9 Slang Words and Phrases That Only People in Washington Will Get

What are some Washington slang words/phrases that only true people from Washington use? If you weren't raised in Washington, see which ones of these 9 slang words or phrases you can understand without cheating to find the answers.

We made this list from actual answers given to us by some of our readers and listeners who actually grew up in Washington state.


9 . Calling Seattle “The Coast”

The Coast of Seattle
Robert Ritchie on Unsplash

I personally do not refer to Seattle as “The Coast” so this is definitely something only true people in Washington use. I call Seattle the big city, Sea-Town, the Emerald City, or just simply, Seattle.

8 . Warshing Machine (for Washington State)

Washing Machine
Tina Bosse on Unsplash

I grew up in The South by way of Tennessee, so I am used to people butchering common words with twangy accents. When I moved to the Pacific Northwest and heard people calling Washington, “WARshington”, I nearly lost an eyeball.


7 . NYE (Native slang for “not even”)

Wapato Water Tower on the Rez

Native folks of course have their own cultural slang and lingo that us non-natives may not be privy to. I know that some refer to Indian Tacos as NDN Tacos, so if they’re calling it NYE then I’m calling it NYE! Except on New Year’s Eve because I refer to that as NYE when I’m texting.

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6 . “The Mountain is out.”

The Mountain is Out in Seattle
Luca Micheli on Unsplash

I am familiar with this Washington slang phrase and know that it was what people from Washington say when it’s a cloudless and sunny day and you can see Mt. Rainier in all its snow-capped glory.

Please Note: It is formally spelled as Mount Rainier, not Mt. Rainier. See, I truly gave myself away as a non-Washington native.



5 . Bruhhh


My 11-year-old daughter Willow has been calling me “Bruhhh” lately. I had to put a stop to that quickly. “That’s “Bruhhh Mom”, to you!” I told her. Show some respect!


4 . Cheese Zombie

Cheese Zombie from Shorty's
Linda Ramos via Facebook
Shorty's Sweets, Treats, and Cakes

A cheese zombie is a culinary delight that only those living in Central Washington will understand. It’s like a grilled cheese on steroids, made with a thicker, softer, and sweeter bread. It is to die for, you’ve got to try one someday if you haven’t already!



3 . Hella

No Doubt
Getty Images/Frederick M. Brown

I will be the first to use hella in a sentence. it is one of my favorite adjectives to describe something to a higher degree. "This cheeseburger is hella tasty!" "The sink is hella full of dishes!" You get the drift.

Hella has been used a slang word in California since the 90s but I have been using it since the 2000s on my own. I guess since so many residents have moved to Washington from California, the word “hella” has made its way into the common Washington vernacular. The band, No Doubt, made that word popular, too, with their hit song, "Hella Good."

2 . Pop (instead of calling it a soda)

Soda POP
Credit John Riggs

I have been told that in some parts of Western New York, people call soda pop drinks, “pop”. Growing up in The South, we just called everything a “cold drink” or a “Coke”, regardless if it was a Pepsi, Fanta, Dr. Pepper, you name it. I can’t stand it when people call sodas a “pop” but hey, that’s a Washington slang thang.

“Pop just sounds weird lol.” - Cristina Zuniga, from California

1 . The Aroma of Tacoma

Aerial view of Tacoma and Mount Rainier
Jupiterimages/Getty Images

I haven’t been around Tacoma long enough to notice its “smell”. What does it smell like? Somebody please let me know.

SEE ALSO: Do You Know the Official Song of the State of Washington? [LYRICS]

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