Slang City Mail

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February 22, 2007

Slang of the Week: wicked pisser (adjective phrase)
great, fantastic (pronounced “wicked pissah”)

Except for the insane real estate prices, collapsing tunnels and a subway that shuts down at half past midnight, Boston is wicked pisser!

Celebrity quote:
“Jon Towne is the wicked pisser guitar player, as we like to say here in Southie*. He looks like the gay kid on Dawson’s Creek… Aaron looks just like Whoopi Goldberg and I look like Frankenstein.”
- Rocketscience singer and guitarist Andy Galdins

Ah, Boston! No doubt you have heard the many embarrassing tales of woe about my beloved city. Our massively overpriced Big Dig highway project is falling apart at the seams (literally). After 12 years, we still haven’t had any luck tracking down gangster Whitey Bulger. And most recently, our city was besieged by cute decorative art mistakenly believed to be terrorist bombs.

A few weeks ago, a guerrilla marketing campaign for a cartoon called Aqua Teen Hunger Force brought Boston to a complete standstill when people began to notice mysterious illuminated cartoon figures installed around the city. Since I wasn’t teaching that day, I missed the excitement of being stuck on a subway train for an hour, but many others had that experience as police tried to figure out why those cute light-up Mooninites (the name of the cartoon characters) were flipping us the bird.  


Sadly, the promotional night lights did not say, “Wicked pissah!” at you when you walked past. That was one of the first regional slang expressions I heard when I moved to Massachusetts many years ago. I learned it shortly after I discovered you couldn’t buy beer on Sunday and shortly before found out that my roommate’s brother was in school at the University of Connecticut (UConn)not  panning for gold in the Yukon, as I had originally misunderstood. (This was a great disappointment to me, as the Yukon would have been so much more interesting.)

However, last week, I found a website that combines the misery of our recent experience with
Boston’s charming accent. Click on the link and you, too, can enjoy wicked pissah” and all the other delightful speech patterns I hear every day as you Save Boston from invading Mooninites!

*Southie is the nickname of South Boston

Speaking of no beer on Sunday (
Massachusetts finally changed that law about a year ago), check out this week’s bookstore pick, The Writer's Guide to Everyday Life from Prohibition Through World War II, for insights into how a lack of alcohol can change the way you talk!