The Joy of Being from Illinois

Illinois. What comes to mind? (B)ab(e)-raham Lincoln. Barack Obama. Portillos. The Bean. Sears Tower (never Willis). Corn. Chicago Cubs, Blackhawks, Bears. The list goes on. I’m from Illinois, but I go to school in Minnesota. In my time here at Winona State, the amount of people I have met from my beloved Land of Lincoln is few and far between. In honor of December 7 being revered as National Illinois Day, I’d like to write an article about seven words or phrases that carry a different meaning to anyone not lucky enough to be from this state.


  • “Chicago” : Chicago, on Lake Michigan in Illinois, is among the largest cities in the U.S. Famed for its bold architecture, it has a skyline punctuated by skyscrapers such as the iconic John Hancock Center, 1,451-ft. Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) and the neo-Gothic Tribune Tower. The city is also renowned for its museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago with its noted Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works.

  • Illinois Definition: Because everything outside the city and the capital, Springfield, is pretty much a suburb, Chicago is our foolproof geolocation we answer with when people ask where in Illinois we’re from. It’s so much easier than saying, “Oh, do you know Naperville? No? How about Route 83? Portillos? Yeah, I actually live in the Bean.”


  • “Frunchroom” : To many, this may just look like gibberish… but little do they know.

  • Illinois Definition: This is what our accents allow us to call our “living room” or front room. Why waste time saying F-R-O-N-T  R-O-O-M when frunchroom is so much faster, and more fun? Guaranteed any houseguests that spend time in an IL residence will grow accustomed to that very quickly.


  • “Pop” : Can be a verb similar to snap or burst, or in reference to the music genre.

  • Illinois Definition: While this term may more well-suited to a thing from all the Midwest, there is no denying that pop is a sugary, carbonated beverage (see also: Coke, Sprite, Pepsi). Can be interchanged for fountain drink. Soda? Nope. Fizzy? Bubbly? No. No.


  • “Pizza” : Pizza is a savoury dish of Italian origin, consisting of a usually round, flattened base of leavened wheat-based dough topped with tomatoes, cheese, and various other ingredients baked at a high temperature, traditionally in a wood-fired oven.

  • Illinois Definition: The more bread, the better baby! Deep-dish or bust. Either that or super-thin crust. There is no in-between. There also isn’t an adequate substitute for Chicago pizza here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. When the moon hits your eye like a biiiig pizza pie, that’s amour… wish I had a-mour options for quality pizza here; it’s an epic slice of sadness.


  • “Construction” : Construction is the process of constructing a building or infrastructure. Construction differs from manufacturing in that manufacturing typically involves mass production of similar items without a designated purchaser, while construction typically takes place on location for a known client

  • Illinois Definition: Our fourth season of the year: summer, fall, winter, and CONSTRUCTION. Detour ahead, road closed, left lane merges ahead. You name the road sign, we got it—rain or shine!


  • “Cornhole”: Cornhole is a lawn game in which players take turns throwing bags of corn at a raised platform with a hole in the far end. A bag in the hole scores 3 points, while one on the platform scores 1 point. Play continues until a team or player reaches the score of 21.

  • Illinois Definition: The best lawn game known to man—NEVER referred to as “bags”... unless you’d like to be pelted with the cornhole equipment.


  • “7-11” : 7-Eleven Inc. is a Japanese-owned American international chain of convenience stores, headquartered in Dallas, Texas. The chain was known as Tote'm Stores until it was renamed in 1946. Its parent company, Seven-Eleven Japan Co., Ltd., operates, franchises, and licenses 66,579 stores in 17 countries as of June 30th, 2018.

  • Illinois Definition: The best convenience store hands down. Slurpees galore. While I have grown a fondness towards Kwik Trip, 7-11 will always be a store that receives an 11/10 for quality.


I hope you became a little more educated on IL lingo and enjoyed my piece on home state pride.



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