This is kind-of an oddball question but the site rules don't appear to forbid it. If it somehow violates guidelines just let me know and I'll voluntarily take it down.

I'm looking for region-specific curses, ones that can easily pin down the speaker's home territory, in this case New York (the city and surrounding metro area). For example, in much of the "Bible Belt" areas like Kentucky, one of the most well-known examples of a regional curse is "Bless your heart!" It sounds innocuous to an outsider, but coming from a local that is about as harsh as you'll get.

So what's a good equivalent in the NYC area? Something that would easily identify the speaker as a "New Yorker".

  • 3
    I’m a lifelong, native NYCer. Born and raised in Manhattan, and have lived all my life on the island (and a few years in neighboring Jersey City). And I have a relatively foul mouth. To my knowledge, in the modern day, there are no uniquely NYC curses. Just relatively heavier (and sometimes more creative) use of standard four-letter words. But I’ll be happy to weigh in on anyone else’s answer in case a word I think is “standard” actually turns out to be NYC-specific. I wouldn’t fall into the trap of trying to use dated terms from specific communities, like “goombah” etc.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 15:00
  • Cor blimey! I'd have thought that as one of the world's great cities, New York would be so cosmopolitan that you couldn't really identify the inhabitants by their use of historically localised dialectal forms. And no - I've never lived in London, myself. Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 15:09
  • 1
    @FumbleFingers There was a UK cartoon when I was a kid, called “Danger Mouse”. A sort of cartoon parody on James Bond. The protagonist’s sidekick was a cowardly mole named Penfold, and he talked like that in a very exaggerated fashion. Used to say “crikey” and “cheese and carrots!”. I loved it. Some other characters had parodic accents from other areas as well; Scottish, Texan, etc.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 15:12
  • 1
    Relevant: "Dropping the F-bomb" from The New Yorker. Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 15:24

1 Answer 1


It's not a completely foolproof method, but if you need to identify a New Yorker by 'curse words', (sans characteristic accent) the sprinkling of Yiddish (schmuck, putz, etc.) in an unflattering rant is a clue.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.