Buffalo Slang

Buffalo Slang

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As the second largest city in New York State, Buffalo's vibrant population of more than 270,000 has coined a local language all its own. Whether you're heading "upstate" for a taste of Americana or passing through on your way to Niagara Falls, quickly familiarizing yourself with some Buffalo slang terms and phrases guarantees that blending in with the locals will be a breeze.

1. Beef on Weck

There are a few things that native Buffalonians take very seriously: sports, more sports and food. This hometown favorite is made with thin-cut roast beef on a salted, caraway-crusted kummelweck (or kimmelweck) roll and served with au jus, horseradish, a side of fries and a kosher dill pickle. In fact, the beef on weck is so popular that the restaurant chain, Buffalo Wild Wings, was originally named Buffalo Wild Wings and Weck, hence, BW3. While the restaurant no longer serves the sandwich outside of New York, the dish is still a mainstay in town.

2. Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo

A joke among locals, this sentence is grammatically sound in the English language. Because the word buffalo is a city, an animal and a verb (meaning "to bully"), the sentence structure, which is easier to understand with a few extra words added in, looks like this: THE buffalo FROM Buffalo WHO ARE buffaloed BY buffalo FROM Buffalo, buffalo buffalo FROM Buffalo. Besides being a mindbender, it's also a perfectly valid way to showcase your home team pride. Bills game, anyone?

3. You'se

As in, "what are you'se doing with Jane tonight?" Used as a plural pronoun in other parts of the world, "you'se" is used as a singular in Buffalo slang. Try saying that three times fast!

4. The

If you're talking directions in Buffalo, omitting this article before a major expressway is a surefire way to peg yourself as an outsider who can't speak the local language. When driving into Buffalo, for example, you'd take THE Kensington west or THE 190 north. Don't overdue it though – putting "the" in front of smaller roads such as Main Street or Delaware Avenue are a dead giveaway that you're from out-of-town.

5. Texas Hots

Despite their name, these hot dogs, slathered with spicy meat sauce, chopped onions and mustard, hail from Buffalo. Greeks in Altoona, PA, invented a version of this regional favorite called a Texas Weiner in 1918, but Buffalo residents will be the first to tell you that their Texas Hots are in a ballpark all their own.

6. Blue

Saying blue to someone outside of Buffalo might mean that you think the sky is clear or that you're feeling a little sad. Say blue to someone here, however, and you're likely to wind up with a cold beer in your hand. In Buffalo local lingo, "Blue" is the universal term for Labatt's Blue Ribbon beer. While Labatt Brewing is a Canadian company, all "Blue" sold in the U.S. since 2009 is owned by North American Breweries in Rochester, New York, and is fully independent of the Canadian brand.

7. The Strip

"The Strip" in Buffalo lingo refers to a three-mile stretch of Elmwood Avenue near Buffalo State College. The area is a hotspot for nightlife, cafes and specialty shops, many of which cater to students. In many places on Elmwood, all you need to do is look for the blue neon strip running between the first and second floors of the buildings to know that you're in the right spot.

8. Nicknames

As with many cities, nicknames run rampant in Buffalo local language. Some of the most popular ones include "The Queen City," because of the city's status as the second largest city in NY, "The City of Good Neighbors," because of the helpful, friendly residents and "The Nickel City," because of the bison that appears on the back of the Indian Head nickel. For a few years around 1970, Buffalo was haunted with the nickname "The Mistake on the Lake." However, after a series of unfortunate events in Cleveland, Ohio, including a fire on the Cuyahoga River, the nickname was happily passed off to Clevelanders.

9. The Northtowns

Buffalonions divide the suburbs of their city into the "Northtowns" and the "Southtowns," due to their geographical locations. Visitors will notice that many businesses also use the monikers as part of their names, such as the Southtowns Family YMCA. Though seldom used in comparison, the "Easttowns" is also a valid point of direction in Buffalo lingo.

10. The Big Blue Water Tower

Located in Amherst, this water tower is a landmark for traffic congestion in an area where "the 290" merges with "the 90." If you happen to break down in South Buffalo, telling the tow truck that you're under "the big blue water tower" would definitely be sufficient Buffalo slang to explain your location.

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