Thursday, December 6, 2012

Rhode Island-isms

I have spent the last week in North Carolina, and while here, I realized that I say stuff that makes NO sense at all.  Like, "I'm all set" instead of, I'm all done, I don't need help, etc.  I think it's a Rhode Island thing, because I know I've heard family and friends use the same phrase.

So I figured I would dig deep into the depths of my mind and put together a list all of the weird things that I THINK come from RI....Or that we at least say in RI...If you don't already know, us Rhode Islanders have a slew of terms and phrases that never made it to the other states....So enjoy the list!!
  • Wicked (pronounced wickit).  As in, "I'm having a wicked good time!"  OR "This is wicked awesome!"
  • Bubbler (pronounced bubblah).  It's a water fountain from which you drink.  They're often staged in hallways.
  • Are you serious?  I think I use this expression any time someone tells me something outrageous.  It's almost as bad as my complete over-use of I'm all set.
  • Idear.  That's an idea.  With an extra 'R' on the end.  We do that.  A lot.  With a lot of different words that end in a's.  Case and point:  my cousin Tina is often referred to as "Tiner"...
  • Gravy.  That's the red stuff that goes on MACARONI (not pasta).  As long as it has sausage and meatballs in it, it's GRAVY.  (And yes, I realize that this is a point of contention even within the boarders of the state....I suppose it's all based on what you grew up hearing, but this is in my dictionary).
  • Cabinet.  You would think it's something in your kitchen where you would put glasses and plates.  But I bet if you go to an ice cream shop and order a coffee cabinet, they would give you a coffee shake.  When I used to work at the ice cream shop in highschool, someone came up and asked for a cabinet and I promptly told them we didn't sell those.  Luckily my boss was standing right behind me and explained what it was...Since then, I hear it all the time.
  • Jimmies.  Some people call them sprinkles and put them on ice cream...
  • Coffee Milk.  You seriously haven't ever had coffee milk?  Go buy some autocrat coffee syrup and stir it into some milk.  You'll be amazed.  It's delicious.
  • Gagga.  Hot Weiner.  No, it's not a hot dog.  Go to New York System and try one.  Get two all the way.
  • Grinder.  It's a sandwich.  Would you like a meatball grinder?  We don't sell Heroes are these here parts.
  • Oh, please.  No, I'm not begging.  I'm challenging what you're telling me.  It's like saying 'no suh!!'
  • QUAHOG.  Previously being Quahogtales, it's important to bring this up.  It's just a large clam with a hard shell.
  • Stuffie.  It's a stuffed quahog.  And it's delicious.  
  • Scrod.  It's technically "Fish of the day" and is a white fish, typically cod, haddock, or pollock.  I can honestly say that there are very few places outside of RI where I have actually seen scrod offered on the menu. Most people who don't know what scrod actually is assume that when they are ordering it, they're getting a piece of cod.  As a side note, an acceptable pronunciation is SCHROD.  Not a lie.  Look it up in  They'll pronounce it both ways.
  • Doughboy.  Fried Dough.  I've said this term before with out-of-town friends, and they always looked at me like I was crazy.
  • Clam Cakes.  It's like a ball of fried dough with clams in it.  No, it's not a fritter.  It's definitely different than a fritter.
  • Cellar.  Basement.  My mom always used to tell me to bring stuff "down cellar"...
  • Supper.  As a kid, the term "dinner" was reserved for those evenings when we went out to eat, or the meal that we had on Sunday around 2pm.  Supper was an every day occurrence around 6pm.
  • Pocketbook.  Purse.  Same thing.
  • Awful Awful.  No, I'm not repeating myself.  It's a shake!!  From Newport Creamery.  And the description, shake, does nothing for what it actually is.  Get yourself to a Newport Creamery, and order one!!!
  • Dels Lemonade.  Frozen lemonade CANNOT compare.  It just can't.
Now, these are just some of the words that I know as "Rhode Island Slang" .... I researched some lists online and there are a ton of other words and phrases that other generations used that goes well beyond my list (Side by each, Throw me down the stairs my bag, Sangwidge, etc).  And I'm sure there is some overlap of these words into other states.  So if you've heard it, GOOD!!
If you're brave enough, take the 45 minute drive to drive across Rhode Island, drive up past the BIG BLUE BUG, take the IWAY to the East Bay, enjoy some gaggers and coffee milk, and visit often!!!  :o)

1 comment:

  1. I don't see directionals anywhere in the R. I. slang lists...what we in the midwest call turn signals. I listened to a disc jockey on the way through Rhode Island, and "directionals" were mentioned. I always thought this was neat.