How to Sound Like a Local When You Move to Buffalo

Every city has its own slang, sayings, and nicknames. Buffalo has a language of its own, and it can be confusing when you are new to the region. Here’s what you need to know to keep up with the locals.


Out-of-towners tell us we have an accent. We are especially known for using a flat-A and a hard-A. If you want to sound local, you’ll need to adopt our ways of As.


Buffalo’s obsession with “the” is very real, especially when it comes to highways. We say the 90, the 33, and the 198 rather than I-90, Route 33, or Route 198. Speaking of highways, correctly pronouncing the Scajaquada (ska-JACK-qua-dah) is important to learn if you want to sound local. Speaking of hard-to-pronounce names, add these to your vocab– Cheektowaga (cheek-toe-WAH-gah), Canisius (Can-ee-shus), and Chippewa (Chip-a-waa).

The Ralph

Despite the rebranding attempt to New Era Field, this generation of locals still and likely always will call the Bills stadium  “The Ralph” short for Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Bills Mafia

Win or lose, Buffalo bleeds red and blue. Fans created a #BillsMafia a few years back and it stuck. If you read anything related to the Bills, chances are this hashtag is sure to follow. If you are headed to a Bills game, familiarize yourself with the local chants. Fan favorites include “Let’s Go Buffalo” and the Bills version of the “Shout” song.


Walking into a bar in Buffalo, and ordering a blue is always acceptable and highly encourage. To us, blue is short for Labatt’s Blue. Buffalo loves its blue, so much that we are the sell more Labatt Blue and Blue Light than any other city in the U.S.


Always ask for pop, never soda. This pop preference extends across WNY, while the rest of the state tends to favor soda.


As the proud birthplace of the Buffalo chicken wing, wings are just wings to us. If you order Buffalo wings with a side of ranch, it’s clear you are from out of town.


If you grew up in Buffalo, you know exactly what weck is. Beef on weck is the roast beef sandwich to end all roast beef sandwiches. Do not attempt to convince us otherwise. If you attempt to, we will definitely know you are not a native.

Garbage Plate

Rochester gets credit for creating this infamous dish, but the love for garbage plates extends to Buffalo. This is a drunk person’s dream on a plate. If someone asks you if you want one, always say yes. Simply put, it’s a plate piled high with meats, fries, and sauces aka it’s bomb.


If we can attach Buffalo to another word we will. Buffalonians love to say Buffalove, especially when hashtagging. Add this phrase to your vocabulary because you’ll see it everywhere.

Western New York

If you live out of state and consider anything outside of NYC to be Upstate New York, you are wrong. There is a difference between Upstate New York and Western New York, and Buffalo will tell you all about it. Buffalo is in Western New York. Understanding this misconception separates the locals from the wannabes.

City of Good Neighbors/Queen City/Nickel City

Buffalo is all about its nicknames. Buffalo is called “City of Good Neighbors” because of our friendly neighbors, “Queen City” since we are the second largest city in New York, and “Nickel City” because of the bison on the back of the nickel.


If you have never heard of a “crick” you are not alone. Buffalo says crick, the rest of the world says creek. Both mean a small body of water.

Lawn Fete

If you come across the term lawn fete, you may be confused. Even transplants struggle with this term. In short it means outdoor festivals and fairs. Lawn fete is old school, so if you know it good for you, but it’s also acceptable to say festivals.


Love it or hate it, youse might hear this phrase in WNY This slang is comparable to a Southerner’s y’all. While far from grammatically correct, and not accepted by all, it’s likely you’ll hear it used here.

Morgan Culhane