Montpelier Slang

Montpelier Slang

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Part of the fun of exploring a new place is learning the local lingo. Montpelier, and by extension, Vermont, has its own dialect, which is sometimes puzzling to outsiders. With the influx of new residents from other states, the formerly distinct Vermont speech patterns, and even Montpelier slang, have been somewhat disrupted. Although similarities exist, Vermont speech is still different, sometimes noticeably, from the rest of New England.

Older, lifelong residents have more pronounced Vermont speech patterns. "A" and "e" sounds are broader, sounding something like the Canadian pronunciation. The "r" at the end of a word is frequently lost (technically called dropping the post-vocalic "r"). For example, you might hear words like "paper" and "dollar" spoken as "pay-pah," and "dah-lah." You may even hear an "r" sound added to the end of words like idea, which becomes "idear." And on occasion, you may hear an older guy pronounce an "i" sound like "oy," or "ow" sound like "ayow." "Nine" becomes "noyne," "guy" becomes "goy," "cow" might sound like "cayow."

In addition to the peculiarities of Vermont dialect, Montpelier lingo has its own. You too can talk like a local using this handy abridged dictionary of Montpelier slang. OK, maybe not exactly like a local, but at least you'll understand what they mean.

1. Montpeculiar

Local lingo for the fair capital city. It has to do with the oddities and bureaucracy of state and local politics. Google "Montpeculiar" and you'll get a whole lot of news articles about state politics.

2. Seven Days

"Vermont's Independent Voice," a daily newspaper. State and local politics are fair game for the Seven Days staff, but they do an admirable job covering local culture, too, from bands to visual art to poetry.

3. Package Store

A retail shop that sells alcoholic beverages. This phrase is common throughout New England. In other parts of the country you'll hear "party store," "liquor store," "ABC Store" and "red dot store."

4. Flatlander

Montpelier slang for people who move to the state from other parts of New England, ostensibly to escape the high prices.

5. Jeezum Crow

An exclamation, similar to "jeez Louise." In Montpelier slang, this is a polite way to say "Jesus Christ" without offending anyone's religious sensibilities. There are similar examples of the expression around the world.

6. Grinder

A sandwich on a long bread roll. In other parts of the country, said sandwich might be called a "submarine" or "sub," a "hoagie," a "torpedo" or a "hero." Originally, this sandwich was heaped with Italian meats and some vegetables; nowadays you can get virtually anything on a grinder.

7. Woodchuck

Regional Vermont slang term for old timers, or people who have lived in Vermont all their lives. Offspring of Woodchucks are sometimes referred to as "hoodchucks."

8. Sugarbush

A maple tree – where maple syrup comes from. When the weather starts to warm up in the spring, maple tree sap thins and begins to run through the trunk of the tree. It's collected for about a month, then the water is evaporated until all that's left is the maple sugar syrup.

9. Freep

The Burlington Free Press, a newspaper.

10. Wicked

A pervasive Montpelier slang term meaning cool, good, awesome. It's frequently used as a qualifier, as in, "This grinder is wicked good."

11. Mountaineers

Montpelier's team in the NECBL (New England Collegiate Baseball League).

12. Oh yah, eh

Absolutely. "Those Mountaineers are playing mighty good this year." "Oh yah, eh."

13. Jacking:

Hunting deer out of season. This is a no-no.

14. Michigan Dog:

In Montpelier lingo, a Michigan Dog is more or less the same thing it is in Michigan: a chili dog. Get one for lunch at the Hot Diggity Dog Plus cart at Christ Church Pocket Park (spring through fall). Incidentally, there are Thursday noontime concerts at this same park all summer.

15. NECI

The New England Culinary Institute, which is located in Montpelier. Know what that means? Gourmet food at reasonable prices. At the main teaching restaurant, Main Street Grill and Bar you'll find dishes like pan-seared duck breast with a tart cherry gastrique, pot-au-feu, and braised veal cheeks. At the bakery, La Brioche, expect inventive sandwiches with topnotch ingredients, freshly baked breads and desserts, and coffee drinks. That's Montpelier slang for "Yum!"

Main Street Grill and Bar
118 Main St.
Montpelier, VT
Tue-Sat 11:30AM-9PM, Sun 8AM-2PM

La Brioche
89 Main St
Montpelier, VT
Mon-Fri 6:30AM-5PM, Sat 7AM-5PM, Sun 8AM-2PM
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