When it comes to linguistic quirks, there are few places as bountiful as New England.
There are — of course — the well-known stalwarts like that famed intensifier “wicked” and the fact that what the rest of the country calls a water fountain, New Englanders call a “bubbler.”
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But there are plenty of others. Firefighters are called “jakes” in some circles; rubber bands, in some places, are known as “elastics;” and in locations all over New England you can make a quick run to the “packie,” which is short for “package store,” neither of which is a term for “a place to buy beer” anywhere else.
Like many transplants to this area, myself included, Boston resident Vasant Marur has spent years getting acquainted with a fair number of these terms and turns-of-phrase. But even after a decade living in the Fenway neighborhood, there was one local etymological oddity that continued to confound him: Why are some Boston-area convenience stores called spas?
WATCH: In Boston, Some Convenience Stores Are Called Spas. Wait. What? Why?
Correction: An earlier version of this story erroneously stated that the term “package store” is also unique to New England. The phrase is also in common use in at least one other region: in and around Pittsburgh, PA.
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