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

Was posted on a billboard in the 70's (I think). Initially referred to all of the layoffs from Boeing in the 60's and 70's since Boeing was the major employer in the area, but has since been used whenever a major employer has done layoffs (i.e., Boeing, Microsoft, etc.).

1. Hafa Adai (pronounced "half a day") is "hello" in Guam's native Chamorro language. It's used more or less the same way as "aloha" is used as a greeting on the Hawaiian Islands.

2. Can also be close to "what's up" in its meaning. Just "hafa" is often used, but it's the informal usage.

A style of house with a center hallway running from the front door to the back door that you "could fire a shotgun through".

Paczki's are deep-fried Polish doughnuts which mark the beginning of Lent, and are most often consumed on "Fat Tuesday." Traditionally, these rich doughnuts were intended to use all of the forbidden lard, sugar...

Region of New York State in which Utica resides. James Fenimore Cooper (the most famous bad writer in American Literature) set his "Leatherstocking Tales" in this region.