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

1. "Smurf Turf" is a common nickname for Bronco Stadium at Boise State University. It is the only blue astro-turf field in the nation.

2. Boise State is no longer the only collegiate football team to play on a blue field. The University of New...

The technical definition is an adjective used to describe something as cheap or inferior. New Yorkers use it as a term encompassing all of the souvenirs sold in Times Square that tourists take home with them to remind them of their trip to New York City. (I mean, what else would you call a melamine ash tray shaped like a yellow taxi?) AKA kitsch. Individual items of schlock or kitsch are known as tchotchkes.

An old nickname for Knoxville for its former prominence in the textile industry. At one point Knoxville had 20 textile mills, but they started to close in the 1950's.

Refers to the laid-back atmosphere, where it is not common for people to arrive 10 minutes late for meetings

Refers to neighboring New Jersey, home state of the food additive industry and the Toxic Avenger