THE NEW ORLEANS DICTIONARY
ALLIGATOR PEAR - Avocado.
ANYWAYS - And, then; and, so.
AWRITE - While "Where Y'at" is usually thought of as the common greeting
inNew Orleans, "awrite" is much more universal. A man may say "Where Y'at"
toa friend he passes by on the street, but he'll say "awrite" to a stranger. is the South, after all; one doesn't merely brush past someone else
when walking down Carondelet St. without saying hello. We don't want to beimpolite, yet we don't usually waste time on strangers, so "awrite" is a
fair compromise. Usage: One man walking down the street comes upon anotherman going the other way. The first man says "a write; the second responds
AWRITE, HAWT - A variation on the standard greeting, but using an
endearmentusually reserved for a friend, usually female.
AX - Ask. Usage: "Dey axed for you down by da VFW Hall last night adMadeline's
cousin's daughta's weddin'."
BANQUETTE - The sidewalk. Pronounced "BANK it".
BERL - To cook by surrounding something in hot, bubbling liquid; the preferred
method for cooking shellfish. For example, many a New Orleans student learned
in World History that a great defense of a castle under attack in the middle
ages was to dump "berlin' erl" on the attackers.
BOO - A term of endearment......Believed to be Cajun in origin.
BRA - A universal name for a male, usually one with whom you are not
acquainted. Usually used in this manner: "Awrite, bra" The greeting "Say,
bra" is usually heard from white guys who think they're talking like a
BY MY HOUSE, BY YOUR HOU SE, etc. - Analogous to the French terms "chez
moi"; "chez toi"; etc. Usage: "He slept by my house last night." "At" is
never used in this sense.
CAP - A universal name for a male, usually one with whom you are not
acquainted. Women generally do not use this term. See also PODNA and BRA.
CATLICK - As in Roman Catholic, the predominant religion in New Orleans.
CEMENT - A standard English word, but with a special pronunciation. Yats
say "SEE ment"
CHARMER - The quintessential female Yat. Pronounced "CHAW muh"
DA - The.
DAT - That.
DAWLIN' - A universal form of address. Women use it universally to both
sexes, men use it toward women. See also HAWT.
DEM - Them.
DESE, DOSE - These, those.
DIS - This.
DRESSED - When ordering a po boy, "dressed" indicates lettuce, tomatoes,
pickles and MYNEZ on it. (See NUTTINONIT)
1. A vegetable product used for cooking, sautéing, making roux, etc.
2. A petroleum product used to lubricate the engine of your car.
3. Your Uncle Earl. (Most New Orleanians have an Uncle Earl.)
ELLESHYEW - Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge.
Occasionally preceded by the term, "Go ta hell..."
ERSTERS - Oysters.
ESPLANADE - Walkway
FAUBOURG - A suburb or outlying neighborhood, as in Faubourg Marigny. A
neighborhood is considered outlying in relation to the original
neighborhood, the French Quarter. Metairie would never be a Faubourg,
because it wasn't part of the city in the first place.
FLYIN' HORSES - Accented on the first syllable. A merry go round,
specifically describing the merry go round in City Park, but also used in
FOR - a preposition used by New Orleanians instead of "at" or "by"
when referring to time. E.g., "Da parade's for 7:00, but we betta get dere
for 6 if we wanna find pawkin'." This one tends to be particularly
F'SURE! - 1. A statement of agreement. 2. An excellent (but out of
print) book by Yat artist Bunny Matthews, featuring cartoons with actual
dialogue heard on the streets of our metropolis.
F'TRUE - When phrased as a question, it means "Is that so?" or "Ya
kiddin'!!" When phrased as a statement, it's an affirmation, a shortened
version of "Nuh uh, I ain't lyin' ta ya ..."
GAWD - A supernatural deity, worshipped by most New Orleanians.
GRIPPE - The flu.
GRIS GRIS - Pronounced GREE GREE;. Noun, A (voodoo) spell.
Can be applied for nefarious purposes ("to put a gris gris on someone"),
as a force to ward off evil, like wearing a gris gris bag (the folks at
Voodoo Shop on Dumaine will make one to order for about $20).
HAWT - A term of endearment.
HOUSE COAT 'N CURLAS - The preferred dress for charmers while shopping at
I'LL TAKE ME A... - May I have a...
KAY BEE - The drugstore, as in (K&B, Katz and Besthoff). The ampersand
always is silent.
LAGNIAPPE - Pronounced LAN yap. A little something extra. Also, the name
the entertainment pull out section of the Friday edition of The New
LOCKA - Where you hang your clothes, analogous to the English word "closet".
Example: "Mom MAH! Where my shoes at?" "Looka in ya locka!" See
LOOKA - The imperative case of the verb "to look". Usually accompanied
pointing gesture. Often used as a single
LOOKIT DA T.V. - To watch T.V.
MAKE GROCERIES, MAKIN' GROCERIES - To do grocery shopping.
MARRAINE - Your godmother.
MIRLITON - A vegetable pear or chayote squash, which grows wild in
and in backyards throughout New Orleans. Pronounced MEL lee tawn, and
wonderful when stuffed with shrimp and ham dressing.
MISTA - As in "Throw me somethin' mista". Never used in any other context;
"bra" or "cap" is used regularly.
MYNEZ - Mayonnaise.
NEUTRAL GROUND - The grassy or cement strip in the middle of the road. The
terms "median" and/or "island" are NEVER used in New Orleans. Use of one
those foreign terms instead of "neutral ground'
is a dead giveaway that you ain't from around here, or anywhere close.
If you're lucky, you live on a street with a neutral ground big enough to
play football on.
NEW ORLEENS - The way silly tourists pronounce "New Orleans".
Natives do not do this. Exception song lyrics, as in "Do You Know What It
Means to Miss New Orleans", for example, and when omitting the "New", as
"Orleans Parish", which is always pronounced or LEENS. Confusing, isn't
More on this below.
NUTTINONIT - A po-boy that is not dressed, which only contains the main
OR WHAT - Pronounced "r WUT," and placed at the end of a
question: "You gonna finish eatin' dat , 'r what?"
OVA DA RIVER - Across the river.
OVA BY - A general replacement for the prepositions "at" and "to",
particularly when referring to someone's home, or a destination in
"Where ya goin'?" "Ova by ma mamma's."
PARISH - A Louisiana state administrative district, analogous to the
American "county". When used by Yats in the phrase "da parish",
means St. Bernard Parish specifically, which is suburban to New Orleans.
PARRAINE - Your godfather.
PASS BY - To stop at a place, for a visit or to accomplish something. "Ya gonna be home later? I'll pass by ya house." It
doesn't mean just to drive by in our car and keep going ...
PO BOY - The quintessential New Orleans lunch, a sandwich on good, crispy
New Orleans French bread. This definition doesn't begin to describe what a
po boy is all about, so if you really don't know you need to get one soon.
PODNA - A universal form of address for a male. Frequently used in the
emphatic statement, "I tell you what, podna ..."
'SCUSE ME PAWDON ME - Polite expression when trying to get by somebody or
moving through a crowd, spoken as one word.
SHOOT DA CHUTE - A playground slide.
STOOP - Usually expressed as "da stoop". The front steps to your house,
particularly if it's a shotgun duplex. What ya go out and sit on to chat
wit'ya neighbas (an' ta keep an eye on 'em).
SUCK DA HEAD, SQUEEZE DA TALE -
1. The technique for eating crawfish. If you've never done this, have
2. A song by the Radiators.
SUG - A term of endearment used primarily by Yat females.
Pronounced SHOOG; with a soft "oo"; as in "book".
TURLET - A device for the sanitary disposal of human waste and for nasty
food ya snuck away from da table as a child (like ma mamma's roast
UPTOWN SIDE, DOWNTOWN SIDE, LAKESIDE,
RIVERSIDE - The four cardinal poi nts of the New Orleanian compass. "North, south, east, west" do
not work in New Orleans.
VALISE - Suitcase.
VEDGE A TIBBLE - Neither animal nor mineral. What ya mamma used to make ya
eat before ya could leave the table when ya were a kid.
The word has four syllables.
WHERE YA STAY (AT)? - Where do you live?
WHERE Y'AT? - The greeting. The proper response is, "Awrite."
WRENCH - To clean something under running water. "Aw baby, ya hands 'r
filthy! Go wrench 'em off in da zink." See ZINK.
YA - You, your.
YA MAMMA - Your mother. Used in a variety of ways, usually endearing. Also
usable as an insult, specifically as a simple retort when one is insulted
first; simply say, "Ya mamma." Be prepared to defend yourself physically
YAMAMMA'N'DEM - A collective term for your immediate family, as in "Hey
dawlin', how's yamamma'n'dem?" Spoken as one word.
YEAH YOU RITE - A sign of definite agreeme nt. The accent is on the first
word, and it's spoken as one word.
ZATARAIN'S - A local manufacturer of spices, seasonings, pickled products
and condiments. In context, it's used by some as a generic term for either
crab boil or Creole mustard.