Sunday, June 18, 2006

chi-lexicon

Maybe people use these everywhere, but I had never heard them until I moved to Chicago:
Nutjob: a not entirely rational person, i.e. not a Midwesterner

F***stick: an inconsiderate person

Soup to Nuts: beginning to end (I asked someone where this came from and he said: “Like with a meal – you start with soup and you end with nuts.” And I said: “Do you end a meal with nuts? Do you know anyone who does?” And he said: “Well, no. But that’s what it means.”)

T-boned: what happens when some nutjob turns left on a yellow light and the other traffic is still moving through the intersection

Gaper’s Delay: what happens when someone gets T-boned; variation: Gaper’s Block

36 comments:

Lolabola said...

Nutjob and t-boned I use quite often, F***wad I guess is my prefered version of F***stick, soup to nuts? interesting.

Gaper's delay, thank god there's a word for this phenomenon!

suttonhoo said...

good point -- f***wad is a frequent variation. clearly an oversight on my part. ;)

litwit said...

When I first moved down here, I thought "the Gapers" was another tollway, like the Kennedy.

suttonhoo said...

love it -- which introduces a whole new topic -- why do all the expressways go by surnames instead of numbers?!?! it's kinda sweet but it drives me crazy -- 'specially when the signage doesn't ever cite both names at once...

re gaper's -- in LA they call them "looky-loos" -- and I'm ashamed to admit that I forget what they're called in Seattle... enyasi?

Lolabola said...

looky-loos! even better!!

litwit said...

After nine years, I still couldn't tell you what the Dan Ryan is, or how to find it, or where it leads. Use the digits, people! They're there for a reason.

patrick said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
patrick said...

In Dallas they called a gaper's block "rubbernekkin" (rubber-necking)...not sure if that's regional or not. All of those words were brand new to me when I moved to Michigan (except gapers which is definitely Chicago). The other one that gets me is "come with". I keep wanting to finish the sentence for them. :)

enyasi said...

Definitly a Chicago thing... Strangely we don't have terms like that in Seattle as everyone here is a wonderful driver... *NOT* ;-)

Anne said...

In Virginia, we called it "Rubbernecking" (like you're stretching your neck out in order to see the carnage).

Recently, I heard "Cheese on rice" as a faux curse (instead of Jesus Christ) in a movie. Is that a midwest thing? First time I've ever heard it.

Anali said...

In Boston, I've heard nutjob and soup to nuts, but not the others. I think "Bang a Uwey" is a Boston thing. Not sure of the spelling, but it means to make a U turn. Does anyone say that in Chicago?

Anonymous said...

Lest we forget the quinessential Chicago insult--jagoff...

DebO said...

I thought it was "HANG a uwey." Don't remember where I heard for the first time, but it's familiar. I used to always hear about rubbernecking in traffic reports when I was growing up in NYC. Is "f***wad" related to "d***wad?"

e_five said...

Cash Station - The brand name of ATMs from the old First Chicago Bank. Some people still use it to refer to any ATM.

Bird bath - Washing up in a sink.

Streets N' San - The branch of government that repairs potholes and plows snow, or generic term for lazy-ass, corrupt patronage jockeys.

e_five said...

Also, I've never lived anywhere else where people described where they lived by Catholic parrishes.

Anonymous said...

don't forget jagoff, or just plain ol' jag. a true midwestern gem. i can't believe they named a show 'JAG'; clearly the writers were not from chicago. everytime i see it i crack up... and to remain in a juvenile vein, what about nads?

lady j said...

not true. f***wad and t-boned I heard growing up in Ohio.

the first new bit of slang I noticed after moving here was "I know, right?" when what people actually meant was, "I agree." irritating as hell, that phrase.

lady j said...

f***stick, excuse me. ;)

cory said...

Where I grew up, in SopranoLand (Joisey near New Yawk) a Gaper's Block is a "rubberneckin' delay" and we "HANG a U-eey." Of course, the "Jersey Left" is endemic there, but we don't call it that....

We also used to hang rickeys (right turns) and louies (lefts). When it was hot we would put some glass in the hole, too.

Bob said...

I like the concepts of "soft" and "hard" right & left turns at our angled streets, which I never heard even in D.C. with its planning by Frenchie Jagoff L'Enfant.

I think the whole only using the names of expressways is not only to mess with the minds of visitors to our fair city, but so we have a name to swear at in traffic. F.U. Mr. Ryan! is a lot more fun to say than F.U. 90-94!

J-City said...

hmm, as far as the u-turn business goes, i always grew up saying "flip a bitch". (north suburbs of chi).

also, until i actually lived in the city, i didn't really get the naming of the expressways either, but it really does make a lot of sense. 90 and 94 are long roads... when they say "congestion northbound on the dan ryan" you know exactly what's fucked up.

Anonymous said...

I love the fact that when I listen or watch a traffic report they always say if there's an accident, a "Gaper's delay," which is really what it is - everyone has to stop and look. My other favorite is "Sunshine Delay." You know, in the summer when you're on the Ike and you can barely see anythng? Apparently, a Sunshine Delay adds about 10-20 minutes at any given time. I love this city!

Nat said...

Growing up in Chicago, i always heard and used "Hang a u-ey." I never heard f*** stick, always f***-wad. I had no idea nutjob and jagoff were local, but then again, i've always lived here.

So, no pop vs. soda debate? i've always said and heard pop around here.

Anonymous said...

In LA, they call traffic delays "Sig Alerts". They'll say on the radio "Sig Alert for the 405 southbound". The story I got was some guy named Sigler was a big traffic reporter and coined the phrase and now all the trafiic reporters use it. They also announce whether an accident involves a fatality or just an injury, like it makes a difference in how long it will take. I always thought that was gruesome. I like our plain old gapers delay better.

Anonymous said...

"The Jewel" - as in "I'm running to the Jewel to pick up some milk. I haven't heard anyone outside of Chicago (or frankly any other store) referred to that way.

Anonymous said...

Supposedly, we are the only area that says we're going "by" somewhere, as opposed to "to" somewhere. "I'm going over by Lisa's house later." "I'm going by the store, you need anything?"

Rrrrrrrrobbbbbbbb said...

Hey, it's "Jewels" not " the Jewel" ya jagoffs.

Anonymous said...

e-five, Cash Station was the name of the system, not just First Chicago bank machines. Kinda like in Wisconsin: they're called Tyme Machines there. "Tyme is Money." Where they have" bubblers" instead of "drinking fountains."

opiliones said...

Somewhere I've lived, the morning traffic reports talked about "sunup slowdowns". I'm gonna guess the southeast coast over the Pacific Northwest since a) the sun rises in the east and most folks were headed east from the burbs to their jobs in town and b)you rarely see the sun rise in the NW.

I've also taken hard and soft turns, rolled through a stop sign, hung a uwey, both rubbernecked and been a looky-loo.

CC said...

I grew up in Chicago, and I never heard of gapers block, until by chance I came upon the online mag describing what it was. People around me called it rubbernecking. A friend from Ohio never heard of "wakes" before. I guess it's a Chicago Irish Catholic thing. I live in SoCal now and I don't really notice that I speak differently from ppl here, except I have a slight Chicago accent - the stronger vowel sounds...

Diane said...

We sometimes use "pull a U-ey" instead of "hang a U-ey". "Come with" is one of my favorites; I got some weird looks from people when I used it in Michigan. I had heard that using "over by" or "over by dere" was quintessential Chicago but I never hear anyone say it. Usually I hear people say they're going up to, over to, or down to a place, depending on the direction.

Lolabola said...

on the pull a uwey front we also say flip a shittie. It just rolls of the tongue.

Many of our freeways are named after nature, "traffic jam on the deerfoot", "the whitemud is backed up", "4 car pile-up on Queen Elizabeth II" (whoops I guess that wasn't quite nature)

Anonymous said...

CC:

I grew up in Ohio and I've been to a lot of "wakes." Of course, I come from a family of Irish Catholic Clevelanders. But still, the term "wake" is definitely used in some parts of Ohio. I can't speak for Appalachia.

annemcq said...

I grew up in Eastern Washington State, and "nutjob" and "hang a u-ey" and "bird bath" were pretty common there too. I'd never heard Gaper's delay though, but I promise I'll get it started here in Vancouver, WA! When we moved from Seattle to California, I had to lose using the full name of the freeway (I-90, I-5) in favor of using "THE 5" or THE 405", and now that we've moved back to the Northwest I have to add the "I" again. We didn't really have an Eastern WA lexicon that I remember, but my dad had some really great sayings. We actually wrote them down in a book and gave them to him for his 80th birthday, rest his soul. If any of you want to use them, feel free, but be sure to remember Herman Cyrus Christianson when you do!
"Lazier than a cut dog" I particularly love, "it doesn't take me all day to do half a day's work!", "sharp as a mashed potato sandwich" refers to someone's mental accuity, and I still call a bad driver a "ding-dong" the same way you might use "f#%@stick" (which I love but can't use with a 5 year old in the car!)

former Pittsburgher, now Rottenchester, NY said...

Enjoyed reading all the posts, but I've often wondered how Chicagoans actually pronounce the name of their city? Do they change the CH to an SH sound like the rest of us, or do they pronounce CH just like the beginning of CHEESE? And at the end do they pronounce the O like it's UH? Which could make it all like CHEE-KAH-GUH?!

suttonhoo said...

I wish I could provide you with an answer, former, but as an transplant from Seattle I simply don't have the authority to speak to that one. ;)

although I have noticed a curious hybrid "shh" that sounds hard like "ch" because of the way it slides into that hard "g" at the end. *much* harder pronunciation when it's coming from a local than when it's coming from anyone else.

Related Posts with Thumbnails