When I left my home in Raleigh, North Carolina, to begin my first year at Pomona College, I knew I was going to experience some regional differences between the American South and Southern California. There were the big changes I noticed right away: the liberal political climate, the existence of a good recycling system, and the abundance of hot sauce, just to name a few.
I was not, however, expecting to discover that almost nobody had heard of “Enoing.” Eno is a brand of durable and lightweight hammocks and the word “Enoing” was often used amongst my peers at home to describe the act of taking one’s hammock outside to hang out, sleep, read, or socialize with other people in their respective Enos.
My realization of this term’s regional specificity led me to wonder what words and phrases my friends used at home that other people might not be familiar with here. These are my findings.
There are, of course, the obvious regional differences in slang. There’s the classic debate between “pop” and “soda,” but Shiv Pandya PO ’20, hailing from Houston, Texas, shared that he calls every carbonated sweet beverage “coke” regardless of the actual brand. Ayleen Hernandez PO ’20, also from Houston, added that “English doesn’t even make any sense without the word y’all.”
Pandya also shared that his high school had its own slang, “chome,” that no other school used. “There’s a ‘chome’ in Urban Dictionary but it’s different,’” Pandya said. “At our school, ‘chome’ meant 'shoot' or 'that sucks' or 'ugh.' If you found out you had a test next period you’d go, ‘chome.’”
Emma Stammen SC ’20 and Alex White PO ’20 provided me with some insight into the local slang of Seattle, Washington. “A spodie is an outside party, usually in the woods,” Stammen said.
“It’s like when you have a barbeque or when you’re meeting up at a park or a bonfire. That’s a spodie,” White said. Stammen added that if something is “gas,” it is delicious; if something is “greezy” it’s mean or sassy, and if someone is “curbed,” they’re fast asleep.
Tulika Mohan PO ’20 lives in New Delhi, India, and was surprised to find that “no American knows what crockery is.” Mohan uses the term “crockery” to refer to everything from plates and bowls to forks and knives. “Also, it’s kind of weird for me that no one uses the word ‘specs,’” Mohan said, referring to the object Americans often call “glasses.”
Daniela Bond PO ’20 and Isabella Izquierdo PO ’20 also gave me in the inside scoop on some slang of Miami, Florida. A “day jam” is a party during the day, a “ghetty” is a kickback, and a “pata sucia,” which literally translates to “dirty feet,” is someone who walks around a party or club without any shoes on. “There’s too many party terms,” Izquierdo said. “Also, we love hurricanes. Every Floridian loves hurricanes.”
When asked what regional slang could be found in Connecticut, Michael Waters PO ’20 consulted his friend Abby Clarke SC ’20. “The consensus between Abby and me is that Connecticut is a barren wasteland without any slang of its own,” Waters said.