It’s defined as a phrase meaning something that is nonsense or foolish.
It became popularized by the National Cartoonist Society, which named their annual award for gag cartoonists the Rozzie Bologna.
You may have heard it used anywhere from schoolyards to hallways and even around the kitchen table.
Be sure to use this Pennsylvania slang word or phrase when you want to describe something unbelievable – and make people laugh while you’re at it!
2. Grubbin’ – Eating Favorite Food:
Grubbin’ is a popular Pennsylvanian slang term for eating a favorite food. It typically refers to a hearty meal using ingredients of comfort or soul food.
For example, someone might say they will “grub on some mac and cheese and fried chicken” for dinner.
Grubbin also conveys an atmosphere of happy indulgence–the opposite of being miserable or uninterested in eating—so it often has an air of indulgent celebration and socializing when used.
Whenever Pennsylvanians want to celebrate delicious food or good times with friends, grubbin’ is the perfect phrase to use!
3. Goofy – Strange, Weird:
Goofy characterizes someone peculiar, eccentric, and not quite like everyone else.
It comes from the vocabulary of Pennsylvania, where it’s used to depict a random person or an amusing episode.
Goofy is usually used in a good-natured way and can make people laugh. It’s often used to express affection for someone you like or even as a term of endearment.
Whether used in a humorous way or to describe an eccentric character, the word goofy has become ingrained in American culture.
4. Yo – An Informal Way To Get Someone’s Attention:
Yo is a casual Pennsylvania slang term used to get someone’s attention. Whether you’re at a pizza shop or video store, yo offer an informal way of connecting with locals.
It’s also a versatile and efficient phrase-based expression, as it can be used in all kinds of various circumstances and contexts.
You can express joy, excitement, surprise, confusion, or disapproval -– all using just one syllable!
It’s no wonder it has become popular slang in Pennsylvania and throughout the United States.
5. You Guys – A Way To Address A Group Of People:
You guys is a slang term originating in the Pennsylvania region of the United States to refer to a group of people.
Youse guys is used less commonly in its possessive form but maintain the same meaning.
For years, people from Pennsylvania have used their own terms and phrases. Some of these phrases are “yinz,” “doebat,” and “jaggerbush.”
Other expressions are more imaginative, like “scobysuck” and “dastainy.” By doing this, they create a vivid image of Pennsylvania’s culture that can’t help but make us smile.
Indeed, Pennsylvania has plenty of linguistic gems, and yous guys is just another to add to this ever-growing list!
6. Philly Cheesesteak – The Most Famous Food:
Philly cheesesteak sandwiches are undoubtedly the most famous food in Pennsylvania.
This mouthwatering sandwich is made with thin steak slices, topped with melted cheese and onions, tucked into a traditional Italian roll.
The Pennsylvania steak sandwich has become a popular food in the state.
Locals like to add their Pennsylvania-style flourishes like “wit’ or ‘wit-out” meaning with or without onions, using words like “chipped,” a term for thinly-sliced steak.
And, of course, you can’t forget the universally renowned phrase for asking for provolone instead of Cheez Whiz: “provi wid.”
Authentic Philly cheesesteak sandwiches offer an unbeatable flavorful experience that every Pennsylvanian should try!
7. Scranton Wilkes-Barre – Second Largest City In Pennsylvania:
Scranton Wilkes-Barre is known for its coal mining industry, making it one of the most important cities in Pennsylvania.
Largely referred to as “the electric city,” locals are proud of their heritage and frequently use Pennsylvania slang words and phrases such as “yinz” (you all) and “pop” (soda) when conversing.
It is the second-largest city in Pennsylvania but still maintains a small-town atmosphere.
Scranton Wilkes-Barre is a great place to visit or call home with many attractions to explore, including numerous historical sites, outdoor activities, and delicious cuisine options.
8. Dippy – Something That Is Weird Or Strange:
Pennsylvanians might use the term “dippy” when describing someone or something strange, weird, or different.
This Pennsylvania-specific slang word dates back to the early 20th century when people began using it to describe an individual who was a bit eccentric or out of the ordinary.
For example, if you find a one-of-a-kind hat at a flea market, you might describe it as “dippy”.
Although Pennsylvanians have used this word interchangeably over time, they generally associate it with something unusual.
9. Yinz – This Is A Term Used In Place Of “You”:
Yinz is, without a doubt, the most recognized slang word in Pennsylvania.
Any large city with its own cultural identity will surely have its unique slang language, and Pennsylvania is no exception.
Along with yinz, other well-known slang words and phrases from Pennsylvania include “downtown” (downtown), “Youse” (you + plural), and “redd up” (to clean up).
And, of course, no list of Pennsylvania slang words would be complete without referencing the beloved jawn, which means “thing”.
It’s clear to see that Pennsylvania’s colorful culture shines through in its array of synonyms for everyday words.
10. Jagoff – A Person Who Is Annoying Or Stupid:
The term “jagoff” is an old Pennsylvania slang word that describes someone who can be annoying, irritating, or even stupid.
Utilizing this term to describe someone was a frequent occurrence, as it illustrated an individual who lacked thoughtfulness and consideration for others.
These individuals were often described as difficult to interact with due to their lackadaisical attitude.
While it has mostly fallen out of popular use as Pennsylvania slang words and phrases have been replaced by more modern jargon, it still pops up in conversations now and then.
11. Knucklehead – A Foolish Or Clumsy Person:
The term ‘knucklehead’ is a popular Pennsylvania slang word and phrase used to describe someone as foolish or clumsy.
It derives from the use of ‘knuckles’ for tapping on someone’s head when teasing them about their actions.
Being a knucklehead can vary from being utterly clumsy, like stumbling over one’s feet, to having inadequate comprehension or not following basic instructions.
While it can be used in comical settings, this Pennsylvania slang word should not be used to belittle anyone, no matter the circumstance.
12. Bummed Out – Feeling Sad Or Disappointed:
Being bummed out is a Pennsylvania slang term for someone feeling sad, disappointed, or unfulfilled.
Depression can be caused by something big, like someone dying or being betrayed. Or it can be caused by smaller things, like getting a bad grade on a test.
Recognizing this feeling early and addressing it is important to find problem-solving opportunities and move forward with more constructive emotions.
Friends, family, and professional help are all resources that can provide support in managing these feelings.
13. On The Level – Honest Or Truthful:
On The Level is an expression used in Pennsylvania slang to denote honesty. It’s been around for at least two centuries and carries with it the notion that someone is telling the truth.
The phrase emphasizes integrity and honor as essential components of personal character.
When trying to say that someone is telling the truth, people from Pennsylvania have a few different phrases they can use.
Two examples are “true blue” and “whole Nine Yards.” This means that the person is speaking only the truth and nothing but the truth.
So if you want to demonstrate your sincerity, try one of these phrases!
Whether On The Level or another Pennsylvania phrase, being truthful helps build relationships, fosters trust, and ensures mutual respect.
In conclusion, Pennsylvania has a unique and interesting culture that includes its own slang words and phrases.
While outsiders might not be familiar with the colloquialisms, many of the phrases followed by Pennsylvanians emphasize their cultural roots.
Learning about this regional dialect can lead to a better understanding of the state’s heritage and past.
Moreover, conversing with the citizens of Pennsylvania and attending local events are priceless experiences that native sayings and expressions can enrich.
Pennsylvanians are incredibly proud of their unique language, so experiencing it should be a key part when visiting the state.
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