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The Atlanta translator dictionary

How to find Blondie via the Connector and more



Though Atlanta's primary language is Standard American English, locals pepper their speech with words and phrases that can confuse newcomers and visitors.

Bankhead Highway n. Former name of U.S. 78 connecting downtown to Cobb County through an economically depressed section of west Atlanta. The street and the surrounding neighborhood have been name-dropped in several hip-hop recordings, notably 1995's "Bankhead Bounce" by Diamond (featuring D-Roc). Now called Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway.

Baton Bob n. Muscled, middle-aged, male street character who conducts frequent solo parades in Midtown while blowing a whistle and twirling a baton. A frequent participant in local civic events.

Bicycle Shorts Man n. Middle-aged, male street character with a cane who stands at the intersection of Briarcliff Road and Ponce de Leon Avenue wearing tight shorts that accentuate his penis, which appears to be the size of a child's forearm. Not a participant in local civic events.

Big Chicken n. Large, mechanical chicken attached to KFC at the intersection of U.S. 41 and Ga. 120 in Marietta. Used as a navigational reference point. ("Turn right at the Big Chicken.")

Blondie n. Middle-aged stripper/poet at Ponce de Leon Avenue strip club the Clermont Lounge. Also known for crushing beer cans between her breasts. A bachelor-party favorite among hipsters who require irony with their nudity.

The Connector n. The seven-mile stretch of interstates 75 and 85 after the two highways merge. Also called 75/85 and the Downtown Connector.

Decatur (white definition) n. The city directly east of downtown Atlanta known for its yuppie-friendly restaurants, bars and shops. ("I'm brunching in Decatur.")

Decatur (black definition) n. Unincorporated DeKalb County, south of the actual city of Decatur. ("My cousin's in Decatur, by South DeKalb Mall.")

East Cobb Snob n. One of several classist put-downs directed at Atlantans from wealthy, conservative parts of the metro area. ("Debbie is such an East Cobb Snob!") Other examples include Buckhead Betty and Dunwoody Housewife.

ITP/OTP n. The portion of metro Atlanta located inside the Perimeter created by Interstate 285 is often called ITP. The portion of metro Atlanta located outside the Perimeter is called OTP. OTP is often used as a shorthand insult for suburban lameness.

Monica Kaufman n. Popular name for Monica Pearson, the WSB-TV news anchor known for her adventurous hair colors and Barbara Walters-like celebrity interview "Closeups." Kaufman is her name from a previous marriage.

Rockdale n. Suburban county east of downtown. Notorious for a teen syphilis outbreak documented in a 1996 PBS special. ("Use a condom, dude. She's from Rockdale County.")

Shawty n. 1. A derogatory, infantilizing term for a female, often a girlfriend. ("I took my shawty out last night.") 2. A pal or a buddy. ("Me and my shawties went out last night.")

Swats n. A vaguely hip-hop-sounding term meaning southwest Atlanta. Frequently used by white people to indicate that they're "down" with the black urban vernacular.

Sweet tea n. Southern variation of sweetened iced tea. Often tastes like a glass of sugar served on ice, with a little bit of tea added for color. Usually two syllables (swee-tee); sometimes three (suh-wee-tee).

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