florida urban dictionary

Floridian Words and Phrases Explained

Floridians are a unique breed with roots that often stretch from across the country and world. From the Floridian Natives, to the Northerners that permanently migrated to the Sunshine State, Florida is full of various cultures and heritage. Although Florida is home to a large spectrum of diversity, there are many Floridian words and phrases that only true Floridians will understand.

If you’ve lived in the land of sunshine for more than five years you will understand these hilarious words and phrases only Floridians know. If you’re a recent transplant to the Sunshine State, use this as a guide to start speaking Floridian.

1) “Chicken-Tender-Pub-Sub”- As the unofficial state sandwich, this savory Publix sub unites us all as Floridians. The chicken tender sub is a staple food in the diet of most Floridians. New to the state and not wanting to look like a tourist? Stop by your local neighborhood Publix on the way to the beach and order one with confidence (p.s. don’t let the locals see your out of state license plate in the parking lot)

2) “I’m from ____[INSERT NAME OF NEAREST LARGE CITY]____”– Used when trying to explain where your lesser known hometown is by comparing it to the nearest notable city in Florida.

“I’m from Altamonte.”
“I live 20 minutes from Orlando.”
“Ohh ok.”

3) “It’ll pass”– The phrase Floridians live by during summer. Referring to Florida’s quick afternoon rain showers that quickly move through an area in less than 15 minutes. Dark clouds moving in on your backyard barbecue pool party? Don’t worry, “it’ll pass”.

4) “The Stingray Shuffle”– Growing up in Florida you are either taught what this means, or you learn the hard way. Next time you’re at the beach make sure you shuffle your feet before you step on a living doormat in the sea. If you’re lucky you may even come home rich with a wallet full of Florida’s natural currency- sand dollars!

5) “My Publix”– With over 1,000 stores in the Sunshine State, most Floridians have a Publix grocery store in their local community. Each store has a unique product selection and layout that causes Floridians to grow emotionally attached to “their Publix”.

Warning: Placing a Floridian in an unfamiliar Publix store may cause confusion, hysteria and immense sweating. If you ever witness a shopper showing these symptoms, kindly lead them to the nearest deli and order them a “chicken-tender-pub-sub”.

6) FLVS– Florida Virtual School. The recent online alternative to Florida’s public school system. This program has been ruining Floridian children’s summer fun since the year 2000. This virtual classroom is now the leading cause of nightmares in children ages 8-18 (source: personal experience).

7) FCAT– The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. #RIP 1998-2015. This standardized test was the second worst part of winter Floridian’s had to worry about during the January and February months. Along the below 70 degree weather, Floridian students also dreaded this annual exam.


8) Sandspur– Florida’s natural LEGOS. Step on one of these you are likely to shout a few extra slang words. Don’t forget your flip-flops when you step outside so you don’t fall victim to these prickly plants!

9) No-See-Ums– The bugs that you can feel, but can’t see. These flying menaces are often found near bodies of water, which unfortunately is where most Floridians are found as well. The “no-see-um” flies may cause Floridians to wave their arms in a flailing motion, also known as the no-see-um dance. It’s the hottest dance craze of the summer in Florida.

10) Snowbird– If you don’t know what this means, it’s because you are one. This term refers to anyone that lives north of Georgia and vacations in the Sunshine State to hibernate away from the Northern winters. These migrant visitors can often be spotted leaving the beach severely sunburned, wearing closed toed shoes and floral print shirts.

11) “Liquid Sunshine”– “It’s not raining, that’s just liquid sunshine.” This Floridian phenomenon occurs when it’s precipitating while the sun is still shining. Often experienced during the summer months while enjoying any outdoor activities after 3 p.m. Just remember “it’ll pass.”

12) Hurricane Day– Like a snow day, but for Floridians. Next time you see a tropical storm heading for the Sunshine State just know there are thousands of Floridian students across the state praying for a day off from school.

13) “Winter” – The four weeks of weather below 65 degrees during the year in Florida.

14) Lovebug Season– These pesky insects are everything but loved by Floridians. “Love”bugs infest the Sunshine State during the months of April and May and again during August and September. Just like Northern tourists, these bugs fill the roadways and infiltrate our local land twice per year for just a few weeks at a time.

15) “Vacation”– Spending the weekend at a popular tourist destination, but only driving 30 minutes from home. #WeLiveWhereYouVacation

16) “Chilly”– When the temperature is below 70 degrees, but above 65 degrees. Commonly confused with “freezing”, which is any weather below 65 degrees. “Chilly” weather wear includes sandals, jeans, a hoodie and a tank top underneath for when the temperature reaches 80 degrees by the end of the day.

17) “A Coke, please”– Or “a soda”, used when ordering any carbonated soda beverage, whether you mean Sprite, Pepsi, Coca-Cola etc. If a Floridian is not asking for a Coke they’re probably ordering a sweet tea. All Floridians know “pop” is a verb, not a noun. Sorry Northerners, you’re wrong.

18) Blinker- ???? Apparently Floridians still don’t know what this device is. The turn signal, located on the left side of your car’s steering wheel. Most often activated by accident while turning on your windshield wipers during a mid-afternoon sun shower. Floridians, please start using this when making a turn or changing lanes.

Make sure to share this guide of Floridian words and phrases with any tourists or friends moving to the Sunshine State! Comment below with any sayings we missed.

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  1. “activated on accident”. It’s “by accident,” Bryan. When did you move here? 😉

  2. Referring to #4: Live sand dollars are illegal to harvest, they are a protected species due to over collecting. Please don’t mess with our wildlife; it’s either endangered, or it will kill you, or both.

    Also, non-natives need to stop putting their emergency flashers on when driving in hard rain (also illegal btw); either use the normal lights and keep driving or pull over on the side of the road and pop on the flashers. If you can’t deal with the conditions, pull over! It’ll pass soon anyway…

  3. I am a native and I turn on emergency flashers in hard rain. Granted, it has to be pouring so hard you can’t see past six or seven feet, but I do it. I get more annoyed by the losers that have to pull over. lolol. Shouldn’t we all be complaining about how this list has left off the disdain that Floridians feel for tourists? That should have been number one.

    • Dorian – please stop driving with flashers! It’s illegal! It’s insanely dangerous: it’s confusing to drivers behind you who, in a heavy downpour, can’t tell if you’re on the road or in the emergency lane. It happened to me! P.S. don’t brag about being the doofus who does an illegal activity putting others in peril. (How do you know those losers you complain about pulled over? Hint: their flashers are on.)

    • Lorraine Mathews

      I completely agree with Lynn. I drive an 18 wheeler. Now you put on your flashers. That signals me to get in the left lane to give room to a distressed stationary vehicle on the shoulder. The problem is you continue to drive and now I am causing many other wary drivers concern because it’s pouring rain and there is an 18 wheeler spraying their windshields from the fast lane. Your being thoughtless and unsafe to many others when you drive with hazard lights.

    • And if it wasn’t for the horrible tourists like me, you would be paying higher property taxes and probably income tax too, not to mention the thousands who would be unemployed.

      • Not sure where you got this idiotic statement from. Businesses in areas where yankees like to buy second homes don’t actually hire more employees to deal with you. We simply schedule less hours during the summer when you’re gone, and more hours from the same people when you’re here.

        The worst part about you yankees isn’t that you can’t drive on a flat road, or that you clog up the roads at 8 in the morning for some reason, or even that your parents apparently never taught you any manners. It’s that you think you are essential to our state’s survival.

        Get off your high horse before you come back.

      • Also, on paying higher taxes: I know for a fact that 75% of us Floridians would rather pay higher taxes than deal with the massive ego of all of the yankees every year.

      • No Dulcie, we don’t pay state taxes.

  4. Native Floridian here….don’t forget that a shopping cart (which you may need when getting your Pub-Sub) is referred to as a “Buggy”

  5. #2 is not a Florida thing. It is an everywhere thing. Somebody tell me where exactly Lansdale, Pennsylvania is. No? Nobody? Well it’s an hour Northwest of Philadelphia. Now you know where it is. Also, for number 17, I always as for a coke at restaurants. Apparently, southeastern PA is the only place in the north that does this but pretty much everyone here says “can I have a coke?” The worst part about this is when the wait staff you are asking says in response “Is Pepsi okay”. In this case I have to physically stop myself from saying “no. I asked for Coke. I want Coke. If I wanted Pepsi, I would have asked for a Pepsi.” But that’s just me.

    • Yeah I hear you about #2, lived in the Keys for 35 years but as for Lansdale, Pa. I actually do know where that is, was born there. 😃

    • It’s kind of like asking for a Kleenex, which is a brand but it often used interchangeably with “tissue”

    • Californians don’t know the difference between “Coke” (Coca-Cola) & root beer or Dr. Pepper, etc. Being from Okla I learned early that all “pop” is not the same.

  6. Damn Brazilian tour groups should be on here. 😂😂😂

  7. Born here in 1953. We are not dependent on tourist, we do pay our share of taxes. We are one of the few states that ALL races of people live in harmony. Native Florida women usually marry a northern man, these men appreciate a sweet smart southern woman. We are not into the materialistic bs of California or NY city. We live life simple here. Don’t think we are not able to do as we want financially we are, we just don’t waste our life in front of a mirror or trying to impress others, we are living our lives to the fullest. We do get tired of watching our wildlife being killed. Our beaches trashed as if it’s no problem, one bottle cap, or even a cigarette but can kill sealing with is already endangered. We here had a very beautiful state until developers came in and destroyed it.

  8. “Let’s go get some boiled peanuts!!” I live in Pa now, but I can get raw peanuts at our local farm and feed supply store. So I can boil them here…..It just part of the south and I from Fl so I
    just associate that wonderful flavor with Floridians..that and Gators…”Can you’ll come and get that gator out of my back yard.” Or “Let’s go Ukulele’s for some gator” Yum

  9. My sister moved to FL and the funniest thing I heard her say was that she was “fixin’ to git me sum…”

  10. Just moved here from the north.

    Worst thing are the fire ants.

  11. You need to get rid of this so called pub sub?? We call them Cuban Sandwiches and we buy them at Cuban Food stores or Restaurants, so please get that sub pub jargon off here please. And as far as the “Blinkers” go. I live by them. It’s the Northerners who come down here who don’t know where their going and will NOT use a blinker..then there’s those (few) that will leave them on for miles at a time because they forgot to turn it off. I’m a Tampa Native born and raised and we have a lot of cultural backgrounds, we work hard for what we need and we treat people with Respect as long as they return it as well. We will help you in any way we can, but Don’t mistake our kindness as a weekness. Welcome to Florida and say Hi to your neighbors!! Oh and NO I don’t care for Pink couches, or Seaford green anything..that you might only see at the beaches in hotels and condo rentals…

    • A pub sub is a sub purchased from Publix, not from a pub. They are very much a way of life in Florida and certainly belong on the list. If you’ve never had one, you’re really missing out.

  12. Lived in Florida since 1972. I am an official Floridiot!

  13. A Pub Sub is NOT a Cuban sandwich! It is a sub/hoagie/grinder/hero – whatever you call it where you come from – and they are made to order with whatever you like in the deli at Publix grocery stores. Best sub you can buy. So, Rose,it is your own “jargon” that is a tad mixed up….like your spelling. 🙂

  14. I,ve heard someone say here in FL. ” I’m fittin to do that right now!”

  15. All so true. I just tell people I live 45 mins SW of “The Mouse”

  16. I was surprised the author didn’t include “gator bait” in the list.

  17. I lived in Florida for 18 years and never met anyone who was nasty to tourists. They appreciated the bikers, the spring breakers and race fans. I used to be amazed at how fast they could repair roads or make new ones. I enjoyed every day I lived there and guess what? I’m back in Yankee land….drinkin’ me a pop!

  18. “Cat 3 or less, I’m staying. Cat 4 and up, staying and havin’ a hurricane party!”

  19. You missed the snowbird pulling out in front of you.
    I never heard of the public chicken sub.
    Been in Florida 40 years.

    • FYI. The reason we don’t have state taxes is because we don’t have politicians sucking the life out of us.

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