Fun New York Slang: Things New Yorkers Say and What They Mean!
New York is known for many things. The city that never sleeps, fast-paced living, pizza, New York slang, and our accents, to name a few. As a local New Yorker with most of my family in Brooklyn, Long Island, and Staten Island, I am here to cover some of the most common New York slang words and phrases that New Yorkers say, and what they actually mean!
I have read some of the lists put together by others on New York slang and words like “hella” should never appear as New York slang or lingo… but I digress. Just know you are getting authentic New York slang, phrases, and lingo on this list!
I hope some of these New York slang phrases give you a laugh because I’ve laughed a ton while writing them!
Be sure to also check out these New York Accent Words New Yorkers Say Different
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- New York Slang
- 1. OD / Oh-DEE
- 2. Dead-Ass
- 3. Not For Nothing
- 4. Mad
- 5. Facts
- 6. Tight
- 7. My Bad or My B
- 8. My Fault
- 9. Real Talk
- 10. Buggin/Trippin
- 11. I’m Just A Couple of Blocks Away
- 12. What’s Good?
- 13. Boss
- 14. Brick
- 15. Ayo
- 16. Good Looks
- 17. Bet
- 18. Bodega
- 19. Fire
- 20. I give you Props or Mad Props
- 21. Lit
- 22. Gucci
- 23. Hyped
- 24. Hollywood
- 25. I’m Straight
- 26. Word
- 27. Yer
- 28. Guap / Mula / Paper
- 29. That’s Wack
- 30. I’m Out / We Out
- 31. Loser (Lou-sa)/ Clown
- 32. Whip
- 33. Be Easy
- 34. That’s so Grimey/sleazy
- 35. Grill
- 36. Let me get a Pie or a Slice
- 37. Jacked
- 38. Shook
- 39. Bounce
- 40. Cop That
- 41. Book it
- 42. You’re Wildin
- 43. Bing Bong
- 44. The City
- 45. My Guy
- 46. Step to Me
- 47. Snuffed
- 48. Beef
- 49. Brolic
- 50. Scrap
- 51. Frontin
- 52. That’s Sus
- 53. Bird
- 54. Schlep
- 55. Shvitz
- 56. Schmear
- 57. Baconeggandcheese
- 58. Fuhgeddaboutit
- 59. Bop
- 60. Yah, Nah
- 61. Nah, Yah
- 62. Kid/Son
- 63. Link
- 64. On Line
- 65. Mint
- 66. Johnny Pump
- 67. Phat
- 68. Bomb
- Slang Words for New York
- Common/Hilarious Things New Yorkers Say Slang Wrap-up
About New York Slang
One thing to keep in mind is that New York slang is different around the state. New York is the 27th largest state, so New York is much more than just the New York City boroughs (Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island).
Most of these New York slang terms will be focused around New York City and Long Island neighborhoods since that’s where my family is from and where I grew up and spent most of my time.
I’ve also chatted with some of my younger cousins to get a bit of the newer lingo New Yorkers are saying. I also made sure to poll my parents, aunts, and uncles to get some of the older NY generation slang too. Again, I see yooz in the comments!
Additionally, a lot of slang has come from pop culture and rap from artists originating out of New York. So while I hear you in the comments that everyone says “that slang word,” it doesn’t take away the fact that it originated out of NY, similar to how “hella” is now said everywhere but started in California.
New York Slang
So, are you ready for some funny things New Yorkers say and some old fashion New York slang? These New York slang terms are in no particular order, going back and forth from newer New York generations to older New York generations, so make sure you scroll to the end!
1. OD / Oh-DEE
Pronounced “Oh-dee,” this is one of my favorite New York slang words. OD can be used in several different ways to describe something as over the top, whether it is good, bad, or just plain crazy! It is also seen as overdoing something. Some ways it might be used are:
- You went OD on them.
- That NY 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!
From an outside view, this New York slang word makes me laugh. It means, “no way” or “are you serious?!”
- You: Yo, I just won free tickets! New Yorker: Dead-ass, I’m hyped!
- You: Someone hit your car. New Yorker: Dead-ass? I’m so tight!
3. Not For Nothing
This New York phrase is basically said when you’re annoyed about how 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 shown up with a gift.
Out of all the things New Yorkers say, I hear this one the most with my family. This New York phrase is more of a Staten Island/ Brooklyn term IMO.
When you hear a New Yorker say “mad” in a sentence, it’s usually not because they are actually mad/angry. The New York slang word “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 slang words you will hear millennial New Yorkers say.
I’ll never forget when we first started saying “mad,” and my mom would say, “why is it mad? Why can’t it be angry?” So, instead of saying mad, she’d say angry lol. This is one of the classic NYC slang words, IMO.
“Facts” is one of my favorite New York slang words. Maybe it is because I say it all the time. Anyways, this NY slang word kind of means what you would think it would. You would generally use “facts” or “that’s facts” to agree with a statement someone else said.
- You: This is the best pizza in Brooklyn! New Yorker: Facts!
- You: My mom cooks the best baked ziti. New Yorker: Now that’s facts!
- Yo, that’s facts!
The New York slang word “Tight” has been around forever and continues to trickle through NY generations. “Tight” generally means something is good (awesome/cool) or bad (angry). Some examples of using the slang word “tight” 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.)
When talking about New York Slang words, the tone they are said can totally change the meaning. Usually, the tone will be a happy tone, or a pissed-off tone lol.
7. My Bad or My B
Saying my bad or my B is New York slang for saying sorry. Some examples of using my bad would be:
- My bad, I didn’t mean to upset you.
- My B, I didn’t see you there.
8. My Fault
Similar to my bad, saying my fault is a way of acknowledging you might have done something wrong, didn’t realize something, or took it out of context. Some examples of using the slang word my fault would be:
- You: I was watching that. Why did you change the channel? New Yorker: My fault!
- You: I was next on the line! New Yorker: My fault.
9. Real Talk
When New Yorkers say “real talk,” we are indicating that we are not joking around and are being serious.
- Real talk, I heard she is sick.
- On some real talk, I heard they might be firing people.
Buggin or Trippin is New York slang that 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!
11. I’m Just A Couple of Blocks Away
This is one of my favorite things New Yorkers say, including my whole family (queue in the sarcasm), since I am always on time.
A “block” refers to New York City streets and avenues. If you traveled from 10th street 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.
12. What’s Good?
What’s good is a common New York greeting phrase usually asking “how are you?” But, it is also used as a quick introduction to the conversation.
- What’s good man, how’s the family?
- What’s good, how you doin’?
The New York slang 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).
You will surely have heard this New York slang word in an old-school New York Italian-like movie.
I know I keep saying this, but “brick” has to be one of my favorite New York slang words! Mainly because it’s brick in NYC for about 6-7 months of the year!
Also, because non-New Yorkers look at you a little crazy! So what does it mean when a New Yorker says it’s brick? Brick is generally said during the winter and means something is very cold. This New Yorker Slang word always confuses people.
- It’s brick out! = It’s cold 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 and is one of the most common things New Yorkers say in the winter! While my mom says “brick” it most certainly was not popular in her generation.
Another greeting you might hear New Yorkers say is Ayo. It is an informal way to say hi and basically means ay, you, how ya doin?
16. Good Looks
The New York slang phrase “Good Looks” is a way of saying thank you or thanks for looking out for me.
- Good looks for paying that ticket for me!
- Good looks on picking me up a slice (of pizza)!
Hear someone say “bet”? In New York, it’s usually not because they are trying to make an actual bet with you. Instead, the New York slang word “bet” is usually used by itself and means ok, good, let’s do it, or no doubt.
You would use the word “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!
Since we are talking about food, you might hear someone in NYC say, “hey, don’t forget to stop by the bodega and grab me some bread.”
Bodega’s a street corner food mart and it is most common to see them in the New York boroughs. You can also order your Baconeggandcheese here, but more on that later!
You likely have heard someone say “fire” in rap songs, but just in case you haven’t, this is what you need to know.
If a New Yorker is saying “fire,” it doesn’t actually mean there is a physical fire! The New York slang word “fire” is usually used as a response to something being really good, or describing a woman being beautiful.
If you were guessing, yes, my example will once again have pizza, as it is my favorite food, lol.
- This pizza is fire! Facts, it’s the best pizza joint (restaurant) in all of New York.
- That girl is fire! You think I can get her number?
20. I give you Props or Mad Props
The New York slang phrase “I give you props” means you are acknowledging or giving someone credit. An example of a New Yorker saying Props would be:
- I give you mad props for writing this awesome New Yorker Slang article!
- I give you props for being on time!
New Yorkers use the word “lit” when something is cool or awesome. For example, this list is Lit! Ahh thank ya! This one is definitely more of a millennial New York slang word. The older New York generation is not saying lit, lol.
This NY slang word makes me laugh sometimes. You will hear New Yorkers use this one by saying, “I’m Gucci” which basically means I am good; all is good in the hood! This word has definitely made its way around the globe with popular rap songs.
- You: Want some pizza? New Yorker: Na, I’m gucci.
Hyped might be considered a little more universal of a term, but I wanted to include it. When a New Yorker says I’m hyped, they mean I’m excited, or I can’t wait.
- I’m hyped about going to the concert!
- I’m hyped to see you!
Saying Hollywood is more of a Brooklyn/Staten Island stereotype slang phrase in my opinion. It always reminds me of my uncle since it’s one of his favorite terms.
You might hear a New Yorker say, “Hey Hollywood, you too good to hang out with us now?” or “look, Hollywood is coming.” It is not a term of endearment, but more of describing a person who thinks they are better than you or stuck up.
25. I’m Straight
“I’m Straight” in New York lingo means I’m good. Some examples of using I’m straight would be:
- You: Want to get pizza? New Yorker: Na (no), I’m straight.
- I’m straight chillin’ right now!
Similar to bet, “word” is usually used in answering a question or statement. The New York slang word, “word” is used to say really(?), okay, sounds good, or agreeing with someone.
An example would be:
- Did you know she quit her job to travel? Oh, word?
- This pizza is really good, right? Word!
Again, all in the tone of voice, lol!
Hear someone yelling YERRRR? This is a New York greeting among friends! I laugh when Facebook shares my memories from the past years, and my status says “YER”. Yerr is also used by the millennial generation. You won’t hear older generations greeting each other by saying Yer.
28. Guap / Mula / Paper
This New York slang word at this point is pretty universal, especially since it is used in songs so often. But in case you haven’t heard it, this is one of the things New Yorks say (Gaup, Maula, or Paper) that all stand for money.
29. That’s Wack
When New Yorkers say, “that’s whack,” what they mean is, “that stinks,” or that sucks. Some ways to use it:
- You: The restaurant is closed. New Yorker: That’s whack; I’m mad hungry.
- You: I can’t go out tonight. New York: that’s whack, I need my wingman.
30. I’m Out / We Out
When you hear a New Yorker say I’m out, you may be thinking out of what? What do New Yorkers mean when saying I’m out or we out means I am leaving or we as a group are leaving.
- It’s getting late, I’m out.
- You: Wanna grab some food with me? New Yorker: Ya, we out!
31. Loser (Lou-sa)/ Clown
Usually, if a New Yorker is talking about someone they don’t like, thinks poorly of them, or that the person is below them are likely to call them a loser or a clown.
This slang word comes from the older New York generation and has been passed down.
- That girl is a clown, stay away from her.
- He’s a loser; I have no time for him.
One of the things you will likely hear New Yorkers say is “whip”. It generally doesn’t mean they want to whip anything.
While whip can have a few meanings, like whip you up some food or to physically whip something, if a car is involved in NY, it’s different. When a New Yorker says whip, they are talking about the car. You have likely heard this term in hip-hop or rap songs. Car = whip.
- Like my new whip?
- Get in my whip!
33. Be Easy
When a New Yorker is saying be easy, they mean stay well or be good. This NY phrase is usually said when leaving. You will hear this on Long Island and across some of the boroughs.
- Good night, be easy.
- I’m out, be easy.
34. 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.
The older New York generation usually won’t say this.
When a New Yorker is talking about your grill, it doesn’t necessarily mean the one in your backyard! Grill stands for your mouth/teeth. Or grill can stand for how someone looked/stared at you, and not in a good way.
This New York slang word has become popular through rap, so you have likely heard it before.
- I punched him in the grill.
- The dude straight grilled you.
36. 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. I guess that’s where the fast pace comes in lol, and probably one of my most used New Yorker Slang phrases.
This slang word is general terminology across New York generations.
Jacked can mean two things in NY slang, depending on the context. Either it means someone stole something, or it’s like saying Brolic, meaning muscular.
- Yo, she jacked my phone!
- I just came back from the gym looking jacked!
The older generation is not saying this, lol, although my “hip” mom might!
You might read this as shaking something off, or you shook a hand, but this is not what it means when a New Yorker says it. Saying I am shook in New York slang means I am scared.
- I was mad shook when the cops pulled by.
- That brolic guy had me shook.
This is younger generation New York slang.
When a New Yorker says, “let’s bounce,” they usually don’t mean to jump up and down. Bounce is used in a sentence to say let’s leave a place, or you want to leave a place.
- This bar is boring. Let’s bounce.
- She was being crazy, so I bounced.
40. Cop That
If you hear a New Yorker say let me cop that, it means, it refers to taking or buying an item.
- Let me cop that shirt from you.
- I am coppin three pies from the pizza joint.
41. Book it
If you hear a New Yorker say book it, you better start running or driving faster. Book it means to go… go fast and go NOW!
- I think she saw us, book it!
- I booked it when she started chasing me!
This is younger NY generation slang.
42. You’re Wildin
This New Yorker slang phrase means to be out of control or crazy.
- Yo bro, you’re wildin if you think I’m not going to that party.
- He was wildin last night at the club and got kicked out.
43. Bing Bong
Update: This trend came and went real fast. I don’t think too many people are saying it anymore.
One of the newest things New Yorkers say is likely Bing Bong. This funny New York saying came after a video went viral after a New York Knicks game. The NYC fans were outside of Madison Square Garden and one said Bing Bong.
The sound itself was derived from the subway doorbell when it opens and closes. Now you can hear Bing Bong all over tik tok and New Yorkers will say it when something good happens.
- The Knicks won, Bing Bong!
44. The City
If you keep hearing New Yorkers say they are going to “The City,” they mean they are going to Manhattan. While NYC is loosely used for Manhattan, NYC consists of all 5 boroughs.
Don’t know them? Papoose’s verse in the Touch it – Remix song will help ya out.
45. My Guy
If you hear someone say my guy, it is usually used as a way of endearment or to a friend. It can also be used as a friendly/ informal way to ask a man a question if you don’t know their name.
- This is my guy right here, he’s the best.
- Ay my guy, how much does this cost?
I’ve heard the older generation say this.
46. Step to Me
Saying step to me in New York is fighting words. It’s basically like saying approach me, and we are fighting. This is very much younger-generation New York slang.
- I dare that person to step to me.
- If you step to me, I’m knocking you out.
The next couple of New York slang words will fall in the fighting category.
Since we are talking about fighting words, I can’t forget to include the NY slang word snuff. Snuff basically means punched—another younger generation term. I know, we are getting into a lot of Millenial terms.
- Yo, I snuffed him.
- She snuffed you good.
Continuing on with the fighting New York slang words, you may hear someone say, “that’s beef,” “you got beef,” or “I got beef with them.” All of these mean I have a problem with you in a fighting matter.
- I got beef with her, so I’m not going to the party.
- You got beef? See me in the hands (fight me)! See me in the hands means fight me.
- How dare you say that about my girl, that’s beef!
This New York slang word has been around a little longer.
If you are starting to really get a laugh at these NY slang words, I totally get it. So, Brolic means big and is generally used for saying a person is big/muscular. You have already seen the word “Brolic” used in some of the examples.
- I’m not fighting that guy, he’s mad brolic!
- Bro, you see that brolic guy from the gym?
This is also the younger generation in New York.
Nope, this slang word does not mean “table scraps,” but instead, it means to fight. It can be used to say let’s fight or did they fight? Some examples would be:
- Yo, let’s scrap right now, step to me.
- Did she scrap her?
This is also younger generation slang word.
Another one of the things New Yorkers say that might be confusing is if someone is frontin. This generally means they are lying. An example would be:
- Don’t be frontin, I know you got pizza without me.
52. That’s Sus
When you hear New Yorkers say sus, they mean something is suspicious. In fact, in true New York fashion, it is just the word suspicious but shortened.
- That car over there looks sus.
- You: Think they see me over here? New Yorker: Ya you look mad sus!
Bird is not one of the nicest New York slang words and is derogatory towards women. It is basically saying that girl “gets around” or a slut.
So you would likely hear someone say that girl is a bird. Hopefully, you won’t hear this one too much!
This slang word is popular in rap but has been around for a while.
This one goes out to my Jewish New Yorkers. The word “Schlep” is actually Yiddish and comes from a German word meaning to drag or carry. If you have to schlep something, you generally are not happy about it!
- I had to schlep all these heavy bags up the stairs.
- She had me schlepping her dry cleaning all across midtown.
You will certainly hear the older New York generations saying this. The next handful of New York slang words you see is going a little more old-school.
Since you now know what Schlep means, you might as well learn the Yiddish word “Shvitz!” You will likely hear Jewish New Yorkers say Shvitz when it is hot out because it means to sweat.
- I’m shvitzing over here, can you turn on the air conditioner?
This is also popular with the older New York generations.
Walk into the bagel store and hear a New Yorker say that they want a schmear of cream cheese? This is another Yiddish word Jewish New Yorkers say, and it means to spread. Schmear is usually used with food, but not always.
- Give me a schmear of whitefish salad on my bagel.
- I’ll take a schmear of butter.
- You schmeared the ink on the paper and now it’s all messed up.
This is the order you are going to give to the guy at the bodega. You’re going to say a bacon, egg, and cheese really fast, like your a New Yorker.
The “Leavin Brooklyn, Fuhgetddaboutit!” is a sign everyone should be familiar with. To be honest, with all the speed traps and red light cameras Brooklyn has installed, all I want to do is leave Brooklyn, but ay, it is what it is, lol.
Still, Fuhgeddaboutit is such a classic New York slang word! Not sure how I don’t have a picture of that sign, but once you re-enter Brooklyn, you will then see the “Welcome to Brooklyn How Sweet is it!”
You don’t hear bop as often with the newer New York generation, but a bop, is a song. Like, this is my bop!
60. Yah, Nah
Oh, New Yorkers and their contradictions! New Yorkers will use this phrase all the time and it means “No.”
61. Nah, Yah
On the other hand, Nah, Yah means yes. You’re catching on quickly!
If you hear a New Yorker say “kid” or “son,” it is usually to a close friend. Both the older and younger generation may use this.
The NY slang word “link” is not talking about a link in a chain, but rather, getting together. So, you may hear someone say, “hey, you want to link up later?”
64. On Line
I’m going to be honest with you. I never realized New Yorkers are the only ones that say waiting on line, until I moved to North Carolina. Waiting on line is the same as waiting in line for something.
The New York slang word “mint” doesn’t mean someone wants a mint, but that something is nice or high-quality.
- Those new kicks (shoes) are mint.
66. Johnny Pump
The chances of you hearing someone call the fire hydrant a Johnny pump it probably low unless you are talking to someone from the older generation, but I thought it was a fun addition to the New York slang list and to some of the older readers that might chuckle.
Said like fat, “phat” was a super popular term in my mother’s generation, and she told me it must make the list of things New Yorkers say. calling something “phat” means it’s cool or nice.
- Those jeans are phat! = Those jeans are nice!
I really feel like I am reaching into the old-school New York slang box here, but my mom also insisted on “bomb” be added. So, if you, for some reason, heard a New Yorker say, “that’s the bomb,” they are not talking about an actual bomb.
Something being “the bomb” means it’s really cool!
Slang Words for New York
Some additional slang words you may hear when talking about New York include:
- The Big Apple
- The City that never sleeps
- Gotham City
- BK = Brooklyn
- UES = Upper East Side in Manhattan
- UWS = Upper West Side in Manhattan
- LES= Lower East Side Manhattan
- SoHo = South of Houston
- DUMBO = Down under the Manhattan Bridge overpass in Brooklyn
Common/Hilarious Things New Yorkers Say Slang Wrap-up
After making this list, I can’t help but laugh at myself and think how crazy some of this terminology sounds outside of New York! I hope this list of things New Yorkers say and what they actually mean gave you a few laughs or made you realize, as a New Yorker some of the things we say and slang we use are… let’s say, colorful lol.
Did I miss any NY Slang words or phrases? Let me know in the comments below, and I will do my best to add them!
Traveling to New York soon? You might also be interested in:
- NYC food to try
- New York Lavender Fields
- NYC Instagram Spots
- Free things to do in NYC
- NYC 4 Day Itinerary
- NYC at Night
- NYC Bucket List Things to do
- Best Skyline Views in NYC
- Top NYC Observation Decks
- NYC in Fall
- NYC during the Holidays
- Or see all my New York travel guides here!