South Philly Talk

I grew up in South Philadelphia and still visit a minimum of
twice a week. Lately as the city grows there is more and more new
populations of people moving in. The real estate in Center City
is only so big, so the people that work and go to school in
Center City (we call them yuppies) are looking for houses and
apartments in the South Philly neighborhoods. I thought this
article, that originally was published in the South Philadelphia
Review ( in 2004, would be useful for
these folks. And yes, I enjoyed it so much I saved it for 3
years! 馃檪

Indeed, how youze tawk in Soufilly has been da subject a much
ridicule, but whaddyagonnado, dat’s jest da wayiz.

Can’t say it? Then it’s obvious you ain’t originally from

Don’t sweat it, new populations. We welcome you, and we’re
here to help you assimilate and translate by spelling it all out
for you — the words and phrases invented by the people and for
the people, from A to Z (minus Q and X). We’ve collected this
exhaustive amalgamation of vocabulary throughout the last decade
and printed bits and pieces from time to time, but now we present
you with the first full index of Soufilly Tawk. Carry it with you
throughout your travels for quick reference.

Soufilly Talk Index


aineecute (isn’t he cute)

Ackamee (market)

aig (incredible edible)

air (there)

ahm (I am)

ammonia (viral infection)

Antnee (male name)

Aregen Ave (Oregon Avenue)

ariel (adjusts TV pixture)

aronacawna (just turn left)

arn (straightens clothes)

ascared (combo afraid/scared)

ast/astid (question)

atteetood (we have it)

awn (opposite off)

awnin (keeps sun out)


baff (gets ya clean)

baffroom (bafftub here)

bazeball (Phillies)

Beyourick (type of car)

billit (gunfire)

billivard (Columbus, JFK)

binaniz (yellow fruit)

birfday (same time every year)

bisgut (tooth-busting Italian cookies)

bofe (two)

bootahn (um, bad girl)

bozenegol (basil)

brang (past of bring)

breffist (day’s first meal)

broadwalk (walk ’em downashore)

brocleela (bitter broccoli)

brudder (sibling)

buddin (not zipper)

buffalone (big guy)

burled (not fried)


c’mere (not there)

calcalate (figure it out)

calendar (drains pasta)

camar (female friend; poorly dressed)

Cantull Shtreet (Cantrell Street)

cassina (for gamblin’)

cawfee (drink it hot)

cawlmee (on da phone)

cawna (popular hangout)

chigod (blind)

chink (wall ball)

choclet (sweet)

chooch (jackass, human)

choongum (crackles when chewed)

coggaroch (skeevy bug)

combar (aka “goomba,” male friend)

conversatin (tawkin’)

coochamend (bothersome)

cooley (da butt)

cork (caulk)

crowns (Crayola makes ’em)

crumbum (dirtball)

curve (owna payment)


da Ree-view (dis paypa)

da Reef (Coral Reef in Joysee)

de mare (only Rizzo ’round here)

Defford (Deptford Mall)

Dickison (Dickinson Street)

didja (or dintja)

dis (dat, deez, doze)

donegetmestatted (or ended)

downacella (basement)

downalakes (FDR Park)

downashore (da beach)

drawls (storage place; men’s underwear)


Epithany (church at 11th and Jackson)

et (past of eat)

expresso (black cawfee)

e-ya (here it is)


fidollaz ($5)

fillum (for the camera)

fireplug (hydrant)

firescape (nudder way out)

fitty-cent (like rapper, only change)

Fitz-ah-watta (shtreet after Catharine)

five-and-tenny (once Woolworth’s)

freetad (Italian omelet)

frent fries (now freedom fries)

friction (opposite of fact)

fughettabotit (Been sayin’ dis, Tony!)


gabados (hardheaded)

gabaghool (a lunchmeat)

gaffabit (hope not)

gamawnin (day’s first greeting)

gavadeels (dumplings wit rigut)

gavone (pig, ignoramus)

gaz (rising cost of)

gidoffit (stop tawkin’)

gimmesummadat (say please)

goonbas (godfathers, friends; also
“combar” aka goomba)

gone (going, present tense)

gots (rated-R translation)


gottago (haff ta leave)

granfatta (mudda or fatta’s fatta)

granmouse (Riding Hood’s destination)

greezy (i.e. cheesesteak)


haff (must)

hamanaigs (breakfast choice)

hankerchif (wiping cloth)

havsies (half ball)

hedic (a real pain)

hee-cups (hard to stop)

hisself (on his own)

hoagie (sub)

holadoe (hold the door)

horns (twisted; hex)

hospilla (has an ER)

howbotit (whaddya think)

how cheap (embarrassed)

hurst (coffin car)


ice-crean comb (eat onna broadwalk)

icksided (thrilled)

idear (thought, proposal)

iet (already had dinner)

Iggles (football team)

inbom (done to corpse)

innacellaway (closet before going downacella)

inniyard (out back)

i-oy (garlic and oil sauce)

inyukies (gnocchi)

Itly (country missing vowel)

iyem (so are you)

izatso (really)


jaseedat (did you see)

Javela water (bleach)


keller (use crowns)

kiddin (says meow)

kinneegarden (before first grade)

kyakyarone (loquacious, big mouth)


laig (attached to foot)

langwidge (destroyed here)

lesgo (come awn)

looneyum (house siding)

lyberry (borrow books)


macaronees (pasta in general)

Madone (Geez!)

mamaluke (endearing nickname)

manege (oh, crap)

mannaze (sangwich spread)

manneguts (stuffed pasta)

mawnback (clearance for parking)

Medigan (non-Italian)

memberdat (don’t forget)

minz/miyan (possessive)

mommy/daddy (parents calling children)

Monzola (oil brand)

mootsarell (pizza cheese)

mout (for tawkin’ and eatin’)

mudda (woman who bore you)

muntz (12 in a year)

My nerves! (upsetting situation)

my st’Rita (indicating sibling)

N nakins (wipe mouts)naybahood
(i.e. Soufilly)Neekcitee (cassinas
there) newzpaypa (i.e. Review) Nint-n-Jackson
(a cawna) noiznot (opposite of yes it
is) notfernuttin (but come on!)


O! (lazy yo)

oakmeal (Quaker)

ogida (heartburn)

oldtimers (Alzheimer’s disease)

one-o-too, fatta (confession to, How many
Masses ya miss?)

opendelite (when it’s dark)

Opowel Street (Opal Street)

owblum (requires turntable)

Owl! (Ouch!)


palor (living room)

parmejohn (macaroni cheese)

Pashunk (The Avenue)

pastafazool (gives ya gaz)

Patmarket (supermarket)

Pawter (Porter Street)

payment (sidewalk)

pershute (expensive lunchmeat)

pie-zon (friend, countryman)

pilla (on da bed)

pit (put)

pixture (photo)

pockabook (holds wallet)

praignint (with child)

problee (it’s probable)

punkin (kind of pie)


restaval (entry to house)

rewf (top of house)

rigut (cheese in gavadeels)

rigatoneez (short pasta)

rite-ear (not there)


Sadiddy (day after Fridee)

salude (God bless)

sangwich (for lunch)

sawshig (for lunch or dinner)

scootch (bothersome)

shiken (fowl)

shtreet (road, de mare’s name)

shudup (close your trap)

skanky (icky)

skeev (repulsed)

slice bread (in da bag)

soboppers (daytime TV)

soder (carbonated drink)

sofbawl (played downalakes)

Soushtreet (hippest in town)

sparagrass (green stalks)

spikit (source for water)

spittabacka (grasshopper)

stall (often mink)

Stir! Stir! (calling nun)

stockins (pantyhose)

sumping (not nothing)


tal (to dry oneself)

tamaytuz (good on pizza)

Tent-n-Mifflin (a cawna)

tidday (no longer yesterday)

tinnite (when it’s dark out)

took sick (became ill)

trick ‘n’

treat (on Halloween)

trow (opposite of catch)

turble (really, really awful)

turlet (when you gotta go)

Twelt-n-Poowder (where the Review

twicest (one more than wunst)

twoney (sounds like money, but 20)


uncajoe (everybody has one)

undaneet (not overhead)

unnashirt (unner anudder shirt)

uwunsum (question of want)


Valentimes (heart day)

vegebulz (good eatin’)

vuin (before funeral)


wan (past of win)

warsh (gettin’ clean)

walyo (young man; hey you)

wanded (desired)

weelbarrel (in da garden)

whenyezgawnclubbin’ (problee Fridee o

wherdakits (honey, I lost the kids)

wherdatat (Where is it?)

wherjagetdat (Where can I find it?)

wheryat (Where are you?)

wherzeeat (Where is he?)

Whilewood (broadwalk downashore)

whyustartin (let it go)

wid (or widout)

windiz (made of glass)

winner (cold season)

witcha (come along)

woodya (or coodya)

Woof Street (before Jackson)

wootinna (or cootinna)

wosamattawiyu (Gotta problem?)

wudelse (Tell me something new.)

wunst (one less than twicest)

wuzupwitdat (What’s the deal?)


yanowadamsayin’ (Well, do ya?)

yerkidn (pulling my laig)

yizill (you, plural, future)


zink (warsh dishes here)

zip (little taste)

zisit (or zatit?)

19 thoughts on “South Philly Talk”

  1. Just happened on this site because I was trying to find some information on my Dad who was a great baseball pitcher from South Philly. I was told he once played against Satchel Paige for one of the local teams. That would have been back in the 1930s. He grew up in a family of hucksters, 10 kids in his family. . I loved the stories he would tell me. We moved from there when I was four years old in 1946 We lived on Tree Street and even though I was very young, I have flashbacks of so many things during my short life there and they are my fondest memories. I took a trip back there to Tree street about 20 years ago and I thought everything would look very small since I was an adult now, but I saw that street through the eyes of a four year old child. As I walked down the street, the aroma of gravy (spaghetti sauce) from all the different houses filled the air and when I saw our house I just broke down and cried. . I saw the stoop where my sister and brother and I would wait for my Dad every evening to step off the trolley car at the corner returning from his job at the Navy Yard. We would all run at great speed to greet him but being the youngest with the shortest legs, I was always last. But I was the one he would pick up and carry home.

  2. I love that I was raised and still reside in south philly 3rd and Jackson. The best part about "are" language is that we have no "ing's" at the end of words. I'm a teacher and it's so hard to make sure I pronounce words correctly. Commin, goin, doin etc. but I love everything about this and who we are.

  3. Guys, you forgot the kiddy ride "the whip". The driver got out of the truck, opened the mesh gate in the rear, paid our way in, then fought for a seat in one of the cars. At the end of the ride the driver would hand you bubble gum.

  4. in a few weeks i will fly from the left coast to PHL. Broad and Oregon, here I come, nineth st. pats, genos, tony lukes, the whole enchilada of cholesteriol overload, over to bom bom's, and ralphs. Howzat?

  5. This is funny. I came on here to find the meaning of one of the words I use. I recently was telling my daughter to clean up all these "tootie gottes" she has laying around the house. I really don't know how to spell it. But it may also sound like "dutie gots". Well she was crying because I called her play toys this name which made we wonder about this wording I use. I knew it came from my upbringing. Well, what made me laugh so hard is some of the words that I still use. "fughettabotit"- which always makes the "outsiders" laugh so hard about this. They can't believe people actually use that expression – they just thought it was tv. lol thanks for the memories…..oh btw, chingod I think means a little crazy in the head too.

  6. Does anyone recall a South Philly expression when someone is very thirsty and drinks/gulps a lot of water – "Hey, what'd 'ya eat…?" Then a word that sounded something like "Salogies"….?
    Does this make any sense?

  7. I found what I was looking for: South Philly dialogue and its frightening. I went over every word in preparation for my trip back to Philly in December. I grew up at 6th and Catherine and for shopping we went down passhunk avenyu. This list is great and memorable. After living in California since 1963, I still have not lost touch with my roots and buy things from DiBruno's that I can't get here.
    There are lots of phrases missing too, my favorite being, "Did I ask", a real putdown.
    Californians are still sissies as Arnold said, girlie men who don't know how to tawk. Again thanks for the list, I am making a tour of my old school, church, passhunk avnu, sout street, Levis hot dogs, and all of 9th St. Hello Fante's you are the best. Kisses to all from the left coast!

  8. A few more:

    Girodd: Formerly an orphanage for boys as in Girodd College.

    Hareford: An avenue in West Philadelphia near Girodd Ave.

    Lakenau: A hospital once located near Girodd College.

  9. Hey Frank….Yes I am almost definite about it being "Frank the Huckster" as he came up my street for years and we would always talk to him and he always answer to Frank and the some of the older ladies always called him (or cursed at him…lol) using Frank. Or maybe we knew him as Frank because he would sing a lot of Sinatra songs, who knows…I was a young kid then (we're talking 60's, 70's here) but anyway he was a riot. And talk about the Food Distribution Center …I used to unload trucks there for about 6 months after I got out of the military (backbreaking work). And I'm glad you mentioned "geet" and no "joo"what a classic of philly slang, I am lmao……lol. Thanks for the memories. I went back a few times over the past several years to my old hood and it looks like Vietnam or Laos now when it used to be mostly Italian and Jewish and a few Poles and Germans back then. Oh well.

  10. Sal, are you sure it was Frank?? I used work for George the Huckster. He would pick me up at like 5AM and we would go to the Food Distribution Center and I would help him load the fruits and veggies. We would ride up and down the streets of So Philly and he would be singing his songs. I would carry the old ladies stuff back to there house for tips. I did this when I was about 8 or 9 years old durning the summer.

    Also, missing from the list is "geet yet" (did you eat yet) which was answerd with "no Joo"

  11. Not only do I remember The Javel water guy walking down the street and crying out "hey, javel water" but also the guy who sharpened knives + scissors, the guy who fixed umbrellas, the pretzel and newspaper boys and "Frank the Huckster" who came down our street (between 5th-6th Mountain St) in his pickup truck full of fruits and veggies and singing Sinatra songs and wooing all the older ladies… He was a character. You won't see any those people anymore. Ahhhh, the good old days. I must be getting old…hehehe. I am 57 now and was a mere teen (a pretzel and newspaper boy then). Now, I am living in California …the land of fruits and nuts…..I want my Philly back…lol

  12. A really good job. But – youse knew dere wud be.
    You are probably too young to remember, although "Javela Water
    was a bleach it was also a product name, Gavella Water.
    I can remember, as a kid living in South Philly, early on Sat mornings hearing the sing song chant of the would be salesman walking through the alleys calling out, "Javela Water, Clothes Props. Hey! Clothes Props here, Javella Water!"

  13. Oh My God!! This list is priceless. I'm pissen pants reading this…too friggin funny. Thx so much for sharing it. I grew up in Soufilly, 9th and Oregon and now live in Florida for the past 27 years. The people here are always making fun of my accent. I love it…I'm proud of my accent and where I came from…Good Ole Soufilly. The best place to grow up. At least, it was when I was a kid.

  14. I'll never forget the first time outside Soufilly that I told a friend I'd "come after ya." She looked petrified. It took me a a minute to realize what that sounds like to an outsider! Saying "it just means I'll pick you up" didn't seem reassuring.

  15. OMG, this is hysterical…although I moved to California back in 2001I lived in Soufilly most of my 55 years around (Nint) 9th+Morris and 6th+Morris so I can definitely relate to this and still say most of the above words just as you have spelled them out…lol. I never did learn to say "dude" or "knarly" since being here in Calif…hahaha. Hey, thanks for the memories and laughs. What a great list you have there. I'm going to print them out and take them home from work with me and practice them some more so i don't lose my slang….I do want to come home again sometime in the near future.

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