• Meredith Adhate

Connecticut Slang and How to Use It

You move to Connecticut and people look at you funny for saying the wrong thing! Okay, you probably won't be ostracized from the party you're at, but here's a quick list of some terms it might be good to familiarize yourself with if you decide to move to our great state!


T is for Tag Sale

1. Tag Sale

You're thinking, wow people in Connecticut must really like tags! I'm sure there are lots of tag aficionados out there (considering My Strange Addiction is a real TV show) but this refers to what many others call yard sales or garage sales or my Wisconsin friends call a rummage sale. So if you're browsing Facebook or craigslist or see a hot pink sign outside that says "Tag Sale," it's a yard/garage sale. (Also, we do have estate sales too, but those are generally when the entire contents of a person's home are for sale and you can go inside and offer prices for anything).


2. Package Store

Wow, people in Connecticut also seem to love mailing things! Again, maybe. But in this case, we're talking about a liquor store. (Full disclosure - I've always called it a liquor store, but most of my friends from CT say package store). From the wiktionary, dating back to the 1800s:

From the US state laws of Connecticut and Georgia that declare that purchased liquor must be in a sealed container and/or removed from the premises in a bag or other package.

Even though the term 'liquor store' became very widespread, it just stuck in Connecticut.


3. Grinder

Grinder with an e. Not to be mistaken with another website you may have heard of.


A grinder is another name for a sub, hoagie, or hero sandwich. Long bread with fillings, like a meatball grinder.

It's missing meatballs but you get the idea.

4. Apizza / Pie

I'll just let Wikipedia do its thing for me here:

New Haven-style pizza, locally known as apizza (/əˈbiːts(ə)/,[1][2] from Neapolitan’a pizza[a ˈpittsə], "the pizza"), is a style of thin-crust, coal-fired Neapolitan pizza common in and around New Haven, Connecticut. It originated at the Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana[3] and is now served in many other pizza restaurants in the area, most notably Sally's Apizza and Modern Apizza.[4] New Haven and its distinct style of pizza have been called the "Pizza Capital of the United States" by One Bite founder Dave Portnoy.

If you don't know phonetics it's ah-BEETS. Also, disclosure, I just say pizza :) But ah-BEETS is still widely used.


Also, we occasionally use "pie" to mean pizza. For example, a convo may look like, "Wanna get some pizza?" "Sure, how many pies should we get?" Pretty standard CT talk.


5. "The City"

Not a newsflash - Connecticut is small. We have some cities, but when we say we're going to the city, we mean New York City. There is possibly a small subsect of northeastern nutmeggers who may refer to the city as Boston, but the majority of CT is referring to New York City when they say "The City."


6. Stew's

While you might have a friend Stew who also owns a home, most of us are referring to our beloved small chain supermarket Stew Leonard's. Here's an awesome walk-through video of the store I grew up with. (And yes, there are a few in New York and one in New Jersey but they began in CT). These stores are known for their in-house made desserts, dairy products, animatronic displays, petting zoos, and hot buffet. They also have great coffee, produce, and an ice cream booth right as you walk in. Prior to Covid, they were a great place to grab a few yummy samples as well. I highly recommend a field trip once you move here to their Danbury, Norwalk or Newington locations.


7. Some Unique Pronunciations

Want to fit in immediately? Try pronouncing these words like a true Nutmegger:

New Britain / Clinton - New Brih-in / New Brih-ih or Cli-in / Cli-ih

Bottle - boddle

New Haven - new HAY-ven (not NEW haven)

Berlin, CT - BUR-lin. Not berLIN like Germany.

Waterbury - Wadderberry or Waddehberry

Cot/Caught - These are not pronounced the same here. Cot is CAH' (phonetically /kaʔ/) and caught is CAW' (phonetically /kɔʔ/). Even weirder is when I say, "I caught it," it sounds like "I caw dit."



 

Now it's time to move on in and act like a CT native.


If you make a wrong turn getting here, just bang a u-ey* and go the right direction.


*make a u-turn :)

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