Frosh-cessities: Brown’s Urban Dictionary

Coming to Brown has been a huge learning experience for me – new places, new people, and new ideas. This new knowledge is all good and grand but the most fascinating things I’ve been learning around campus are all the new vocabulary words. I’m not talking about dumb, fancy words like “hegemony”, “post-modernism”, or “agency”, I’m talkin’ ‘bout tha slang. I never thought about slang very much back home, but coming here has opened my ears to the many interesting regional bastardizations variations of the English language. Here is a short portion of Brown’s very own “urban” dictionary:

 Beat [b – eet] adjective:
The state at which a marijuana smoking device has no more smokable marijuana in it anymore, only unpleasant ash. (See also: cashed, kicked, dead, killed, finished, done, smoking filter, gross)
“Yuck, this bowl is so beat.”

Cig [sig] noun:
Short for “cigarette”. Synonyms include boge (Philadelphia), stoge (New York), fag (London) and jack (DC metropolitan area).
(Insert British accent) “Don’t worry about me, I’m just going outside for a quick fag.”

Cracking glass [crak – eng – glas] adjective:
The point at which one’s nipples are hard enough to supposedly crack and/or cut glass, usually due to cold weather and insufficient clothing.
“Providence weather got me crackin’ glass!”

Cypher aka Cyph [sii – ph] noun/verb:
The act of passing something in a circle or continuous cycle, particularly something being used to smoke marijuana.
“Oh shit, did I mess up the cyph?” 

 Good looks [gud – luks] phrase:
Expression from New England referring to something that’s awesome or that gives you good vibes.
Nice, you got a rack of Natty for tonight! Good looks my man, good looks.”

Headie [hed – ee] adjective:
Associated with marijuana culture in one way or another. And usually in more than one way. Sometimes spelled “heady”.
“Check out the colors on that girl’s headie Grateful Dead t-shirt! It looks like my headie bowl and reminds me of my headie Birkenstocks!”

Hella [hel – a] adjective:
Word used to emphasize literally anything and everything. Originally from Northern California, particularly the Bay Area.
“I had some hella good quesadillas at Joe’s last night.”
“That lecture class was hella boring.”

 Hype [hii – p] adjective:
1.     (Positive) the state of excitement and anticipation before going out.
“Guys, I’m so hype right now!!!!!”

2.      (Negative) the state of having excessive excitement before going out.
“Cut it out, you’re way too hype to be in public.”

 Swag [swag] adjective:
1.        When something has a particular characteristic that makes it look confident, important or alluring, whether or not said thing is actually that confident, important or alluring. (See also: swagger)
“That dude walking down the street has so much swag.”

2.        (Interjection) The most random word in the entire lexicon of contemporary English. Used to demarcate bursts of emotion, usually in response to something that the speaker believes to be cool or interesting.
“Swag, swaaag, SWAAAAAG!!”

Thumbing [thum – eng] verb:
Texting with one’s thumbs.
“Stop thumbin’ and look at me for a second!”

Note: Some of these words are ones that I’ve routinely heard around campus, others are words I’ve heard from home that I think are relevant to the Brown community. Painstaking linguistic research was taken “in the field” for the writing of this post.


  1. Sax Russell

    What about the use of “swag” as a marketing term for articles of heavily-branded clothing? I hear recruiters on campus say it all the time.

  2. kn

    um, the only ones i have never heard most of these actually used. what about “narp”/”narping”? or “dig”/”dig on”?

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