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

Short for Kummelweck, a roll that is covered in caraway seeds and kosher salt. This New York bread found its way into the original name for Buffalo Wild Wings (Buffalo Wild Wings & Weck). This confuses many people when they hear the nickname BW3's. The third double-u is 'weck'.

This is slang for the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder's meeting. Warren Buffett's thousands of cult followers descend upon Omaha to hear the oracle utter his words of humble wisdom.

ATMs in southern Wisconsin used to run under the brand Take Your Money Everywhere or TYME. The iconic machines were known as Tyme Machines instead of ATMs. They were notorious for "closing" with a sliding iron door coming down just when one needed to make a withdrawal. Visitors likely believed the worst of Madison's detractors when locals asked "Is the Tyme machine open?"

Reference to the CTA trains, which run elevated from the streets.

A mythical six-legged cat; the mascot of Conway High School.