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The 14 Funniest Wisconsin Expressions

by Sarah Puckett Jan 22, 2019

Wisconsinites use as many strange phrases as they have craft breweries. If your non-Wisconsin friends never understand when you say you want to stop by the TYME machine or the bubbler, show them this guide to 14 of the funniest Wisconsin expressions.

1. “Stop-‘n-go lights”

A Wisconsin road doesn’t have traffic or stop lights, it has “stop-‘n-go lights.” It’s only logical. You stop, and then you go, no need to make things more complicated than they are.

2. “Ope!”

Wisconsinites don’t say “excuse me” or “sorry” when they bump into someone. They make an enthusiastic and surprised noise that sounds like “ope!” For example, “Ope! Sorry ‘bout that!”

3. “Up nort”

When a Wisconsinite goes anywhere north of their current location, but below Lake Superior, they’re going “up nort.” “Up nort” is also where you’ll find quintessential Wisconsin culture — lakes, endless forests for hunting, and the small-town ma-and-pa pubs serving up Miller Lite and fish fry.

4. “Or no?”

A standard Wisconsin sentence ends with a simple question — “or no?” It’s our way of seeking consensus. For example, “Wisconsinites are the nicest people on Earth, or no?”

5. “I’m at home yet, so come on over.”

If a Wisconsinite is at home “yet,” they’re still at home. Stop on by and you bet they’ll crack open a Miller Lite with you.

6. “FIBs”

Effing. Illinois. Bastards. Wisconsinites most commonly use this expression while driving on the Illinois tollway south from Wisconsin, or when the Bears beat the Packers.

7. “Gotta stop by The Pig”

The Pig has it all: a cereal aisle, a frozen food section, and a walk-in beer cooler.

8. “Is it cold enough for ya?”

When it’s exceptionally cold outside, “Is it cold enough for ya?” replaces “Hi, how are you?” as the standard greeting.

9. “Ya der hey!”

It doesn’t mean anything, but Wisconsinites end sentences with it anyway.

10. “C’mere once, real quick”

When a Wisconsinite says this, they just want help with a small favor and it shouldn’t take too long. Wisconsinites never want to be a burden to anyone, and we use this expression to emphasize how minor the request really is.

11. “Gonna go ride my hog”

Hogs have two wheels and are ridden by leather-clad motorcycle enthusiasts.

12. “A couple-two-three beers”

It’s not too many, and it’s not too few. No one actually knows exactly how much it is. It’s probably five.

13. “Un-thaw”

Wisconsinites know that un-thaw means the same thing as “thaw.” We just want to emphasize how unfrozen something will be.

14. “Start with me last”

Wisconsinites use this expression when they aren’t ready to place their order at a restaurant. For example, “Ya better start with Janet first, and start with me last.”

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