Do You Talk Like an Upstater? 10 Regional Colloquialisms
Have you ever sat down with your friends from different areas and realized that you have different words for the same thing? While it might not be quite as extreme as those crazy Aussie’s referring to flip flops as “thongs”, or the British calling cookies “biscuits”, there are definitely some notable colloquialisms throughout NYS that can really throw you for a loop if you’re unfamiliar with a certain region.
New York State arguably has 10 distinct regions broken up as so:
1. Long Island
- Composed of Suffolk and Nassau Counties.
2. New York City
- Includes Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Staten Island, and Queens.
3. Hudson Valley
- From Rockland and Westchester counties all the way up to Dutchess, Ulster, and Sullivan counties
4. Mohawk Valley
- A cluster of counties including Oneida, Herkimer, Fulton, Montgomery, Saratoga, Otsego, and Schoharie counties.
5. Central New York
- Onondaga, Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, and Oswego counties.
6. Southern Tier
- With Steuben county on the West side and Otsego and Delaware counties to the East, plus everything in between.
7. Finger Lakes
- With Orleans, Genesee, and Wyoming counties on the western border and Wayne and Seneca counties bordering the East.
8. Western New York
- Home to Buffalo, NY, this region is comprised of Niagara, Erie, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, and Allegany counties.
9. North Country
- Bordering Canada, this region includes Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence counties.
10. Capital Region
- An area I'm sure we're all familiar with that encompasses Warren and Washington counties all the way down to Greene and Columbia counties.
While you likely won’t experience culture shock if you happen to cross into a different county, there are some distinct phrases and terms localized to specific New York areas. Check them out:
Do You Talk Like an Upstater?
So, which colloquialisms do you use, and are they accurate to your location?