By Melissa Locker
April 30, 2019
Jeffrey Kurtz/Getty Images

The English language is constantly evolving and the dictionary struggles to keep up by adding new words as they come along or, in the case of one recent addition, finally getting around to add a word after years of local use.

Case in point is the go-cup, which anyone who has spent a late night in New Orleans can tell you is the cup a restaurant hands you when you want to take your drink with you, so you can keep the party going as you walk down the streets of the French Quarter–alcoholic beverage in hand. The folks over at the Merriam-Webster dictionary have seen fit to finally add go-cup to their publication's illustrious pages, defining the New Orleans' colloquialism as " a plastic or paper cup used especially for taking a beverage off the premises of a bar, restaurant, etc." It now sits alongside other new additions including screen time, page view, and EGOT. (Don't know that last one? You can now look it up in the dictionary!)

WATCH: Southern Sayings That Should Make A Comeback

While New Orleans residents and frequent visitors are long practitioners of the go-cup and the accompanying freedom it entails, turns out that not everyone in the South is aware of the term. That became clear when Texas native Jenna Bush Hager was introduced to the word on the set of the Today Show. Since longtime host (and New Orleans expert) Hoda Kotb is on baby leave after adopting her second child, Hager was hosting the show along with Meredith Vieira. As NOLA.com reports, both women seemed to have a hard time understanding the phrase "go-cup", insisting the correct term was "to-go cup", which it is not. "It's three words: To. Go. Cup," Hager said, before asking to speak to someone from the dictionary. According to NOLA.com, while Hager is a Southerner, she apparently has not spent enough time in New Orleans to know the difference between a to-go cup of soda and go-cup of, say, a Hurricane or daiquiri. As NOLA.com put it, "If it's filled with iced tea and you're in Dallas, it's a to-go cup. But if it's filled with booze and you're in New Orleans, it's a go-cup, baby."

Advertisement