Wiz Wit or Witout? A Glossary of Philly Lingo for Recent Transplants

The City of Brotherly Love has a culture unmatched by any other city in the country. The people there are known as wild sports enthusiasts, cheesesteak aficionados, and so direct in their communication outsiders think they’re rude.

Philadelphia is a melting pot of people and cultures with a rich historical district, stellar restaurants, and a thriving arts and entertainment scene. It’s a place for people who like to be on the go and may be a little rough around the edges.

A big part of Philadelphia is the notable lingo you’ll hear from natives. Next time you’re in the area checking out Philadelphia apartments for rent, employ some of these key phrases so you can fit in with the best of them.


We’ll start off with the most complicated term, as well as the most unique to the area. Pronounced like “fawn,” jawn can mean pretty much anything.

It’s almost always used in place of a noun. You can say things like, “Hand me that jawn,” or “We went to Parx Casino last night, that jawn is so much fun.”


That clear refreshing liquid on a hot summer day is pronounced as “wooder,” and is often used with the term “wooder ice,” which refers to flavored Italian ice.


You’ll need this in your vernacular when you go to order a cheesesteak, whether it’s from Gino’s, Pat’s, or Steve’s.

Philly cheesesteaks are covered in Cheese Wiz. When ordering you’ll have to indicate whether or not you want onions on said steak. “Wiz wit” refers to a cheesesteak with onions, while “Wiz witout” will keep the onions at bay.


Speaking of sandwiches, you should know that Philadelphians refer to those that are on a long roll and consist of deli cuts, lettuce, tomato, and onion are called hoagies. Not a sub or a grinder.

The Linc and the Birds

Sports are a major part of Philly culture, with the Eagles being the top NFL team.

The Linc refers to Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Eagles. You will also hear fans fondly refer to the team as “the Birds”.


Are you addressing a group of people? Refer to them as “youse,” or the plural version of “you”.


You may often hear this in conversation, an acronym that stands for Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

CHOP is a huge part of not just Philly, but the country. It’s the nation’s first hospital dedicated to helping little ones.


Not to be confused with a sound often associated with a military march, HUP stands for Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.


It’s not an ATM in Philadelphia but the MAC machine you head to when you need to withdraw money on the go.

Down the shore

As the weather gets warmer you’ll notice many people are headed “down the shore.” This simply means a trip to the beach, which is most often located in New Jersey.


Whether chocolate or rainbow, this term denotes the sugar sprinkles that go on top of an ice cream cone.

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