Every state in the U.S. has its own unique accent and New Jersey is no different. New Jerseyans have their way of saying things that out-of-staters may not definitively understand our way of speaking. Phrases like “The City,” “Plain Pie,” and “20 Regular Cash,” among others are just one of the many phrases we use right here in the Garden State to communicate. Read on for a guide for our fellow out-of-staters when it comes to New Jersey slang terms.
Down the Shore
The Jersey Shore is iconic and locals love to hit the beach all summer. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, North Jerseyians are headed ‘Down the Shore.’ Usually, these trips take place over the weekend, but for those working from home, trips DTS can happen at any time.
While the rest of the world calls it pork roll, especially North Jerseyians know the only brand worth getting is Taylor Ham. This salty, processed meat is available mostly in the tri-state area. Even though the Taylor Ham packaging labels the product as a pork roll, many North Jersey locals are more familiar with the brand name. This meat is typically served on a breakfast sandwich along with egg and cheese on a bagel or roll.
Many locals still refer to the brand name, MAC, when talking about an ATM. MAC was the brand of a large majority of ATMs in New Jersey, New York, and Philadelphia as well as a top-rated pre-payment app on smartphones. Even though they are less commonly used today, if you need cash, head to the MAC machine.
This nickname is derived from the delicious cheese’s formal name, mozzarella. New Jersey has dozens of incredible Italian restaurants and delis and is home to thousands of proud, Italian-American residents — so getting fresh mozzarella is a staple. Naturally, locals shortened the name to make ordering it even easier.
If New Jersey residents know about one thing, it’s pizza. A plain pie is what the rest of the country refers to as ‘cheese pizza.’ Pizza is made with cheese already and everything else is a topping — case closed.
New Jerseyans can only be talking about New York City when making this reference. Due to the proximity (and the need to shorten every common phrase) New York City, NYC is known simply as The City.
20 Regular Cash
This term is relevant throughout the entire state. In New Jersey, it’s illegal to pump your gas, making ’20 Regular Cash’ a common phrase. Translation? “I would like you to put $20 worth of regular gas into my car, please and I will pay with cash.” The amount of gas received for $20 may vary.
The Garden State Parkway is one of New Jersey’s most traveled highways. Because the exits are numbered by mile markers and run north to south, asking “What exit?” is a quick way to understand where the destination is located.
This term is likely the most confusing to outsiders. A jug-handle does not refer to a container to hold water, but rather a traffic pattern for left turns on busy highways. Other states allow drivers to turn left onto certain highways from a lane between opposing sides. Not New Jersey. Drivers must make a U-turn through a series of lights and/or stop signs from entering the opposite side of the highway.
Three words that no deli employee wants to get wrong — salt, pepper, ketchup. The abbreviation is typically used when ordering a breakfast sandwich with an egg, like a pork roll or bacon egg and cheese, to ensure every bite is flavorful.
Many slang terms have been adopted, across the country, to refer to a large group of people. The term “youse” is usually used in a casual setting and can refer to a group of people nearby. It’s often combined with ‘guys,’ making the full phrase, “Youse guys.”