Local New Orleans Sayings

New Orleans Sayings: A Small Dictionary for the Local Tourist

Down here in the Big Easy, we literally speak our own language. There is a bond between locals that digs deeper than the crawfish we eat in the Summer, and it shows.

Not only is our city known for the unique food and music, but we are also known for the words we use on a regular basis. We have boo-coo vocabulary: ranging from the silly to the historical.

Not many people visit New Orleans and completely understand what’s going on at any given moment.

So, to help you out on your next vacation to The Big Easy, we’ve compiled a list of the Top 10 New Orleans Sayings.

  1. Bobo (n.): [Boe-boe]  An injury resulting from a small child falling in the playground, such as a scrape or a bruise. This word comes from the French word for a small scrape or wound.
  2. Boo-coo (adj.): [Boo-coo] A lot. A word coming from the Haitian Creole and French word “beaucoup.”
  3. By my/your house: A phrase meaning “at my house,” generally used when coordinating family functions or hanging out with friends. This is just like the French expression “chez moi.”
  4. F’sho/F’true: An expression of agreement generally meaning “for sure” or “definitely” in different contexts.
  5. Faubourg (n.): [Fo-burg] A suburb. This comes from the French word for suburb, and refers to areas now in the city that would have been outside the original city limits. Our more common Faubourgs are Faubourg Marigny or Faubourg Tremé.
  6. Lagniappe (n.): [Lan-yap] This is a courtesy gift—a little something extra. This could be an extra few slices of meat at the deli,  a complementary fridge magnet with a purchase of a fridge, a free dessert at the restaurant or a treat on the pillow at your hotel.
  7. Make dodo (v.): [Make doe-doe] To go to sleep. Comes from the French phrase “faire dodo,” which comes from the French verb “faire dormir” meaning to go to sleep.
  8. Whodi (n.): [Woah-dee] – A word used to address a friend, usually with a greeting. Comes from the word “ward,” which is the neighborhood unit in New Orleans, as in “the Ninth Ward.”
  9. Ya mom’n’em: This is your immediate family. A phrase used to keep up with your friends and their families: “How’s ya mom’n’em?”
  10. Yeah you right: Expression of agreement or happiness, usually said in an excited or joyous manner.

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