19 regional words all Americans should adopt immediately
Traveling around the United States, it sometimes can feel as if the locals are speaking a whole different language
1. whoopensocker (n.), WisconsinYou know when something's wonderfully unique, but the words "wonderful" and "unique" don't quite cut it? That's why Wisconsinites invented whoopensocker, which can refer to anything extraordinary of its kind — from a sweet dance move to a knee-melting kiss.
2. snirt (n.), Upper MidwestA gem of a portmanteau, this word means exactly what it sounds like: A mixture of windblown snow and dirt. Also, for your linguistic pleasure, try out the adjective version: Snirty.
3. slug (n. or v.), Washington, D.C.In addition to describing that shell-less snail-looking creature, a "slug" describes a traveler who hitches a ride with someone who needs passengers in order to use a High Occupancy Vehicle lane. The verb form, "to slug," refers to the act of commuting in that manner. In New Hampshire, to gee-buck means something similar: to hitch a ride on the back of someone else's sleigh.
4. wapatuli, (n.), WisconsinNearly everyone who has been to college in America has either concocted, or been an unfortunate victim of, wapatuli: A homemade alcoholic drink with any combination of hard liquors or other beverages — Mountain Dew, white wine and vodka, anyone? A wapatuli can also refer to the occasion at which that jungle juice is consumed. In Kentucky, the (perhaps more onomatopoeically correct) word for terrible liquor is splo, while in the mid-Atlantic, whiskey — especially the moonshine variety — is ratgut.
5. arsle (v.), Kentucky, Virginia, Missouri, Pennsylvania, ArkansasDepending on the state, this word can mean a few things — to fidget, to back out of a place or situation, or to loaf around restlessly — pretty much all of which describe my activities on an average Sunday afternoon. (In Maine, instead of arsling, I might putty around, and in Vermont, I'd pestle around, but either way, it still means not a whole lot is getting done.)
6. jabble (v.), VirginiaYou know when you're standing at your front door rifling through your purse for fifteen minutes because you can't find your keys again? That's because all the stuff in your purse got all jabbled up. This fantastic little word means "to shake up or mix," but it can also be used less literally, meaning "to confuse or to befuddle."
7. sneetered (v.), KentuckyIf you've ever been hoodwinked, duped, swindled, fleeced or scammed, you done been sneetered. The noun version, sniter, refers to that treacherous person responsible for your unfortunate sneetering. Also see snollygoster, a shameless, unscrupulous person, especially a politician.
8. slatchy (adj.), NantucketThis lovely little word describes the sky during a fleeting moment of sunshine or blue sky in the middle of a storm. The noun version, slatch, refers to that moment itself.
9. snoopy (adj.), Maryland, PennsylvaniaA more interesting way of saying someone's picky, especially with regards to food.
10. arky (adj.), VirginiaThis word refers to Noah's Ark, not to Arkansas, so if someone calls your style arky — old-fashioned, or out of style — you can accuse them of being an anti-antediluvianite. (Which, full disclosure, is not technically a word, but should you ever actually employ such a comeback, you will win like a million gold stars in Nerdland.)
11. faunch (v.), South Midlands, WestMeaning to rant, rave, or rage, this fairly well describes what many Americans do while watching cable news. (Also, try out the phrase, faunching angry, when describing the guy whose parking spot you just snaked.)
12. chinchy (adj.), South, South MidlandsNot as direct as "cheap," and less erudite than "parsimonious," this useful word perfectly describes your stingy friend who never chips in for gas.
13. larruping (adv.), Oklahoma, South MidlandsYou know when food tastes so freakin' delicious, but "yummy," "scrumptious" and "tasty" just don't do it justice? That'd be a good time to break out this fabulous word, used most often in the phrase "larruping good."
14. mizzle-witted (adj.), SouthThis satisfyingly Dickensian word means "mentally dull," but depending on where you are in the country, mizzle can also be used as a verb meaning "to confuse," "to depart in haste" or "to abscond," or as a noun meaning, "a very fine or misty rain." So, if you were a mizzle-witted burglar, you might break into a house, get mizzled, trip the alarm, and then mizzle with your loot into the mizzle. Sans raincoat.
15. burk (v.), Georgia, SouthMore fun than the word "vomit" and more polite than the word "fart," this utilitarian verb describes both activities. Just be happy that if you're in West Virginia, you don't get the skitters — an Appalachian version of Montezuma's revenge.
16. snuggy (n.) Iowa, MidlandsThose of us who grew up with older brothers are intimately familiar with what it is to suffer from a snuggy — a friendlier word for a wedgie. This is not to be confused with the snuggie, the fashionable house coat/blanket (snuggie) that's now available for people and horses.
17. jasm (n.), ConnecticutMeaning "intense energy or vitality," the sentence provided in the dictionary was so good, I wanted to share it with you all, too: "If you'll take thunder and lightning, and a steamboat and a buzz-saw, and mix 'em up, and out 'em into a woman, that's jasm."
18. mug-up (n.), AlaskaWhen Alaskans take a break from work, grab a pastry or a cup of joe, and gaze out at Russia, they're enjoying a "mug-up" — their version of a coffee break.
19. bufflehead (n.), Pennsylvania (mountains)You would have to be a real bufflehead if you didn't think this word, meaning a fool or idiot, is not an awesome insult. Also, for your consideration, the related adjective buffle-brained.
Note: Many of these words have more than five different definitions, in addition to five different spellings, depending on the region — or even the region within the region — from whence they came. To find out more about the Dictionary of American Regional English, the University of Wisconsin-Madison created a great website about the project.
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