Decoding New York Words and Phrases

Being in New York for some time, you inevitably pick up on the way the city’s people talk. I wrote a post on here recently about some of the Irish word and phrases that baffle people here, and when talking to a friend from home about it this past week, they asked if there were any ways in which New Yorkers speak that would give you pause for thought.

So, in that vein, I thought I’d share some of the ones that I’ve come across:

Being Grilled

Your first thought: Cooking something. Or like in Ireland, being grilled means interrogated.

What they mean: To stare at someone.


Your first thought: A building material. Or the phrase “I’m bricking it” meaning I’m anxious or nervous.

What they mean: It’s freezing!!!


Your first thought: Stupid

What they mean: They of course use it as intended, meaning stupid. But it is also used as slang for very good. Ex: That drink was dumb good.


Your first thought: Narrow. Or in Ireland, to be stingy.

What they mean: To be upset by something, or to be happy or close with someone.


Your first thought: ?????

What they mean: To be serious about something.

A whip

Your first thought: An instrument of control…or pleasure…or both. Whatever floats your boat.

What they mean: An expensive or nice car.


Your first thought: Pastry dessert filled with apple, blueberry, etc.

What they mean: A Pizza.


Your first thought: To crouch down or stoop to somebodies level.

What they mean: The steps you see outside apartment buildings.


Your first thought: ?????

What they mean: Overreacting


Your first thought: ?????

What they mean: Tedious or difficult commutes.

The City

Your first thought: All of the five boroughs that make up New York City

What they mean: Manhattan only

A Hero

Your first thought: A courageous person

What they mean: A sandwich. What we in Ireland would refer to as a roll.


Your first thought: ?????

What they mean: A New York staple – a bagel with just the right amount of cream cheese.  You’d order a bagel with a schmear at a deli.


Facebook | Twitter | Instagram







Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s