Anyone who isn’t from the Philadelphia area has experienced the confusion that Philly slang leaves us in. There is a constant debate over it and Philadelphians will go to their grave swearing their way is always the right way. We sat down with two SJU students, one from New Jersey and one from Pennsylvania. Watch as this Philly outsider gets a little lesson in Philly slang.

Bernadette (Outsider) vs. Christina (Philly Slang Patriot) 

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“I’ll have a small chocolate ice-cream with rainbow jimmies please.” Are you confused yet? To the outside world the usual term would be “sprinkles.” But for the Philadelphia area, “jimmies” is the only way to order this ice cream topping. Next time you walk into a Philadelphia area ice-cream shop, think twice before ordering “sprinkles.”

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“I saw this jawn last night.” You might have heard this term used around campus in any context since according to Philly slang, it means just about anything and everything. In Philly slang “jawn” is just another word for “thing.” Being surrounded by Philly slang constantly, Bernadette has come to learn the definition of this odd word- but as you can tell from her facial expressions, she’s just as confused as us.

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Rita’s Water Ice?

A common argument with Philly slang patriots and outsiders is the debate of water ice vs. italian ice. Despite the popular chain being titled Rita’s Italian Ice , Philly slang warriors will go to the death defending the term “water ice” in reference to Rita’s. One can tell there’s a little bit of tension amongst the patriot and the outsider when she refers to it as italian ice.


“Youse wanna go to the game?”

To anyone not native to Philly, the argument of Youse vs. Yinz will never be understood. Both terms mean “you guys,” but “youse” is the Philly slang version and “yinz” is the Pittsburg interpretation. Props to Christina for attempting to make Bernadette somewhat understand this odd debate.


“The Shore”

“I can’t wait to go down the shore this summer!” To most Philly slang users, this is the only way to say that you are going to the beach. It’s become so ingrained in their heads that they get confused when people from different states refer to their beaches as “the beach.” Beaches in the Jersey Shore such as Seaside Heights are referred to as “the shore” so naturally Philly slang users are now completely convinced that every beach is “the shore.”


Now that we’ve all been taught a few lessons in Philly slang maybe we’ll think twice before calling Rita’s “Italian ice”.


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I'm a junior communications major with a major interest in sports broadcast journalism. I love writing for Hawk Chill and improving my journalism skills with every article.

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