Are You A-Where of These Regional Terms?

Rob Kyff on

6. Slatch: A. New England. "Slatch" derives from the Old English "slaec," the same root that gives us "slack."

7. Stoop: H. New York. "Stoop," from the Dutch "stoep" (front verandah), survives from the 17th-century Dutch settlement of New York City and its environs.

8. Hosey: B. New England. "I hosey" may come from the French "je choisis" (I choose) or the pronunciation of "choose" with a heavy Irish brogue.

9. Gum band: J. Pennsylvania. Many Pennsylvanians are of German descent, and "gum band" is a variant of the German word for rubber band -- "Gummiband."


10. Wanigan: E. Alaska. "Wanigan," derived from the Ojibiwa "waanikaan" (storage pit), originally denoted a small shed towed behind a tractor or train as a shelter for a work crew. (In New England, a "wanigan" is a boat or chest filled with supplies for a cabin or lumber camp.)


Rob Kyff, a teacher and writer in West Hartford, Connecticut, invites your language sightings. Send your reports of misuse and abuse, as well as examples of good writing, via email to or by regular mail to Rob Kyff, Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.

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