About City Dictionary

Have you ever gone to a new city and been confused by the way the locals speak? Whether it's an idiomatic expression, a nickname for a local street, or the name of a local food, cities can have confusing language. For example, should you be offended if someone in Pittsburgh calls you "nebby?" In Philadelphia, will you know what to say if someone offers you a "whiz wit?" Will you be alarmed in Madison when someone says they drank a "boot" last night?

If you understand all three of these references, then you’re in the minority. For the rest of us, there's City Dictionary.

What is City Dictionary?

City Dictionary is a city guide organized in an easy-to-use dictionary format. The web site allows users to define a city in their own words. The dictionary entries range from local slang and nicknames to events, restaurants, neighborhoods, food, people and more. City Dictionary is the place to find insider information that you won’t necessarily find in a tour book, on a map or in the yellow pages. The site allows the locals to define what it is that makes their city unique.

Whether you've just moved to a city, you are visiting, or you have lived there your whole life, everyone has something to learn and something to share on City Dictionary. It's a growing source for both well-known and lesser-known information about a city.

Who are we?

We are a team of upstanding Citizens of Madison, Wisconsin who have a passion for understanding the local vocabulary of the places we visit and live. We embrace the diversity of the local language as it differs from one culture to the next, and more importantly, from one city to another.

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Past Words of the Day

A term referring to the Ironman Wisconsin Triathlon held the Sunday after Labor Day in Madison, WI. Most people refer to an Ironman as an "IM." Athletes refer to this particular Ironman as "IMOO," because they often pass cows on the bike route, which is along many country roads. IM Wisconsin embraced this idea and the 2008 Finisher Medals were in the shape of a cow.

This is how a New Yorker might say "orange".

A nickname for the city of Indianapolis, a reference to the circular shape of its city limits.

On July 30th, 2009, Harvard professor Robert Louis Gates and Cambridge police officer James Crowley had a private discussion (and some beers) with Barack Obama at the White House after Gates' famous July 16th arrest.

This meeting has been called the "Beer Summit" by amused onlookers.

Bassett Street came within a vote of being renamed Ho Chi Minh Trail in the early 1970's as a protest against the Viet Nam War.