Do you wish you can adopt that Minnesotan accent? How about learning some new words that will make you feel part of the society? Well, if you are new in Minnesota, or are planning a tour to the state soon, these Minnesota slang terms will do the trick.
81 Minnesota Slang Terms You Need to Know
If you’ve watched the popular TV show Fargo, then you must know what I’m talking about. Not only are Minnesotans known for elongating certain letters like “a” and “o” in a sentence, but they also have a strong accent that might take you some time to get what they are saying. Especially if you’re visiting northern Minnesota or near the North Dakota border.
Also, although this stereotypical Minnesotan accent may not be that apparent in other parts of the state, there are still many other words and phrases used here that you need to know.
Also, there are various words that Minnesotans use in their daily conversations that mean totally different things from how you know them.
So, if you are traveling to our beautiful state, here are some unique Minnesota slang terms, phrases, and sayings you must learn to fit in:
Top Minnesota Phrases
These are some of the most common Minnesota slang terms you’ll come across during your stay. You better learn now how to use some in your sentences. This might help you feel more like a local.
- “You betcha!” – This is a simple affirmative phrase that is distinct to the Minnesotans. The variation of the vowels may vary depending on the city, but the meaning remains the same. It is mostly used to show that you agree with what is being said.
- “Oh, for cute.” – This is one of the most authentic Minnesota-ish slang I know. It’s used as an exclamation for something adorable or amusing. The phrase can also be pronounced as “Fer cute!”
- “Oh, for Pete’s sake!” – Another exclamation phrase, although used when you encounter something unbelievable. The funny thing with the phrase is that it has nothing to do with anyone called Pete.
- “Oh, my garsh.” – A clear attempt to evade actual cursing. The unique Minnesota saying is mainly used in the place of several other phrases like “Oh, my goodness,” “OMG,” or even, “Oh, for f**ck’s sake!” The phrase is quite ideal while in the presence of more reserved Minnesotans.
- “Oh, yah” (declarative or interrogative) – This is another affirmative phrase, that can also be used to pose a question. For instance: when responding to a question, (“You excited about your new ride?” “Oh, yah!”), or a surprising statement (“This season, the Vikings might have a good chance at the super ball.” “Oh, yah?!”) Where the emphasis is, is what matters.
- “Have some bars!” – Simply means, “have some cookies or brownies.” Here in Minnesota, lemon squares, brownies, or any sweet baked quadrangles are all labeled bars. These include Rice Crispie bars, scotcheroo bars, pumpkin spice bars, and chocolate chip bars, etc.
- “Duck, Duck, Gray Duck” Here in Minnesota, these words are used in the game that the rest of the world know as Duck, Duck, Goose. The reason for this, I might never understand.
- “Up North” – While in many other parts of the world, the phrase stands for a directional statement, Minnesotans use it differently. When a Minnesotan tells you “Up North,” they simply want to refer to the woods or their cabin. And no matter the direction of the woods, it’s still “Up North.”
- “Dontcha knows” – This is one Minnesotan phrase that you can insert in any conversation with a Minnesotan and still make sense. The funny thing here is, the phrase usually doesn’t mean anything.
- “Uff-da” – The phrase, which is of Norwegian origin, is used as a joke by most millennials, but it’s quite commonly used by older folks. It’s an exclamation phrase that expresses various emotions such as surprise, disgruntlement, tiredness, astonishment, or relief. The tone will help you understand the meaning.
- Breezers – This refers to hockey pants
- “Ish” – Applicable when showing that something is yucky or gross
- U of M – Refers to the University of Minnesota. Also abbreviated as “The U”
- Strib – A Minneapolis slang for “The Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper.”
- Skyway – These are indoor links or sky bridges that connect buildings in the two downtowns.
Things Minnesotans Pronounce Weird
Some words, although spelled the same, you can’t imagine how different the Minnesotans pronounce them. The people from the land of 10,000 lakes give some of these words a completely new sound:
- Bag – In any other part of the word, this word is pronounced as a bag. In Minnesota, however, it sounds more like a “beg or a bayyyyyygggggg.”
- Roof – This is even weirder! Do you recall that funny sound a dog makes? That might be precisely how the word sounds from a Minnesotan.
- Milk – How can this word sound different? Well, with people in our good state, it’s more than possible. Melk is what we call this fantastic liquid here.
- Wagon – You’ll simply think Minnesotans are talking about waggin or weghon. You’re left to wonder what that even means!
- Dragon – Don’t even think for a second, they are talking about dragging something. They are actually talking about the dragon. That creature that breaths fire in “The Game of Thrones.”
Popular Minnesota Sayings
- “Three can keep a secret if one is dead,”
- “Not anyone on this Earth knows my age.”
- “We have three cats. It’s like having children, but there is no tuition involved.”
- “If you come to come to Minnesota, I will have you locked up like that. That’s power.”
- “The women all want to dance. I dance all night every night.”
- “It’s kitty-corner from your house.”
- “The longest road trip I’ve ever been on is from Minnesota to Los Angeles.”
- “I love everything Minnesota.”
- “Minnesota: Come for the culture, stay because your car won’t start.”
- “Ya know you’re from Minnesota when you love Caribou better than Starbucks.”
- “At 65 degrees, Arizonans turn on the heat. People in Minnesota plant gardens.”
- “At 60 degrees Californians shiver uncontrollably. Minnesotans sunbathe.”
- “Ya know you’re from Minnesota when you go Up North for vacation.”
- “Welcome to the Midwest, where the forecasts are made up and the seasons don’t matter.”
- “What a lovely winter you are having this spring.”
- “There are only three things you can grow in Minnesota; colder, older, and fatter.”
See Related: 12 Best Breweries in Minneapolis
Minnesota Slang: Words that only a Minnesotan Would Understand
- Skol! – This is a Scandinavian word that means “cheers” or “good health”. In Minnesota, this is the only word that people use to show their ultimate love for the Vikings team.
- Pop – While the rest of the world has coke or soda, in Minnesota, we have Pop. Just Pop!
- Skijor – A common sport in Minnesota, which involves dogs hauling people on skis.
- Lutefisk – Minnesota’s fruitcake
- Kranz – How people in Minnesota pronounce ‘crayons’; some will also call them “color kranz.”
- “McGolden or Mich Golden” – A very popular beer among the Minnesotans.
- “Northeast or Nord’ east” – A modish Minneapolis neighborhood located just next to the Mississippi River while from downtown. Nord’ east is also a popular beer’s name.
- Kitty-corner – Used to indicate diagonally across from where you are.
- Meat raffle – A game usually played at a bar or VFW: One buys a ticket, someone else spins a wheel with numbers, and you win if the wheel lands on your ticket number. If you win, your prize is some meat cuts from a butcher shop.
- “The Cities” – A term used to describe the Twin Cities; Minneapolis and St Paul.
- “Kinda spendy” – A Minnesotan expression to indicate that something is pricier than what someone initially thought. For instance, “Oh my garsh Barb, that ring is kinda spendy.”
- Aquatennial – This is a Minneapolis slang referring to the famous summer festival in the city.
- MOA – An abbreviation for the “Mall of America.”
- “Midtown Greenway” – A pedestrian and bike-friendly track that runs across Minneapolis, south of downtown.
- “Yous guys” – Applicable when you want to refer to a certain group of people.
- Uptown – Typically referring to the southern side of downtown Minneapolis.
Words with a Different Meaning in Minnesota than Elsewhere
Did you that some of the words you know might mean a completely different thing in Minnesota? Before you say anything, please take a quick glance here to ensure that what you say is what the people will hear.
- Hotdish – While the word means a hot plate of any dish elsewhere, in Minnesota, it’s the perfect way to ask for casserole.
- “Borrow me” – means to lend. Used in a similar manner as one would use “lend me” elsewhere in the country. Example; “can you please borrow me your car?”
- Salad – To the rest of the world, this means a light leafy green dish, sometimes with a dressing or white meat. But to people in Minnesota, the term refers to marshmallows, Jell-O, and possibly some fruit.
- Ketchup – Elsewhere, this means a tomato-based sauce put on foods like French Fries or perhaps burgers and hot dogs and burgers. To Minnesotans, they smear this sauce on steak.
- Goodbye – While in most other places, it’s a word used to announce a person’s departure or parting ways, in Minnesota, it’s more than that. It means at least half-an-hour long process of chatting before someone actually leaves.
- Dinkytown – If you’ve been to the University of Minnesota, you should know what this stands for. It’s an area near the university that has numerous bars and restaurants.
- State bird – Usually used to refer to mosquitos. And they are plenty of them out here.
- “Could be worse” – Just what a Minnesotan will say after receiving bad news. Example; “Mum, I was in a motor accident, and the car is a complete wreck.” Mum: “Could be worse.”
- “Darn tootin!” – A phrase that can fit perfectly in the place of “damn right!”
- Crosstown – Also known as MN 62 (Minnesota State Highway 62), it’s a highway in Minnesota that until 1988, was a section of CR 62 (County Road 62)
- “Geez” – The people in Minneapolis use the word to express disbelief. The term is ideal when ‘Oh, for Pete’s sake!’ sounds a bit dramatic.
- “Interesting” – When people in Minnesota use this phrase, it’s a nice way to say that something should be judged, but they don’t want to appear offensive.
- “Loop” – “The ring that surrounds Saint Paul and Minneapolis through interstate highways 494 and 694.”
- Minnesota nice – To visitors/outsiders, it refers to the friendliness and hospitality shown by the locals. But to some locals, it’s the same as the passive-aggressiveness you’re likely to encounter from the Minnesotans.
- “Unthaw” –A common phrase used on someone who has spent time in the Minnesota cold. It’s also possible to unthaw a cold hamburger after getting it out of the freezer. It means to remove ice.
See Related: 30 Cheap Places to Travel in [Ultimate Guide]
Funny Minnesota Slogans
And, if you ever thought that people here are boring, then you might want to rethink that. Here are some amazing slogans that show just how funny Minnesotans can be:
- “10,000 Lakes and 10,000,000,000 Mosquitoes”
- “Have You Jump Started Your Kid Today?”
- “Mosquito Supplier to the Free World”
- “Land of 2 Seasons: Winter is Coming, Winter is Here”
- “Closed for glacier repairs.”
- “Survive Minnesota, and the Rest of the World is Easy”
- “If You Love Minnesota, Raise Your Right Ski”
- “Why, Minnesota? To Protect Ontario from Iowa!”
- “Minnesota: Land of 10,000 Petersons”
- “Save a Minnesotan – Eat a Mosquito”
- “10,000 Lakes and No Sharks!”
- “Not Sweden, but we act like it.”
- “Minnesota: the home of blonde hair and blue ears.”
- “Where Visitors Turn Blue with Envy”
- “No one on this Earth knows how old I am.”
Conclusion on Minnesota Slang Words and Phrases
Whereas most regions around the globe have their unique accents and slang words, Minnesota tops the list. If you want to converse like a local in this beautiful city, then you should master the above Minnesota slang words and phrases.
However, you shouldn’t panic for not memorizing all; even just having “Dontcha know” under your sleeve still suffices. That is if you just want a phrase that fits in any conversation.
- 12 Epic Things to Do Along the Minneapolis Riverwalk
- 4 Top Sites for Booking Tours: Maximize Your Experiences
- Why is everyone obsessed with travel?
Via Travelers is a modern travel blog focused on helping you learn the best travel tips, travel hacks, and itineraries to explore the world. Find your wanderlust.