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?
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