M.D. Wright

    • Edited: 7.18.2014

… and it’s even borough/borough-section specific at times, which adds to the beauty of it all.

Outta town cats think we’re all kooks and weird with the slang. But the terms have real meaning and immediate understanding is formed between the speaker and the listener. Whether you are straight hood 24/7, or corporate/hood or a nerd who still knows what is being implied whenever you hear the slang, our slang is unlike any other. Some examples (not going to be an exhaustive list on my part, but as always, INTERACTIVE — with you, my readers) of the aforementioned slang words/phrases:

“OD/Ohdee/Odee, etc.”

Derived from the thought of simply “overdoing” something to the point of excess and annoyance. While I personally use the term with regularity, when I hear someone say “odee” every 10th word, I have to wonder about their vocabulary.

Example of Usage: “Yo son, why you always gotta OD with EVERYTHING whenever chicks is around, though?”

“Fuck Outta Here!”

OGs would say “Get the Fuck Outta Here”; a dismissive retort to something foolish being said or done on the part of someone else. Nowadays, “Get the” has been cut off. I recall this starting in the late 90s.

Example of Usage: “You copped a Benz cash money and still live with your grandparents’ basement, B? FUCK OUTTA HERE!”


Bruva (Harlem enunciation), Brother, etc.

This goes back to the early B-boy and B-girl days of Hip-Hop. Still alive and well, especially Uptown.

Example of Usage: “Come on, B. You can’t expect nobody to believe that bullshit you tryna pass off on niggas.”


Part of  almost every New Yorker’s vernacular who is from the hood or at least lived here for any real period of time. Whether referring to someone directly and addressing them as “son” while talking to them, or saying that someone in sports or Hip Hop is your “son” (i.e. one of your favorites), this is vintage New York slang — something that will never die.

Example of Usage: “Son what’s goodie with the party on Saturday, though?”

Example of Usage: “Derrick Rose is my SON, B.”

“Pause”/”No Homo”

One of the more controversial (??? — amongst overly PC people who are oblivious to the joke nature of the terms) phrases out there. This began as a Harlem-rooted response in a lighthearted attempt at humor. Usually delivered in ironic fashion as a response to someone saying something that can be construed as a) sexual and b) gay or gay-suspicious in nature.

NOTE: The term has no purpose in “offending” gays nor does it “make you gay” because “you have to be thinking that way in order to even have to say ‘pause’ or ‘no homo’ to begin with”. IT’S NOT THAT SERIOUS. Not everything requires some Psychological GSS-data analysis. If you were around when the usage began (Spanish Harlem, early 90s and going forward), then you understand it.

Over-usage can be annoying and may require questioning of the user. Otherwise, it is all jokes and is funny to play on words. Simple as that.

Example: “I had to hurry and get that shot off, because I heard son coming hard behind me, no homo.”


My legal people know about this very well. I actually heard this first on “Law & Order” back in the mid-1990s, and first heard it in music on a DMX song (“Niggas Done Started Somethin'”) back in 1998. It refers to the 730 psychological exam that inmates undergo while imprisoned or in transit through their court processes; denoting someone’s sanity (or lack thereof).

Example of Usage: “I’m not wit it, them cats over on 140th is a bunch of 730 niggas who don’t give a fuck if they have to go upstate to Clinton or not for poppin’ a nigga.”


I love how people use this term, yet don’t give credit (and many do not even KNOW WHO originated its usage in the colloquial sense) where it’s due. Harlem rapper Max B. coined the term in its current slang carnation. It is simply used to refer to something being “cool”, “nice” or advantageous to the person who speaks it (or addressing something that is overall good).

Example of Usage: “I like them new LeBrons, them joints is wavy, even though I hate that Cosby hairline nigga.”

OTHER SLANG TERMS/PHRASES (definition varies depending on borough or region — outside of NYC)


— Something crazy or outrageous


— Big money


— Out of control, loose cannon, crazy, acting or talking foolishly/wildly.

“Posted Up”

— Whether it is referring to the cops on the corner watching who they will harass next, or the pitchers moving their work, to “post up” means to just hold up the block by standing by a street post or in front of a bodega or whatever establishment/edifice is behind the person in reference.

“Scream at Me!”

— A takeoff of “Holla”, which is late 90s/early 00s, and “get at me”, which was 90s in origin.

“Good money”

— Simply put: “Good”. Or dependable, a good look, etc.

“Wild  _____”

— An intensifier; interchangeable with the more recognizable intensifiers, “VERY” or “OUTRAGEOUS(LY)””/”RIDICULOUS(LY)”

“(Caught in a) Gaffle”

— A gaffle is a jackpot, a bad situation where someone is taken advantage of or caught unawares.


— Basically the same as being caught in a gaffle, or robbed/swindled.

“Get/Got the Drop On”

— Getting new information; usually before anyone else does — so that you can have a leg up on everyone else.

“You Already Know”

— This is more universal, and not New York City specific (anymore), but one of the more nonsensical phrases out there; given that most people do NOT “already know” what the situation is before you actually tell them. However, slang-wise, it is a confirmation of sorts — referring to the speaker’s confirming what the listener is most likely thinking or expecting.


— Bogeys refer to smokes — whether they are cigarettes or tightly-wrapped cigars (Cloves). Take off of Humphrey Bogart, who is just as famous for his constant cigarette smoking in movies — and the style in which he portrayed while smoking, as he is for his acting. Loosies are individually-sold cigarettes; a pretty lucrative market in New York City if you can get cartons or palets from outta town for cheap.

“Bruva”/”Muva”/”Fava”, etc.

— Words that contain “th” are pronounced with the “th” replaced by “v” sounding phonetics. Likewise, words/names that contain an “r” have that same sound replaced by a “v” sound.

Example: “My bruva, what’s goodie?”
Example: “My homie Evric (Eric) got the drop on that V (whip, car) and copped it for cheap.”

As always… add your own flavor here. I can talk about slang all day, but I’d rather hear everyone else’s take on some of the terms and phrases I listed, and add the plethora of others that I intentionally left off.

Word to muva…

50 responses to “New York City Slang: REAL URBAN DICTIONARY — NOT THAT TRASH ONLINE

  1. There’s “word”(I agree; yes; confirmed) “be easy”( calm down; relax; chill out) “buggin” (same as whylin), but this is on point. I’m in Sydney Australia and I’m sending people the link to this page left and right so they can understand me lol. Thanks for this set up.


  2. yo Mr wright
    awesome stuff! not that trash online one! I love the way ya write
    hope to read more of yo stuff (mean new yawk city slang)
    keep it comin
    needjur help, so keep it comin, I’ll keep droppin by for more information


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  4. One – goodbye
    Squalie/5-0/The Boys – The cops
    Brick – cold..Its brick outside
    Jack – cell phone… Yo hit my jack


  5. Ish……..shit
    frizzle……………skeety/way ahead
    Chibabababa……… Nigg/dawg/portna
    hauite hauite…………u/thus dope

    Nig dwn here in Africa,Zimbabwe,niggz really trynna jab chats the NY way,this will help…..imma broaden ths ish,na doubt


  6. Also, say for instance I asked you, “Would you like something to drink?” Would “word” be the response given or is that too much.. Thanks Again!


  7. Facts- I agree; can be used like “word”
    “-Popeyes is mad good”
    Lit- poppin, live;
    “that party was lit; it was lit last night”
    Up- rich; having money;
    “I got my check yesterday im up”


  8. Sus – sketchy

    Copy – i gotchu

    you heard – you understood?

    that’s light – it was nothing

    lit – live

    brick – freezing

    dub – something that didn’t go as planned haha

    fam – my non blood brotha

    link up – meet up

    tight – mad as fuck angry

    facts – word


  9. Pingback: 33 NYC Slang Words Every New Yorker Should Know & Learn

  10. I’m weak (usually from laughing so much)
    dead ( sub for very, really, wild, etc.) ex:; I’m dead serious or another expression for laughter ex; I’m dead, that was odee funny. i’m crying goes along with those as well
    Zoe (swindle, joox, gaffle)
    chicken, bread, green, cake, bands (money)
    cake can also mean a fat ass ex; she got the CAKE!


  11. I often hear/see the term “word to” or “word to your muva”, what exactly does one mean by that? Or when does one use it?


  12. Pingback: Learning to write accents and dialects |

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