Only Connecticut People Know Being Called a ‘Raggie’ is an Insult
Connecticut is my home but I am not originally from here.
I've got almost 15 years under my belt and if I've learned anything it's this, there is always more to learn. Just when I think I've figured her out, CT throws another curve ball my way. The most recent surprise came while cruising through the CT Reddit page.
I clicked on a thread about the word "packy" which is how CT residents refer to a liquor store. As an avid "packy" shopper, I learned this word a long time ago. After you learn "packy", the next thing you pick up is "nip." A "nip" is what we call those tiny liquor bottles that you purchase at checkout, inside the "packy."
Anyhow, the thread was started by a user called joeykey who wrote:
"I made a joke on a group text thread about how a liquor store on the Cape is called a “packy”, and a Connecticut guy (from Simsbury, lives in Ridgefield now) chimed in and said that it’s also a CT word. Is this true?"
This post sent everyone into a wonderfully distracting inside-joke typhoon. Folks from all over the state were claiming "packy" as their own. Then, certain words started to appear that I'd never seen before like "Raggie." What does that mean?
"Heavily used in NWCT but we have all sorts of weird words and insults. One of the weirdest is the term raggies which I thought was just a common slang for white trash, turns out it is used almost exclusively in Winsted and no one outside of CT knew wtf I was talking about."
"Ah yes, raggies are rife in Torrington/Winsted/Colebrook/Canaan. Carrying their Winsted Touristers (brown paper bags) throughout town. My favorite description is courtesy of Urban Dictionary: White trash have a car on blocks in the yard, & a couch on the porch. Raggies typically have a couch on the lawn and a car on the porch."
"Raggie originates from Mount riga in Salisbury. The mining town was full of drunks who spent all their mining income on booze and prostitutes. When the mine closed they all ended up in towns like Winsted and Torrington were they just kinda became the local white trash. They were know as the mount riga raggies."
Since Reddit is not known for being the trusted news source of the masses, I took a deeper dive.
The Registered Citizen did a piece on this in 2009 and they spoke to Torrington Town Historian Ernest Ceder who said "raggie has come to represent downward social mobility and backwoods isolation."
Damned CT said Raggies "did the dirtiest of the back-breaking labor" at Mt. Riga during the Iron industry's peak. DCT added they "were the poorest of the poor, a simple people who were generally shunned by the other settlers in the area."
Wikipedia says: "The Raggies are a group of people that live in the northwestern part of the state of Connecticut. Their ancestors were said to be iron workers in the forges on and around Mount Riga in Salisbury, also known as Mt. Raggie in the local area. The term Raggie generally connotes an economically poorer white person, often of old Yankee stock."
In short, "Raggie" is a way to call someone a redneck who comes from an extremely specific region of the world. I'm thinking of driving to the Northwest corner of the state just so I can use it the way God intended. If you're planning the same road trip, I'd act fast. In the safe-space/soft landing world we live in, this word will be outlawed by next Tuesday.
Next time on "Stuff from CT" (my new show I just created) we'll discuss the Melon-Heads.
DISCLAIMER: I actually have no current plans to drive to the Northwest corner of CT and shout slurs out the window. I wanted to make that clear because I've been quote tweeted far too much recently. I'm willing to blowup my own joke to save myself the aggravation of getting a work phone call on a Saturday. Also, I wish the Raggies past, present and future all the best. May you be blessed you with a wealth of mismatched car parts and Rockstar energy drinks.
Additional White Trash Synonyms:
- S--- Kicker