Talk like a local with these terms + phrases from Asheville, NC’s dictionary

Laura Hackett contributed additional reporting for this piece.

It’s no secret that we’re a little unusual here in Asheville, which is why we thought a local dictionary of frequently heard terms could also be useful. We asked y’all which words or phrases should be included in Asheville’s dictionary, and here’s what you said, so get ready to talk like a local.


(noun) Refers to non-native people who end up moving halfway back home to avoid the heat + humidity of the South.

“Folks from NY who moved all the way to FL for retirement and then got too hot, so they moved to the NC mountains (aka, half-way back to NY).” — Sarah R.


(noun) A trendy nickname for North Carolina that’s been mentioned in hip hop, addressed in academic tomes, and even serves as the brand name of sauces, coffees + snacks. See also: North Cackalacky.

Cesspool of Sin

(proper noun) This term refers to one of Asheville’s older and more infamous nicknames.


(noun) Refers to a group of people. See also: you’uns or y’all.


(noun) A hip person, or hipster, who thinks they’re much cooler than you are.

“You have definitely never heard of their favorite band. They are definitely angry about your opinion about whatever. Hence, the chip on their shoulder.” — Lorrie H.


(noun) A species of wild onion that’s particularly popular among foragers.


(noun) Tourists who visit the Asheville area during autumn specifically to see the changing leaves. Also a name for folks who attend the LEAF Global Arts festival.


(noun) A shortened version of “kombucha,” a fermented tea drink that’s popular among locals. We even have our own locally made brand called Buchi.


(noun) A wealthy young person whose resources allow them to eschew conventional lifestyles and attitudes about work, clothes, etc.


(noun) An abbreviated version of “Subieville,” the nickname for the local Subaru dealership.

Pit of Despair

(proper noun) Refers to a small city-owned lot on the corner of Haywood Street + Page Avenue in downtown Asheville that many locals consider an eyesore.

More from AVL Today