How to Speak in 1938 New York

Posted on: November 22nd, 2010 at 11:02 am by

Thanks to Boogie reader Shawn Chittle for passing along this link to the 1938 Almanac for New Yorkers [PDF].  In the wake of Friday’s post on Bowery slang, it seems rather appropriate to highlight the section on deciphering various city dialects (“In a Manner of Speaking”). Buckle in, this one will have you laughing!

So here it is, how to speak proper New York City English, circa 1938 (pp. 114 – 115):

Braykidup, braykidup: Policeman’s suggestion to any group of loiterers.

Wazzitooyuh? Delicate rebuff to an excessively curious questioner.

Wannamayksumpnuvvit? Invitation to a brawl.

Tsagayg: Sophisticated expression of polite incredulity.

Wattitcha? To a gentleman with facial contusions or (colloq.) a shiner.

Oppkar-goynop: One third of the vocabulary necessary to operate an elevator.

Donkar-goyndon: Another third of the vocabulary necessary to elevator operators.

Ollowayback-Jayzagate: The remaining third.

Takadiway: “Please remove it from sight immediately.”

Domebeeztoopid: Expressing specific disagreement, with undertones of disparagement.

Statnylant: The place on the horizon where good ferries go.

Whuzzup? Request for information, any information.

Waddadajintzdoodisaft? “Did the New York National League baseball team win today, I hope?” (Except in Brooklyn)

Ladderide: Warning not to pursue the subject further.

Hootoadjuh? “Please give the source of your information.”

Whyntchalookeryagoyn? Rhetorical expression of relief used (by motorists esp.) after a near-collision.

Filladuppigen: To a sympathetic bartender. Eventually elicits the response ….

Yoovadanuffbud: From the same sympathetic bartender.

Duhshuh-ul: An underground railway connecting Times Square and Grand Central Terminal.

Domeblokadoor : An usher, or guard, in full cry.

Sowaddyasaybabe or Hozzabotutbabe: Prelude to romance.

Steptiddyrearidybuspleez: Bus driver’s request whenever two or three passengers are gathered together.

Nyesplayshagottere: On first looking into a friend’s apartment.

Welyecut: Antiphonal response for host and hostess.

Saddy: Last day of the week.

Sumpmscroowie: A note of suspicion.

Plennyaseatsnabalkny: Optimism outside a motion picture theater; not entirely trustworthy.

Scramltoowisydafrench: a short-order is given.

Onnafyah: A short-order is being prepared.

Wahgoozidoo? Cynical dejection.

Assawayigoze: Philosophical interjection for conversational lulls.

Recent Stories

‘Marm Cafe’ on Clinton Street is Kaput, Transitions to ‘Bricia’

The end of the road is here for Marm Cafe. The three-year-old corner establishment at 79 Clinton Street hasn’t been open since at least mid-August, its fate finally sealed this week with those brown paper shades. We communicated with ownership via email several weeks ago and were told that the cafe was actually on holiday. […]

Celebrity Endorsed ‘Sycamore Style’ to Open Orchard Street Footwear Boutique

The search for a new retail occupant at 145 Orchard Street just came to a close. It’s been four months since Killion departed the block, but now signage is in place for the latest entrant. Another fashion boutique. Here comes Sycamore Style, a decades-old footwear brand that hawks “custom hand-dyed shoes.” According to their website, […]

In Move from Midtown, ‘Ierimonti Gallery’ Readies 55 Delancey Showroom

After Brennan & Griffin Gallery relocated to Norfolk Street last year, its former headquarters on Delancey Street remained vacant. The only action during its year-long dormancy was when Petee’s Pie used the space for its busy Thanksgiving rush last November. But now, more of the same is on the way. An art gallery from midtown […]

Judge Grants Notorious Landlord Steve Croman Reprieve for High Holidays, Postpones Sentencing

Convicted landlord Steve Croman will spend the Jewish High Holidays in the comfort of his own home instead of prison. At his hearing yesterday, Manhattan State Supreme Court Justice Jill Konviser elected to postpone the sentencing another two weeks for the observance. Prosecutors on behalf of state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman opposed the motion, but […]

With Final Votes Counted, Margaret Chin Squeaks by Marte for Third Term

The Board of Elections yesterday completed its final tally of absentee and affidavit ballots, and the results are in. Incumbent Councilwoman Margaret Chin maintained her narrow margin over challenger Christopher Marte by just over 200 votes. So, it’ll likely be another four years of the same. The results should be certified by the city at […]