The Coolest Chicago Slangs You Need To Know

Chicago is an incredible and busy city with its own charming art, music and food specialties. It’s local culture has made it shape the language spoken in the city to something unique. That’s why today we bring to your a list of words and expressions that would be very useful during your trip in Chicago. Ready to immerse yourself in Chicago slang?

The Second City


The second city is a nickname given to Chicago. Normally it refers to the second biggest city in the country, but this not true for USA. In fact Los Angeles is the second biggest city but for some reason people continue to call Chicago the second city.

Deep Dish

Chicago Style Deep Dish Cheese Pizza

Have you ever heard of Chicago style pizza? Then you’re in for a surprise. Deep dish refers to this special type of pizza which is actually much thicker than regular pizza and served in a deep dish. Chicago style pizza is famous worldwide!

The Bean

Cloud Gate The Bean in Chicago USA

The Bean refers to the most emblematic sculpture in the city, aptly named because of its simple shape. It’s official name is actually Cloud Gate, and is a world known work of art found in Chicago’s Millennium Park, in silver, reflecting everything around it. It’s one of the city’s most popular attractions.


Mike Ditka

We have Mike Ditka of the Chicago team Da Bears to thank for this one. Grabowski is what you call a hard working type of person. The famous coach used the word to call his team’s player who he believed tried their best and worked hard for every game. The slang stuck and is used to this day.


Cola glass with ice

Ready to go for a pop? That’s what you’ll hear in Chicago if someone is asking you to have a coke or soda with them. This is one of those slang words with unclear roots, but it rolls off the tongue easily and so it’s used everywhere in Chicago.


Chicago Skyline

We can coin this slang word to Chicago writer George Ade who initially introduced this word to give the flu a person’s name, calling it Mr. Grip Razzmatazz. It was catchy and the next year, he used it again but in a different way, to refer to something that was showy or dazzling and that’s the meaning that’s stuck with it since then.


Two black rappers sitting on the steps

To give props to someone means to give them your approval or your respect. Its roots are in hip hop and rap music, where giving props to someone you admire and respect is common in Chicago. This slang has been globalized but it all started in Chicago.



This one’s more of an acronym than a slang expression, but due to its similarity with the famous drug, it might be easy to confuse for someone who’s not from Chicago. No, it does not refer to the drug, it actually stands for Lake Shore Drive, which is the name of one of the most important highways in the city as you can view the amazing landscape of the city and lake Michigan as you drive along it.


Grilled spicy bratwurst burger

In most parts of the world this would refer to a undisciplined child or teenager, but in Chicago it’s actually short for bratwurst, the famous German delicacy.

Gym Shoes

Trail running shoes

If  someone tells you to bring your gym shoes to an activity in Chicago, they actually mean your running shoes or sneakers. We’re not sure when this started but that’s the term used in Chicago instead of tennis shoes.

Slider and Wet Beef

white castle slider

These are actually two different slang words, but as they both refer to food we’ll explain them together. A Slider is a tasty burger from the well known fast food chain and burger franchise known as White Castle. On the other hand Wet Beef means when ordering a burger or a sandwich that you want it soaked in juice, making it as juicy as possible. We can’t speak for how healthy this is, but it’s certainly incredibly delicious.