Real Talk: 10 Essential Phrases Every Real New Yorker Should Know & Use

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Alright, alright, alright. 

A few months back, we brought you 33 slang terms every New Yorker should know

Now, we're back with this: 10 phrases every real New Yorker should know and use. We're not claiming we invented these terms, or even that every New Yorker uses them. 

But we promise that if you adopt these basic New Yorker phrases and vocabulary, you will find your New York City experience that much more agreeable.


1. "Excuse me"

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A little courtesy can go a long way in this city. 

When you inevitably find yourself stuck behind a shoulder-to-shoulder lineup of Europeans sauntering their way down the street as if they weren't needlessly congesting our fair city, or 27 students and 3 chaperones wearing the same ugly tee trying to stick together in the subway on a field trip, try, "Excuse me." 

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If the first try doesn't get you anywhere, you may need to raise your voice. 

This is OK. 

You'll probably draw odd looks from whomever happens to be in the way, but who cares? Point is, they're not going to be in the way much longer. Either they move or you give up and plow through them. Either way, nobody can say you didn't at least try to be polite.


2. "Yo"

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While this word has many meanings and usages, it is most commonly used as a greeting, as in "Yo my dude,' or 'Yo what's good?" 

But it can also be repurposed based on inflection more easily than most any other word in the NYC vernacular. Say it really slowly, and "Yo" can mean, "Oh hey baby, you wanna get out of here?" 

It can also mean "Yes" or "No." If someone's like, "Yo, you seen Antman?" You can respond elatedly like "Yooooo!" And they probably got you.


3. "Booty-ass"

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The combination of "booty" and "ass" results in a paradox. You might think it'd be a good thing, but no - "booty-ass" is a substitute for adjectives like "terrible' or 'knock-off." 

Basically, whatever it's describing is understood to be of the lowest quality. You might hear it used like, "I'm tired of these booty-ass Spaghettios, we need to get the real ones next time."


4. "Naww"

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This is a synonym for "No" and interchangeable with "Nah." 

Using "Naww" is usually reserved for an especially emphatic "No" like, if someone asks if you did something gross, "Naww" is fully warranted. 

The longer you draw it out, the more you disapprove of what's being asked.


5. "Peace"

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Whereas "yo" is mostly used as a greeting, "Peace" is mostly used as a goodbye around NYC. 

Though depending on the situation, it could be something a bit different. 

We're not talking about using it at a protest or in church; that's a different story.

To fully get it, Method Man can help.