How Do You Say Your Zip Code?

Photo courtesy of
‘Postcard to President Obama at 350 International Day of Climate Action in San Francisco’
courtesy of ‘Steve Rhodes’

Here in DC, our residential zip codes look like this: 200XX.  Simple enough, but for many of us it leads to a mouthful.  I typically abbreviate my 20005 zip code as “two triple-o five” when I give it over the phone, but this generally leads to hesitation/confusion by whoever is entering it.  A friend of mine in Dupont says his 20037 zip code as “two hundred and thirty-seven”, which I say is just plain WRONG– that’s a three-digit number, not a zip code.  Similarly, a friend who lives in Capitol Hill says her 20003 zip code as “two thousand and three”, which I think is misleading because it sounds like 2003.

So, has anyone found a good way of conveying your zip code orally without having to say “zero-zero-zero” in the middle?

Shannon grew up in the greater DC area/Maryland suburbs, went to Virginia for college and grad school (go Hoos!), and settled in DC in 2006. She’s an urban planner who loves transit (why yes, that is her dressed as a Metro pylon for Halloween), cities, and all things DC. Email her at Shannon (at)!

21 thoughts on “How Do You Say Your Zip Code?

  1. I seriously have to say the zero zero zero and then i say “that’s three zeroes”, you know, just for good measure.

  2. When I worked downtown, it was always Two Triple Oh Five or Six or Four. We’ve got clients in 20040 and 20036 which are Two Double Oh Four Oh and Two Double Oh Three Six.

  3. I say “two triple-zero five.” I worry for someone who thinks saying “two-thousand five” conveys 20005.

  4. If I’m talking to someone in dc, I say “two thousand (pause) nine.” Everyone knows what that means. Everyone in dc would know what “two hundred, thirty-seven” would be, too. If I’m talking to someone outside dc, I say “two zero zero zero nine.”

  5. “Two zero zero two four.” If the intention is to be understood, why risk it? I think the trick for you all with three zeroes is when you pause and when you emphasize, for instance “TWOzero, zerozero, nine” is better than “twozerozerozeronine.”

  6. Two zero zero one five. But I’ve also found that, if I’m talking to someone in the district, I can often get away with just saying “fifteen,” as they’ve already typed the 2-0-0.

  7. I always say “two trip-zero seven,” which somehow always works despite the abbreviation of ‘triple.’ When I had a 10036 zip code before moving to DC, I’d always say “one-hundred [beat] thirty-six.” That one did always have people hesitating as they took the information on the phone

  8. I used to say “two-triple-oh-one” but have found that “two hundred-oh-one” is easier and rarely misinterpreted.

  9. Even when I say “two-zero-zero-zero-nine” the instant response is always, ALWAYS, “2009? you’re missing a number”

  10. I’m amazed at how many times i have said 2-zero-zero-zero-8 aloud and the person only types two zeros. Its like people have a mental block against 3 of something in a row, but 2 is fine.

    I like the Oh Oh Oh! idea & might try that next time.

  11. I like Matt DC’s suggestions. I’m going to start breaking it up differently.

    Two zero
    Zero Zero

    (My home zip is a lot better though for ease of communication: 222-oh-2)

  12. two triple-zero one. most people understand what triple means if you don’t treat them like idiots.