Photo: melissamn/Shutterstock

13 Expressions You Need to Learn Before Going to Oregon

by Jon Young Feb 17, 2017

1. The Coast

As in, “Hey, let’s grab our wetsuits and thermal blankets and hit the coast this weekend!”

While driving down Highway 101 it may become more clear why we call it “the coast.” Long stretches of sand punctuated by rocky outcroppings and grey skies doesn’t make one think of sunshine and beaches.

Synonyms: beach, coastline, seaboard, shore

2. Sunbreak

With the weather in Oregon being as mercurial as it is, a sunbreak is a joyous moment between clouds when the sun bestows upon our pale skin a few minutes of Vitamin D.

Synonyms: sunshine, sunlight, daylight

3. The mountain is out

Similar to a sunbreak, “the mountain is out” is used to refer to sunny, clear days in Portland when Mt. Hood is not obscured by clouds.

Synonyms: nice day, pleasant weather

4. Dialed in

As in, “Damian Lillard is dialed in and can’t miss a shot.” It can also refer to someone who is familiar with a certain subculture or scene.

Synonyms: competent, focused, knowledgeable

5. The Valley

The Valley refers to anything west of the cascades and east of the coast. It’s where the majority of Oregonians reside, and where most of the rain falls.

Synonyms: Willamette Valley

6. Spendy

As in, “that fair-trade organic hemp basket is way too spendy for the average person to afford.”

Synonyms: expensive, pricey

7. The Sticks

Used to refer to forested or rural areas, as in, “I’m from the sticks and don’t much like city-folk.”

Synonyms: forest, woodland, rural

8. Black Ice

Used to refer to clear ice that forms over the dark surface of the road. Black ice is virtually invisible to the driver and, alongside Californians, one of the major causes of car crashes in Oregon.

Synonyms: ice patch, clear ice

9. You guys

As in, “Hey you guys, The Goonies is on!” Used to address a group of people, whether they are male or not.

Synonyms: you all, y’all, everyone

10. Carpet Selfie

After PDX airport started replacing its decades-old carpet, everyone started caring about it, flooding Instagram and Facebook with foot selfies and lamenting the loss of the carpet’s signature “so bad it’s good” design.

Synonyms: selfie, foot selfie

11. Jojos

As in, “I miss Bob’s, their jojo’s were delicious.” Used to refer to fried potato wedges, jojos are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.

Synonyms: potato wedges, french fries

12. Pods

As in, “the downtown pods are pretty good but I prefer the food carts in the east side Pods.” Used to refer to a group of stationary food carts.

Synonyms: outdoor food court, street food

13. High muckamuck

Taken from Chinook Jargon, an indigenous pidgin trade language, a high muckamuck is someone who believes themselves to be more important than they are. As in, “he must be a high muckamuck to take the entire plate of smoked salmon before anyone else got any.”

Synonyms: pompous, selfish, self-important

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