You Betcha: Brush up on your Minnesota slang

As you’ll see in the movies Fargo and Drop Dead Gorgeous, Minnesotans are known for elongating the letters a and o in speech (boooat, baaag). But if you want to sound more like a native, use these terms:

  • 94, 35W, 62 = Highways/interstates (don’t say ‘I-494’ or ‘Interstate 35 West’)
  • Aquatennial = The summer festival for the city of Minneapolis
  • “Borrow me” = to lend; similar usage as other parts of the country; example, “will you borrow me a dollar?”
  • Breezers = hockey pants
  • “The cabin” = anything that you travel to “up north” (see definition below); could be a house, cabin, trailer, etc
  • Crosstown = Also known as Highway 62; runs parallel to 94 in the metro and travels just north of the airport
  • “Darn tootin!” = use that phrase anytime you want to say “damn right!”
  • Dinkytown = an area near the University of Minnesota filled with bars and restaurants
  • “Dontcha know” = slang for ‘don’t you know’; it’s used mostly as filler at the end of sentences; example, “Barb and her husband just moved from Brainerd to Bemidji, dontcha know.”
  • Duck, duck, grey duck = what everyone else calls ‘duck, duck, goose’; while playing the game, you announce colors of ducks (blue duck, yellow duck) and the person who is ‘it’ is the grey duck
  • Eat Street = a diverse array of locally-owned restaurants along Nicollet Avenue starting just south of downtown Minneapolis; it doesn’t get the attention it deserves
  • “Fer cute” = see definition of “Oh for cute” below
  • “Geez” = disbelief; use geez when ‘Oh for Pete’s sake!’ (definition below) is too dramatic
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The Minnesota State Fair draws upwards to two million visitors during its 12 day run.
  • Great Minnesota Get Together = the Minnesota State Fair, a 12 day extravaganza held at the end of summer (check out my ultimate State Fair guide here)
  • Hot dish = what Minnesotans call a casserole, most popular is the tater tot hot dish
  • “Interesting” or “that’s interesting” = a passive-aggressive phrase used when something should be judged and critiqued but the Minnesotan saying it doesn’t want to explain their reasoning because they feel it would be offensive
  • “Ish” = something is gross or yucky
  • Jell-O salad = this is not marshmallow fluff; Jell-O Salad is flavored gelatin — aka Jell-O — with fruit, vegetables, marshmallows, nuts, and maybe even cottage cheese inside
  • Juicy (or Jucy) Lucy = a hamburger stuffed with molten-hot cheese; there’s much debate about which restaurant serves the original (and best) one…they even spell it differently
  • “Kinda spendy” = an expression used to express that something is more expensive than one thought it would or should be; example, “Gosh Barb, that hat is kinda spendy”
  • Kitty-corner = Diagonally across from you
  • “Kranz” = how to pronounce ‘crayons’; a select few will call them “color kranz”
  • Loop = the ring surrounding Minneapolis and Saint Paul by Interstates 494 and 694
  • MOA = Mall of America
  • McGolden or Mich Golden = Michelob Golden Light, a beer popular with Minnesotans
  • Midtown Greenway = a bike and pedestrian friendly trail running through the heart of Minneapolis (south of downtown)
  • Minnesota goodbye = the opposite of an Irish Goodbye or French Goodbye; usually means you’ll stand around for 20 minutes saying goodbye before people actually leave
  • Minnesota nice = outside of Minnesota, it means the friendly strangers and hospitality you’ll encounter here; to a few Minnesotans, it equates to the passive-aggressiveness you’ll encounter with the people who live here
  • Nicollet Mall = about 12 blocks in downtown Minneapolis closed off to car traffic (buses and taxis welcome) with restaurants and shopping; to Minnesotans, it’s a sore subject as it was under construction for way too long


  • Northeast = hip Minneapolis neighborhood just across the Mississippi River from downtown; also referred as Nord’east (Nord’east also happens to be the name of a beer)
  • North = The identity and branding of Minnesota as ‘The North’; you’ll see it on merchandise; it also is a neighborhood in Minneapolis
  • North Loop = vibrant area full of top-notch restaurants to the northwest of downtown; not the same neighborhood as North Minneapolis
  • “Oh for cute!” or “Fer cute!”= to exclaim something is adorable
  • “Oh for Pete’s sake!” = an exclamation that something is unbelievable; typically not about a guy named Pete
  • “Oh ya” = see definition for ‘ya’ below
  • “Okie dokie” = said in agreement or to replace ‘yes’; example, “Hey Barb, can you fax those documents?” “Okie dokie!”
  • “Ope!” = excuse me; as in, “Ope! Sorry, I just need to sneak past ya there.”
  • “Out and about” = to head out of the house, perhaps to run errands; example, “Hun, I’m going out and about.”
  • Outstate = anywhere in Minnesota outside of the Twin Cities
  • Pop = soda or Coke; it is only called pop
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Skol artwork inside U.S. Bank Stadium
  • Skol = most commonly used by the Minnesota Vikings; a Scandinavian term meaning “cheers” or “good health”
  • Skyway = indoor links, mostly on the second level, connecting buildings in both downtowns
  • Stadium Village = an area on the U of M campus with the University’s sport venues — TCF Bank Stadium, Mariucci Arena and Williams Arena (aka The Barn)
  • Strib = nickname for the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper
  • The Cities = a collective term describing Minneapolis and Saint Paul; also known as the ‘Sin Cities’
  • U of M = University of Minnesota; also referred as ‘The U’
  • “Uffda” (also spelled: oofda, oofdah) = an exclamation or interjection; shows dismay, surprise, or being overwhelmed; example, “Uffda! Listening to Barb talk about her Florida vacation for an hour was tiring.”
  • “Unthaw” = an expression used after spending time in the cold; a human could unthaw after being outside in the winter; you could also unthaw hamburger from the freezer
  • Up north = anywhere in Minnesota north of 94 and outside of the metro; doesn’t matter if it’s northwest, north or northeast; it is mentioned as “going up north”
  • Uptown = south of downtown Minneapolis
  • “Ya” or “ya sure” = yes; if it’s pronounced as “Ya. Sure.” with pauses between the words, that means there’s a level or passive-aggressiveness/sarcasm coming from the person who said it
  • “Ya know” = see definition for ‘dontcha know’ above
  • “You betcha” = a phrase declaring you agree
  • “Yous guys” = referring to a group of people

Know Minnesota slang that should be on this list? Let me know on Facebook or Twitter!

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