There are a handful of words that are commonly heard in a conversation that is unique to Alaska, and that you’re less likely to hear in other states. From the ALCAN highway to subsistence, floatplanes, and mudflats, Alaskans have a variety of words that correlate with their one-of-a-kind lifestyle. If you’re from Alaska or have spent time in the state, check to see if any of these Alaska words are familiar to you! Some of the words are used in other places, of course, but they will undoubtedly be understood by Alaskans all over the state.

What other Alaska words would you add to this list? Do you recognize these words associated with Alaska? Let us know in the comments below!

For more fun, check out these 13 phrases only people from Alaska say.

OnlyInYourState may earn compensation through affiliate links in this article.

More to Explore

Unique To Alaska

What unique words and phrases do people in Alaska say?

Some words and phrases that are unique to Alaska are:

  • "breakup" (when referring to weather)
  • "slednecks"
  • "Cheechako"
  • "ice road"


Going even more in-depth than the list above, there are quite a few phrases you’ll see being used in Alaska that you won’t hear anywhere else. A “Cheechako,” for instance, if a newcomer to Alaska that hasn’t lived through their first winter just yet. The “Alcan” refers to the Alaska-Canada highway, which is the most popular way to move to Alaska. Traveling this road is truly life-changing! “Breakup” is a commonly used phrase to describe what happens to winter in the spring. The ice and snow “break up,” melting everywhere and leaving Alaska a soggy, muddy mess. There’s a wonderful language of Alaska slang in this state, that refers to life out here in the “Great Land,” which is of course our nickname for the greatest state in the United States!

Do Alaskans have any strange habits?

Some strange habits Alaskans have include:

  • Celebrating the Winter Solstice
  • Using their hand as a map of Alaska
  • Dividing people into "sourdoughs" and "cheechakos"
  • Getting out of the sauna to roll in the snow


We have many habits born out of necessity that may seem strange to people from the lower 48. We take our shoes off before entering our homes because glacial silt and grit are extremely hard to get out of your home once it has entered. Also, your boots are usually a wet mess when you go inside the house after a tromp around in the snow, and it’s best to leave them to dry in the mud room or arctic entryway of your home. We also celebrate Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, and Summer Solstice, the longest and brightest day of the year. Many people from Outside think that our obsession with daylight and the celebration at the height of seasons is a little much, but when your days are dictated by the weather and the light like they are in Alaska, you learn to appreciate every season in this glorious state.

Explore Alaska