You Ain't from New York, Bruh: 13 Crucial NYC Slang Words Every New Yorker Should Know

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It's important to listen to the New Yorkers who surround you everyday, from on the streets to on the subways. 

That being said, it's easy to be on auto-pilot and ignore what New Yorkers are actually saying because us New Yorkers are in our own world, right? 

When listening to what's actually being said, one may recognize subtleties that might otherwise go unnoticed. Good. 

The bottom line is, listen to what people are saying around you. It will help you adapt to this city even quicker. 

By the way, if you hear some New York City slang and you don't really know what it means, it's probably on our first list of 33 NYC slang words

But since that list wasn't enough, here's 13 more slang words every New Yorker should know and learn. Now take some mental notes, will ya? 


1. Alright 

jvera618 .. Dead ass. lol #BaconEggAndCheese #OneWord #YouAintFromNewYork #YouAintFromNY

"Alright" is an extremely versatile expression. Curiously enough, in NYC, "Alright" is used much the same as it is used in parts of London. It can be a one word question, or a one word answer. 

Depending on inflection, it's a question summarizing "Hey is everything all right?" It can also be short for "Yeah I'm/it's all right."

If you pass your neighbor chillin' on the stoop and you don't have time to talk, a simple "Alright?" will suffice. Maybe, he'll hit you back with another one: "Alright." 

This means you're both good. You made eye contact so you had to say something, but neither of you really need to discuss anything. So it's alright. 


2. Around the way

Often in conversation with a third party, one may mention an acquaintance from "around the way." 

This is in reference to an individual from the neighborhood you're in, or perhaps one close by. Using "around the way" in conjunction with mentioning someone by name often implies a long-time familiarity.

"Yeah momma, remember Julessa from around the way?"

It can also mean "across the street,' 'down the block,' or 'over there." It's often followed by vague directions triangulating a location you're expected to already know.

"Tony opened a new barber shop, it's around the way, right next to the taco stand on the corner."


3. Good looks

mega_bkmma Yooo deadass though. I was guilty of all of these at one point of my life. #nylingo #brooklyn #youaintfromny #tellmehow #son

There are two basic usages for "good looks," and none of them have to do with looking good. 

"Good looks" is an abbreviation of "Good lookin' out," which is mainly a way of saying, "Thank you" for handling something that may have been overlooked.

If you forgot your keys but your boy snagged them for you on the way out the door, "Oh damn, good looks!" is one good thing to say when he hands them to you.

"Good looks" is essentially the affirmation of a job well-done, in the collective effort of keeping everything on point. 


4. Grimy

"Grimy" is an adjective used literally or figuratively to describe a something that's unclean. One's un-showered body in the peak of summer is most definitely grimy. 

One can also engage in "grimy" behavior, such as hooking up with your best friend's girl, or stealing granny's pain pills to flip to some 'hood fiends. 


5. Gotchu

skullieblack Nothing like a $1 pizza. #NewYork #NYC #NewYorkCity #YouAintFromNewYork #Pizza #CheesePizza #Held #Hold #Delicious #Yummy #Dollar #OneDollar

When conveying the message that another is either understood or taken care of, we say "Gotchu." 

At the bodega counter, "My dude, you got a quarter?"


"Yeah I gotchu."

When someone's trying to explain the plot of Inception, "Yo...I gotchu... they dreamin'... relax."


6. L's

The term "L," in hoods throughout NYC and beyond, refers to blunts rolled with a reinforced mouthpiece, achieved by spreading the leaf and arranging a portion of it perpendicularly (you know, L shaped...) to the back of the main body of the blunt. 

It's worth noting that the term L is much more popular than the actual rolling technique. 

In recent years, it's become more popular to utilize a tiny rolled bit of cardboard, say from the front of a matchbook, as a filter-- thus taking the art of rolling L's to a whole new level of prestige. 

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