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20 Words You’ll Only Understand If You’re From Kentucky

Kentucky has a wide array of jargon it uses. Our vocabulary is wide-ranged and all sorts of state words or phrases exist that only Kentuckians would understand. Here’s a list of out top words and phrases.

1. Basketball: To others it’s a sport. To Kentuckians, it’s a religion.

bball

2. Blue: Simply mentioning the words, “Go Big Blue,” will most likely start a frenzy anywhere. It may just seem like a color but it’s what you bleed if you’re a “true blue” University of Kentucky Wildcats fan.

3. Bluegrass: What the state is referred to as, but is a hard one to explain to any out-of-towners.

4. Hot Brown: May seem strange to any outsiders, but this delicious open-faced sandwich is a Kentucky staple.

hotbrown

5. Burgoo: Like “burger” this meat stew sounds weird and may look unappealing but is actually super delicious.

burgoo

6. The ‘Ville: A more abbreviated way of saying, “Louisville.” After all, the “Looeyville, Looovull,” etc. is always an ongoing debate. Calling it The ‘Ville just solves the confusion.

7. LexVegas: A fancy way of calling another one of Kentucky’s biggest cities, Lexington.

8. Y’all: Seems pretty obvious, but “Y’all” is used for just about anything when addressing a group of people. It’s also on our Florence, Kentucky water tower, that says something, right!?

florence

9. Derby: It may seem obvious, but the term “Derby” for any true Kentuckian will ignite excitement and passion of that thrilling horse race once a year. Bring on the crazy hats, cocktails and fancy attire.

derby

10. Betty: Others may think it’s a name of a relative, but in actuality in Kentucky it’s a tasty dessert called a, Brown Betty.

11. “The other day.”: To others it’s something that happened a day or two ago. To Kentuckians it’s something that happened yesterday and anything five or so years ago.

12. Big Red: Some may thing it’s a stick of gum or fizzy drink, but it’s actually the Western Kentucky University (WKU) mascot.

WKU-Hilltopppers

13. Yonder: It’s a way or sense of direction. If you’re looking for something, you can find it, “over-yonder.”

14. Thunder: To other’s it’s the obvious sound during a storm. To Kentuckians it’s “Thunder Over Louisville,” the celebration that kickstarts the infamous Derby season.

thunder

15. Toboggan: It means a winter hat for folks in Kentucky. Other places it’s a sled.

16. Kentucky Fried Chicken: Also known as a popular fast food chain, Kentucky Fried Chicken is really yummy fried chicken that comes straight from your mom’s kitchen here in Kentucky.

17. Horses: An obvious choice, but horses are really on another level in the state; Where everybody, knows somebody who owns a horse.

horses

18. Bourbon: Another clear choice for any Kentucky bred, the drink is a state tradition and is made locally.

bourbon1

19. “Bless your heart.”: Like any true southern state, this phrase is used in our daily vocabulary.

20. Ale-8: This signature beverage is a Kentucky favorite, were others may not have the privilege of having access to this enjoyable treat.

ale9

Bet you didn’t realize how many different ways and words we truly use in the state that can mean so many things. What other words or phrases from Kentucky do you use?

Kelly Berger
Kelly is the Kentucky state writer for OIYS, a freelance writer & PR mastermind. Obsessed with concerts and music, you can always catch her at the latest gig supporting the scene getting excited about the next big thing.