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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. For example, ‘bag’ becomes ‘bahg’.

However, if you want to sound more like a native, use these Minnesota sayings below.

Become a pro after you dive into Give Me The Mike’s Best of Minnesota guides, including editions featuring the best museums, pizza and breakfast.

94, 35W, 62

Highways/interstates (don’t say ‘I-494’ or ‘Interstate 35 West’)

“A scissors”

Instead of “a pair of scissors” or simply “the scissors”

Can you hand me a scissors?




The summer festival for the city of Minneapolis

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“Borrow me”

To lend; similar usage as other parts of the country

“Will you borrow me a dollar?”


Hockey pants

Broasted chicken

A type of fried chicken that is made in a pressure cooker

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Camp Snoopy

What the amusement park inside Mall of America was previously called; it featured Peanuts characters

“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.”


Also known as Highway 62; the freeway 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!”

“Didn’t care for it”

Stating that you didn’t like what you just consumed

“Judy, what did you think of the hotdish?”

Judy: “I didn’t care for it.”


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

“Barb and her husband just moved from Brainerd to Bemidji, dontcha know.”

Duck, duck, gray duck

What nearly 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 gray 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

“For Pete’s sake!”

(see definition of “Oh for Pete’s sake” below)

“Geez” or “Geez Louise”

Disbelief; use when “Oh for Pete’s sake!” (definition below) is too dramatic

“Good gravy”

Express surprise or anger when you don’t want to use profanity

“Good grief”

Exhaustion; also used by Charlie Brown (the Peanuts were created by Minnesotan Charles Schulz)

“Gosh darn it”

Signifies disappointment

The Great Minnesota Get Together

The Minnesota State Fair, a 12 day extravaganza held at the end of summer

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Halloween blizzard of ’91

A major storm from October 31 – November 3, 1991 which brought 28″ of snow to the Twin Cities; still brought up in conversation


What others would call a casserole; most popular is the tater tot hotdish

“I didn’t hate it” or “I don’t hate it”

How a Minnesotan will passively insult something when asked for their opinion

“Hank, what did you think of the concert?”

Hank: “I didn’t hate it.”

“I’m just gonna squeeze right past ya there”

How a Minnesotan says ‘excuse me’

“I’ma just scoot right past ya there”

Yet another 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


Something is gross or yucky

“It’s fine” or “It was fine”

A Minnesotan’s way of saying it isn’t fine at all, but you don’t want to say it was bad

“Barb, how’s my Jello-O salad?”

Barb: “It’s fine.”

Jell-O salad

This is not the typical 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…the competing restaurants spell it differently

“Kinda spendy”

An expression used to suggest that something is more expensive than one thought it would or should be

“Gosh Barb, that hat is kinda spendy.”


Diagonally across from you; not exclusively Minnesota slang


How some pronounce ‘crayons’; a select few will call them “color kranz”

Lindau or Killebrew

The roads on the north and south sides of the Mall of America; Minnesotans can get passionate as to what street they take to get to MOA

The Loop

The ring surrounding Minneapolis and Saint Paul by Interstates 494 and 694; not to be confused with the North Loop (definition below)


A dried whitefish (cod), pickled in lye and served with lots of butter; a Christmastime delicacy for Scandinavians

Meat market

Like a butcher shop; many small towns in Minnesota have meat markets where they will process wild game and farm animals

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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

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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


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)

Northeast Minneapolis


The identity and branding of Minnesota as ‘The North’; you’ll see it on merchandise; North is also 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

Minnesota slang

“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’

“Hey Barb, can you fax those documents?”

“Okie dokie!”


An expression of discovery

“Ope! So that’s where I left my car keys.”

Can also be used in exchange for ‘excuse me’

“Ope! Sorry, I just need to sneak past ya there.”

“Out and about”

To head out of the house, perhaps to run errands

“Hun, I’m going out and about.”


Anywhere in Minnesota outside of the Twin Cities metro

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Soda or Coke; it is all called pop

Princess Kay of the Milky Way

Royalty of Minnesota’s Dairy Industry; at the Minnesota State Fair, their likenesses are carved out of blocks of butter

Princess Kay butter sculptures
Photo courtesy Minnesota State Fair.


A brand of quality fishing lures made in Finland; popular with Minnesotans


A slogan used by the University of Minnesota; it is loosely tied to the Dakota language


Most commonly used by the Minnesota Vikings; a Scandinavian term meaning “cheers” or “good health”

Skol U.S. Bank Stadium
Skol artwork inside U.S. Bank Stadium.


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)


Nickname for the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper

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Star Tribune
Photo courtesy Star Tribune.


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 cabin”

Anything that you travel to “up north” (see definition below); could be a house, cabin, trailer, etc

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“The Cities”

A collective term describing Minneapolis and Saint Paul; also known as the ‘Sin Cities’

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Top the Tater

A brand of seasoned sour cream; frequently used as a chip dip

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

“Uffda! Listening to Barb talk about her Florida vacation for an hour was tiring.”


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”


Neighborhood south of downtown Minneapolis

“What the heck?”

How a Minnesotan responds when they question a decision

“Who wants to come with?”

The Minnesota way of asking, ‘Do you want to go with me?’

“I’m headed to the store. Who wants to come with?”


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

Can you think of Minnesota slang that should be on this list? Tell me!

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This Post Has 20 Comments

  1. Matt M

    The best one of all is “Minnesota Standoff” When two or more people pull up to a 4-way stop, and then proceed to wait/argue about who should go. Usually precipitated by the person who just barely had the right of way, but didn’t want to risk angering the other motorist

    1. Give Me The Mike

      Love this! Thanks for the suggestion.

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