I remember when we had a foreign exchange student come and spend about six months with our family. It was several months into his stay that he asked us one day, what does this word you say, mean, “squeet”? We had no idea what he was asking. We were finally able to put it into context when he told us—you say “this” every time you are going to eat dinner, “Let’s squeet.” We realized we were saying the words Let’s-Go-Eat so close together it sounded like ‘letsqueet’ to an inexperienced English language listener.
I know how confusing that must have been for someone traveling to the United States to decipher words as we speak them. Colloquialisms are just as difficult when you have no reference or context to the meaning. As North Americans, we are familiar with some slang and get the gist no matter where we RV. I’m sure if you are from North America, you have no problem with terms like these, although people from other countries might:
- Pig out –To eat a lot.
- Crash – To fall asleep quickly.
- Lighten up – Relax.
- Screw up – To make a mistake.
- Wrap up – To finish something.
- Ace – Do something well.
There may be some slang that isn’t from your area but has become popular in specific regions and spread quickly to the rest of your RV destinations. Even if you don’t adopt them, you know what they mean, like:
- Y’all – Texas for “you all”.
- Snowbirds – As RVers, we are familiar with this term adopted in Florida for those of us who flock together where it is warm.
- Janky – Northeasterners started using this word (for poor quality), but it is creeping across the U.S. because the word has been adopted on TV shows.
- Coke – Southerners will say Coke is any fizzy beverage. For other areas of the world, it means the actual Coke beverage, but we get the gist.
- Boujee – The internet restarted this term. A shortening of Bourgeois and originally used by the French to mean middle class, internet slang means pretending to be rich, luxurious, or fancy.
You might want to do a little research when you plan to RV into another state and learn what their slang words are. Here is a list of some popular ones you can use to sound local:
- If something is a little askew in your RV, expect to hear that it is “cattywampus”.
- The locals call themselves “Sourdoughs” (because it doesn’t require shipping in supplies).
- Expect to go sit and relax on your “gallery” instead of RV patio.
- When you arrive in California, use “Hella” instead of “Extremely”.
- When something goes wrong on your RV, you can feel comfortable shouting, “Shucky darn!”
- If you agree your RV parking spot is great, say “Ayuh” in Maine (long “A” sound)— meaning Yes.
- The word “rotary” does not refer to an old phone but to a traffic circle—a spot some RVers find difficult to traverse.
- We might call it a casserole in the South but in the Midwest it is a “hotdish”. What you are bringing to the RV potluck night. Or, should I say, “pitch-in-dinner” like in Indiana.
- New England. If you are restocking your liquor cabinet in your RV, you will visit a “packie”.
- New York. You’d better layer up with clothing if a New Yorker tells you, it is “brick” outside. And make sure your RV is ready too.
- Instead of “y’all”, they will call out to a group with the word “yinz” (like you-unz). They also like the word “Jawn”, which is used in place of the word “Thing”.
- If you need to pull out extra cash at your next RV stop, visit a TYME machine instead of an ATM.
As you RV around the United States and Canada, don’t get too worried if something someone says “throws you for a loop.” The fun part of traveling and living like a local is learning what it means to be local. I have learned so many new slang words as I RV. It only opens your mind up to new ideas and expands your vocabulary for a greater way to describe RVing lifestyle adventures. What new vocabulary have you picked up from your travels?