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Local idioms

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Bostonfan, Feb 3, 2012.

  1. Bostonfan

    Bostonfan Well-Known Member

    I was traveling earlier this week for work out of state and asked someone where I could find a bubbler. I got several strange looks the more people I asked. I never knew "bubbler" was a local New England expression (apparently). When I finally described what I was looking for, the woman said, "Oh - you mean a water fountain!" (For the record, a water fountain to me are those things you throw coins in to make a wish).

    And I saw an episode of "Say Yes to the Dress - Atlanta" and learned that in the South if someone says something is "lovely", it's their polite way of saying they don't like it. I didn't know that :)

    What are some local idioms that you like or have encountered? Of course being from Boston, one of my favorites has to be "WICKED!" (another word for awesome). I knew "wicked" was a local thing to Boston. But I had no idea about "bubbler".
  2. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

    People say bubbler in the Midwest too. Actually, I hear bubbler more in the Midwest than in the NE, so maybe it depends.

    Wicked I think is more of a British expression, but Boston has adopted a few British customs over the years.

    Binky for pacifiers I think is regionally specific. So also is mamaw and papaw for grandparents. In the NE, you hear roundabouts instead of traffic circles.
  3. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

    I've lived in the Midwest since I was two and never heard "bubbler". What are you defining as Midwest???
  4. soxxy

    soxxy Guest

    In Rhode Island, an ice cream soda (with coffee syrup) is often referred to as a "cabinet."
  5. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

    I've heard it regularly in IL, WI, and MN.

    Maybe it's just an upper Midwest thing
  6. Southpaw

    Southpaw Saint Smugpawski

    Autocrat coffee syrup, specifically?
  7. soxxy

    soxxy Guest

    I don't recall any other brand. :) I haven't seen the stuff in years.
  8. Wicked is definitely not local to Boston. I've heard it used in various parts of North America for decades, and as someone else said it's common in the UK too.

    No point in getting started with British idoms -- we'd be here for ever.

    When the topic of local vernacular comes up, though, I'm reminded of where I grew up. It was a small town, and one of the dominant ethnicities was Portuguese. So a lot of Portuguese words became local idioms, even among the non-Portuguese population. Most of them were rude, though, so I won't repeat them here. :cool:
  9. hydro

    hydro Well-Known Member

    Never heard of a bubbler before. Sounds like something I'd hear at a gay club.

    Philadelphians like to say "do you know what I mean" at the end of every sentence. It's morphed into the word "jhadanawwhutimean?"
  10. cruisin

    cruisin Banned Member

    NJ - we call them water coolers or water fountains. Traffic circles are traffic circles or shortened to circles. I never heard the term roundabout until we rented a car in France. The navigation was British English and it said roundabout. And, of course we have jug handles. People from other areas don't like them, but I think they are much safer than making a left turn across a wide highway.

    A NJ'ism is "down the shore". Instead of saying going to the shore. Actually shore is an ism, other places they say going to the beach. We say that too, but if we're already down the shore and going from the hotel to the beach :D.

    We say soda, not pop. We refer to NYC as "the City". Every other city gets a name. Subs are subs, not grinders or hoagies. Sloppy Joes are ground meat with a ketchup sauce on a hamburger bun, they are also triple decker sandwiches with meat, cheese, cole slaw and russian dressing, on 3 slices of rye bread.
  11. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

    The one that always gives away a New Yorker is that they say "on line" instead of "in line," as in, "I was waiting on line to buy a movie ticket." Never heard anyone else use that phrase that way.
  12. Prancer

    Prancer Strong and stable Staff Member

    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 in Veronika and I don't know what she says. Maybe she'll show up and tell us.

    But if you said "bubbler" here, no one would have a clue what you meant. FSU is only place I have seen that term for what I call a drinking fountain or water fountain. When I say I have never heard anyone say "bubbler," I mean that I literally have never heard that term used--no students, no transplants, no locals when I have traveled.

    I've always kind of looked forward to hearing it, because it sounds rather cheerful, but no.
  13. skipaway

    skipaway Well-Known Member

    In the south, people ask you to "mash" the elevator button, instead of press.
    Made me laugh the first time I heard it.
  14. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

    When I lived in the Midwest, particularly in IL and WI, I heard it regularly and picked it up from there. So if we ever meet, you'll finally hear someone say bubbler :).
  15. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa discriminating and persnickety ballet aficionado

    I've never heard about the "bubbler" before. Plenty of "wicked" in Boston area though. Also, they say "roundabout" in NJ too.
  16. skatingfan5

    skatingfan5 Past Prancer's Corridor

    Maybe. I've lived in Illinois for several decades (including northern Illinois during my high school years) and have never heard the term "bubbler" used. "Drinking fountain" seems to be the most common usage here in central Illinois (which differentiates it from the coin-tossing type of water fountain).

    I've heard of traffic circles being called "rotaries" -- not sure exactly where, though, but not here. :lol:
  17. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

    I haven't heard anyone say bubbler in more than 40 years. My mother, my aunt and my grandmother used it because they were from Boston. I learned to say drinking fountain so as to not have people look at me like I was speaking gibberish.
  18. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

    Leave it to wiki to explain the origins and usage of bubbler :D:
  19. Nan

    Nan Just me, retired

    I think this is what I grew up calling a "Michigan left."
  20. Rob

    Rob Beach Bum

    I have never heard bubbler before.
  21. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

    I have never heard of bubbler in my life. For the record, people don't ONLY use the word lovely to describe something they don't like. It just depends whether they are in a sarcastic mood or not. Lovely is usually used in the way you would think, to describe something nice and pleasing.
  22. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

    :lol: at the gay club comment.

    I can not stand when people say "know what I mean..." My bf used to do it ALL THE TIME and I got so fed up with it that I would begin yelling and foaming at the mouth. He would get offended and take it personally but I told him that I took it personally that he had to check with me after every sentence to make sure I was able to understand his ultra sophisticated ways of speaking! I must look really confused when I am listening or maybe, just maybe, he had some awful speaking habits that needed breaking? They have since been broken. :)
  23. VALuvsMKwan

    VALuvsMKwan Wandering Goy

    I've never heard of "jug handle" before and am still not sure I understand what it means. :confused:
  24. Bostonfan

    Bostonfan Well-Known Member

    I learned about Jug handles when driving through New jersey. I had to get on the other side of a highway and was driving in the left lane waiting to come to a light that would allow me to take a u-turn. Finally I got a red light and saw these cars crossing over from the right to get on the other side.

    A "jug handle" is the visual term for exiting off right and looping around so you can cross a busy street and reverse your direction. I never heard of the term before then.
  25. cruisin

    cruisin Banned Member

    I have lived in NJ my entire life, I never heard roundabout until the "British sounding voice" used it in the French Navigation device.

    In order to make a U turn or left turn on most NJ divided highways, you exit on the right and loop around left, to a traffic light to either cross over the highway or make the left turn (for a U turn)

    It's also for left turns.
  26. KatieC

    KatieC So peaceful

    So this involves a bridge? Is it the same as a highway exit - or off ramp?

    The city next to where I live had little green drinking fountains that were called shortie greens or something like that. Don't know if any still exist.

    Where I grew up we used the phrase "going into the creek" for going downtown. Not sure if it's still used, but outsiders generally didn't get it, or looked surprised when they heard it.
  27. rjblue

    rjblue Having a great day!

    I've never heard a fountain called a bubbler.

    The county in New Brunswick that I grew up in has so many local idioms, and so many ex-pats, that someone started a website to catalogue and describe our colourful local dialect. If you listen to the audio, I have to say- we really do sound like that.

    Here's a few :
    Lunch box, pail- for us it is a "lunch bucket" or a "bucket"
    Rubber boots are just "rubbers" and no one giggles.
    Rubber bands for your hair are "elastics".
    No one has a cottage, but most people have a camp.
    We don't play badminton, we play bammington.

    And everyone here knows what you mean when you say you left something out in the dooryard.
  28. PrincessLeppard

    PrincessLeppard Holding Alex Johnson's Pineapple

    Ditto. Actually, I've never heard anyone say it. I've read it, so I know what it is, but I have never heard it spoken. Ever.
  29. julieann

    julieann Well-Known Member

    I lived in Minnesota almost my whole life and I have never heard of a bubbler before.

    Although I do get funny looks when I order a pop in Arizona.
  30. cruisin

    cruisin Banned Member

    It is an exit. But it doesn't necessarily involve a bridge. It can be an over or underpass, but usually it is just a traffic light. You exit the highway about 500 ft. before the light. Drive around a loop to the left, and come to a traffic light. There you can go straight through (essentially making a left turn), or you can make a left (essentially making a u turn). Basically it is "all turns from right lane".