Slang Words Only People in Your State Know


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Buckle up, buttercup! Ever wondered why someone in Minnesota is talking about a “hotdish” at a potluck, or scratched your head in Louisiana when you heard “fixin’ to make groceries”? Every state in the U.S. has a secret language that shows off what life is like there. 

PlayNJ, a gaming website, conducted a nationwide survey of 2,000 individuals and used data from sources like and to pinpoint at least four distinct slang expressions from each state. 

According to their findings, 41% of Americans think their state has unique words and phrases that might be unfamiliar to outsiders. Here are the most popular slang terms from each state across the country.

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1. Alabama: ‘A Ways’

In Alabama, ‘A ways’ means any distance that could take you between ten minutes and two hours to travel, generally indicating a vague but substantial distance.

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2. Alaska: ‘Outside’

In most states, if you say you’re going “outside,” it literally means just that — you’re stepping outdoors. However, in Alaska, the term “outside” is slang for leaving the state and traveling to any other part of the U.S.

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3. Arizona: ‘The Big Ditch’

You might be excited to visit the Grand Canyon, but Arizonans often refer to this renowned national park as “The Big Ditch.”

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4. Arkansas: ‘Bowed Up’

This term describes someone showing impatience or ill humor, much like a snake raising its head before a strike.

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5. California: ‘Bomb’

If something is exceptionally good or impressive in California, it’s described as “bomb.” It can apply to food, places, events, or anything really!

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6. Colorado: ‘Gaper’

A not-so-nice term used by locals to describe a tourist who might be a bit clueless — especially on the ski slopes, as this is more of ski slang.

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7. Connecticut: ‘The Sound’

This word refers to the Long Island Sound. It’s the closest thing to a beach for many Connecticut residents, so you’ll hear it in lots of summer plans. 

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8. Delaware: ‘Baggin’ Up’

This phrase simply means laughing hard. If something’s really funny, you’re baggin’ up in Delaware.

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9. Florida: ‘Dale’

“Dale” can mean “let’s go,” “do it,” or “okay.” It’s a staple in both English and Spanish conversations in Florida. It was popularized by Miami singer Pitbull and it quickly became a catchphrase.

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10. Georgia: ‘Quit Being Ugly’

If someone calls you “ugly” in Georgia, it has nothing to do with your physical appearance — it means you are acting rude or being vulgar. “Quit being ugly” means to stop being mean or unpleasant.

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11. Hawaii: ‘Poho’

“Poho” means a waste of time or effort, something Hawaiians definitely want to avoid!

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12. Idaho: ‘Potato Drop’

Just like the ball drop in Times Square, but with a giant potato. It’s a unique Idaho way to celebrate the New Year!

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13. Illinois: ‘LSD’

“LSD” refers to Lake Shore Drive, a major road in Chicago along Lake Michigan. It’s a crucial part of the city’s geography and culture.

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14. Indiana: ‘Naptown’

This old nickname for Indianapolis reflects its once-quiet nature, though the city has become much livelier today.

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15. Iowa: ‘Knee High by the Fourth of July’

An agricultural saying that serves as a benchmark for the growth of corn crops. 

The origins of the phrase are unclear, but it might be as old as Iowa itself, dating back to 1846. The earliest documented use appeared in a July 3, 1884 edition of The Sumner Gazette, which noted, “It has been considered that if corn was knee-high by the Fourth of July, then the crop was sure and safe.” Today, Iowa continues to be one of the leading corn producers in the U.S.

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16. Kansas: ‘Shucky Darn’

Sort of the Kansas way of saying “Wow!” So if you are in Kentucky you can say, “Shucky darn, that’s a yucky barn!”

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17. Kentucky: ‘The ‘Ville’

Short for Louisville, it’s a term of endearment for the city, especially popular among the locals.

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18. Louisiana: ‘Pass a Good Time’

In Louisiana, particularly in the cultural melting pot of New Orleans, this phrase means to have a great time. It’s all about enjoying life and the company you’re with.

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19. Maine: ‘Bazz On’

This means to be very drunk. In the land of long winters, Maine has its own lingo for those nights out!

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20. Maryland: ‘Bop’

In Maryland, a “bop” is a journey, usually a bit longer than you’d like. It could be to the store or across town.

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21. Massachusetts: ‘Dunks’

“Dunks” refers to Dunkin’ Donuts, a beloved chain that originated in Massachusetts. It’s a staple of local culture here.

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22. Michigan: ‘Yooper’

A “Yooper” is someone from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The term comes from the initials “U.P.,” which stands for Upper Peninsula.

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23. Minnesota: ‘Dontcha Know’

Often tagged onto the end of sentences, this phrase is a friendly way to confirm understanding or agreement.

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24. Mississippi: ‘Quit Clowning’

This phrase means to stop joking or messing around. It’s a call to take things seriously.

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25. Missouri: ‘Jeffin’

“Jeffin” describes someone being overly friendly in a deceitful way, particularly when they don’t really know you or like you.

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26. Montana: ‘Cowboy Up!’

A call to toughen up and handle a situation maturely. It’s about embracing the resilient spirit often associated with cowboys.

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27. Nebraska: ‘Red Beer’

Beer mixed with tomato juice or sometimes a shot of hot sauce. It’s a local favorite for some!

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28. Nevada: ‘Whales’

In the high-stakes world of Nevada gambling, “whales” are big spenders who can drop large sums at the casinos without flinching.

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29. New Hampshire: ‘Beater’

A car that’s seen better days. In rugged New Hampshire, a beater gets you where you need to go, no matter the weather.

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30. New Jersey: ‘Benny’

A somewhat pejorative term for tourists from certain cities who visit Jersey beaches. It stands for Bayonne, Elizabeth, Newark, and New York.

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31. New Mexico: ‘Portal’

“Portal” refers to a covered porch or patio, a common feature in New Mexican architecture that offers shade and coolness.

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32. New York: ‘Deadass’

A serious affirmation of truth or honesty. If someone in New York says they’re deadass about something, they mean it.

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33. North Carolina: ‘Dime’

A compliment, typically referring to someone who is a 10/10 in terms of attractiveness or coolness.

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34. North Dakota: ‘Sun Dog’

A natural atmospheric phenomenon where a ring of light appears around the sun, often visible in the cold, clear skies of North Dakota.

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35. Ohio: ‘Hollin’

In Ohio, the term “hollin’,” which originated in Cleveland, is an insult implying that someone can’t back up their trash talk.

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36. Oklahoma: ‘Buggy’

Just another word for a shopping cart. It’s what you’ll push around in an Oklahoma grocery store.

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37. Oregon: ‘Spendy’

If something’s expensive, it’s “spendy.” Especially useful in trendy spots like Portland where prices can surprise!

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38. Pennsylvania: ‘Youse’

The Philadelphia equivalent of “y’all.” It’s a friendly, if grammatically unique, plural form of “you.”

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39. Rhode Island: ‘Packy’

Short for package store, which is what Rhode Islanders call a liquor store.

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40. South Carolina: ‘Crank’

To start something up, especially a car. It’s a straightforward slang word that cuts to the chase.

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41. South Dakota: ‘Cattywampus’

When something is askew or out of place. It’s also used to describe something diagonally across.

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42. Tennessee: ‘Smokies’

Refers to the Great Smoky Mountains, a major landmark and source of pride in Tennessee.

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43. Texas: ‘Kicker’

The most compelling or important point in a discussion; it’s what clinches the argument.

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44. Utah: ‘Sluff’

To skip or ditch, often used in reference to missing school or another obligation.

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45. Vermont: ‘Flatlander’

A not-always-flattering term for people from outside Vermont, especially those from less mountainous places. The term is used in Vermont to describe newcomers who might not be familiar with the local customs, in contrast to “woodchuck,” which refers to natives who have a deep connection to the rural lifestyle and the land.

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46. Virginia: ‘Yonder’

A distant, often unspecified location. It’s a way of pointing out something far away without getting too specific.

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47. Washington: ‘Pre-Funk’

Essentially a pre-party, where you start the fun before heading to the main event. The term originated in Seattle in the late 1970s, evolving from the phrase “pre-function.” It was first mentioned in a 1977 handbill for Seattle’s inaugural citywide Mardi Gras, suggesting the term was coined around the community’s gatherings before the main event.

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48. West Virginia: ‘Peck’

A significant amount or a large quantity of something. It’s about having plenty.

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49. Wisconsin: ‘Cripes!’

An exclamation of surprise or frustration; a bit more polite than some other exclamations.

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50. Wyoming: ‘Couple Two Three’

A fun way of saying “a few.” It reflects the friendly nature of local speech in Wyoming.

This article was produced and syndicated by MediaFeed.

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