Your guide to Erie lingo
ERIE, Pa. (AP) — From foods to places to festivals, it’s safe to say Erie natives have their own language.
We asked this past winter, and you answered: What are things only people from Erie do and say?
Here is a sampling of your most popular answers. Some of these aren’t necessarily words spoken solely in Erie, but they are popular in Erie or have a different meaning to people here.
Erieite: Someone who resides in the city; an Erie resident.
Peach jam: A traffic jam (that happens rather frequently) on Peach Street.
Great 8s: The 8 Great Tuesday concerts, free performances that are hosted in Liberty Park on Erie’s bayfront weekly on Tuesdays in the month of July.
Block parties: Free public parties held in downtown Erie weekly in the summer. Parties are typically on Thursdays and include free, live entertainment.
CelebrateErie: Previously known as “We Love Erie Days.” A three-day free celebration typically hosted in August in downtown Erie offering food, music, games, rides and more put on by the Erie mayor’s office.
Pepperoni balls: Made fresh in several bakeries and eateries. Consist of baked or fried dough, cheese and pepperoni around the size of a donut.
Roar: The annual Roar on the Shore motorcycle rally is held in Erie, mainly downtown, sometime in July.
Ox roast: Not made from ox. It is roast beef, sliced, then braised in au jus until tender.
Smith’s: Refers to Smith Provision Co., Inc, a manufacturer of hot dogs, sausages, deli meats and bacon located in Erie. Eaten by the ton during Erie’s summer months.
Sponge candy: Sugary toffee with a light, rigid, sponge-like texture. Made by almost all of Erie’s candy manufacturers.
City chicken: Despite its name, city chicken is pork. Normally it’s on a stick and coated in seasoning and breading.
Sara’s: Sara’s Restaurant, located at the opening of Presque Isle State Park. Known as a 50s-style diner that serves hot dogs, hamburgers and soft serve ice cream.
Greeks: Hot dogs, french fries or hamburgers served with a spicy meat sauce described as a spicier, tastier substitute for chili.
Upper Peach: Peach Street located in Erie’s Summit Township. No one really knows where “Upper Peach” begins, but it’s generally referred to as the area of Peach Street between West 38th Street and I-90.
The peninsula: Presque Isle State Park.
Ice dunes: Huge mounds of frozen waves and spray found along Presque Isle State Park’s beaches. Sometimes they can reach 15 feet tall.
Pop: Erie natives say “pop” in reference to the refreshment — not soda or Coke.
Thundersnow: Storms that deliver snow and also produce lightning and thunder.
Snownado: A snow tornado. Blizzard conditions with tornado warnings seemingly common in the Erie, PA area.
Mighty Fine: Refers to Mighty Fine Donut Shop, 2612 Parade St., in Erie, a 24-hour donut shop.
Cheese curls: Cheese puffs, cheese balls. Puffed corn snack coated with a mixture of cheese or cheese-flavored powders.
Parking ramp: A parking garage.
Jitney: A forklift.
The Mill: The Hammermill plant that used to be in Erie along Erie’s bayfront. The plant closed in 2002, but many Erie natives still have fond memories.
Erie-sistible: Another way to spell “irresistible.” Also the name of the dance team that performs for the Erie BayHawks, Erie’s NBA G League team.
Snow holes: Potholes or ruts caused by feet of snow that get packed on Erie’s streets.
Lake-effect snow: When it snows 6+ inches in a matter of hours, yet Erie natives act like nothing happened and go about their business.
’Mupeer: Visitors from Pittsburgh, as in “I’m mupeer from Pittsburgh. What’s there to do?”
The dock: Dobbin’s Landing at the foot of State Street.
The Brig: Erie’s tall ship, the U.S. Brig Niagara, docked behind the Erie Maritime Museum on Erie’s bayfront.
Berm: The shoulder of a road or highway.
Spring: A period of time when it snows in the morning and is sunny and 50 degrees by noon. Other years, it just snows during this period and the periods of warmer weather are omitted.
Dreary Erie: A clever yet negative nickname given to Erie, earned mostly by its unpredictable and sometimes unpleasant weather patterns.
Buggy: a shopping cart
The Ravine Flyer: The Ravine Flyer II, Waldameer Park’s wooden roller coaster, ranked 7th Best Wooden Coaster in the world.
Stag ‘n’ drag: A fundraiser for an engaged couple for the wedding. The stag is in reference to the man and the drag to the woman.
Spicket: Water source on the exterior of the house. Also known as a “spigot.”
Whacky Shack: A “dark ride” that opened in the 1970 operating season at Waldameer Park.
The Gorge: Wintergreen Gorge in Harborcreek Township
Under Duck: Giving someone a big push on the swing and continuing out the other side.
RELCO lights: The radio-controlled system that permits emergency vehicles to change traffic systems from red to green.
Pizza bomber: A bizarre case in which a pizza delivery man named Brian Wells was accosted by several people who locked a time bomb around his neck. They then ordered him to rob a bank. After delivering the money, he would receive clues to help him disarm the bomb. The bomb exploded after Wells had exited the bank.
“Bolth” = both
“Roots” = state routes
“Worsh” = wash
“Crick” = creek
“Yer” = your
“Browns Avenue” = Brown Avenue
“Realitter” = realtor
“McKane” = McKean
“kitty corner” = caddy-corner, which means diagonally opposite.
“About a horse a piece” (meaning “same either way”)
“Erie, P-A” (never N-Y for New York, or O-H for Ohio, though)
“It’s a ways away”
“And what not”
“It’s blowin’ stink outta the east” (meaning the fishing or boating will be bad when an east wind is blowing)
“Meet you under the clock” (meaning to meet under the clock at the Boston Store on State Street)
“Go jump in the lake” (meaning is fairly clear here)
“Don’t hang crepe” (meaning “don’t be negative”)
“Going on a PI run” (meaning taking a drive/walk/run around Presque Isle State Park)
“It’s the old (insert building here)” (Giving directions by telling the person “It’s the old ...” Example: Gabe’s moved into the old Kmart in Summit Township)
“You guys” (not youz guys, yinz, etc.)
Erie grammar tips:
Always unnecessarily add “at” to the end of questions. Ex: “Where is the monument at?”
Just leave “to be” out of most phrases. Ex: Instead of saying “The lawn needs to be mowed,” just say “The lawn needs mowed.” Instead of “The car needs to be washed,” just say “The car needs washed.”
The letter g is not always required at the end of -ing words. Ex: “I’m readin’ the newspaper before I start cookin’ dinner.”
Feel free to add “the” on the front of nouns that don’t need it. Ex: “My husband works at the GE.”
Instead of asking questions, state them. Most languages inflect upward at the end of a question, but we advise against it.
Distance is always measured in time. Ex: Pittsburgh is 2 hours away from Erie.
Information from: Erie Times-News, http://www.goerie.com