December 5, 2020

Give Me The Mike

Exploring Minnesota and Beyond.

You Betcha: Brush up on your Minnesota slang

As you 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.

As you’ll see in the movies “Fargo” and “Drop Dead Gorgeous”, Minnesotans are known for elongating the letters ‘a’ and ‘o’ in speech. For example, ‘bag’ becomes ‘bahg’.

However, 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

Related: What you should know before visiting 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

Related: Exploring Nisswa and Gull Lake, Minnesota

  • “Could be worse” = What a Minnesotan says after hearing bad news. Bob: “Barb, I got in a car accident. The headlight is smashed, but that’s about it.” Barb: “Could be worse.”
  • 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 and usually is said to invoke a response; 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
  • “For cripes sake!” = Mild anger
  • “Geez” or “Geez Louise” = disbelief; use when “Oh for Pete’s sake!” (definition below) is too dramatic
  • “Good grief” = exhaustion; also used by Charlie Brown (the Peanuts were created by Minnesotan Charles Schulz)
  • “Gosh darn it” = signifies disappointment
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The Minnesota State Fair draws upwards to two million visitors during its 12 day run.
  • The Great Minnesota Get Together = the Minnesota State Fair, a 12 day extravaganza held at the end of summer

Related: The top 10 foods to start the 2021 Minnesota State Fair

  • Hot dish = what others would call a casserole; most popular is the tater tot hot dish
  • “I’m just gonna squeeze right past ya there” = a long way to say “excuse me”
  • “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
  • “Jesus, Mary and Joseph!” = an exclamation which typically signifies fear; used by Kristie Alley’s character in the movie, “Drop Dead Gorgeous”, a fictional mockumentary set in Minnesota
  • 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; not exclusively a Minnesota term
  • “Kranz” = how some pronounce ‘crayons’; a select few will call them “color kranz”
  • The Loop = the ring surrounding Minneapolis and Saint Paul by Interstates 494 and 694; not to be confused with the North Loop (definition below)
  • Lutefisk = a dried whitefish (cod), pickled in lye and served with lots of butter; a Christmastime delicacy for Scandinavians
  • Meat raffle = usually held at a VFW or bar; you buy a ticket, someone spins a wheel filled with numbers, and if it lands on your number, you get to take home various cuts of meat from a butcher shop

Related: The 5 best meat raffles in Minnesota

  • 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; typically 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 some Minnesotans, it equates to the passive-aggressiveness you’ll encounter with the people who live here
  • Minnesota standoff = when multiple vehicles pull up to a stop sign at the same time and then debate (from their cars) about who has the right-of-way
  • 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 the re-construction took 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; North is 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 fer crying out loud!” = frustration; it’s reserved for true anger
  • “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!” = an expression of discovery; example, “Ope! So that’s where I left my car keys.” Can also be used in exchange for ‘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 metro

Related: The best pizzerias in Minnesota

  • Pop = soda or Coke; it is all 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 bridges in the sky connecting buildings in both downtown Minneapolis and Saint Paul; most are on the second level
  • 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
  • Supperclub = a restaurant, typically in a smaller town, that is the fine dining establishment for the community; expect to find a relish tray, wood paneling on the walls, multiple types of potatoes and a good old fashioned cocktail
  • The Cities = a collective term describing Minneapolis and Saint Paul; also known as the ‘Sin Cities’

Related: What you should know before visiting Saint Paul

  • 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
  • Wisconsin = a neighboring state where Minnesotans go to buy fireworks; many Minnesotans have distain for Wisconsinites
  • “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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