My Favorite Chicago Slang Terms

Filed in Living by on October 20, 2016 0 Comments

The south side of Chicago was a really interesting place to grow up. I have a lot of great memories of the places, people, and events that make up my childhood.

One of the hilarious things about Chicago is all of the slang people use. I’m sure other places around the country have their own local jargon, but from what I have learned from meeting other people over the years, Chicago’s is particularly colorful.

So, in no particular order, here are my favorite Chicago-isms:

  • “Flipping” a fence – Climbing or hopping over a fence. “How did you get here so fast?” “I cut through Murphy’s yard and flipped the fence.”
  • “Gangway” – This is the narrow concrete walkway between two Chicago multi-level houses.
  • “Front room” – The living room of a Chicago bungalow, which is always in the front of the house, is called the front room.
  • “Lollygagging” – Moving too slowly for your parent’s desires. “Timmy, catch up with us and stop all that lollygagging!”
  • “Goes” – Used as the present or past tense of the verb “say” – “I told Johnny what you said, and he goes, ‘Are you kidding me?’”
  • “Supper” – The dinnertime meal. “Mary, you can go out with your friends, but you’d better be home for supper!”
  • A “fin” or “finski” – A $5 bill. Like in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: “It’s amazing what a finski can do for a guy’s attitude!” Also, a $10 bill is called a “sawbuck,” and a $20 bill a “double sawbuck,” or just “double saw.”
  • “Jagoff” – A derogatory term for another male, derived from the term “jerkoff.” This is one of my all-time favorites. Extremely versatile, and yet effective. Let’s say, for instance, your teacher reprimands you. As he walks away, you mutter under your breath, “What a f**king jagoff.”
  • “Whupped” – I think we all know what “pussy whipped” means. This shorter version is less crude, and yet allows you to get your point across. “I’m sorry, Mikey, but ever since you met Sally, you’ve been whupped!”

There you have it. The finest slang the wonderful city of Chicago has to offer. Even if you’re not from Chicago, feel free to use any of these as you wish!

About the Author ()

TIM MCINTYRE retired in 2004 from his position as president of Applied Systems after facilitating a successful sale of the company. At only forty-six years old, he made the unusual decision to fully retire to pursue other interests and simply enjoy free time. As a hard-driving Type A personality, this turned out to be a significant challenge for the Notre Dame and University of Chicago-educated MBA, CPA, and Certified Cash Manager.

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