Kate Mulgrew (C) in a scene from Season 2 of Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black”. Photo credit: Ali Goldstein for Netflix.
Photo: Ali Goldstein / Netflix
What exactly is shear? Does folic acid burn? (Trick question.) If you’ve overlooked the real-life obligations of watching Netflix Season Two Orange is the new black – or maybe even if you’re going at your own pace, as a responsible TV consumer – you’ve probably strayed into unfamiliar word territory. Along with commonly used prison terminology and the show’s cultural references, there is also language very specific to Litchfield Federal Prison. Below, Vulture presents a guide to the frequently used vernacular of Orange is the new black sthe second season. Attention: necessary spoilers inside. Use the glossary responsibly.
Parental attachment: A loosely yuppie-ish parenting style that focuses on bonding with your child through constant affection and care. Said to promote healthy emotional development. Polly tries this method, but says “This is fucking bullshit.”
Thunderbolt : A contest between Nicky and Big Boo to see who can have sex with the most women in Litchfield. Subjects are worth a varying number of points (Piper, 3; one guard, 10).
Big house bugle: The name of the prison newsletter, founded by Piper Chapman.
Black adoption festival: An event hosted by the Los Angeles County Department of Children’s Services to help match foster children with parents. This is where season two villain Vee introduces himself to a young Taystee.
Cockroach: An insect trained to carry cigarettes from the camp to isolation. The ideal length for a successful roach steed is between two and four inches.
Compassionate release: When an inmate, usually an inmate with little time to serve, is released prematurely. This often happens as a result of overcrowding or illness. Jimmy is the heartbreaking example of this season.
Connect: A dealer that sells directly to customers. The first time they meet, young Taystee tells Vee, “Aw shit, you’re connected”, but Vee dismisses the title. She is a “business woman”.
Dandelion: Suzanne’s little name for Piper. Also a beautiful flower.
Dress for success: A real program that teaches women how to choose professional attire for job interviews. Dress for Success is co-sponsoring the Litchfield Mock Job Fair, so you have to thank them for the photo below.
Folic acid: A type of vitamin B that is believed to reduce the risk of childhood illness in pregnant women. When Daya mentions her prenatal benefits, her guardian boyfriend, Officer Bennett, jokes that it “sounds dangerous” and makes a sizzling noise, implying it’s really acid (Ha-ha, Bennett, but no). He later makes up for it by bringing in Daya spinach, which is high in folic acid and doesn’t burn.
Fucking book: Nicky’s little black book on sexual conquests in Litchfield.
Funfetti: A truly delicious boxed cake mix topped with sprinkles. Vee shares it with the Taystee crew to convince them. It is a high level strategy.
Leave: A program that allows an inmate (Piper, in this case) to temporarily leave prison grounds.
Gay-for-the-stay: Being a lesbian only in prison. What Vee calls Taystee after seeing her cuddle with Poussey.
Daddy’s Girls: A nickname for the aged Litchfield crew.
Groupon: An application that offers special discount services to users; Larry’s dad uses one for a gay bath.
Horse on horseback: brand name suggested by Taystee for the heroine that Vee sells.
Lingual brake: The stringy connective membrane under the tongue. As she was loaded onto a plane to be transported to Chicago, an inmate claims she cannot lift her tongue because she has a “tight tongue frenum.”
Litchfield lighter: A makeshift lighter made using a battery and rubber packaging. According to this video, it’s actually possible:
Moppett: The name of the mop with a British accent that Crazy Eyes brings to life. (Alternative spelling: Moppet.)
Nein: Translates to “no” in German. POUSSEY SPEAKS GERMAN!
Passive resistance: A non-violent form of revolt against a law, system, person or organization. Example: Litchfield newcomer Brook Soso’s hunger strike protesting the shower.
Pee cushion: Also known as “maxi-maxi”. Two stacked Maxi pads used for urinating, diaper style.
Stuffed toy: A description for a curvy woman. Invented by Black Cindy.
Pirojki: Rolls or stuffed pies from Russia. Red boasts that his version of the pastry is top notch. Here is an example of a recipe.
Poochie: Slang for “bitch”. As a marshal puts it, “I can’t say whores anymore. It is degrading.
Prison wife: A fellow inmate considered to be a sexual partner and / or a girlfriend.
Safe place: A therapeutic support group started by Agent Healy. In a meeting, he asks Flores (the woman who used to talk to Diablo in the bathroom cubicle) to use the “Feelings Board” to express herself.
Scissors : A sex position that involves two women wrapping their legs like scissors for stimulation. Poussey doesn’t believe it: “I told you that scissors weren’t a trick!”
Segment: Also known as the advertising segment. Abbreviation for “administrative segregation”. Also look SHU and Isolation.
To pull: A written violation for inmates who break the rules. Sometimes for minor things (“I don’t like your face,” Mendez says). The guards must issue a certain amount to fulfill the obligations of Figueroa shooting quota.
SHU: Acronym for Secure Housing Unit. A room where inmates who break prison rules are sent alone as a punishment. Also known as isolation.
Sideboob: The name of Officer Joe Caputo’s group. Most famous songs: “You Slay Me” and “Working in the Mine”. Anecdote: the group exists in real life.
Slock: A combination lock inside a sock. Vee uses it as a weapon against Red.
snatch sisters: Nicky’s term of affection for two women who share a mutual sex partner.
Present and deliver: A device for women who want to pee while standing. Consists of two parts: a plastic funnel and a tube. Inventor: Poussey.
Tiger Balm: An ointment used as a pain reliever. Not ideal for lips or eyeballs, according to Crazy Eyes.
Vigilance: Abbreviation of Vigorish; refers to the reduction in the dealer’s profit. Taystee mentions this when breaking down how much money one of Vee’s clients owes.
WWOOF: Acronym for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. Also known as Volunteer workers on organic farms. A program that connects volunteers with farmers. Soso remembers “WWOOFing at a nut farm in Xenia (which is a town in Ohio). “
Yoda: The nickname for the roach that runs alone. Piper ends her life by mistake. See also: cockroach.
Zoo, Bronx: The largest urban zoo in the world; also a useful insult. When Red comes back from break and goes to get her food, Maria calls her “a big Russian bear” and says, “She hibernates until she gets strong again.” Maritza retorts, “What the fuck do you know about bears? What, do you live near the Bronx Zoo or something?