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Slang in the ATL: From Hotlanta to The Hootch

A view of Turner Field stadium packed with fans.
Atlanta’s Turner Field is sometimes referred to as “The Ted.” Photo © LW Yang, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

Map of Atlanta
Don’t want to sound like a tourist? Wondering what Spaghetti Junction is? Get a quick language primer on Atlanta slang from Georgia native, Jim Morekis.

  • AJC: nickname for the city’s daily newspaper of record, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  • The ATL: hip-hop slang for Atlanta.
  • Brookwood Split: the spot south of Buckhead where I-75 and I-85 separate north of the Connector.
  • The Connector: that portion of I-75 and I-85 that passes directly through the center of Downtown.
  • Dirty South: subgenre of hip-hop produced in the ATL.
  • Grady: shorthand for the hulking Downtown presence of Grady Memorial Hospital, the South’s premier trauma center. The Connector goes around it at the “Grady Curve.”
  • The Hootch: the Chattahoochee River. One “shoots the Hootch,” that is, rides a whitewater raft or tubes downstream. The Chattahoochee is also a key source of drinking water for Atlanta.
  • Hotlanta: Using this nickname for Atlanta will mark you as a tourist or a generally lame person. Avoid it at all costs.
  • L5P: acronym for Little Five Points.
  • Peachtree: generally refers to Peachtree Street, the historic north-south main avenue through the heart of Atlanta. Do not confuse it with the 70 other roads in Atlanta bearing some variant of “Peachtree.” Movers and shakers all wanted a prestigious address on Peachtree Street. If they couldn’t have that, nearby streets were named to feature the word, for example, Peachtree Circle, Peachtree Lane, and so on. Adding to the confusion is the fact that Peachtree Street becomes Peachtree Road in Buckhead. While Georgia is the Peach State, local folklore says Peachtree is probably a corruption of “pitch tree,” a pine tree used for sap.
  • The Perimeter: the vast swath of I-285 encircling the city and the demarcation between Atlanta proper and its fast-growing suburbs. Rush-hour traffic jams are the stuff of nightmares, with the northern portion, or “Top End,” the most congested.
  • Ponce: what locals call Ponce de Leon Avenue. The most upscale area during Atlanta’s Victorian heyday, this sinuous and now occasionally seamy street is a center of dining and nightlife. If you insist on the full name, avoid Spanish inflection and say “LEE-on.”
  • Spaghetti Junction: the sprawling 14-bridge cloverleaf that includes the intersection of “The Perimeter” (I-285) and I-85 and handles over 250,000 vehicles a day.
  • The Ted: nickname for Turner Field, home of the Atlanta Braves major league baseball team through 2017, when they move to the northern suburb of Cobb County. This is not to be confused with the nearby Georgia Dome, home of the Atlanta Falcons.

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