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Old 04-26-2011, 04:00 PM
Location: Brambleton, VA
2,187 posts, read 6,839,172 times
Reputation: 2161


I just say the Washington DC area. When I type, it is NOVA. I am only specific with people in the area. I agree with others who say that most people don't know Northern Virginia from Southern Virginia. I don't know what most people imagine this area to be like, but metropolitan and people without southern accents doesn't seem to top the list.
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Old 04-26-2011, 04:25 PM
Location: Northern Virginia
4,489 posts, read 9,587,370 times
Reputation: 3656
I always tell people I'm from DC.
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Old 04-26-2011, 05:15 PM
19,183 posts, read 28,393,045 times
Reputation: 4002
NoVa is a text-based short-form. Nobody actually says ROFL or IIRC either. Otherwise, for local area people "Vienna" works fine because everyone knows the Orange Line goes there, so they have the general idea just from that. Pretty much everyone else gets "Northern Virginia...just outside of Washington, DC". If people don't understand the difference between NoVa and downstate, maybe it's time they should start, eh? And the second half clarifies well, even overseas. The District is either DC or the District. The latter is kind of local though. Outside the area, the term doesn't get the sort of automatic recognition that DC does.
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Old 04-26-2011, 05:31 PM
857 posts, read 1,004,233 times
Reputation: 541
I'm from Richmond and only started hearing NoVA when I went to VA Tech.

How I break it down:

To people in DC/MD, I say I live in VA.
To people from N. VA, I say the city/town.
To people elsewhere VA, it's Northern VA
To people from other places in the US, it's "I live outside of DC"

I never say DMV, because that would mean I'm claiming Maryland, and, well, that's just unacceptable
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Old 04-26-2011, 05:54 PM
Location: New-Dentist Colony
5,740 posts, read 8,982,977 times
Reputation: 3858
I call it the Nizzle Vizzle.

Just kidding.

I just say I live in Arlington--unless the person is from outside the DC region, in which case I say Arlington, Virginia. If they're from the US but outside the Mid-Atlantic region, I say the Washington, DC area--or Arlington, Virginia (since most people know it from Arlington Cemetery).

"DMV" I think must be urban slang, since most people in the V have no desire to be associated with the M, feelings vary widely about the D.

"Northern Virginia" sounds like something a Civil War re-enactor would say while spitting tobacco juice. Although it does come in handy when explaining the area to outsiders.

NOVA is a boring TV show, a crappy car from the '70s, and the Spanish phrase describing a problem common to said automobile.
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Old 04-26-2011, 06:28 PM
Location: Alexandria, VA
11,419 posts, read 20,291,603 times
Reputation: 16495
I used to drive a Nova! LOL - that car was a trooper

Anyway: to folks outside the state I say I'm from Virginia, within the state I say Alexandria and if they aren't sure where it is I then say Northern Virginia. I never say I'm from DC as I'm not but I do call it DC when I refer to it.
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Old 04-26-2011, 08:05 PM
7,968 posts, read 18,094,647 times
Reputation: 2597
I say "the Virginia side of DC" or "Alexandria, across the river from DC".
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Old 04-26-2011, 08:13 PM
1,759 posts, read 1,756,454 times
Reputation: 946
Originally Posted by Kembek View Post
People outside of this area don't know northern Va. from southern Va.
I'm from South Jersey.
No matter who I'm talking to I always specify South Jersey b/c it is seriously a different state from North Jersey, and outsiders always assume I should be saying "Fuhgeddaboutit" or "Joisey" or that my hair should be bigger, or some other ignorant crap.

At least Virginia as a state isn't maligned in the general media like NJ is,
so I don't blame you for not making the distinction.
But some of us have to take drastic measures for other states.
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Old 04-26-2011, 08:46 PM
19,183 posts, read 28,393,045 times
Reputation: 4002
Yep...huge difference between North Jersey and South Jersey. Is some ways, it's fortunate that there's Central Jersey to serve as a buffer. That difference goes back a long way, though. NoVa by contrast is all but entirely a creature of just the past four or five decades.
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Old 04-26-2011, 09:34 PM
Location: Chapel Hill, NC, formerly DC and Phila
8,569 posts, read 12,685,046 times
Reputation: 8334
It really depends on the audience. I say to a:

Local audience - Vienna
Mid-Atlantic/Northeast US audience - Northern Virginia/outside DC
Southern US audience - Virginia (they like it better if they think you're one of them, even if you're not. ;-))
Anywhere else in the country or outside the US - Washington, DC

I never say "NoVA." I just write it - usually on C-D. I hate the DMV term and do not use it in speech or in writing.

We, too had a Chevy Nova growing up. And I'm sure you've all heard the urban legend of when Chevy introduced the Chevy Nova in Latin America and very few sold. They were scratching their heads as to why since it was a good seller in the US. Then someone realized "No va" means "no go" in Spanish so they changed the name of the car. (Actually, according to the reliable Internet, this story is a true urban legend and never really happend, but it makes a good story anyway.)
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