10 Wicked Boston Sayings Every New Englander Should Know

You probably know everything about the many historic landmarks throughout Boston, such as the Old State House and Faneuil Hall, along with the city’s popular sports teams like the Red Sox and Patriots. But if you’ve just become a New Englander after buying one of the Boston houses for sale, there are some sayings you must know before you can consider yourself a local.

Wicked

You aren’t a New Englander unless you use the word “wicked.” It’s not used on its own, but in place of “very” to describe something as a general intensifier such as “wicked cool” or “wicked pissah.”

While no one really knows where it originated it popped up at some point in the past 30 years, perhaps adopted as a nod to the Salem Witch Trials that took place during the 1690s.

Pissah

Speaking of “pissah,” it means superb, excellent, or outstanding, the opposite of what it sounds like. It’s believed to be derived from the old English word “pisser” which meant painful or unpleasant but the area’s typical accent drops the “r,” and it seems to have been ironically reversed. 

Bang a Uey

No, it’s not anything dirty, to “bang a uey” (said like yoo-ee) means making a U-turn, a simple direction to turn the car around. 

Moxie

Moxie comes from a cream soda beverage but it’s a word that’s used to describe someone who has a lot of spirit, determination and courage. For example, “it takes moxie to pull up roots and move to a new country where the language and culture are foreign.”

Leaf Peeper

People who visit New England to see the brilliant autumn foliage the region is known for are referred to as “leaf peepers.” They’re both despised for clogging up the roads while rubbernecking at five miles an hour but also appreciated for bringing in a significant amount of tourism dollars.

Masshole

“Massholes” refer to those who have aggressive driving habits. Bostonians in particular, but any Massachusetts resident, might be heard using the term directed to road ragers.

A Masshole might be tailgating, recklessly swerving in and out of lanes, speeding, failing to observe road signs or use turn signals, and taking part in other illegal, unsafe actions while driving. 

Hoodsie

If a New Englander says they’re craving a Hoodsie, they’re referring to a nostalgic small cup that’s filled with half vanilla and half chocolate ice cream with an amazing taste that’s similar to frozen whipped cream. They’re produced by a dairy company called Hood based in Massachusetts and were launched back in 1947.

For decades every elementary school child here got one on Ice Cream Days and other special school days, usually in a red polka-dotted cup with a flat wooden spoon. They can still be purchased at some supermarkets in the Northeast.

Southie

If you refer to someone as a “Southie” that means a resident that is from South Boston. The district is one of the oldest in the country and has been the home of many well-knowns like organized crime boss Whitey Bulger. 

Rippah

“Rippah” is the Bostonian pronunciation of “ripper” which refers to a huge party where party-goers are likely to become out-of-control intoxicated, with the event likely one to remember for the damage to reputations, personal items, and possibly to the attendees themselves.

For example, Josh threw a wicked rippah at his parents’ house and was thrown from the second-story window.

The Hub

In Boston, when someone refers to “the hub” they’re likely to be referring to the Old State House which Whitey Bulger called “the hub of the solar system.”

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