The Chicago Dictionary – Volume Six

The Chicago Dictionary – Volume Six

Definitions of words and idioms that mean something else in Illinois; posted as a public service to the consumers of news.

Art Institute:  A building full of statues, much like the Chicago City Council when the Mayor has already made their decision for them.

Axehead Lake:  One of Illinois’ inland trout lakes, located in northwest Cook County, and annually stocked with 1000 to 1500 rainbow trout, all of which are registered to vote.

Beck Lake:  A 38-acre fishing lake in northern Cook County, annually stocked with about 3000 walleye, all of which are registered to vote.

Brookfield Zoo:  Home to 2300 animals, representing 450 species, all of whom are registered to vote.

Cell Phone:  How aldermen communicate with their lawyers, when they’re not located in the same cell block.

Chicago Stockyards:  A meat market in the days before the Snuggery.

Concealed Carry:  Keeping one’s bribe money hidden in one’s pocket, in case whistle-blowers are nearby.

Cook County Forest Preserves: Surprisingly, nowhere near as tasty as strawberry preserves or apricot preserves. Trust me on this.

CTA: Providing elevated temperatures and tunnel vision to Chicagoans for 120 years.

Education Strategy: Closing bad schools in bad neighborhoods, while naming new schools in rich white neighborhoods after presidents of color (well, not every strategy can be successful…)

Election Strategy:  Luis Gutierrez’ plan to win votes by attracting illegals from Mexico, Guatemala, and Costa Rica.

Electronics Manufacturers:  The pioneering electronic age factories of Zenith Television and others, which employed hundreds of thousands of people for decades… until Democrat politicians and union shop stewards drove them all offshore or out of business, leaving blight in their wake.

Employment Statistics:  Keeping the Cubs company at the bottom for a decade or more.

Ex-Governor:  A current resident of the Friendly Confines.

Exit Strategy:  Every Illinoisan’s plan to retire to Florida, Texas, or Costa Rica.

Firearm Rights: Guaranteed by the Constitution, supported by the voters, hamstrung by state government.

Friendly Confines:  The exclusive “Governors’ Wing” in any Illinois penitentiary.

Goodman:  A theater that’s hard to find.

Governor:  A future resident of the Friendly Confines.

Grant Park:  A park where college students demonstrate, listen to music, play Frisbee, or just sit around, burning up the education money given them in grants.

Homicide Statistics:  We’re Number One, Baby!

Lake Michigan:  Deep enough to hold pretty much anything, if you weigh it down right…

Lincoln Park:  The largest of Chicago’s city parks, which has 20 million visitors a year, all of whom are registered to vote.

Lower Wacker Drive:  A subterranean racetrack where cars and taxis practice for the big leagues:  the Supercollider at Fermilab.

Meigs Field:  The downtown airport that used to enable a president to fly in and out of Chicago without hamstringing the metro’s traffic patterns all day… until a Democrat mayor turned it into a park.

Morton Arboretum:  A 1700 acre park in Lisle, home to 186,000 kinds of plants, none of which are registered to vote (it’s not in Cook County, you know…)

Open Carry:  Displaying bribe money openly so that the politician knows what’s available for the asking.

“Play Ball!”  The world-famous announcement uttered by the sportscaster or host, as any Springfield or Washington dinner between lobbyists and legislators commences.

Saint Valentine’s Day:  A convention celebrating dark double-breasted suits, fedoras, and tommy guns.  Only celebrated once a century.  Hmm… Might be coming up again soon…

Second City:   Dreaming of the old days, when Chicago wasn’t always either a terrifying First or an embarrassing Dead Last.

Sister Cities:   The 28 cities around the world, both big and small, from Warsaw and Milan to Bogota and Busan, on which Chicago depends for artificial tourism, all of whose residents are registered to vote…

Skokie Lagoons:  A 242-acre water network bordered by Glenview, Northfield, and Winnetka, annually stocked with about 4000 channel catfish and over 1100 northern pike, all of which are registered to vote.

Steelmakers:  The wonderful old-fashioned American industry that employed hundreds of thousands of people in steel mills… until Democrat politicians and union shop stewards drove them all offshore or out of business, leaving blight in their wake.

Video Poker:  The latest addition to the menu of restaurants and sandwich shops, popping up all over the area, as a struggling economy doesn’t allow them to make enough money on food.

Other posts: Di Leo: The Chicago Dictionary Volume One

Copyright 2015 John F. Di Leo

John F. Di Leo is a Chicago-based international trade compliance trainer and Customs broker.  Born in Chicago in 1962, he was exiled to the suburbs at the age of one, where he has remained ever since.

This is a work of fiction.  No actual similarity to real dictionaries is intended or implied.  We have sent letters of apology to the staffs of Merriam-Webster and the OED for what we’ve done to their language, and they’ve sent us letters of sympathy for what Chicago has done to us.

Permission is hereby granted to forward freely, provided it is uncut and the IR URL and byline are included.  Follow John F. Di Leo on LinkedIn or Facebook, on Twitter at @johnfdileo, or on his own page at

“The Chicago Dictionary – Volume Six” was originally published in Illinois Review, where it can be found with the preceding five volumes, if you’re interested, HERE.

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