You know you’re from Birmingham if you say…

central six alabama works
Did you know that Birmingham has its own slang? Photo via Bham Now.

People who visit The Magic City say they can easily pinpoint a Birmingham native—the first giveaway is how we talk. So, we took a poll on Facebook and TikTok and here are 12 phrases you hear from Birminghamiams. You know you’re from Birmingham if you say…

1. “Vulcan” instead of The Vulcan

Birmingham, Vulcan Park and Museum , Driver's Way, Vulcan statue
Are you passing Vulcan now? Photo via Vulcan Park and Museum

The number one sign that you’re probably not from here is referring to Vulcan as The Vulcan. Locals don’t feel the need to say The Vulcan because everyone knows exactly what you’re talking about. Plus, it is the perfect landmark when giving directions.

2. “Respect the Polygon”

Birmingham’s weather has a mind of its own—it shifts from sunshine to rain to thunderstorms. We are all too familiar with thunderstorms and tornados and when there’s a warning you may hear a few people use the phrase “respect the polygon” from beloved ABC 33/40 Meteorologist, James Spann.

3. “Are James Spann’s sleeves rolled up?”

james spann
33/40 ABC James Spann. Screenshot from the United way of Central Alabama Facebook page

Most people decide if it’s time to head to their safe space in a tornado warning by the color of their county. But not in Birmingham. Here, if James Spann’s jacket is on, we’re good, but as soon as you see his suspenders and sleeves rolled up, RUN!

4. “I’m not driving on 280 on a weekday.”

This phrase speaks for itself. If there’s one thing Birminghamians hate, it is the traffic on Highway 280. There are so many awesome places on 280 so it’s no secret why everyone takes that route. I suggest leaving 20+ minutes early because you never know what traffic will look like.

5. “Let’s go to Milo’s”

Unpopular opinion: The lemonade is better than the sweet tea. Photo via Milo’s Burger Shop-Trussville

When someone offers to bring drinks to the party, expect Milo’s sweet tea, lemonade or unsweet tea. They are a staple in the city (and the state) so don’t act surprised when someone suggests Milo’s four times a week. You want Milo’s right now, don’t you? Same.

6. “Ain’t no ham like Birmingham”

If your dad is anything like mine, you’ve heard this joke more than a few times—I’m talking multiple times a year. This local, one-liner pun will get a chuckle out of you the first time then you’ll find yourself saying it as time passes.

7. “Sloss”—Not, Sloss Furnaces

Birmingham, Sloss Furnaces, Wasabi Juan's, holiday entertaining
How many times have you toured Sloss Furnaces? Photo via Sloss Furnaces

Much like The Vulcan—I mean, Vulcan, Sloss Furnace is referred to as Sloss. It is so widely known in the city that it even has a hot dog named after it at Protective Stadium. P.S. it is one of the best hot dogs I’ve ever tried. I’ve toured Sloss so many times I could probably be a tour guide. How many times have you been?

8. “Malfunction Junction“

Have somewhere to go during rush hour? I suggest limiting all distractions at the intersection of 1-20/1-59 and I-65 or you might collide into someone merging at the last minute. It sparks my inner road rage.

9. “Over the Mountain”

Mountain Brook Residence
Can’t forget Over the Mountain. Photo via AIA Birmingham for Bham Now

If you’re going to a party “Over the Mountain,” you are in either in Mountain Brook, Vestavia Hills, Homewood or Hoover.

10. “Truss-full”instead of Truss-ville

What’s your fave spot in Trussville? Photo via Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now.

Welcome to Trussfull, not Trussville. You may not think you have an accent but visitors say otherwise. What other city do you think Birminghamians pronounce a certain way?

11. “You need anything from The Pig?”

You gotta get wine when you go to Piggly Wiggly. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now

There are two things Birmingham natives love, to shorten our words and Piggly Wiggly. We don’t like to use too many syllables. Let me introduce you to nickname we’ve given the beloved grocery store—The Pig.

12. “THE Club”

The Club in Birmingham is a social club near Vulcan. It’s no secret by now that we have an accent so just make sure you’re saying “THE Club” not “Thuh club.”

Did we miss one? Let us know + tell us your favorite Birmingham saying by tagging us @BhamNow on socials. Don’t forget to sign up for our FREE newsletter.

Tira Davis
Tira Davis
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