Words in DC

Are there any words that are particular to the DC area? Clinton Yates of the Washington Post gives a handy primer on a few words (or lexical items, as linguists call them) that originated in or are unique to DC; you’ll find the article here.

Some of the words that we’ve found – including terms that refer to people, things, places, and states of mind – are listed below, along with some possible definitions offered by native Washingtonians.

  • Bama/bammanoun. Someone who doesn’t know how to dress or act.
    • Country.        
    • Out of style.
    • Someone who can’t dress or is uncool.
  • Sicedadj. Hyped up.
    • Instigating.
    • Excited, pumped, ready to go.
      • Hyped.
      • Happy.
      • Excited.
  • Jontnoun. A place.
    • A word to describe something
      • (ex. referring to a car: “That Jont is fast”).
    • 3) A thing, anything.
  • Lunchinadj. Tripping.
    • Off one’s rocker.
    • Something crazy.
    • Acting a fool.
  • Viciousadj. Bad in a good way, referring to looks, food, experience of any kind.
    • Good.
    • Cool.

Let us know about alternative spellings, meanings, or other words, by leaving a comment below!

Please help us build the DC Dictionary!

Below are videos that describe some of the words that we’ve found, along with a few new terms!

A WUSA segment on DC words:

A DMV native describing words commonly used in the area:

1 thought on “Words in DC

  1. I would like to be a part of this study, I think it is great. It’s funny how we grow up talking about this, but even more so when you move out of the city. I grew up in DC and have lived in Atlanta, Baton Rouge, Nashville and now Columbus, OH. But DC language is about being creative, it really shows your intelligence and word play. As you stated in your article, it can let you know a lot about a person.

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