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A small, ambiguous piece of fish that never knows if it's cod or haddock. Some people claim that "scrod" is a young cod, while "schrod" is a young haddock, but, in fact, there's no difference - it's basically whatever's cheaper at the fish pier that day.

"So a guy lands at Logan and gets in a cab and says to the driver, 'Take me somewhere I can get scrod!" And the driver says, "I've never heard anyone use the pluperfect participle before!"


Snappin' gaggahs

David Stitt explains:

The Herald recently ran a little contest to find out what people thought that woman is doing in the new Irish Famine statue in front of Borders on Washington Street. A friend of mine works in a hardware store where they were having fun showing a picture of the statue to their customers and asking them what they thought she was doing. A local lady took one look at the picture and says 'She's snappin gaggahs!' Nobody had the slightest idea what she was talking about, but were too shy to ask her.

Then a few days ago a dear friend of mine came back to town for the summer. She's a Quinzy native, but lives in Arizona now. She can tell what high school people went to in Boston after listening to them for just a minute. Anyway, we asked her what it meant.

She said it originally meant eating some kind of little fish with your hands. You know. You lift up the fish, open your mouth, and drop it in. But later it came to mean, um, well, someone coughing something up into the air and having that land in someone else's mouth! We still don't know which meaning the lady in the hardware store had in mind.

Kip Francis, a Capie 'airleggah's son (A native Cape Codder and son a of a shell fisherman) fills in the meaning:

A gagga (gagger - a size you gag on) is a very large quahog (thick shelled clam, overgrown littleneck, two steps above a "chowda"). "Snappin' a gagger" is quaffing a really big quahog, the consistency of which, is not unsimilar to um, well ya know.


So don't I

An example of the Massachusetts negative positive. Used like this:

"I just love the food at Kelly's."
"Oh, so don't I!"

On 4/5/14, the following complaint was submitted to Citizens Connect about a utility box covered in graffiti the city said it could not re-paint because it's owned by a private company:

Case was closed noted as private property....so isn't all the graffiti you remove off of private buildings. Why can't a utility box be painted?



Sometimes, spukie. What some Bostonians still call a sub or hero (there's even a sub shop in Dorchester called Spukies 'n Pizza). Some people refuse to believe it's real, but it must be, because the Middlesex News wrote about it in 1993. From spucadella, a type of Italian sandwich roll you can still buy at some of the bakeries in the North End and Somerville.

David Keene reports: " 'Spuckie' is indeed a Boston word. It is not used much anymore, the older Italians used it. Growing up in Chelsea we alway bought 'spuckies' at Gallo's market. My wife bought spuckies at the Italian stores in Eastie when she was a kid. The word is not used much anymore, because there are so few of us that know what it means." Richard Karasik, meanwhile, recalls that "Santarpio's pizza parlor (in Eastie) was the center of spuckie heaven."



A grown-up hoodsie who never quite adjusted to becoming older. Usually seen during daylight hours wearing the uniform: curlers, kerchief, sunglasses, a Marlboro with a heater end, tight pants, high heels, accessorized with a screaming rugrat or two named Jenifuh, Dante, or Shawn, having that unmistakable aroma of cologne and nicotine. If employed, a hair stylist, bahtendah, or receptionist.
R.D. McVout


T, the

The Boston subway and bus system. Represents the triumph of fuzzy logic, or something, because it does not actually stand for any single word. Cambridge Seven Associates thought it up in the early 1960s when the state hired them to design graphics for the then new MBTA. Their goal was to come up with something as recognizable as a cross that also evoked the idea of transit, transportation, tunnel, etc.

There are four lines: Red (because it used to end at Harvard, whose color is crimson); Blue (it runs along the ocean); Green (it goes to the leafy suburbs of Brookline and Newton) and Orange (because it used to run above what was once known as Orange Street).

The T claims the Silver Line is a fifth subway line - and shows it as such on its system maps. It is, however, a bus.

You'll sometimes hear references to the Purple Line (collectively all the commuter lines).


Three decka

Originating in Worcester, this quickly became a staple of Boston residential architecture: a narrow, three-story house, in which each floor is a separate apartment. Sometimes also called "triple decker."

In Dorchester, they'll tell you that "triple decker" is a Yuppie affectation; but in Winthrop, that's what everybody calls them.
Mark Levy and Kirsten Alexander


Towers, The

1. A section of Needham along Rte. 128 that consists mainly of TV towers.

2. A B.U. dormitory on Bay State Road (not to be confused with Warren Towers - those three dorms sitting atop a parking garage on Comm-Av).
Jeff Kline and Marie Lamb



Boston, at least on the South Shore. "Someone from Quincy would say, 'I'm goin' to town' instead of 'I'm goin' to Boston.' " reports Margaret Touhey. But Erin M. says: "I've lived in Braintree my whole life, and we always said 'We're going in town.' Nice gramma, huh?"



Often, a resident of Charlestown. But townies also live in Reveah and Whiskey Point ("da Point") in Brookline, so it's also a state of mind, or perhaps hair. You can often tell a townie by the way he or she adds the phrase "'n shit" to the end of many sentences, as in "Oh my gawd, like yestihday, right, he was totally down Nahant polishing his TA (Trans Am) 'n shit."