When I first moved to Western Massachusetts, the looks I would get when I said phrases that are strictly Boston based was amazing. It's like some of the following were foreign to anyone west of Springfield.

Here Are 10 Definite 'Boston Area' Phrases Massachusetts People Know

1. "Hot Top"

My father at one point made it a priority to repave our driveway when we were kids. "I ordered some hot top". Anywhere else in the country, this is known as asphalt.


2. "Candlepin Bowling"

Candlepin bowling is so rare in America, that it's literally only found in New England, mainly the Boston area. I couldn't even find a stock photo of candlepin bowling! The rules are different than ten pin (big ball) and much more enjoyable (IMO).


3. "The Barrel"

When you're done with it, throw it in the barrel! If it's not recyclable, that is. Anywhere else, this is a trash can.

Man taking out trash
Comstock Images

4. "Triple Decker"

Three family homes, which there are MANY in the Boston area, are known as triple deckers, anywhere else, it's normally called "three family home", or "multi family home".


5. "A Carriage"

Upon walking into a grocery or department store, my father would say to me, "Grab a carriage, will ya"? Anywhere else, this is called a shopping cart.


6. "A Can Of Tonic"

A litany of birthday parties in the past prompted a ton of tonic on the table! This is soda or "coke" anywhere else.


7. "Down Cellar"

Our washer and dryer were always "down cell-ah". This is a basement or simply a cellar, the phrase "down cellar" is unique to the Boston area.


8. "A Johnny"

When my wife had our first child, I, of course had to change into a hospital gown. I said, oh yeah, a "johnny, right"? What? Only here is a hospital gown a "johnny".

Female patient sitting on gurney in hospital gown, low section
Siri Stafford

9. "A Beef Three Way"

Every time I return to the Boston area, I absolutely MUST get a roast beef sandwich. The flavor is to die for. Boston style roast beef "three way" is sauce, mayo, and cheese.


10. "The Packie"

A fan favorite for sure. I gotta go to the "packie", short for package store, which is a liquor store anywhere else.


I hope you found this post fun and informative.

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