Get Ready to Study English in Denver: Learn the Local Slang!

By Bridge English teacher, Laura McGinley

Slang terms and vocabulary can be specific to certain regions in the United States.  These regional terms can be confusing for people new to the area, even native English speakers! In Denver, we have our own unique slang, and if you coming  the “Mile High City” to study abroad, we can help you get familiar with frequently used slang for this area.  You will sound like a Denver native in no time!

Weather-Related Slang 

  • A bluebird day: This phrase refers to a bright, clear, sunny day that follows an overnight snow. For many skiers and snowboarders, these are the days they look forward to all season.
    • Example: “What a beautiful bluebird day! Let’s go skiing to enjoy it!”
  • Black ice: Black ice refers to a clear layer of ice, usually over a street or sidewalk. It is incredibly slick and slippery.  If someone warns you of black ice ahead, walk carefully!
    • Example: “Watch out for the black ice ahead. I already saw two people slip!”

Location-Related Slang

  • The Front Range: This term refers to the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.  People also use this word to refer to the cities and towns along the Front Range from north to south.  The Front Range stretches from Pueblo, up along Interstate 25, all the way up to Cheyenne, Wyoming.
    • Example: “The weather forecast is calling for snow all along the Front Range tomorrow.”
  • The High Country: This phrase is another way to talk about the mountain towns in the Rocky Mountains. High country includes many ski resorts, such as Keystone, Aspen, Steamboat Springs, and Beaver Creek.
    • Example: “Let’s go up to the high country to go skiing this weekend!”
  • The Springs: This is a shortened version of the name for the city Colorado Springs, which about an hour outside Denver. While many cities in Colorado have the word “Springs” in their names, you can be sure it always means Colorado Springs when you hear a reference to the Springs.
    • Example: “Can we go down to the Springs and visit Garden of the Gods this weekend?
  • LoDo: This is a shortened name for the area called Lower Downtown, which is an area known for its nightlife and restaurants. The boundaries of LoDo are Larimer Street, Speer Boulevard, Wewatta Street, and 20th Street.
    • Example: “Should we go explore LoDo tonight? I hear there are lots of cool places to go!”
  • CapHill: This is a shortened name for Capitol Hill, which is the neighborhood within the boundaries of Broadway to the west, Downing Street to the east, Colfax Avenue to the north, and Seventh Avenue to the south. It is called Capitol Hill because the state Capitol is within this neighborhood.
    • Example: “My friend just moved in to a beautiful new home in CapHill.”

General Slang

  • Fourteener (or 14er): Mountain peaks that rise to at least 14,000 feet (4267 m) above sea level are called fourteeners in Colorado. There are 96 total fourteeners in the US, and Colorado is home to a whopping 53 of them!
    • Example: “I’d like to hike a fourteener this summer.”
  • Microbrewery: A microbrewery is a business that brews beer on a smaller scale, rather than a brewery that mass produces beer. At a microbrewery, you can buy what is referred to as craft beer, which is beer brewed by a company that is independent, local, and small.
    • Example: “I love trying new kinds of beer and supporting local businesses, so let’s go check out a microbrewery together.”
  • Blucifer: Have you ever noticed that big, blue horse sculpture out near the Denver International Airport? It’s a bit controversial in Denver, as many residents disagree about whether or not it is an attractive piece of art.  While this sculpture is officially named “Blue Mustang,”  Denver residents refer to it as Blucifer, which is a play on both its blue color and Lucifer (another name for the devil).  Many people find its glowing red eyes to appear evil!
    • Example: “Blucifer looks terrifying at night when its eyes glow bright red.”
  • Transplants and Natives: The Denver area has two types of people: natives and transplants. Natives grew up in Colorado since childhood, while transplants moved to the area as adults.
    • Example: “She didn’t grow up in Colorado. She’s a transplant from Oklahoma.”

Learn more about Denver as a destination for your English language studies: Student Activities at Bridge English in Denver