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DC Slang 101: The Beginner’s Guide

Arts + Culture

DC Slang 101: The Beginner’s Guide

Alright! This article is for all out-of-towners or “transplants” as I like to call them, who’ve migrated to our fair city. In your travels, you might’ve heard some lingo dropped by the natives and wondered WTH were we talking about. Just like your city or country of origin, the dialect for anyone not from there may take some getting used to. Not to worry though, The Good Guy, a proud born and bred Washingtonian, is here to give you a basic tutorial on the Nation’s Capital native tongue.

MOE – [pronounced moh] – noun
1: term of endearment used for friend, family, or stranger; deriving from the original term “Joe”.
You’ll mainly hear this from the younger generation when they’re talking with their friends. It usually comes after “kill” (one of my least favorite slang terms), which is another word for “dang” or “damn”. Older Washingtonians will use “Joe” or “Cuz” which mean the same thing and the latter term won’t yield any consequences unlike in L.A.

Ex: “Killllll, Moe! I ain’t coming you all the way out Waldorf just to see you!”


JIVE – [pronounced jih] – adverb

1: way to describe a feeling or experience. Like “sort of”.
The spelling of this slang term is debatable. Many spell it the way that it’s pronounced, while I give some flavor to it with how I spell it. No matter how it spelled, the meaning and feeling to it is unmistakable. Yeah you can say you’re disappointed, but not really disappointed; add a jive to it and a Washingtonian will know exactly how you feel.

Ex: I was jive mad that it rained the other day because I wanted to play some ball.


BLOWN – [pronounced blohn] – adjective – blower, blew, blowing

1: something that is disappointing
2: disappointed
This is the best way to describe how you’re feeling whenever you catch a letdown, be it job interview, breakup, negative account balance, the state of affairs in the world – anything. To say you’re blown or that something is a blower is one that we all can understand.

Ex: I’m blown I wasn’t able to hit up Grits N’ Biscuits last night. I heard it was lit.


BAMMA – [pronounced bama] – noun
1: an undesirable person

This is a classic DC slang term. You’ve heard it on the street, you heard it in songs, and you’ve heard Huggy Lowdown says every week on the radio. This is something you never want to be called or known as. This makes you the lowest of the low. Do NOT – I repeat – do NOT be a Bamma.

Now that you know a little bit of our DC slang, use your words wisely and govern yourselves accordingly in these DC streets!

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Creative savant, connoisseur of Kettle Corn and Chicken Biscuits, lover of vintage Polo and a Coltrane solo, all around nice guy who ain't got much money, but, honey, is rich on personality!

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