The Online Slang Dictionary
(American, English, and Urban slang)

Login     Register     Forgot password     Resend confirmation

Definition of bennies


  • Working the boards of the Jersey Shore in the seventies, we were told that local businesses wanted to attract and keep the NY/Northern NJ crowd and that we should be nice to them even if they were obnoxious. Thus, the phrase Be Extra Nice to New Yorkers. Thus the term BENNY was formed.

    Last edited on Dec 18 2020. Submitted by Anonymous on Dec 18 2020.

noun - plural

  • A term used in Monmouth and Ocean County, New Jersey, for summer tourists to the Jersey Shore. The phrase you are most likely to hear is "Bennies, go home." Tourists are resented because they cause extremely heavy traffic and take many of the beach parking spaces. In addition, some of them act in a loud and obnoxious manner. Some people use the term to apply only to those tourists with objectionable behavior.

    There are many theories but no proven origin to the term. A search of online sources turned up the first four theories. A friend supplied the last. 1. An acronym for several north Jersey towns and the city of New York, which formed an acronym used on luggage tags. E.g. Bayonne, Essex or Elizabeth, New York. 2. From the name Benjamin, evidently an anti-Jewish slur. 3. From "beneficial," either because the sun was beneficial to the tourists or because the tourist's dollars were beneficial to the Jersey Shore. 4. From the Italian word "bene." 5. A surfing term. I verified on that it is a surfing term for tanless nonlocals who come to the beach on weekends. Its theory as to its origins as a surfing term stated that in the 1950s, people believed the sun was beneficial to one's health (theory #3) and cited a Benny Goodman album entitled "Jersey Bounce."

    I have not determined how long the term has been around. If it is of fairly recent origin, I would be inclined to theory number 4 because the current stereotype of bennies seems to me to be Italian Americans rather than Jews. In Ben Zimmer's column "On Language" in the "New York Times," he quotes part of Governor Christie's answer to a question, about the TV show "The Jersey Shore," posed by Jake Tapper, in which the governor made the point that the TV show took New Yorkers to the Jersey Shore and tried to make people think that this is what the Jersey Shore is like.

    Last edited on Aug 19 2014. Submitted by Anonymous on Aug 19 2014.


+Add a definition for this slang term

More info:

Interactive stats:

Related words

Slang terms with the same meaning

None found.

Slang terms with the same root words

Other terms relating to 'benny':

Definitions include: "benefit".

How common is this slang?

Don't click the following.
I use it(10)  
No longer use it(0)  
Heard it but never used it(6)  
Have never heard it(16)  

How vulgar is this slang?

Average of 14 votes: 26%  (See the most vulgar words.)

Least vulgar  
  Most vulgar

Your vote: None   (To vote, click the pepper. Vote how vulgar the word is – not how mean it is.)

Least vulgar  
  Most vulgar

Where is this slang used?

Logged-in users can add themselves to the map. Login, Register, Login instantly with Facebook.

Link to this slang definition

To link to this term in a web page or blog, insert the following.

<a href="">bennies</a>

To link to this term in a wiki such as Wikipedia, insert the following.

[ bennies]

Some wikis use a different format for links, so be sure to check the documentation.