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9 Phrases Only Minnesotans Use

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Minnesota chapter.

Contrary to popular belief, not all Minnesotans have extreme accents like you might see on TV, especially in the show Fargo. The stereotypical O’s and A’s get a bit extreme and are usually only really represented towards the northern part of the state and when you get closers to North Dakota border.

Even though the accent isn’t always apparent, there are multiple sayings and words that almost all Minnesotans know and use in daily conversation.

1. “Uff-da”

This is a word to express a wide variety of emotions. Something surprises you? Uff-da! Someone smells funky? Uff-da. So tired of finals and school and just want to be done? Uff-da. You can express any sort of emotion with this one word. The key is to pay attention to tone in order to understand the context it’s being used in.

2. “Skol!”

If you’ve been to a Vikings game at the newly built U.S. Bank Stadium, or even at the old Metrodome, you’ve most definitely heard people scream and sing this word. This Norwegian word used by vikings actually means “cheers” and “to good health.”

3. “Pop”

No. It’s not soda or Coke. It’s pop. Every flavor of carbonated drink is, as Minnesotans call it, pop. This is a general term to describe the type of beverage you would like. After you say you’d like a pop, then you clarify the type and flavor.

4. “Duck, Duck, Gray Duck

I don’t know why but the game Duck, Duck, Goose is Duck, Duck, Gray Duck here in the land of 10,000 Lakes.


5. “Hotdish”

You might call this a casserole or something like that, but in the upper midwest, it’s a “hotdish.” This usually contains a type of starch, a type of meat, frozen veggies and a can of soup. The most common type of hotdish here in Minnesota is Tater Tot Hotdish.

6. “You betcha”

No doubt you’ve probably heard this one before. Although this term is used more by older generations, younger generations use it too. Just like it sounds, “you betcha” is a way to agree with someone or say yes.

7. “Dontcha know”

If you need a random Minnesotan phrase to shove in any sentence and still make complete sense to another Minnesotan, this is the phrase. Honestly, this saying means absolutely nothing.

8. “Up North”

Even though this might seem like a completely normal directional statement, this saying doesn’t have anything to do with direction. When a Minnesotan says “Up North” what they’re really referring to  is their cabin or to the woods, but those don’t need to be in that direction. So no matter where they are going, they’ll say they’re going “up north.”

9. “Oh for ___!”

This is an easily convertible saying with multiple different variations. The most popular here in Minnesota are “Oh for cute, Oh for sure, Oh for fun.” Whatever word you place at the end, the overall meaning is full of delight and excitement.

Now obviously this isn’t true of every Minnesotan, but if someone does use one or many of these phrases, you betcha that they are from Minnesota dontcha know.

Robin is a junior at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities studying Professional Journalism, Studies of Cinema and Media Culture and Communications. She is a huge film, TV and musical theater buff (needless to say she spends too much time binge watching). She is an avid Couponer and money saver with hopes of becoming a Film Critic one day. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/robinrose44 or find her pieces on http://www.hercampus.com/school/minnesota