1. Grachki (grach'-key) is Chicago for "Garage Key" as in, "Yo,
Theresa, waja do wit da grachki? Howmy supposta cut da grass if
don't git intada grach?''
2. Uptadaendada (up-ta-da-en'-dada) as in, "Joey, you kin ride yur
bike uptadaendada alley but not acrost or I'll bust yur butt..."
3. Sammich. Chicagoese for sandwich. When made with sausage, it's a
sassage sammich; with shredded beef, it's an Italian beef sammich, a
local delicacy consisting of piles of spicy meat in a perilously
4. Da. The definite article is a key part of Chicago speech, as
in "da tree bears" or "da Mare" -- the latter denoting, or as long
as he wants it to, Richard M. Daley, or Richie, as he's often known.
5. Jewels. Not family heirlooms or a tender body region, but a
popular appellation for one of the region's dominant grocery chains,
to wit, "I'm goin' to da Jewels to pick up some sassage." As in most
Chicago pluralizations, the "S" is pronounced with a hissing sound,
rather than the usual "Z" sound of American pluralization.
6. Field's: Marshall Field, a prominent Chicago department store.
Also Carson Pirie Scott, a major department store chain, is
called "Carson's," etc.
7. Tree. The number between two and four. "We were lucky dat we only
got tree inches of snow da udder night"
8. Prairie. A vacant lot, especially one on which weeds are growing.
9. Over by dere. i.e. "over by there," a prolix way of emphasizing a
site presumed familiar to the listener. As in, "I got the sassage at
da Jewels down on Kedzie, over by dere.'
10. KaminskiPark. Perhaps the high concentration of ethnic Poles
makes people want the White Sox to be playing in this mythical
ballpark, rather than in their true home, Cellular Field formerly
known as Comiskey Park.
11. Frunchroom as in, "Getottada frunchroom wit dose muddy shoes.''
It's not the "parlor." It's not the "living room." In the land of
the bungalow, it's the "frunchroom," a named derived, linguists
believe, from "front room."
12. Use. Not the verb but the plural pronoun "you". "Where's use
13. Downtown. Anywhere south of the zoo and north of Soldier Field
near the lake.
14. BoysTown: A section on Halsted Ave., between Belmont and
Addison, which is lined with gay bars on the west and east sides of
the street. "Didn't I see uze in Boystown in front of da Manhole?"
15. Braht: Short for Bratwurst. "gimme a braht wit kraut"
16. Cashbox: Traffic reporter slang for tollbooths. "Dere's a delay
at da cashbox on da Skyway"
17. Goes: Past or present tense of the verb "say." For
example, "Then he goes, 'I like this place'!"
18. Guys: Used when addressing two or more people, regardless of
each individual's gender.
19. Pop: A soft drink. Don't say "soda" in this town. "what kinda
pop you got?"
20. Sliders: Nickname for hamburgers from White Castle, a popular
Midwestern burger chain "Dose sliders I had last night gave me da
21. The Taste: The annual Taste of Chicago Festival, a huge
extravaganza in Grant Park featuring samples of Chicagoland's fine
cuisine. Takes place around and before the Fourth of July holiday.
22. "Jieetyet": this is used to ask "did you eat yet"?
23. Winter and Construction: Punch-line to the joke, "what are the
two seasons in Chicago?"
now for some daily advice:
Don't skinny dip with snapping turtles.
Forgive your enemies. It messes with their heads.
Don't wrestle with pigs: You'll get all muddy and the pigs will love it.