Using these marks you as Tucsonan for life, and it's Tucsonan, not Tucsonian.
Tucson words: Stravenue
There is no official answer but Tucson seems to be the only place in the country that has streets labeled Stravenue. Wikipedia agrees and a Google search of the term turns up only Tucson addresses.
Definition of a stravenue from the Pima County Code: "a street which runs diagonally between and intersects a street and an avenue."
Here are a few of Tucson's stravenues: Belford, Bryant, Camilla, Canada, Cerius, Cherrybell, Concord, Desert, Dover, Drexel Manor, Fairland, Forgeus, Frankfort, Hartford, Helena, Hemlock, Holly, Howard, Kelvin, Lansing, Madison, McFee, Mendham, Menor, Miramonte, Nebraska, Olympia, Ray, Rex, Tucson and Venice.
Tucson words: Smells like rain
If you have lived in the Sonoran desert for any length of time you have heard someone comment, "Mmmmm. It smells like rain."
You might smell it right after a summer monsoon, sometimes even right before.
The amazing fragrance is creosote — also known as chaparral, greasewood and, hard to believe, hediondilla, which in Spanish means “stinky one.”
And yes, you can bottle that smell and take it wherever you go.
Tucson words: Wash
Not the verb you use to talk about cleaning, nor the noun used to describe what you put in the laundry machine.
In Tucson, a wash is the dry bed of a river. They run behind our houses and cut through streets. When it rains (see: Monsoon), the washes fill and become temporary rivers.
Tucson words: Ganga
Used in a sentence thusly:
"Did you see peaches are a ganga at Fry's? Only $.75 a pound!"
Austin Agron, the owner of longtime Tucson furniture store, Bargain Center Furniture, which closed in 2005 — used the word in commercials for the store.
A “ganga” is the Spanish word for “bargain” or “windfall.”
“In Spanish, ‘ganga’ means ‘bargain.’ And since that’s the name of my furniture store, it’s the perfect trademark,” Agron said in a 1983 Daily Star article.
Tucson words: Chimi
Chimi, a Tucson shorthand for Chimichanga.
Did the delicious fried burrito originate here at El Charro? Legend says yes.
Tucson words: Cactus
A newcomer to Tucson might look out on Saguaro National Park and comment on the remarkable number of cacti.
Longtime residents know that would come off as stuffy and pretentious.
It's a desert full of cactus.
Tucson words: Monsoon
Southern Arizona's rainy season.
Since 2008, the National Weather Service has decreed a monsoon season from June 15 to September 30, but it still keeps track of the monsoon start by a measure it used from 1949 until 2008 — the first of three consecutive days with an average dewpoint of 54 or above.
Also known as chubasco, the summer rains bring much-needed moisture and cooler evenings. They also bring lightning, heavy rain, high winds, flash flooding, hail and dangerous driving conditions.
Tucson words: Snowbird
You might be a snowbird yourself if:
Your permanent address is not Tucson, but a place that is snowed-in for at least 3 months of the year.
You have a sneaking suspicion that this word is insulting.
Tucson words: Eegee's
Tucson sandwich chain Eegee's has an frosty drink known (colloquially) as an eegee or (more formally) as an "eegee's drink."
Former Tucsonans will make this their first stop on the way back into town for a slushy, frosty, icy fruit drink that defies categorization.
The local chain started as a truck in 1971 and its furthest outpost is now in Casa Grande.
Tucson words: Swamp cooler
Perhaps the swamp cooler is not particular to Tucson. But every Tucson resident has either lived in a house that had one, or knows someone who complains about it every June when the rains start.
Swamp coolers, also known as evaporative coolers, cool the air through water-soaked pads. They give off a particular wet cardboard smell and make everything feel damp.
Tucson words: Dry heat
Let's use it in a sentence.
You, experiencing June in Tucson: OMG. My face is melting. It's so hot here.
Longtime resident: Yeah. But it's a dry heat.
You: Like an oven?
Longtime resident: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Tucson words: Sonoran dog
This variety of hot dog has specific topping and bun requirements but most importantly: it is wrapped in bacon.
Best sold from a cart on the side of the road — the Sonoran hot dog is served in a steamed bolillo, wrapped in bacon and topped with beans, grilled onions, tomatoes, fresh onion, jalapeño sauce, mayonnaise and mustard.
Tucson words: Splash pad
That concrete playground mecca where water sprays out of the ground and dumps from buckets onto small shrieking children.
The only kind of playground available in Tucson from May-September that won't result in third-degree burns.
Tucson words: Bear Down
The cry of every happy, agitated, heartbroken University of Arizona sports fan — Bear Down is commonly misunderstood by outsiders who think the UA's mascot must be a bear. (It's a wildcat).
The fight song and motto comes from a legend about a UA football quarterback named John "Button" Salmon, recounted by Greg Hansen in a column here.
Tucson words: Adobe
This dirt and straw-based brick that dries strong in the desert sun was the building material of choice for the first Tucsonans. Used to build Fort Lowell, Tucson's original presidio walls and many homes — adobe is used as a word to describe a building or the individual bricks.