You say cellar, I say basement

October 8, 2012


If you mention the word sub – as in sandwich – to folks out West, they think you are talking about a ship that travels underwater. To them a sandwich filled with meat and cheese on a long roll is a hoagie. (It might have some guacamole on it as well.)

Those same people call those sugary drinks in cans and bottles pop; to us it's always been soda without the pop.

It's always fascinating to me how different regions in the country use different words or phrases to describe the same thing. Our sub is also called a hero, grinder and Italian in other areas of the country. To muddy the waters, one of the most popular convenience store/gas stations in the area calls their sandwiches hoagies. Wawa even celebrates the sandwich with its annual Hoagie Fest. Don't they know that you can't mix regional linguistics?

We turn on the faucet while those in the South turn on the spigot and we eat dinner at night while they eat supper.

In the Northeast, a creek is called a brook and a basement is a cellar. In New England, a traffic circle is a rotary and a package store is a packie. Folks in the North uses sacks and we use bags. We sit on a couch while those in New England sit on a sofa.

Some people still refer to jeans as dungarees, see-saws as teeter-totters, sneakers as tennis shoes and lightning bugs as fireflies.

In the South, it's chill bumps – not goose bumps – and folks in the South are known to chunk stuff; not toss it. They also put up things and cut on the lights. And don't ask a cook to get out her frying pan; ask her where her skillet is.

Depending on where you live, you use the bathroom or restroom, put on a swim suit or bathing suit or have a wallet or billfold.

Regions and states even have their own unique words. Whoopensocker is used in Wisconsin to express anything that is above extraordinary. I guess they don't use that word much during the winter months.


Said in Sussex

Thanks to J. Everett Moore's new book, “Growin' Up Country: Rural Life in the 1950s and 1960s,” we have also been exposed to some sayings and expressions said by folks in Sussex County.

Here are a few: Full as a tick. Hope to die. As sure as shooting. Cut half in two. No account (good for nothing.) That dog don't hunt (I don't believe what you said.) Pipjenny (a small bump).

  • Ron MacArthur has lived and worked in Sussex County all his life. As a journalist for more than 40 years, he has covered everything from county and town meetings to presidential visits. He also has a unique perspective having served as an elected official and lived on both sides of the county.

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