Phrases Only New Englanders Know


The term Masshole comes from two words: Massachusetts, and well, you can probably figure out the other. It usually refers to a bad driver from Massachusetts who cuts people off and thinks he owns the road. New Englanders (especially those from Maine) have been using this word for years, yelling it out their windows with a suggestive finger.

Coffee Regular

New Englanders are passionate about getting their coffee regular. One might assume that means black coffee, right? Nope. Rather, it’s simply coffee with cream and two sugars. While it’s unclear where this expression first came from, some suggest it might date back to the old coffee cart days. It’s said that immigrant workers called the coffee they sold regular because a little cream and sugar was popular with most customers. Makes sense! Sort of.

Bang a uey

Need to make a U-turn? Not if you’re in New England. If you’re up north, you need to bang a ’uey. Bang-a-what now? This term is common slang heard in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and simply means to turn around. Apparently, the word bang can be used to describe any quick or rapid action. “You have to bang a ’uey before the stoplight changes, right?”


Most of us call that handheld device for the TV a remote control. However, television viewers up north call it a clicker. When you’re searching for the remote, these guys are yelling out: “where’s the clicker?” – and for good reason. In the 50s, buttons on television remotes made loud clicking noises when pressed. Apparently, New Englanders liked the name so much they decided to keep it.

Leaf Peepers

The expression leaf peepers is related to prime foliage season in New England. But while it refers to the colorful leaves on the trees, it also applies to tourists who travel from afar to see them. And since the season is so short, these visitors have to look fast, which is why they’re described as peepers.

While no one seems to know how this phrase came about, New Englanders have been using it for a long time, and normally in annoyance. Unfortunately, large crowds of peepers bring about bumper-to-bumper traffic.


New Englanders are always talking about making a run to the packie—especially before a big Patriots game. But what in the world are they talking about? When someone from Connecticut or Massachusetts says they’re going on a packie run, it means they’re heading out to brave the snow and grab some booze.

Many New Englanders call liquor stores package stores, hence packie for short.


New Englanders don’t order chocolate sprinkles on their ice cream cones. Instead, they ask for jimmies. It’s the same thing, but with a unique name that only people from up north seem to understand. Some say jimmies were named after a person who worked the sprinkles machine at the Just Born candy factory, which opened in Pennsylvania roughly 90 years ago.


Sit down at a table in many casual eateries across New England, and you’ll probably find grinders on the menu. A what? Turns out, a grinder is simply a submarine sandwich without any real distinction, except that it’s usually served hot. So a cold turkey sub would just be a regular ol’ sub. Not like a hot meatball sub, which in New England, would be referred to as a grinder. Got it?

How did these sandwiches get their strange name? Well, since a grinder is made with crusty, straight-out-of-the-oven bread, it takes a while to chew (or grind) once you sink your teeth in.


When someone refers to a Johnny in New England, they aren’t talking about a cousin or friend. They’re actually referencing that weird gown your nurse makes you put on before an examination. But why give these medical garments such a strange nickname? As we all know, these billowing gowns have embarrassing openings at the back that are designed to make using the toilet – or john – much easier.


The term wicked dates back to the Salem Witch Trials and was used to label untrustworthy witches. Since the witch trial days, this expression has grown quite popular with the New Englanders. Those from up north now use it to emphasize something that is beyond great. Like, very great. For example, Tom Brady’s legendary overtime victory against the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl 51 was wicked awesome.

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