National Geographic Society

  • Connect:

Learn How to Speak Wicked Tuna

An Interactive Audio Glossary With Captain Paul

Published
Wicked Pissah

We’re all familiar with basic Bostonese—you know, “wicked ah-some” or "I'm pah-kin' the cah"—but for the fishermen of Wicked Tuna, they’ve developed a vernacular all their own. From "squeaker" (pronounced: "squeakah") to "googans" (pronounced with disdain), we figured you might need a glossary to get you through this show. So we recruited Captain Paul Hebert to help you learn the salty talk of a real New England fisherman.


wick·ed

adj [wi-kəd]
Definition: Of exceptional quality, very, super
Example: "Tuna fishing is wicked hard."

piss·er

adj [pi-sə]
Definition: Either very good or very bad
Example: "Did you see that? Wicked pisser!"

sleigh ride

noun [slā- rīd]
Definition: The event of being dragged by another boat after becoming entangled
Example: "That boat's about to go on the Nantucket sleigh ride."

snug·gle

transitive verb [snə-gəl]
Definition: To anchor one's boat in close proximity to another (successful) boat
Example: "Let's just snuggle up next to Dave."

chum

noun or verb [chəm]
Definition: Chopped fish thrown overboard to attract other fish
Example: "These fish are all up in the chum!"

sea rats

noun pl [sē-rats]
Definition: Sea birds
Example: "Goddamn sea rats are eating all our chum."

goo·gans

noun pl [güg-əns]
Definition: Fishermen who are not professional; aka weekend warriors; part-timers; tourists
Example: "Goddamn googans, they're all over the place this weekend."

num·bers

noun pl [nəm-bərz]
Definition: GPS coordinates where a fishing boat strategically anchors
Example: "That goddamn googan is sitting on my numbers!"

drag·ger

noun [dra-gər]
Definition: A fishing boat that uses a trawl or dragnet
Example: "What the hell is that dragger doing getting so close?"

keep·er

noun [kē-pər]
Definition: A fish that qualifies under the fishing quotas
Example: "If the fish is big enough, he's a keeper."

squeak·er

noun [skwē-kər]
Definition: A fish that just barely qualifies under the fishing quotas
Example: "Seventy-four inches? That's a squeaker!"

bleed·er

noun [blē-dər]
Definition: A fish that bleeds
Example: "We got a bleeder!"

sink·er

noun [sing-kər]
Definition: A weight used on the end of a fishing line
Example: "I need a 20-ounce sinker!"

cow

noun [kaü]
Definition: A really big fish
Example: "Holy s***, that's a cow!"
11 comments
Mary M.
Mary M.

Sorry fellas - as someone who grew up in Somerville, MA and first heard the "wicked pissa" phrase at the age of about 8 - I turned the show off last night after a few G-'ds got on, but especially when the Holy Name of Jesus Christ was taken in vain several times.  There was not so much as a bleep attempted to cover it over.  If Allah or Mohammed was said, you can bet that would have been pulled - and the participants even warned against it.  You want to be blessed in your fishing but it won't happen with blasphemy.  I know I am only one person and won't be missed but, still, I won't be watching the show anymore.


I know, I know - Sayonara baby and good riddance.  Well I say:  Blessed be God.  Blessed be His Holy Name.   

Adam C Rhein
Adam C Rhein

Paul, looking for a boat next season...looking to invest in you!


Adam

Jo Barnett Levesque
Jo Barnett Levesque

Paul your are my fav! You make myself and my husband (from Salem, Mass.) Laugh the whole show..every show, your comments but the best your laugh! Keep your enthusiasm!

Blair Fire
Blair Fire

Notice all the words ending in "er" are pronounced with a short "a" In case of lobster, it's pronounced lob-stah.

chuck cristina
chuck cristina

tryin to learn new lingo . I am from La. and fish mostly out of Grand Isle, La. The words a lil different but the accent totally different. I usualy fish trout. cow is a sow or trophy . dragger is skimmer or thawla. googans are DA's

Michele Harrington
Michele Harrington

We are from Rhode Island now living in Florida so every time we watch we feel like we are at home! All New Englanders sound like the guys, there is no mistaking were we are from. We are addicted! Can't wait for tonight and the new episode!

Jay Micd
Jay Micd

Yea bro. Theyre all ausyralian. Just came over here to fish for the summer... Its a boston accent lol. I dont think it sounds that aussie? Maybe it do to outsiders. <3 new england greatest. 5 and 1/2 states in the country