A Living Language
The Real Jersey Dictionary
Still not sure what the guidos and guidettes of Jersey Shore and The Real Housewives of New Jersey are doing when they "beat the beat," "smush," or consume "calamad"? Don’t be a "fugazi"—The Daily Beast has a glossary of key terms.
Still not sure what the guidos and guidettes of Jersey Shore and The Real Housewives of New Jersey are doing when they " beat the beat," " smush," or consume " calamad"? Don't be a " fugazi"—The Daily Beast has a glossary of key terms.
battle (v.)—to dance in a friendly yet somewhat competitive manner at a nightclub while house music blasts ( see also, Karma)
Although the casts of Jersey Shore and The Real Housewives of New Jersey have both had their fair share of the traditional battles, the phrase "battle it out" actually refers to dancing one's butt off, likely in a tight-fitting shirt-turned-dress with multiple slits, at a nightclub. Sometimes, those who have experience battling will do back flips, regardless of revealing undergarments.
beat up the beat (v.)—to pound the dance floor of a nightclub with one's fist in a circle with one's friends and slowly rise up to a full standing position
Example: "We're beating up the beat—that's what we say when we're doing our fist pump. First, we start off banging the ground. We're beating it as the beat builds because that beat's hitting us so we're fighting back. It's like we beat up that beat."—DJ Pauly D, Jersey Shore
blowout (n.)—a hairstyle popular among Italian-American men in the tri-state area that involves blowing one's hair with a blowdryer whilst brushing in an upward motion and then slathering on a copious amount of gel (repeat two times) ( see also, pouf)
For fans of the viral video " My New Haircut," this hairstyle was made popular by DJ Pauly D of Jersey Shore. As the reality-TV star explained in his audition video, it takes him 25 minutes to perfect the look. "My hair's windproof, waterproof, soccerproof, motorcycle proof. I'm not sure if my hair's bulletproof, I'm not willing to try that," he said in one Season 1 episode.
The women of The Real Housewives of New Jersey are breast-obsessed. Although some Yiddish speakers may be familiar with the term "bubby" as another name for a Jewish grandmother, these TV Italian-American princesses refer to boobs as "bubbies," often in relation to implants.
Example: "I want to get breast implants, but my husband is more of an ass guy and he loves my bubbies."—Teresa, The Real Housewives of New Jersey
busted (adj.)—a very ugly female ( see also, grenade)
Example: "You gather two of your girlfriends, arm-in-arm like a busted-up Sex and the City, going to the courthouse in support of Danielle."—Jacqueline, The Real Housewives of New Jersey
calamad (n.)—another pronunciation for calamari, the Italian name for squid, which is often served fried at Italian restaurants
Example: "People were tryin' to eat their frickin' calamad and she was, like, screaming."—Dina, The Real Housewives of New Jersey
chicken cutlet night (n.)—an evening in which a group of Italian-Americans gather together to consume breaded poultry
When Mike "The Situation" refuses to clean up the feast he's prepared for his housemates on Jersey Shore, he and former flame Sammi "Sweetheart" get into a fight and he ultimately retaliates in the cruelest of ways.
Example: "I'm not touching one dish because I cooked a crazy meal…You know what? You are excluded from dinner, then. From now on, you are excluded from surf 'n' turf night, you are excluded from ravioli night, you are excluded from chicken cutlet night."—Mike "The Situation," Jersey Shore
The ladies from The Real Housewives of New Jersey discuss the "puffy chucky" issue.
Much like their use of "bubbies," The Real Housewives of New Jersey have their own term for another area of the female reproductive system.
Example: "She's talking about puffy chucky. I didn't know what to say. I didn't know what to do."—Caroline, The Real Housewives of New Jersey
cleansy (adj.)—being clean
Teresa of The Real Housewives of New Jersey is very into hygiene, but not so into grammar. When she tried to explain that she is skeeved out by the idea of living in a home that's already been lived in, she coins the term "cleansy" and the accompanying noun, "cleansiness." Clearly, she meant cleanly, but perhaps she inhaled too much Windex?
Though some may be familiar with this term from TLC's 1994 album CrazySexyCool, the men of Jersey Shore use it less in the sense of cheating and more to mean going out with the intention of picking up a lady friend while enjoying a night out on the town. As Ronnie indicates below, there are instances where the two definitions of "creep" overlap.
Example: "How do you watch that girl get in her face and do nothing and like, you still have the balls to creep?"—Ronnie, Jersey Shore
down the Shore (n.)—a synonym for the Jersey Shore, which refers to both the Atlantic coast of New Jersey and all adjacent resorts, motels, and residential communities.
Example: "Down here at the Shore, one minute you got three girls in the Jacuzzi. Next minute, somebody's in jail and you have to bail them out."—Mike "The Situation," Jersey Shore
energist (n.)—a personal trainer for one's spirit.
After a massive fight at the North Jersey Country Club on The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Jacqueline receives a phone call from Danielle's "energist," Sarai, who hopes to clear the air between the former friends. "I don't know what you're doing, but it's obviously not working because she's the same evil person she's always been," Sarai says before she offers her to help her "level off some of those [irritable] energies" over the phone.
fabulicious (adj.)—used to describe one who is uber-fabulous. Or (n) Teresa Giudice's clothing line. ( antonym, prostitution whore)
The Real Housewives of New Jersey's Teresa has created her own term to describe her pink-and-leopard-print-loving daughters. As she asserts on her Twitter account, she is a "Happy wife, happy life with 4 fabulicious daughters!"
fist pump (n., v.)—an enthusiastic punch into the air with one's hand, typically performed as a nonviolent dance move. Or the act of punching the air with one's hand in the same fashion. It tends to be done in groups, set to techno beats, and often reveals a sweat-stained T-shirt. Is often preceded by the act of "beating up the beat."
Example: "I dance because it's something inside of me. I feel the beat, right? It might just so happen that my fist might pump in the air."—Vinny, Jersey Shore
fresh to death (adj.)—to be and have the hottest of the hot and trendiest of the trendy.
This adjectival phrase is how Jersey Shore's Pauly D describes his personal and unique (at least, outside of Long Island, Staten Island, and New Jersey) look. "Have you ever been to the supermarket? You know the produce section, like where the food is fresh? That's my style," he told Life and Style.
Example: "You gotta stay fresh to do, I call it—fresh outfit, fresh haircut, fresh tan… just stay fresh."—DJ Pauly D, Jersey Shore
fugazi (n.)—a fake or false item, typically a knockoff of a designer or expensive purse or piece of jewelry.
All about the symbols, the ladies of The Real Housewives of New Jersey and Jersey Shore know a high-market item when they see one and when they don't. "Is that fake Louis Vuitton? What is that, a sundress?" Sammi "Sweetheart" yells on Jersey Shore during yet another brawl. "I think my grandma wears that." But the slang Italian term came up on this season's The Real Housewives of New Jersey when Teresa's husband, Joe, who's been hit by the economy, doesn't know how he'll be able to buy her a gift for their impending 10th anniversary. His friend offers him a simple Italian solution.
Example: "Buy her a fugazi!" Chris Manzo, The Real Housewives of New Jersey
Jersey Shore's J-WOWW would like to personally welcome all jungle creatures into her den. The New York-born girl may be have grown up near the state's capital, but she found her primate type in college. "To my knowledge, there really isn't a guido culture up there," J-WOWW recently told Rolling Stone. "I came down here for college, and I had a boyfriend that was severely into it, and that's how I got accustomed to it."
Example: "I see a bunch of gorilla juice heads. Tall, completely jacked, steroids, like multiple growth hormones. That's, like, the type that I'm attracted to."—J-WOWW, Jersey Shore
During the first season of Jersey Shore, Mike, who is better known as "The Situation" ( see, Situation), explained that love sometimes is a battlefield, and all creepers should protect themselves from grenades with trusted wingmen. "When you go into battle, you need to have some friends with you, so that just in case a grenade gets thrown at you, you know, one of your buddies takes it first," he explained. But the metaphor continued. Later in the season, the grenade The Situation and Pauly D encountered reemerged, but this time, with a "grenade launcher," a bigger and stronger version of the grenade—it's a hierarchy of attractiveness.
Example: "There's one huge grenade launcher, there's one grenade, and then there's one cutie." –Mike "The Situation," Jersey Shore
grenade launcher (n.)—a bigger and stronger version of the grenade, synonymous with hippo ( see, grenade)
GTL (n.)—the acronym for the guido way of life, which stands for gym, tanning, laundry. Best if combined with "fresh to death."
GTL is the key to a put-together guido, according to "The Situation".
This is a self-explanatory process to ensure success in the summer—if success is measured by muscles, orange skin tint, and sparkliest Ed Hardy T-shirt. But let's allow The Situation to explain the essentially religious ritual of GTL: "You know, I like to look very fresh and mint when I go out, so you know, everything goes into it. You know, you gotta go to the gym the whole week, you know? You have to get a little color if you're gonna go to the beach. And then, the last thing that you need to take care of is the outfit, OK? Now, if the outfit is not looking good, then the whole package is off. And if you feel off, you're not gonna have a good night."
Example: "These guys are like robots… Every day, it's like gym, tanning, laundry… that's how they, like, make the guidos… I could see it if it was like, basketball, pool, beach."—Vinny, Jersey Shore (aka the founder of the still-catching-on ritual of BPB)
ham game (n.)—an activity in which pork product is thrown at one's relatives, with the desired effect of it sticking on one's face.
The Manzo family may be thick as thieves, but they also seem to have a helluva good time in the kitchen on The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Albie, 24, Lauren, 22, and Christopher, 21, partake in the spontaneous pastime of chucking deli meats at each other's faces, until their tough-as-nails mother, Caroline, gives them a look and expresses her disapproval. Though her youngest child pleads, "Get the nice ham for food, and the cheap ham for the game," Mama Manzo is not a fan. Jersey Shore's J-WOWW also has a fondness for cold cuts—but more so in a drunken state. As the inebriated reality-TV show star says in the first episode of Season 1, "I felt like eating ham and drinking water… Ham [she shows it to the camera while making a raspberry noise." Clearly, ham brings out the fun in everyone.
Example: "The ham game. There's nothing good about the ham game. There's nothing funny about the ham game. There's nothing responsible about the ham game."—Caroline Manzo, The Real Housewives of New Jersey
When everyone's favorite tiny Jersey Shore housemate is Snookin' for love, she has her eye on a particular type of guy—who has the tan to match hers and muscles to sweep her off her feet.
Example: "My ideal man would be Italian, dark, muscles, juice head, guido."—Snooki, Jersey Shore
Although karma may be a bitch, this proper noun refers to one of the hottest clubs in Seaside Heights, where the house music bumps, the fists pump, the Jagerbombs flow, and the beat is beaten up. It's also the site where Vinny nearly contracted pinkeye and where most major romantic eruptions occurred. Essentially, it's always a good time.
Example: "Like when I left Karma, I didn't even know what was going on in my head, like I'm gonna fucking knock a bitch up."—Sammi "Sweetheart," Jersey Shore
Kim (n.)—the name of many women who live in New Jersey over the age of 40
Season 1 of The Real Housewives of New Jersey may have been Kim-free, but its sophomore stint is chockfull of Kims—Kim G. (aka Kim Granatell, Danielle Staub's friend and the mother of Caroline's son Christopher's best friend) and Kim D. (aka Kim DePaola, the owner of the Housewife-frequented boutique Posche). As its definition would indicate, Jersey Shore is sadly sans Kims.
Example: "The only thing I regret about that night was pushing Kim G., because she is an older woman, and I do respect the elderly."—Teresa, The Real Housewives of New Jersey
In Season 1 of Jersey Shore, Mike "The Situation" introduced us to an extended metaphor about a creep war zone involving grenades and their respective launchers. In the Season 2 premiere, the jacked reality-TV star goes on to explain that "busted" girls come in all shapes and sizes when you're in the line of fire.
Example: "Ronnie is at the club, hooking up with grenades—that is, bigger, ugly chicks—and also landmines, which is a thin, ugly chick, and loving life."—Mike "The Situation," Jersey Shore
love and light (n.)—a mantra about giving and receiving positivity in the universe.
Danielle Staub explains her "love and light" phrase.
After a difficult year, the most notorious cast member of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Danielle, sees an "energist" who instills in her new values about peace, love, and light. "I always say, 'Stay in the positive,' and I wish everybody love and light," she explains, despite mockery from her fellow castmates.
Example: "If she continues her love and light, I will love and light her world up, 'cause I am not gonna stand for that."—Jacqueline, The Real Housewives of New Jersey
pound (v.)—to have aggressive sexual intercourse. ( see also, smush) Or (v.) to drink heavily. Or (n.) a unit of measure. Or (n.) a form of greeting in which two fists meet.
For many Italian Americans, the conventional definition of pound does apply when purchasing necessary culinary ingredients, i.e. "calamad," "muzzarel" (aka mozzarella), or "projute" (aka prosciutto). The word also has taken on a wide range of meanings—whether it's pounding back your fifth SoCo shot, referencing a modern day handshake in which two people knock fists, or for those who want to shake more than hands after many a beverage, it can denote aggressive sex, preferably in the Jacuzzi.
Example: "I wanna pound out every girl in Seaside."—Vinny, Jersey Shore
The higher the hair, the closer to God—this appears to be the mantra Jersey Shore's Snooki was following when boosting up her hair, whether at the beach, going tanning, or hunting for juice heads. The smallest housemate's pouf is about as iconic as her orange skin, though she's decided to retire the former. "To be honest with you, I'm getting tired of it," she recently revealed on Lopez Tonight via E! Online. "I've been wearing it since I was 16, and now everyone expects me to wear the pouf… I just don't want to be predictable… I want to be different. That's why I've started to do the tease, do the curl, and pretty much just a different look."
Perhaps one of the most memorable moments in The Real Housewives of New Jersey comes during in the finale of the first season, better known as "The Last Supper." As the other cast members confront Danielle about a notorious book that alleges she changed her name, stripped, and was involved in a kidnapping and drug crimes, Teresa becomes slightly more enraged than the rest of the dinner guests. Soon, viewers learn that the appropriate retort for being told to "pay attention, puh-lease," is " prostitution whore." Repetitive? Yes. Effective? Also yes.
situation (n.)—a defined six-pack. Or ( n.) the name of a man with a defined six-pack.
When Jersey Shore began, Mike "The Situation" made his now-signature nickname awfully confusing—was he "The Situation"? Or were his abs "The Situation"? Or was "The Situation" that he liked to lounge in the Jacuzzi with grenades and their ilk? Seemingly, all are applicable.
Example: "Everybody at the Shore definitely knows The Situation. As far as I know, everybody loves The Situation, and if you don't love The Situation, I'm gonna make you love The Situation." Mike, "The Situation" Jersey Shore
smush (v.)—to have sex with, ideally involving a guido and a guidette.
While the acting of smushing and pounding may seem synonymous, this is actually the more gentle lovemaking that goes down on Jersey Shore. While Vinny hoped to pound just about anyone, and The Situation and Pauly D creeped on many guidettes at the Shore, Ronnie and Sammi developed a relationship that did lead to some sweet smushing.
Example: "Yeah, we smushed."—Ronnie, Jersey Shore
SoCo (n.)—the abbreviation for the liqueur known as Southern Comfort, often consumed as a shot with lime.
Example: "I really don't want to cheat, like, seriously, I don't want to. But if you're going to hand me a bottle of freaking SoCo, something just comes over me; I just go crazy."—Snooki, Jersey Shore
stage five clinger (n.)—a member of the opposite sex who becomes excessively attached incredibly early on in the relationship.
Originally from Wedding Crashers, a stage five clinger tends to refer to a girl, not necessarily a guidette, who calls, texts, and even runs into her crush multiple times after one chance meeting. In the case of Jersey Shore's Pauly D, Danielle, an Israeli girl he met out one night, even went so far as to make him a T-shirt that said "I heart Jewish Girls" and featured a bedazzled Star of David, which she made by herself. "You stalked my whole life on the boardwalk," Pauly D tells his would-be lady on the phone. "You stalked my whole entire life."
Example: "She's definitely a stage five clinger."—Vinny, Jersey Shore
After she referred to Danielle as a "prostitution whore" on The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Teresa took it to a whole other level when she lifted up the restaurant's dining room table the show's cast was gathered around during the Season 1 finale. For full effect, as Teresa demonstrates in the clip, it is best to first smack the table, push it from underneath to tip over a few glasses (as if to warn of what's to come), and then shove the piece of furniture in its entirety. If you'd like, for the dénouement, scream something at the top of your lungs that only a dog could hear. ("Come into my trah," is it?) After it's all said and done, Danielle wonders: "Tables need to be thrown at me because I had a book written about me."
Example: "If you're not familiar with the table flip, you're probably not from New Jersey."—Christopher Manzo, The Real Housewives of New Jersey
thick as thieves (adj.)—the way an Italian family and surrounding friends bond with each other.
Caroline, the matriarch of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, is usually up for some fun and a good laugh—despite her aforementioned disgust for the ham game. But when it comes to those closest to her, she is drop… dead… serious. She's also a big fan of familial similes.
Example: "Let me tell you something about my family, we're as thick as thieves. And we protect each other to the end."—Caroline, The Real Housewives of New Jersey
trash bag (n.)—a synonym for a suitcase, if you are the self-proclaimed Kim Kardashian of Staten Island.
Angelina did not stay long during the first season of Jersey Shore, as her luggage would have indicated. Arriving at Seaside Heights with her belongings in large black trash bags, the prickly princess from Staten Island did not exactly hit it off with her castmates. Although the saying goes, "Jersey girls ain't trash—trash gets picked up," Angelina proved otherwise.
Example: "Maybe bring some respectable girls with class into this house, not trash."—the unintentionally hilarious Angelina, Jersey Shore
Typically, vibing comes before creeping. But the two are not necessary mutually exclusive. However, in Season 1 of Jersey Shore, Vinny was both vibing and creeping on Tanya, whom he later learned was his boss and landlord's woman. Vibe killed?
Example: "Tanya and I, you know, we're vibin'. I like her. She's a cool girl. We start hooking up a little bit. She's hot. She has a sick body. I don't mind it up against me… at all."—Vinny, Jersey Shore
zoo creature (n.)—a synonym for grenade launcher. Also referred to as a hippo or an elephant.
If only The Situation was as much of a ladies' man as he is a wordsmith. After he finds a young woman intrigued by his inquisitive eyebrows, bedazzled T-shirt, and equally flashy chain, Sitch learns she does not travel lightly, but rather with a group of somewhat beastly cohorts, including an old grenade. When Snooki suggests The Situation's lady friend's friends leave their humble abode, things get a little hairy. "One girl started charging me like a fucking hippo," she says of her unintentional trip to the zoo.
Example: "I necessarily didn't want to bring back any zoo creatures whatsoever. These broads probably smelled the food at the house."—Mike "The Situation," Jersey Shore
Jaimie Etkin is an assistant culture editor at The Daily Beast. She has also written for Us Weekly and Radar.