by Brian Coll
I guess by the meaning, I am a middle aged dude at this point in my life. I’m not picking up new slang at this point in my life. My kids might introduce me to some new words in a few years, but for now most of the words I use I have been using for years. And that goes for the word JAWN.
I went to Hervey Walker Elementary School back in the 80’s. I can’t tell you the first time I heard the word JAWN but it was fun to say. JAWN. Honestly, the first time I heard it I probably thought someone couldn’t say someones name who was John, or Jon. We had a few dudes named John in my class. John Magnum, Jon Dozier, J.J Clark (maybe his real name is John, don’t get mad JJ, I think I’ve only called you JJ my entire life). When I figured out what it was really meant I thought it was the coolest thing.
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, that’s okay. Most people outside the Philly area have no idea what it means, and most people in the Philly area are cool with the fact that people don’t know what it means.
So, for years I thought JAWN was a hyper local thing, like limited to Conshohocken. It wasn’t until my buddy Josh Leone from Knucklehead Productions said it one day. Josh at the time was newer to Conshohocken and the community and he said something like pass that JAWN over here. And I had to stop and say to him, what did you say? Did you just say JAWN? He was like hell yeah. I love that word. I think I had to ask him when he learned it because it’s a local word, he told me people have been using it all over the Philly area, not just Conshy. That conversation was about 10 years ago.
Now imagine my shock when my wife Anna said it recently. I was cracking up when she said, we should make a sign that says “Get off my Jawn” She had me cracking up. I had no idea she knew the word.
So, I did in fact make her a couple signs that say GET OFF MY JAWN. They are a big hit in the neighborhood, neighbors have been telling me how much they like it when they walk around.
At this point, I have done a horrible job telling you about the word JAWN, a friends mom asked about it one day and I started to say, it can be anything. See that stapler? I can say pass me that JAWN. Riding in the car somewhere and that new song comes on that you like… you can say this is my JAWN. My friends mom was like…so it’s like a doohickey? And she was kind of right but kind of wrong. A doohickey refers to something you use, most likely a thing and you might not know the name for it. Like the doohickey you use to hold corn on the cob. I have no idea what the real name for those yellow corn looking things are but they could be a doohickey.
If you look up JAWN on the urban dictionary it shows up as: Philly slang for a person, place or thing. (Jawn)
So, if you are still with me here. Here is how I could and do use it as a word in a conversation. Yo, did you see that JAWN? Maybe we were sitting outside and a cool motorcycle went by, or some beat up car clunked down the street.
Another example could be out at a bar, here is the same sentence with a different meaning. Yo, did you see that JAWN? Maybe I’m talking about the really cute girl that just walked by, or maybe since I’m a big guy who is married I could be talking about the plate of onion rings that just went by…..
Here is what shows up when you search for the definition of the word Jawn:
jawn[jôn]NOUNUSdialect (chiefly in eastern Pennsylvania) used to refer to a thing, place, person, or event that one need not or cannot give a specific name to.
So, now that you know, go out and use that JAWN wherever you see fit.