Michiganders are a proud people. And perhaps the largest source of their pride is found in their deeply-rooted manner in speaking. There are words to tell you where you’re from – if you’re local, from out of state, from the UP or the LP. Whichever part of Michigan you’re from, you’re bound to have heard most, if not all of these words or phrases, in your everyday conversations.
21) Party Store
Elsewhere in the U.S., a party store is a place where one buys paper hats and confetti. In Michigan, it's where one goes to get the real party started (i.e. booze, Better Made potato chips and other refreshments).
Derived from the shorthand term for Upper Peninsula UP, a Yooper is an up north resident.
This refers to all the people of Lower Michigan, who've come from under the bridge into the UP.
This is a not-so-nice term that summer visitors give to the locals in small northern Michigan communities. Pictured here, the town of Petoskey.
17) The Thumb
Nowhere else in the U.S. (except... maybe Wisconsin trying to jump on the bandwagon) is a thumb actually a geographical reference.
Elsewhere Superman is that muscular guy in red and blue tights and a cap, who's always getting Lois Lane out of a jam. Here, it's this magical ice cream flavor combination.
15) The Soo
This Upper Peninsula term refers to the general Sault St. Marie area.
Don't call it soda if you know what's good for you.
13) Kiddy Corner
Not to be confused with catty corner, this tells someone that something's just around the corner.
This is a derogatory term, but not for the reason one might think. It's used to refer to the tourists who invade the UP to shop for the region's famous fudge.
As in the card game?
10) The Union
Membership in a labor union just comes as second nature in Michigan that this simple reference is just understood.
Instead of calling it a sliding glass door, maybe it's just safer to call it a wall, so as not to forget it's there and walk right into it... C'mon, you know you've done it at least once.
If you're coming from the south, you're likely a FOP or a "Friendly Ohio Person," maybe from Toledo.
7) Ink Pen
"Pentel RSVP pens" by User:Minna Sora no Shita - Own work by the original uploader. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
In northern Midwest states like Michigan, we sometimes need to use a pencil during cold winter months because, well, ink freezes. This can be an important distinction when someone asks to borrow a pen.
As opposed to salaried workers. Likely comes from Michigan's long history in the labor movement.
5) Secretariah State
In states like New York or California, the place where you get your tags renewed or take the written test for your license is call the DMV or Department of Motor Vehicles. In Michigan, as with some other Midwest states like Illinois, it's the Secretary of State... Only in Michigan, the first two words are usually kinda mushed together.
4) Michigan Left
Michigan motorists don't always use the left lane to make a left turn. Instead, they turn right and make a U-turn. Makes sense, right?
3) Michigan sauce or Coney Island hot dog
... This is the topping on a hot dog, made with all beef. Elsewhere it might call it chili with no beans.
...Otherwise known as a shopping cart.
... Refers to a "Friendly Illinois Person," possibly visiting from Chicago.
There are some many more words and phrases specific to Michigan. And we didn’t even touch on that famous accent. Share with us your favorite Michigan mannerisms in the comment section below!