the word Jawn in graffiti style text

Jawn (Philadelphia Slang)

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Updated Mar 13, 2023 at 06:01PM EDT by sakshi.

Added Feb 18, 2023 at 07:12AM EST by sakshi.

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Jawn is a word that originated from Philadelphia regional slang. The word is used as a context-dependent term and substitutes for other nouns. The word is likely derived from the term joint and is used in a versatile manner, similar to the way one may use the word "thing."


According to a Merriam-Webster article and an opinion piece in Atlas Obscura, the word "jawn" is likely derived from the word "joint," which was popularly used in African-American vernacular in the 1960s and '70s. An example Merriam-Webster cites is the song "Rapper's Delight" by the Sugarhill Gang (lyrics seen below).

…And when the sucker MCs try to prove a point / We're Treacherous Trio, we're the serious joint.

The earliest known documented use of the word "jawn" took place in 1981 as well, when a UPenn linguist made field recordings of colloquial speech in West Philadelphia, documenting, amongst others, a young Black man using the word "jawn" to refer to "a bag, a place, women and even his own genitalia."[1][2] The term "joint" likely evolved into "jawn" due to people's accents in the region.

The earliest known documentation of the word "jawn" on the internet was an Urban Dictionary[3] entry made by a user named Jay Sticky (ooowee!!) on March 7th, 2003 (seen below).

jawn a word used by Philly cats to describe anything and everything. NY cats interject with the word "joint" but it doesn't convey the same feelings. you see that car? that jawn was hot. you was at Keisha's jawn last night? when them planes flew into that jawn, it exploded!! you heard that new jawn by B.Seigs & Freeway? i hit this one jawn in my trunk, n----!! nah, i was at the jawn when she came by. by Jay Sticky (ooowee!!) March 7, 2003 6091 1529 FLAG


The earliest known tweet using the word "jawn" and receiving notable engagement was posted to Twitter[4] by the Roots drummer Questlove on December 3rd, 2012. The tweet read, "so "Hollaback Girl" was a diss jawn to Courtney Love (& 14 other non rap disses you might not have known)," and it gathered over 190 likes in over ten years (seen below).

Plug 5. @questlove ... so "Hollaback Girl" was a diss jawn to Courtney Love (& 14 other non rap disses you might not have known) 11:38 AM Dec 3, 2012 287 Retweets 1 Quote Tweet 194 Likes

On February 29th, 2016, Instagram[6] page @dollarise posted an image of various Philadelphia slang terms, including "jawn," gathering 190 likes in nearly seven years (seen below, left). On 23rd March 2016, Facebook[5] page Meanwhile In Philly posted a meme about the use of the word jawn in Philadelphia, gathering over 800 reactions in nearly seven years (seen below, right).

#YouAintFromPhilly if you have NEVER used this vocabulary Real rap Stop frauding Tell me why - Boul - Yo - Jawn - - Trizzy - Slida - Joe -Wally - Spicin D------- - Telly - Drawlin - you're anyboul - that's anything - The bid/ bidding - Type time - Turkey time - Youngboul - Salty -Hype -bomb -Tizzin GyFo ALWAY FUNNY PHILADELPHIA Jawn. Meanwhile in Philly 23 March 2016. Like Meanwhile in Philly for the best content in Philly. 860 SAY JAWN ONE MORE TIME : 110 comments 443 shares

On November 8th, 2016, Twitter[7] user @jiandeleon posted a joke using the word jawn and gathered over 2,000 likes in over five years (seen below, left). On January 15th, 2019, the word made an appearance in a starter pack meme about Philadelphia skaters posted by the Instagram[8] page @tinyhat_skatelife, gathering over 4,000 likes in over three years (seen below, right).

Jian DeLeon @jiandeleon Nov 8, 2016 When you cop a celebratory jawn before your new job gives you a formal offer: 14 925 opett 1918 β€’ Cabin 2,403 3 (β†’ I'm about to leave this jawn wanna meet up later maybe? "City Wide" 195 Hamms en Cham Der Rom inte @tinyhat_skatelife bulon fr d and dirt baby mat Phys Will try and tell you all the reasons Philly is better than nyc CAMEL TO Honestly probably doesn't skate but will cuff hat at least twice More beards Philly pride or just loves the eagles?? REGULAR F No one juuls *thrifted Carhartt Yeah but I'm at tattooed mom and I don't wanna walk there can you meet me here?? No one wants to meet you at the same bar because it's so cold

Various Examples

Tony Montana @LongLiveJason Bro they said the shooter in north Philly name was "jawn wick" 4:26 AM. Aug 15, 2019 9,587 Retweets 1,525 Quote Tweets 32.8K Likes @TheodoreGrams "jawn wick" a dangerous bul fr. JAWN WICK 7:17 AM. Aug 15, 2019 9 2,193 Retweets 313 Quote Tweets 7,062 Likes : Aint Nobody Coming To See You Otis @zoraslovechild Will I be a Pfizer princess, a Moderna Mami, or Johnson Jawn? Find out next time on Dragon Ball Z. 9:18 AM. Apr 8, 2021 12.1K Retweets 3,113 Quote Tweets 87.4K Likes ... 5 @sayvm Sep 15, 2020 I remember when I was in year 9 and my mum found me on google maps walking a jawn home O 32 Google ly 1817 3 7,117 Pel Image capture: e W la = (β†’

Search Interest


External References

[1] Atlas Obscura – The Enduring Mystery Of Philadelphia

[2] Merriam-Webster – Jawn Meaning Origin

[3] Urban Dictionary – Jay Sticky

[4] Β Twitter – questlove

[5] Facebook – Meanwhile In Philly

[6] Instagram – dollarise

[7] Twitter – jiandeleon

[8] Instagram – tinyhat_skatelife

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