Pittsburgh Slang

by Melanie Linn Gutowski, an AOL Travel ContributorPosted Sep 14th 2010 05:39 PM

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Pittsburgh Slang

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Pittsburgh slang is a blend of regional vocabulary and a distinctive accent, with a few choice phrases in the mix. Don't go there expecting straightforward American slang -- Pittsburgh's local language is unique.

For example:

"Yinz guys goin' dahntahn n'at?"

Know what I'm "talkin' 'baut?" If not, then your vocabulary needs "redd up."

Few landmarks leave as lasting an impression on visitors to Pittsburgh as the local lingo does. Intriguing linguists and tourists alike, "Pittsburghese" can also baffle those who aren't in the know. Here's a short guide to the most commonly used Pittsburgh slang terms and phrases.

1. "Stillers"

As in, "How 'baut dem Stillers?" Probably the most famous group of Pittsburghers ever, the Pittsburgh Steelers football team has been a city institution since 1933. Even at hockey and baseball games, you'll catch "Burghers" out in their "Stillers" garb.

2. "Ahrn"

Listen carefully and you might hear "iron." As in, "Ahrn" City beer. Iron and steel were once Pittsburgh's biggest exports to the rest of the nation and the world and it's a heritage of which we're proud. We're proud enough to make the words really stand out in a sentence.

3. "Dahntahn"

A unique way of saying "downtown" in Pittsburgh's local lingo. Also the title of a hilarious parody by comedian Mark Eddie.

3. "Jagoff"

You guessed it: a "jerk." As in, "Yinz jagoffs spilled Ahrn City on my Stillers jersey!"

4. "Hoagie"

You gotta try our version of a submarine sandwich. Hoagie sales are de rigueur for high school clubs and teams. Don't be surprised if you find a gangly young person shopping an order form door-to-door.

5. "Redd up"

As in, "Your room needs redd up," meaning to be cleaned or tidied up. Every local teen hated this dreaded Pittsburgh phrase while growing up. It's now been immortalized in the name of a city clean up campaign (http://www.redduppittsburgh.com initiated by Pittsburgh's late mayor, Bob O'Connor, and carried on by his successor, Luke Ravenstahl.

6. "Kennywood's open!"

If you hear this one, prepare to zip and blush. It's Pittsburgh lingo warning that your fly is down. A Pittsburgh-area institution since 1898, Kennywood Park amusement park is open from May to August (and a few more days of the year). Don't be confused if a local throws out this Pittsburgh phrase in the dead of winter, but do check yourself.

7. "Needs done"

This is Pittsburgh slang for "needs to be done." You'll find this is a construction used with many verbs. As in, "The cat needs fed." A versatile phrase, this shortcut of a grammatical construction vexes English teachers and just about anyone who's not from here and isn't familiar with Pittsburgh's local language.

8. "Pop"

Not your relative, a "soda." Don't even try to pull a Pittsburgher into the great "soda versus pop" debate: it's "pop." We should know -- the old Pittsburgh Brewing Company, now part of Iron City Brewing Company, invented the proto-pop tab in 1961. Though the term "pop" didn't originate with us, we also claim it on the grounds that pop art icon Andy Warhol was a Pittsburgher.

9. "Nebby"

Pittsburgh slang for someone who's prying or nosy. As in, "Quit being nebby!" We Pittsburghers like our privacy.

10. "Slippy"

As in, "Be careful, it's slippy out." It's Pittsburgh lingo for "slippery." Heed this warning well; we've had some nasty snow and ice in the past and it's no wonder it has made it into the local language in Pittsburgh.

11. "Gum band"

Another name for "rubber band." Pittsburghers have invented what we think is one of the most poetic slang terms in the English language. "Gum band" just flows so much better than its grammatically correct counterpart.

12. "N'at"

Why say, "and all of that" when Pittsburgh slang puts it into one neat word? As in, "She's goin' to buy some pop n'at"-- a jauntily short way to end a sentence in the local lingo.

13. "Yinz"

Quite possibly our most renowned contribution to American slang, "yinz" is the Pittsburgh slang term for "you guys" or "you all." As in, "Are yinz watchin' da Stillers game?" Not to be confused with "you'uns," "youz" or "y'all" of other regions in the US. As any local (or visitor) will tell you, Pittsburgh lingo is truly unique.

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michal

This is a great outline of the slang terms for the "Burgh", and very accurate! I travel to Pittsburgh monthly for business and had no idea, prior to my first trip, that they had their own dialect.
I've also recently posted Top 10 Things Business Traveler's Should Know on Facebook.
Check it out! http://on.fb.me/Top10BizTrvl

May 27 2011 at 1:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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