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In the good ol' days, residents of many Boston suburbs divided their waste into two piles: rubbish (or trash) and gahbidge. The former was the "dry" stuff and would be taken to the town dump. The latter was "wet" (coffee grinds, waste vegetables, and other food remains) and would be picked up by a local pig farmer to feed to his animals.



Traffic tie-up caused by people looking at an accident on the other side of the road (or sometimes at excessively enthusiastic human billboards). Only in Boston could you get "gawker" and "blocker" to rhyme. Coined by long-time WEEI traffic reporter Kevin O'Keefe, who also came up with "stall 'n' crawl," "cram 'n' jam" and "snail trail."



A game of tag. At the beginning of the game, you set the ghouls (i.e. "The big rawk by the cahport is gools"). Then, if someone is chasing you, and you jump on or are touching the rock, no one can touch you or catch you.
John Lawler and Josh Wolk



Greeting between young men not acquainted with each other, as in this pizza-pahluh exchange: "Whaddle it be, guy? Slice o 'roni and a tonic." The term can only be used between peers or from a superior to a subordinate. If a teenager calls a middle-aged man "guy," he's being deliberately offensive.
Lisa Gordon and Alan Miles



1. A small cup of ice cream, the kind that comes with a flat wooden spoon (from H.P. Hood, the dairy that sells them). KC Black reports: "Part of their charm was on finishing them you'd suck and then fold the wooden spoon risking splintahs from the folded wood." To which Dee Burton adds: "The lid had a brown-tone picture of a movie star covered by a thin layer of protector paper that you peeled off. Sure wish I'd kept those covers. Police used to give us free Hoodsies and free movies on the morning of July 4, in the days when fireworks were legal in Mass. (that's how far back I go!).''

2. Certain teen-aged girls, who, like the ice cream, are "short and sweet and good to eat." Jo Ann Kendricken recounts: "Growing up in Roslindale (scooping went on here and in W. Roxbury as well as Hyde Park), I was a hoodsie, and now when I tell people that, they automatically call me a 'Rozzie chick/rat' and say, 'So, you are a tough girl, aren't you? Better not mess with you!' For the record, I have never been in a fight, but it's nice to know that no one will mess witcha!'



Hub of the UniverseSource, via Bostonography.

What Boston is: The Hub of the Universe. First coined by writer Oliver Wendell Holmes, who actually referred to the State House as the hub of the solar system; for many years, a plaque in the sidewalk in front of Filene's downtown commemorated the exact center of the universe (Ed. note: As of April, 2015, the marker is back!). Actually, pretty much the only people who use the word anymore are headline writers looking for a short synonym for "Boston,'' as in the aprocryphal Globe headline:

2 Hub men die in blast;
New York also destroyed

Note: On 7/31/97, the Globe actually ran the following headline on the front page:

Mediocrity fever
Grips Hub

Wicked important note: Holmes did not utter the phrase as a compliment, as you can see from the passage in which he used the phrase:

A jaunty-looking person, who had come in with the young fellow they call John,--evidently a stranger,--said there was one more wise man's saying that he had heard; it was about our place, but he didn't know who said it.--A civil curiosity was manifested by the company to hear the fourth wise saying. I heard him distinctly whispering to the young fellow who brought him to dinner, Shall I tell it? To which the answer was, Go ahead!-- Well, he said,--this was what I heard:--

"Boston State-House is the hub of the solar system. You couldn't pry that out of a Boston man, if you had the tire of all creation straightened out for a crowbar."

Sir,--said I,--I am gratified with your remark. It expresses with pleasing vivacity that which I have sometimes heard uttered with malignant dulness. The satire of the remark is essentially true of Boston,--and of all other considerable--and inconsiderable--places with which I have had the privilege of being acquainted. Cockneys think London is the only place in the world. Frenchmen--you remember the line about Paris, the Court, the World, etc.--I recollect well, by the way, a sign in that city which ran thus: "Hotel de l'Univers et des Etats Unis"; and as Paris is the universe to a Frenchman, of course the United States are outside of it.--"See Naples and then die."--It is quite as bad with smaller places. I have been about, lecturing, you know, and have found the following propositions to hold true of all of them.

1. The axis of the earth sticks out visibly through the centre of each and every town or city.

2. If more than fifty years have passed since its foundation, it is affectionately styled by the inhabitants the "good old town of"----(whatever its name may happen to be.)

3. Every collection of its inhabitants that comes together to listen to a stranger is invariably declared to be a "remarkably intelligent audience."