CLOSE
Original image
iStock

12 Delicious Pieces of Regional Pizza Slang

Original image
iStock

Perhaps only slightly less important than how you eat your pizza is how you talk about it. Here are 12 ways people all over the country (and Canada!) refer to those cheesy slices of goodness.

1. PLAIN OR CHEESE?

Plain meaning without toppings is New York-area vernacular while outside New York such a pizza would be referred to as (the redundant) cheese. Other New York options include a regular slice (a nice parallel with the northeast dialectal, regular coffee, a coffee with cream and sugar) and plain old slice.

2. PIECE OR SLICE?

Speaking of slices, in New York you can say, “I’m getting a slice,” and people will know what you’re talking about. However, elsewhere “piece of pizza” is preferred, and if you say “slice,” you’ll need to qualify it with “of pizza."

3. PIE OR PIZZA?

While to east coasters, it might feel perfectly natural to say “pie” when referring to a whole pizza, not so for those in other regions. In an informal poll I conducted, “pie” was described by west coasters as "pretentious" and “only something someone in a movie would say,” while one Brooklynite described those who didn't use "pie" as "heathens." The reason for this sharp divide is unclear.

4. PIZZA PARLOR, PIZZA SHOP, OR PIZZERIA?

People don’t seem to feel as passionately about the place they get their pizza from as the pizza itself. In my survey, pizza place was the most popular, followed by pizza parlor and, a close third, pizzeria. There was one write-in for pizza joint but no votes for pizza shop.

In a Google Ngrams search of “lots of books” from 1800 on, pizzeria is by far the most popular. A distant second is pizza parlor, third is pizza place, and pizza shop and pizza joint almost tie for last.

5. TIP SAG

Tip sag refers to when the tip of one’s pizza slice droops down (and, depending on the degree of droop, may result in the dreaded pizza fold). Tip sagging might be most familiar to regions that specialize in Neapolitan-style pizza, that is, round with sauce, cheese, and various toppings.

In 2013, certain Dallas diners were put-out by the characteristic sag of one restaurant's Neapolitan, resulting in a schooling by the restaurateur on the pizza’s deliberate yummy “sogginess.”

6. CHICAGO-STYLE

Legend says that Chicago-style deep dish pizza was invented in the early 1940s by the founders of Pizzeria Uno, or else the founders’ employees. About 30 years later, eateries started offering stuffed pizza (not to be confused with Pizza Hut’s stuffed crust monstrosity). These long-baking varieties may have come about to create a different, slower dining experience than the on-the-go Neapolitan.

However, Chicago does have its own thin-crust pizza -- described as crisp and crunchy like a cracker -- which, some say, is even more popular than deep dish or stuffed.

7. PARTY-CUT OR PIE-CUT?

You can’t talk about thin-crust Chicago style pizza without talking about the type of cut. Party-cut, also known as tavern-cutmeans cutting in a grid, while pie-cut means cutting in triangles or wedges. Pie-cut is so-called because of its resemblance to how a dessert pie would be divided. Presumably party- or tavern-cut got its name because that’s how pizza has traditionally been served in taverns and at parties, although why is unclear.

As for which is better, that's an ongoing debate.

8. APIZZA

Perhaps less well-known, although no less delicious, is New Haven-style pizza, known in local vernacular as apizza. New Haven-style is thin like New York pizza, but if you walk into an apizza parlor and order a “plain,” you’ll get one without mootz, or mozzarella.

Apizza and mootz both come from the dialect of Naples immigrants who arrived in the area in the early 1920s. Apizza is pronounced uh-BEETs, with a silent final A.

9. OLD FORGE PIZZA

Old Forge pizza originated in Old Forge, Pennsylvania, which is right outside Scranton. This self-proclaimed “pizza capital of the world” was primarily a mining town, and the story goes that one “Grandma” Ghigiarelli would serve the square-shaped pizza to coal miners who had come in to take a break and play cards.

Thicker than a Neapolitan, the most popular varieties of the Old Forge are the red, a traditional tomato sauce and cheese; the white, hold the sauce; and the black, which has cheese, black pepper, black olives, and anchovies.

10. GRANDMA PIZZA

Also known as grandma pie, the grandma pizza is similar to the chunky, rectangular Sicilian, but with a thinner, dense crust. The style probably originated in Long Island, New York in the early 20th century, and is similar to pizza alla casalingo, or “housewife style pizza,” the kind you’d get if you visited someone’s home in Italy.

What makes the crust denser and thinner? Shorter proofing, or the time between stretching the dough and baking the pizza, because, as one knows, Italian grandmas are way too busy for your silly proofing.

11. ALL-DRESSED PIZZA

All-dressed is Montreal slang for “everything on it.” There’s the all-dressed hot dog, the all-dressed bagel (the equivalent of New York’s everything bagel), and of course the all-dressed pizza. Pizza tout garnie in Quebecois, the all-dressed pizza comes with mushrooms, green peppers, and pepperoni, not literally "everything" but still a lot.

So what makes a Montreal pizza Montrealean? A thicker, puffier crust, toppings that go under the cheese, and a dough ball in the center to keep the pizza box lid off the pizza, a much less wasteful option than plastic pizza savers.

12. PIZZA IN AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE

Pizza has regional differences in ASL as well. Some are fingerspelled while others are representations of a round pizza tray -- apparently the accepted sign in British Sign Language -- or someone taking a bite of pizza. The taking-a-bite sign is popular in Sacramento, California.

Fingerspelled methods include the “Za” variation, signing a double Z plus the letter A; the “P,” using a P handshape to sign the letter Z; the double Z with no A; and spelling out the whole word.

But however you sign, say, or serve pizza, it all spells delicious.

Original image
iStock
arrow
language
Beyond “Buffalo buffalo”: 9 Other Repetitive Sentences From Around The World
Original image
iStock

Famously, in English, it’s possible to form a perfectly grammatical sentence by repeating the word buffalo (and every so often the place name Buffalo) a total of eight times: Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo essentially means “buffalo from Buffalo, New York, who intimidate other buffalo from Buffalo, New York, are themselves intimidated by buffalo from Buffalo, New York.” But repetitive or so-called antanaclastic sentences and tongue twisters like these are by no means unique to English—here are a few in other languages that you might want to try.

1. “LE VER VERT VA VERS LE VERRE VERT” // FRENCH

This sentence works less well in print than Buffalo buffalo, of course, but it’s all but impenetrable when read aloud. In French, le ver vert va vers le verre vert means “the green worm goes towards the green glass,” but the words ver (worm), vert (green), vers (towards), and verre (glass) are all homophones pronounced “vair,” with a vowel similar to the E in “bet” or “pet.” In fact, work the French heraldic word for squirrel fur, vair, in there somewhere and you’d have five completely different interpretations of the same sound to deal with.

2. “CUM EO EO EO EO QUOD EUM AMO” // LATIN

Eo can be interpreted as a verb (“I go”), an adverb ("there," "for that reason"), and an ablative pronoun (“with him” or “by him”) in Latin, each with an array of different shades of meaning. Put four of them in a row in the context cum eo eo eo eo quod eum amo, and you’ll have a sentence meaning “I am going there with him because I love him.”

3. “MALO MALO MALO MALO” // LATIN

An even more confusing Latin sentence is malo malo malo malo. On its own, malo can be a verb (meaning “I prefer,” or “I would rather”); an ablative form of the Latin word for an apple tree, malus (meaning “in an apple tree”); and two entirely different forms (essentially meaning “a bad man,” and “in trouble” or “in adversity”) of the adjective malus, meaning evil or wicked. Although the lengths of the vowels differ slightly when read aloud, put all that together and malo malo malo malo could be interpreted as “I would rather be in an apple tree than a wicked man in adversity.” (Given that the noun malus can also be used to mean “the mast of a ship,” however, this sentence could just as easily be interpreted as, “I would rather be a wicked man in an apple tree than a ship’s mast.”)

4. “FAR, FÅR FÅR FÅR?” // DANISH

Far (pronounced “fah”) is the Danish word for father, while får (pronounced like “for”) can be used both as a noun meaning "sheep" and as a form of the Danish verb , meaning "to have." Far får får får? ultimately means “father, do sheep have sheep?”—to which the reply could come, får får ikke får, får får lam, meaning “sheep do not have sheep, sheep have lambs.”

5. “EEEE EE EE” // MANX

Manx is the Celtic-origin language of the Isle of Man, which has close ties to Irish. In Manx, ee is both a pronoun (“she” or “it”) and a verb (“to eat”), a future tense form of which is eeee (“will eat”). Eight letter Es in a row ultimately can be divided up to mean “she will eat it.”

6. “COMO COMO? COMO COMO COMO COMO!” // SPANISH

Como can be a preposition (“like,” “such as”), an adverb (“as,” “how”), a conjunction (“as”), and a verb (a form of comer, “to eat”) in Spanish, which makes it possible to string together dialogues like this: Como como? Como como como como! Which means “How do I eat? I eat like I eat!”

7. “Á Á A Á Á Á Á.” // ICELANDIC

Á is the Icelandic word for river; a form of the Icelandic word for ewe, ær; a preposition essentially meaning “on” or “in;” and a derivative of the Icelandic verb eiga, meaning “to have,” or “to possess.” Should a person named River be standing beside a river and simultaneously own a sheep standing in or at the same river, then that situation could theoretically be described using the sentence Á á á á á á á in Icelandic.

8. “MAI MAI MAI MAI MAI” // THAI

Thai is a tonal language that uses five different tones or patterns of pronunciation (rising, falling, high, low, and mid or flat) to differentiate between the meanings of otherwise seemingly identical syllables and words: glai, for instance, can mean both “near” and “far” in Thai, just depending on what tone pattern it’s given. Likewise, the Thai equivalent of the sentence “new wood doesn’t burn, does it?” is mai mai mai mai mai—which might seem identical written down, but each syllable would be given a different tone when read aloud.

9. “THE LION-EATING POET IN THE STONE DEN” // MANDARIN CHINESE

Mandarin Chinese is another tonal language, the nuances of which were taken to an extreme level by Yuen Ren Chao, a Chinese-born American linguist and writer renowned for composing a bizarre poem entitled "The Lion-Eating Poet in the Stone Den." When written in its original Classical Chinese script, the poem appears as a string of different characters. But when transliterated into the Roman alphabet, every one of those characters is nothing more than the syllable shi:

Shíshì shīshì Shī Shì, shì shī, shì shí shí shī.
Shì shíshí shì shì shì shī.
Shí shí, shì shí shī shì shì.
Shì shí, shì Shī Shì shì shì.
Shì shì shì shí shī, shì shǐ shì, shǐ shì shí shī shìshì.
Shì shí shì shí shī shī, shì shíshì.
Shíshì shī, Shì shǐ shì shì shíshì.
Shíshì shì, Shì shǐ shì shí shì shí shī.
Shí shí, shǐ shí shì shí shī shī, shí shí shí shī shī.
Shì shì shì shì.

The only difference between each syllable is its intonation, which can be either flat (shī), rising (shí), falling (shì) or falling and rising (shǐ); you can hear the entire poem being read aloud here, along with its English translation.

Original image
iStock
arrow
Words
'Froyo,' 'Troll,' and 'Sriracha' Added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Original image
iStock

Looking for the right word to describe the time you spend drinking before heading out to a party, or a faster way to say “frozen yogurt?" Merriam-Webster is here to help. The 189-year-old English vocabulary giant has just added 250 new words and definitions to their online dictionary, including pregame and froyo.

New words come and go quickly, and it’s Merriam-Webster’s job to keep tabs on the terms that have staying power. “As always, the expansion of the dictionary mirrors the expansion of the language, and reaches into all the various cubbies and corners of the lexicon,” they wrote in their announcement.

Froyo is just one of the recent additions to come from the culinary world. Bibimbap, a Korean rice dish; choux pastry, a type of dough; and sriracha, a Thai chili sauce that’s been around for decades but has just recently exploded in the U.S., are now all listed on Merriam-Webster's website.

Of course, the internet was once again a major contributor to this most recent batch of words. Some new terms, like ransomware (“malware that requires the victim to pay a ransom to access encrypted files”) come from the tech world, while words like troll ("to harass, criticize, or antagonize [someone] especially by provocatively disparaging or mocking public statements, postings, or acts”) were born on social media. Then there’s the Internet of Things, a concept that shifts the web off our phones and computers and into our appliances.

Hive mind, dog whistle, and working memory are just a few of the new entries to receive the Merriam-Webster stamp of approval. To learn more about how some words make it into the dictionary while others get left out, check these behind-the-scenes secrets of dictionary editors.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios