Tuesday, October 3, 2023


Does your slang change as you RV around the U.S.?

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?


Lucinda Belden
Lucinda Beldenhttps://dwo.net
Lucinda has been a full-time RVer since 2019. She draws daily inspiration from the full-time RV lifestyle, motorcycling and world travel expeditions. Lucinda is also a part-time Program Director for MyRVRadio, a non-stationary radio station for RVers broadcasting news, events, culture, expert advice, humor, and entertainment. As a skilled entrepreneur, promoter and travel industry consultant, Lucinda also organizes national events for the outdoor industry.


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3 months ago

Strange how some confuse slang with incorrect pronunciation and grammar. But who am I to question. Guess I will get a drink from the fountain, I mean bubbler!

Thomas D
3 months ago

Guess I’ll stay home.
Most of that I’ve never heard
My sister started saying y’all just after moving to Alabama.
Comes from drinking out of a Dixie cup

3 months ago
Reply to  Thomas D

A lot of strange stuff happens after you drink out of a Dixie cup.

Sandi Pearson
3 months ago
Reply to  Thomas D

It’s a great term all inclusive..you all…or all you all like a crowd…all y’all…lol

3 months ago

And then you run across Canadians……

Mark K
3 months ago

One phrase we had never heard before until we were in New Mexico is, “God willing and the creek don’t rise”. Although being from SE PA, we pronounce them cricks. As far as food, it is hard finding scrapple and Taylor pork roll outside of Eastern states,

3 months ago
Reply to  Mark K

“God willing and the creek don’t rise” was in my mid-west upbringing. I still use it but I guess I am now referring to the gulf or ocean during hurricane season.

Bob P
3 months ago

Not just Texas, y’all is all of the south, where yoosguys is the north,

3 months ago
Reply to  Bob P

Yep, I became a y’all when I moved to Fla. I had almost forgotten that I was a yoosguys when in the mid-west.

3 months ago
Reply to  KellyR

Never heard “yoosguys” in the Midwest, east coast maybe.

3 months ago

We traveled full time for about 15 years while working as a nurse. We still RV for a good portion of the year. My husband likes to identifying dialects and then asking people where they are from. It’s a great conversation opener. When we first started traveling we assumed Americans pretty much ate the same thing everywhere. Then, we discovered delicious regional specialties. Now part of our “exploring” means a stop at the local butchers, farmers market, as well as locally owned grocery store. Writing this I am thinking of fiddleheads, crawfish sausages, a grocery where the smell of fresh tortillas permeated the air, goettafest, the ice wine festival, southern Indiana stone ground corn meal…why did I only buy 2 pounds? The list is endless. I cant give up RVing, I cant give up that small stove and convection oven. Thank you for writing this little article which celebrates the diversity of our country.

3 months ago

I do want to clarify “y’all”. In our southern states when saying “y’all”, 2-3 people are being addressed. “All y’all” is inclusive referring to everyone in a larger group. 🙂

3 months ago
Reply to  Pat

Yep, I gotchya dude.

Jim Johnson
3 months ago

There is a 3-part series on YouTube, formerly aired on PBS, titled “Do You Speak American?” the host tours a goodly chunk of the U.S. to examine regional dialects and slang.

Tom H.
3 months ago

All bets are of when you get to South Louisiana 😉😁

Sandi Pearson
3 months ago
Reply to  Tom H.


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