56 Things New Yorkers Say and What They Mean: NY Slang from a Local

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56 Things New Yorkers Say – NY Slang From a New Yorker

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 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 phrases, and words like “hella” or “Gnarly” should never appear as New York slang or lingo… but I digress. Just know you are getting authentic NY slang, phrases, and lingo on this list! I hope some of these NY phrases give you a laugh because I’ve laughed a ton while writing it and I say many of these phrases all the time.

You might also enjoy 25+ words New Yorkers Say Different 

New York Travel Skyline

1. OD / Oh-DEE

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. Dead-Ass

From an outside view, this NY phrase 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 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 shown 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

4. 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 and is one of the classic NYC slang words.

NYC at night - NYC slang word mad

5. Facts

One of my favorite words, and this NY slang word kinda means what you would think. 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!

6. 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.

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. 

Brooklyn Bridge. NY lingo my b

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 in line! New Yorker: My fault.

9. Real Talk

When New Yorkers say real talk, what they indicating they 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. 

10. 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!

11. 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. NY SLANG

12. 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’?

13. 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).

14. Brick

Brick has to be one of my favorite New York slang words! Mostly because it’s brick in NYC 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 usually used during the winter and means something is very cold. This New Yorker Slang word always confuses people.

  • 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 and is one of the most common things New Yorkers say in the winter!

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

15. Ayo

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

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!

17. 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!

18. Bodega

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 is most common in the New York boroughs. 

19. Fire

You likely have heard someone say fire in wrap songs, but just in case you haven’t, most times if a New Yorker is saying fire, it doesn’t actually mean there is a physical fire! The phrase fire is usually used as a response of 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?

NY skyline with woman in orange skirt from long island city. Fire NY slang word things New Yorkers say

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!

21. Lit

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

22. Gucci

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! 

  • You: Want some pizza? New Yorker: Na, I’m gucci. 

23. Hyped

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 to go to the concert!
  • I’m hyped to see you! 

24. Hollywood

Saying Hollywood is more of a Brooklyn/Staten Island stereotype phrase in my opinion and 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, I’m straight. 
  • I’m straight chillin’ right now!

26. 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!

27. Yer

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 saying Yer. 

YER NY SLANG WITH NYC in the background from Williamsburg brooklyn

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. 

  • That girls a clown, stay away from her.
  • He’s a loser, I have no time for him.

New York Mural

32. Whip

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 when a New Yorker says whip, they are talking about the car. It is likely you have 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. My friend said when he’s feelin a little gangsta, as he leaves he will say be easy. 

  • 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.

35. Grill

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.

  • 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 down. I guess that’s where the fast pace comes in lol and probably one of my most used New Yorker Slang phrases.

Things New Yorkers say include let me get a slice

37. Jacked

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!

38. Shook

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. 

39. Bounce

When a New Yorker says lets 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 3 pies. 

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!

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

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. 

Skyline of NYC with woman sitting on rocks overlooking the water and NYC

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?

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. 

  • I dare that person to step to me. 
  • If you step to me, I’m knocking you out.  

47. Snuffed

Since we are talking about fighting words, I can’t forget to include the NY slang word snuff. Snuff basically means punched. 

  • Yo, I snuffed him. 
  • She snuffed you good.

48. Beef

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!

49. Brolic

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. 

  • I’m not fighting that guy, he’s mad brolic! 
  • Bro, you see that brolic guy from the gym?

50. Scrap

Nope, this slang word does not mean “table scraps”, but instead it means to fight. It can be used to say lets fight or did they fight. Some examples would be: 

  • Yo, let’s scrap right now, step to me.
  •  Did she scrap her? 

51. Frontin

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 shorten down. 

  • That car over there looks sus.
  • You: Think they see me over here? New Yorker: Ya you look mad sus!

53. Bird

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!

54. Schlep

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. 

55. Shvitz

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?

56. Schmear

Walk into the bagel store and heard a New Yorker say that 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.

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.

Traveling to New York soon? You might also be interested in NYC food to tryNew York Lavender Fields, NYC Instagram Spots, Free things to do in NYC, NYC 4 Day Itinerary, NYC at Night and more!

Did I miss any NY Slang words or phrases? Let me know in the comments below!

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Things New Yorkers Say and What it Means

24 thoughts on “56 Things New Yorkers Say and What They Mean: NY Slang from a Local”

  1. We say things like wow
    That is so peasant for poor behavior like not having nothing
    We say my G that is so Gully like just grimy
    We say What it look like for what is happening tonight
    We say you got the Yip for blow or coke
    We say where you at the Hampsters ie the Hamptons
    We say mind your buddy eyes o
    If a herb see too much

    Reply
  2. Sounds like a transplanted millennial’s idea of street slang. Something THEY developed living in NYC. Almost none of these terms do I use, and neither do many friends and family of mine. I am a 3RD generation New Yorker.

    Reply
    • We can agree to disagree – My family was born and raised in Brooklyn/Staten Island and my 60 year old father knows most of these terms. Long Island is different from Queens, different from Brooklyn, and pretty different from Upstate. Maybe we are just from different hoods =)

      Reply
  3. You forgot one of the most prolific things New Yorkers say and that’s: Yerr
    As a New Yorker, this word is used to greet friends and is often called out in a very loud manner.

    Reply
      • This list can go on for days lol.

        That’s a fact. Started from new york but everyone jacking it now.

        We not “jacking” that. Not cosigning.

        My “son”. A double entendre. When you’re talking to your friends you can call them your son in a playful manner, but if you say this to a random person you’re going to end up fighting.

        Reply
  4. I’m just an Iranian teenager and it’s mad scaring me how I knew half of these.
    Thanks for this lit article btw I genuinely enjoyed it.
    My dream is to live in NYC one day, and I’m working day & night for it, so fingers crossed maybe I will get to hear these with my own ears.

    Reply
  5. what about “props” like i give you props for this article. or i give you props for that. but seriously this article is pretty legit. but its not what is portrayed in the media as being a “new yorker” the media gets one street out of manhattan and stereotypes everyone in the city as that annoying new yorker that sounds like a straight up queer 24/7 that all other new yorker’s hate being compared to…

    Reply
  6. What a cool post. πŸ™‚ I love how NYC’s slang is second best to none. This list could go on forever. From regions like BK and the Bricks (Newark) to street talk slang like “smokin’ trees” and watching out for “jakes”.

    Reply
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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 πŸ˜€

    Reply
    • to be honest i think it does .. im from the bronx and i always thought the same .. because when you think about it over-doing it and overdosing kinda mean the same thing

      Reply
  10. 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 πŸ™‚

    Reply
  11. 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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