A Guide To "Jawn" For Non-Philadelphians

If you have ever been around someone from Philly for at least ten minutes, you may have heard them utter the word, "jawn." The Dictionary definition for the term is as follows: "(chiefly in eastern Pennsylvania) used to refer to a thing, place, person, or event that one need not or cannot give a specific name to."

It is as Philadelphian as Ben Franklin or cheesesteaks. It really is a great word, especially when you can't remember immediately what something is called, and can be used in many instances.

"Pass me that jawn," is something you may hear at the dinner table. How do you know what "jawn" is referring to? We are usually pointing at the object, no effort being put forth to remember the name of said object.

"That test was so hard, I failed that jawn," is definitely a phrase I myself have uttered as I walk out of a classroom after an exam.

"Jawn" can also be used as a plural. "Wawa Iced Teas were buy one, get one, I had to get me a couple of them jawns." Yes, that's right. That is a sentence you just read, and unless you were from Philly, you probably had a hard time being convinced that was a perfectly coherent sentence that any Philadelphian would understand.

Now, of course, Philly has many other slang words or different dialect words. They're mostly words we pronounce differently than the rest of the country. For example, "water" is pronounced "wooder." Just like mid-western people call it "pop" instead of "soda," it cannot be helped. Dialect is something from the subconscious that isn't done on purpose. But, the more you make fun of people for their dialect, the more they're going to make it a point to highlight the words they say.

But "jawn" is something special. "Jawn" is something unique to Philly that has evolved over time to become a word just for us. Don't try and steal the word if you're not from Philly. I know we're oh-so-cool, but get your own jawn for your jawn.

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