13 Slang Terms You Need to Know About St. Louis

June 15, 2023

If you haven't lived in the Gateway to the West, St. Louis can seem like an impenetrable fortress of slang words and pronunciation quirks. From purposeful mispronunciations and secret shorthand to one very oddball question, here are 13 slang terms that you'll need to know before your next trip to the city on the Mississippi River.

1. "Show-toe Avenue"

This is a street name in the northern part of St. Louis County that many people pronounce "show-toe" instead of "show-too." It is often confused with the street in Illinois that starts at the 270 overpass and turns into the historic Route 66, which St. Louisans call Highway Farty (pronounced "Farty-Far").

2. "Warsh"

The tiniest bit of slang lingo that St. Louisans have is their idiosyncratic way of pronouncing wash. Unlike the rest of the country, where most people pronounce it as warsh, St. Louisans pronounce it with an extra r sound, sometimes called the Intrusive R by dialect researchers. It's a little like saying farty with a z sound, and it makes washing dishes in the kitchen feel a lot more fun.

3. "Lou-ee-ville"

While Louisville is a great place to visit and to work, it's a challenge to understand the city's locals when you hear them speak. While the true French pronunciation is Lou-ay-ville, most Louisville residents pronounce it as something closer to Loo-ee-ville. This may have something to do with the fact that Louisville is a town named after Louis XIV of France and has a strong Midland accent.


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