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Thread: Local idioms

  1. #101

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    Quote Originally Posted by emason View Post
    Cellar may be more common in New England; almost everyone there has a cellar. No one has a basement.
    Native New Englander here (NH to CT to MA). Gramma had a cellar, we have a basement. In my circle, cellar has a dirt or rock floor, basement has a poured floor. You store vegetables, canned items and home made wine in the cellar. Your laundry room is likely in the basement.

    Surprised no one has mentioned tonic. In NH, that's soda pop. If you ask for a soda in some parts of NH, you'll get a fizzy stomach settling medicine.
    AceOn6, the golf loving skating fan

  2. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aceon6 View Post
    Native New Englander here (NH to CT to MA). Gramma had a cellar, we have a basement. In my circle, cellar has a dirt or rock floor, basement has a poured floor. You store vegetables, canned items and home made wine in the cellar. Your laundry room is likely in the basement.
    Yes, that's my understanding too. My grandma had a cellar, it had a partly dirt/rock floor and she stored canned goods, and my grandfather made & stored wine (and a lot of vinegar ) down there.

    Surprised no one has mentioned tonic. In NH, that's soda pop. If you ask for a soda in some parts of NH, you'll get a fizzy stomach settling medicine.
    I think of tonic as the bitter, carbonated soda that you put in with gin.

  3. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myskate View Post
    Do you have a couch, a sofa or a settee? I think the Midwestern term is a couch.
    I remember hearing chesterfield a lot as a kid. Nowadays I only hear sofa and couch (southern Ontario).

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    ^^ I wonder if Chesterfield was a brand name or a specific style for a couch. It could have been a brand name that became a generic, like Kleenex for tissues.

  5. #105

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    Our cellar had a poured floor, not a dirt one. We referred to it as the cellar; we never used the word basement. Don't know why, but it was the cellar, not the basement.

    ETA: Maybe it has to do with the age of the homes. My hometown, founded in 1654, had mostly older homes - all with cellars. Newer homes, circa 1950s post WWII, had basements, finished or otherwise.
    Last edited by emason; 02-05-2012 at 02:47 PM.

  6. #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wiery View Post
    Another charming Alabama/blue collar southern idiom is "where you at?" instead of "Where are you?" Picture Larry the Cable Guy saying it; that's just how it sounds...
    I hear that all the time. The smart-mouth, juvenile answer is, "Between the "a" and the "t."

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    Quote Originally Posted by cruisin View Post
    ^^ I wonder if Chesterfield was a brand name or a specific style for a couch. It could have been a brand name that became a generic, like Kleenex for tissues.
    According to Wiki:

    The term "chesterfield" is a Canadian term equivalent to couch or sofa. The use of the term has been found to be widespread among older Canadians. This term is quickly vanishing from Canadian English according to one survey done in the Golden Horseshoe region of Ontario in 1992.[2] Northern California is the only place besides Canada where "chesterfield" is a synonym for couch or sofa;[3] again, this probably applies nowadays to older Northern Californians. In the United Kingdom, the word refers to a particular style of sofa featuring a low rolled back and deep buttoning.

  8. #108
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    Quote Originally Posted by cruisin View Post
    We say soda, not pop. We refer to NYC as "the City".
    I got ripped to shreds for that in college!

    Every other city gets a name. Subs are subs, not grinders or hoagies.
    NYC/LI we call them "heros". Once on vacation in Maine, we called the local village pizza place and I asked for a meatball hero, to which the guy on the phone responded: "You want a hero? Call Superman".

    Quote Originally Posted by emason View Post
    Cellar may be more common in New England; almost everyone there has a cellar. No one has a basement.
    Quote Originally Posted by Aceon6 View Post
    Native New Englander here (NH to CT to MA). Gramma had a cellar, we have a basement. In my circle, cellar has a dirt or rock floor, basement has a poured floor. You store vegetables, canned items and home made wine in the cellar.
    Papa Fergus grew up when Long Island was very rural. Although his house had a "basement", the veggies my nana preserved were stored in a special room in the basement that they called the "cellar". Both had cement floors. (Like someone said above, probably just called that due to family weirdness.......)

  9. #109

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    Quote Originally Posted by emason View Post
    Our cellar had a poured floor, not a dirt one. We referred to it as the cellar; we never used the word basement. Don't know why, but it was the cellar, not the basement.

    ETA: Maybe it has to do with the age of the homes. My hometown, founded in 1654, had mostly older homes - all with cellars. Newer homes, circa 1950s post WWII, had basements, finished or otherwise.

    The house I grew up in had a cellar and it's quite deep. So maybe the definition is how it was made and also the depth of it. Ours was probably 10' deep and had stairs that a goat would have found hard to climb as they were so steep.

    The prairies used chesterfield as well but now it's fallen into disuse and everyone uses couch or sofa.
    Last edited by pat c; 02-05-2012 at 03:47 PM.

  10. #110

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    Quote Originally Posted by cynthiabc View Post
    Another Chicago idiom that I remember - The Loop for the downtown area, (surrounded by the L).
    Also I 94 (on the South Side) is called the Dan Ryan.
    I grew up in Chicago, but I haven't lived there for over 40 years, so things may have changed.
    All the interstates around Chicago have a name--and if you are listening for the traffic report, you'd better know the names--they never use the numbers! (Sister and bil live around there) Although after all the construction, most people were calling it the Damn Ryan.

    I'm from southwest WI--and we had bubblers. They are different from drinking fountains. Bubblers bubble constantly--and they are seasonal. They shut them off in the winter so they don't freeze. We still have some in town. I say both soda and pop, but I've lived out east in Philadelphia and DC and spent time in the Denver area. I don't remember where or when I used which terms.

    Next question--is it a sucker or a lollipop?
    "Me, cutie/chicken, the egg cup, I am the hammer of my spoon!"--Jen_Faith translation

  11. #111

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    Quote Originally Posted by suep1963 View Post
    All the interstates around Chicago have a name--and if you are listening for the traffic report, you'd better know the names--they never use the numbers! (Sister and bil live around there) Although after all the construction, most people were calling it the Damn Ryan.

    I'm from southwest WI--and we had bubblers. They are different from drinking fountains. Bubblers bubble constantly--and they are seasonal. They shut them off in the winter so they don't freeze. We still have some in town. I say both soda and pop, but I've lived out east in Philadelphia and DC and spent time in the Denver area. I don't remember where or when I used which terms.

    Next question--is it a sucker or a lollipop?
    Lollipop In the northeast as far as I'm aware
    Last edited by Aceon6; 02-05-2012 at 06:45 PM. Reason: Autocorrect sux!
    AceOn6, the golf loving skating fan

  12. #112
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenny View Post
    According to Wiki:
    So, I guess it's both. A colloquialism and a style.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fergus View Post
    I got ripped to shreds for that in college!



    NYC/LI we call them "heros". Once on vacation in Maine, we called the local village pizza place and I asked for a meatball hero, to which the guy on the phone responded: "You want a hero? Call Superman".
    Love it!

    Quote Originally Posted by Aceon6 View Post
    Lollipop In the northeast as far as I'm aware
    Lollipop, but we would know what a sucker is edible and trainable

  13. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    I've never heard anyone say "bubbler," including friends in MN (I have quite a few from there) and Illinois (not as many, but still). The only person I know in Wisconsin is Veronika and I don't know what she says. Maybe she'll show up and tell us.
    Really late to the game here. Yes, I grew up in "bubbler" country, but I don't really say it...not sure why. I say "drinking fountain."

    I've done an informal poll about "bubblers" where I live now (northeast Iowa) and they really weren't aware of it. But they say "anymore" instead of "nowadays"--which I find very confusing. Example--"My desk is a mess anymore."

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    I'm from the South and we don't use bubbler. I first heard from one of my professors at Indiana University Bloomington, but she was originally from Maine.

    Here, we use the phrase "slap out" if we want to emphasize that we absolutely DO NOT have something. For example, we are slap out of coke.

    You can also use the phrase right slap--I got stuck right slap in the middle of that situation.

    Coke is a coke, sprite, diet coke, etc. When you order a coke in a restaurant, the waitperson will most likely ask, "What kind or what flavor?"

    The evening mean can be either supper or dinner.

    To say someone is a mess generally means that someone is mischivous, not that they are mentally unstable. I made the mistake of describing a student with a wicked sense of humor as a mess when I was teaching in Indiana and my colleagues looked scandalized!

  15. #115

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    I'm intrigued to read the only Northern California was the only place outside Canada to use "chesterfield" for couch. I was born in San Francisco, as was my mother, and I can still hear her voice saying "Get off the green chesterfield!" whenever our dog was discovered there.

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    I think of supper/dinner as a generational thing. My Grandparents/Mom said supper, I say dinner.

  17. #117

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    Quote Originally Posted by cruisin View Post
    So, I guess it's both. A colloquialism and a style.



    Love it!



    Lollipop, but we would know what a sucker is edible and trainable
    You gave me a twitch in my loins with that line. By that I mean my washing is ready to be put on the clothes line, or hills hoist. How many are now going
    I guess the hard thing for a lot of people to accept is why God would allow me to go running through their yards, yelling and spinning around.


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    I was talking about this with some other friends, and they came up with a few. If these are regional variations - that's news to me

    "Butt" - as in a cigarette. People will say "I'm going to smoke a butt". (Sounds really bad when you step back and consider it objectively)

    "Fluff a nutter" - A peanut-butter and marshmellow sandwich. Is that really a regional thing?

    "Packie" - where you go to buy beer. Short for package store, although I'm not sure why liquor stores are referred to in this way.

  19. #119

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bostonfan View Post
    I was talking about this with some other friends, and they came up with a few. If these are regional variations - that's news to me

    "Butt" - as in a cigarette. People will say "I'm going to smoke a butt". (Sounds really bad when you step back and consider it objectively)

    "Fluff a nutter" - A peanut-butter and marshmellow sandwich. Is that really a regional thing?

    "Packie" - where you go to buy beer. Short for package store, although I'm not sure why liquor stores are referred to in this way.
    How funny! In Australia if you said "Pakie" they would think you were talking about a Pakistani (dreadful I know, but hey, we're convicts). Fluff a Nutter sounds like some porn movie thing (no I have never met a real fluffer...that I didn't like, or at least have naughty thoughts about ).
    My mother keeps telling me when I leave her house to "Turn the snib on the door". Snib? Really?
    I guess the hard thing for a lot of people to accept is why God would allow me to go running through their yards, yelling and spinning around.


  20. #120
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bostonfan View Post
    "Packie" - where you go to buy beer. Short for package store, although I'm not sure why liquor stores are referred to in this way.
    When it comes to beer localisms, I would think that Canadians rule

    Here a pack of 24 beers is called a "two-four" or simply a "case."

    Discovered an oddity when purchasing liquor a few years back in New York. The bottle I wanted was behind the counter, so I asked for the "40 of Stoli." Apparently liquor is one of the few instances where America has embraced the metric system, because after some confusion, he realized that I wanted the one liter bottle. Ditto what we all call a "26er" is a 750 ml.

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