You Betcha: Brush up on your Minnesota slang

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As you’ll see in the movies Fargo and Drop Dead Gorgeous, Minnesotans are known for elongating the letters a and o (booat, 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
  • Breezers = hockey pants
  • Crosstown = Also known as Highway 62; runs parallel to 94 in the metro and runs just north of the airport
  • Dinkytown = an area near the University of Minnesota filled with bars and restaurants; great place for watching intoxicated college students
  • Duck, duck, grey duck = what everyone else calls ‘duck, duck, goose’
  • Eat Street = a diverse array of locally owned restaurants running along Nicollet Avenue starting just south of downtown Minneapolis; it doesn’t get the attention it deserves
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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
  • 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
  • Kitty-corner = Diagonally across from you
  • Loop = the ring surrounding Minneapolis and Saint Paul by Interstates 494 and 694
  • MOA = Mall of America
  • McGolden = 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. It usually mans 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 see with some people living 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
  • 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
  • “Oh for cute!” = to exclaim something is adorable
  • “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; as in, “Hun, I’m going out and about.”
  • Outstate = anywhere in Minnesota outside of the Twin Cities
  • Pop = soda or Coke
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Skol artwork inside U.S. Bank Stadium
  • Skol = most commonly, a term used by the Minnesota Vikings; a Scandinavian term meaning “cheers” or “good health”
  • Skyway = indoor links 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 (or oofda, oofdah) = an exclamation or interjection, shows dismay, surprise, or being overwhelmed
  • Up north = anywhere in Minnesota north of 94; doesn’t matter if it’s northwest, north or northeast
  • Uptown = south of downtown Minneapolis
  • Ya = yes
  • You betcha = a phrase declaring you agree

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

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