Thanks to its plethora of bizarre crime stories and its truly wild wildlife, Florida has earned quite a reputation over the years—so much so that residents sometimes find themselves on the defensive when discussing the state they call home. Even so, the Sunshine State has seen a massive influx of Northerners relocating during the pandemic—and with that in mind, it might be a good time to get familiar with Florida slang. Read on, snowbirds.
1. Pub Sub
Perhaps the most important term you’ll learn on this list is pub sub, a.k.a. a sub sandwich from a Publix grocery store deli. Vital for a trip to the beach, the pub sub is a Florida delicacy—especially the chicken tender pub sub (though its origins are up for debate).
2. Florida Man
You probably know this one—and if you don’t, consider yourself lucky. Born out of frequent headlines that read something like, “Florida man arrested for [insert bizarre crime here],” a Florida Man is a general descriptor for a person exhibiting strange, and often criminal, behavior in the state of Florida.
3. Sun Shower
A sun shower is when light rain falls while the sun is still shining. (Neither the term nor the phenomena is limited to the Sunshine State, though.) If you hear someone say “the devil is beating his wife” during a sun shower, don’t be alarmed—that’s a phrase thrown around when sun showers occur. According to Appalachian Magazine, that’s because it’s believed that “the devil is beating his wife with a walking stick because he is angry God created a beautiful day. The rain is said to be that of his wife’s tears.”
4. Florida Bath
No time to take a proper shower? Just rinse off by jumping in a pool. That’s a Florida bath.
5., 6., 7., and 8. Tally, Jax, Soflo, and PCB
Even some cities go by slang names in Florida: Tallahassee is known as Tally, or Tallanasty (a common insult made by University of Florida students to slight their rival Florida State’s city). Jax is Jacksonville, Florida. Soflo is South Florida, or the tri-county area of Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach. PCB is Panama City Beach, the spring break capital of the state.
9. Hurricane Party
No stranger to hurricanes, Floridians have the whole storm-preparedness thing down pat: Stock up on water, fill sandbags (and your gas tank), and get drunk and have all your friends over to watch the storm roll in at a hurricane party. The term is also used throughout the Southern U.S. coast.
10. Alligator Alley
The 80-mile stretch of I-75 located in the Everglades that connects the east and west coasts of Florida is known as Alligator Alley. Your best bet for spotting a gator is driving down this road.
Snowbirds is how Sunshine State residents refer to Northerners who move or visit Florida during winter to escape cold weather. According to Green's Dictionary of Slang, the term was initially used in the late 19th century in reference to tramps that joined the military in the winter to get food and shelter until the weather warmed up again; it has been in use in the meaning Floridians use since the 1920s.