18 Things New Yorkers Say and What They Mean

18 Common Things New Yorkers Say

New York is known for many things. The city that never sleeps, fast-paced living, pizza, and our accents to name a few. Living in New York for over 11 years and having two parents born and raised in Brooklyn has taught me that our New York lingo is also quite unique, to say the least. Here I’m covering some of the most common and even funny things that New Yorkers say, and what they actually mean!

You might also enjoy 25+ words New Yorkers Say Different 

New York Travel Skyline

1. OD

Pronounced “Oh-dee”. OD can be used in several different ways to describe something as over the top, whether it is good, bad, or just plain crazy! Is also seen as over-doing something. Some ways it might be used is:

  • You went OD on them.
  • That pizza was OD good!
  • I’m OD upset right now.
  • I’m OD tired.
  • Bro, you’re OD’ing right now (you’re doing too much).
  • That photo is OD nice!

2. Not For Nothing

This phrase is basically said when you’re annoyed about the way someone did something when they could have done it differently (a way that you would have preferred since you’re from NY and everything you do is better than other people’s methods lol… jk).

For example, Not for nothing, they could have at least showed up with a gift.

Out of all the things New Yorkers say, I hear this one the most with my family. This phrase is more of a Staten Island/ Brooklyn term IMO.

Things New Yorkers Say

3. Mad

When you hear a New Yorker say “mad” in a sentence, it’s usually not because they are actually mad/angry. “Mad” in a sentence usually stands for very or a lot (of)……. Some examples of “mad” would be:

  • That bagel is mad good.
  • That’s mad cool.
  • I’m mad annoyed.
  • That was mad fun!

This is probably the most common things you will hear millennial New Yorkers say.

4. Tight

Tight generally means something is good (awesome/cool) or bad (angry). Some examples would be:

  • I’m mad tight right now. (I am very angry.)
  • That’s mad tight. (That’s very cool or that’s very annoying depending on the tone.)

Tone, many times has everything to do with it lol.

5. I’m Just A Couple of Blocks Away

One of my favorite things New Yorkers say, including my whole family (queue in the sarcasm) since I am always on time. A “block” is a reference to New York City streets and avenues. If you traveled from 10th st to 20th street, that would be 10 blocks. Catch my drift?

When New Yorkers say they are just a couple of blocks away, it’s never a couple! This translates to, “I’ll be there in 5 minutes” when really it’s 30 minutes.

Walking down New York Street

6. What’s Good?

What’s good is a common greeting phrase usually asking “how are you?” but is also used as a quick introduction to the conversation.

  • What’s good man, how’s the family?
  • What’s good, how you doin’?

7. Brick

Brick is usually used during the winter and means something is very cold.

  • It’s brick out!
  • I can’t believe how brick it is!
  • I’m not going outside, it’s OD brick.
  • The water at the beach is brick!

This phrase is also more said among the younger generation.

Things New Yorkers say in the Winter include, its brick!

8. Lit

New Yorkers use the word “lit” when something is cool or awesome. For example, this list is Lit! Ahh thank ya!

9. Bet

Hear someone say bet? In New York, it’s usually not because they are trying to make an actual bet with you. Instead, the word “bet” is usually used by itself and means ok, good, let’s do it or no doubt.

You would use bet as a reply to someone. An example would be:

Me: Want to grab food? You: I have to take a shower and then I can go. Me: bet!

10. Dead-Ass

From an outside view, this phrase makes me laugh. It means “no way or are you serious?!”

11. Buggin/Trippin

Buggin or Trippin is used to say, are you crazy? An example would be: You’re buggin’ if you think I’m sitting in a middle seat on a 15-hour flight!

12. Word

Similar to bet, “word” is usually used in answering a question or statement. It used to say “really?”,”okay”, ” sounds good”, or agreeing.

An example would be: Did you know she quit her job to travel? Oh, word? Or, This pizza is really good, right? Word!

Again, all in the tone of voice lol!

13. Good Looks

Good Looks is a way of saying thank you or thanks for looking out for me.

New York Mural

14. That’s Wack

This phrase would be similar to saying, “that stinks”.

15. That’s so Grimey/sleazy

This would be a phrase that is used to talk about someone else or a group of people. You would hear someone say that’s so “grimey” if they believed someone did wrong by them in an immoral way.

16. That’s Sus

This is the same as saying that suspicious but shorten down.  “That car over there looks sus.”

17. Let me get a Pie or a Slice

It wasn’t until after moving to North Carolina, that I realized just asking for a slice (meaning 1 cheese pizza slice) was not a thing. In New York, however, we are always trying to shorten the sentences down. I guess that’s where the fast pace comes in lol.

Things New Yorkers say include let me get a slice

18. Boss

The word “Boss” is usually used among men. Instead of saying thanks, man, you might hear New Yorkers say, thanks, Boss, or you got it, Boss! (even though the “boss” is usually not actually their employer).

Common/Hilarious Things New Yorkers Say Review

After making this list, I can’t help but laugh at myself and think how crazy some of this terminology sounds outside New York! I hope this list of things New Yorker’s say gave you a few laughs or made you realize, as a New Yorker some of the things we say are… let’s say colorful lol.

Traveling to New York soon? You might also be interested in New York Lavender Fields, NYC Instagram Spots, Free things to do in NYC, and more!

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10 thoughts on “18 Things New Yorkers Say and What They Mean”

  1. I’ve been to NYC a few times and I’m so happy I read this article because when I go back I’ll be able to use my newly learnt lingo! So funny that you guys say “brick”, I’ve never heard of that! We also say “sus” in New Zealand too!

    Reply
  2. Fab post! I had never heard several of these – OD, Good Looks, Bet are all new to me.

    For some reason Brick makes sense to me… we use ‘bricking it’ when we’re scared back home in London. Do you guys say that too?

    Reply
  3. This was such a fun article to read Sam! I have learned a lot! I am sure I heard some of those expressions in TV series wondering what it meant haha 😀

    Reply
  4. Haha these are so funny! I work a lot with my company’s office in NY and will definitely have to try some of this slang out. For sure have never heard like half of these before (but I’m from Vancouver) so its funny how much can change so regionally 🙂

    Reply
  5. Hahaha, I’m Australian and I thought our slang was bad! I honestly would never have guessed what “brick” meant, that would have really confused me if I heart it on the street. A couple of these terms were familiar to me though, so I must be slowly learning slang here.

    Reply

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