How Well Do You Know Midwestern Lingo?

By: Lauren Lubas

How Well Do You Know Midwestern Lingo?
Image: Image Source / Image Source / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Everyone seems to think they can nail down a Midwestern accent like it's no big deal. However, if you grew up in the Midwest, you probably know that there are dozens of accents and hundreds of slight variations of those accents, so people from the coasts never seem to have it right. Someone from Minnesota will say completely different things than someone from Chicago, but we're all from the Midwest, and we have a lot of lingo that other people might not know. As a matter of fact, a Chicagoan might know exactly what a Minnesotan is saying when they hear "yeah, bye" on the phone, and everyone in the Midwest is privy to the different words for different foods in their region ... how else would we order our favorite foods with extra cheese, extra sauce and extra everything that we can get our hands on?

You might not know what a stop and go light is, but you can figure it out along the way. Whether you were born and raised where the corn meets the Great Lakes or you're a coastal dweller trying to test your knowledge of the "flyover" states, this quiz is going to be tough, because it covers every nuance of Midwestern lingo.  

Your house probably has a family room or a living room. In the Midwest, what is it called?
Front room
Midwest folk call the living area in the front of the house the "front room." It's pronounced "frunchroom" ... especially in the greater Chicagoland area. This assimilation came from a long line of Eastern European accents.
Living area
Parlor
Rumpus room

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If something is great or even relatively cool, what is it in Midwest terms?
Billows
Awesome
Those from the Midwest know that pretty much everything can be described as awesome. If you are not excited about something, you can use the word "awesome" in a sarcastic manner, and your point will be made.
Pillows
Fine

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How do many northern Midwest folk end their sentences?
See
Dontcha know
This phrase is usually used in Minnesota, but it has been spreading across the northern states in the Midwest. It really doesn't have a meaning, even though it's similar to "don't you know?" It is simply placed at the end of a sentence to show emphasis.
Yar
You get me?

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Instead of taking the Lord's name in vain, what will a Midwesterner exclaim?
Cheese and rice!
It works to get your point across, without having to swear for no apparent reason at all. While many think that this is a Minnesota exclamation, it can be heard across the Midwest, and it is generally used by someone who is trying to watch their mouth.
Milk and mice!
Give me thrice!
She's a price!

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When a Chicagoan wants to say "three," how is it pronounced?
Free
See
Chree
This pronunciation is usually reserved for people who were born and raised in Chicago. The large Eastern European heritage within the city has helped create this accent over generations.
Turee

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If you're in Wisconsin and someone says "ya dere, hey," what are they saying to you?
Hello
This one is a really specific regional salutation. As a fair warning, if you are traveling through Wisconsin this summer, you should know that this is said rather quickly, and it's a little impolite to reply with "what?"
Goodbye
See ya
Where did you come from?

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If someone is giving you directions in Illinois, how do they reference traffic lights?
Big light
Stop light
The light
If you are in the rural areas of Illinois, you will most likely have to ask for directions at some point. If there is a traffic light in the area, it is generally known as "the light." Different parts of the Midwest have different names for traffic lights, but in Illinois, it's always the light.
Under light

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The Midwest has a lot of smaller towns. What do people in the big cities of the Midwest call rural areas?
The sticks
Rural areas are also known as "the boonies." Those who live in bigger towns in the Midwest aren't afraid to make fun of those who live in the middle of nowhere. As a matter of fact, it seems like a favorite pastime for some.
The corn
The fall
The fields

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When everyone in the world is playing "duck, duck, goose," what are the Minnesotans playing?
"Duck, duck, moose"
"Duck, goose, duck"
"Ducky love"
"Duck, duck, gray duck"
Even the people in the Midwest know that this is simply wrong – unless you're from Minnesota. If you're from Minnesota, everyone else is completely wrong – they're simply crazy to think that a goose is around.

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How do Midwesterners refer to highways?
Roadways
Routes
Expressways
If you want to get somewhere fast in the Midwest, you will probably be taking the expressway. This term is generally reserved for people who live in small towns that are about 50 miles from the city, because the highways (or expressways) get you to the cities the fastest (even with all the traffic).
Stephensons

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Car wrecks are frightening things, but do you know what someone from the Midwest calls them?
Accident
There are other regions of the country that call a car accident an "accident"; however, most will say "wreck." Another Midwest term for an accident is a "fender bender," but that is reserved for small accidents.
Charcoal
Rollover
Bonder

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Paying your electric bill in the Midwest is often known as what?
Paying the light bill
If your light bill gets over $150 per month, you're probably spending too much time on your computer. Although the electric bill covers everything electrical in your home, it is simply known as the light bill in the Midwest.
Paying the electrical bill
Paying the big bill
Playing the game

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Do you know what a Midwesterner calls the device that heats the water in your house?
Water heater
Hot water heater
If you're questioning why someone would need to heat hot water, you are probably from one of the coasts (or it has been way too long since you've been back home). Perhaps if it were called the hot water "maker," more people would understand.
Cold heater
Ice breaker

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What would someone from Wisconsin or Illinois call a group of people?
All of you
All yous
While the word "you" probably shouldn't have an S at the end, it is a common thing when you're traveling through Wisconsin or the northern parts of Illinois. Maybe grammar just doesn't matter there.
Alla ya'll
Ya'll

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In the Midwest, what would someone call a pair of high heels?
Heels
Spikes
Stilettos
Dress shoes
This one goes way back to when people didn't wear high heels with jeans. It was a time when those pretty shoes were reserved for when you wore a pretty dress ... which was maybe twice a year (if you didn't dress up for church).

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Casseroles are a Midwest staple, but they don't call them casseroles. What do people in the Midwest call them?
Hotdishes
The hotter the hotdish, the more love the cook put into it (obviously). These dishes are generally made with condensed cream of mushroom soup and a variety of things you might think are gross.
Swimmers
Mixers
Fillers

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If someone says "Jeet," what are they saying?
Did you eat?
People in the Midwest are very concerned with whether or not people are hungry. A customary practice is to always offer food to guests who enter your home. It's important to know if they ate, so you can figure out how much food to give them (because even if they've eaten, you still are going to serve them something).
Are you leaving?
When are you coming back?
Are you okay?

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When someone in the Midwest bumps into you, what will they generally exclaim?
Sorry!
Move!
Watch it!
Ope!
Between "uh oh" and "oops" lies the Midwest "ope!" This term is a great way to tell people that you are sorry for being so absent-minded and that you will do your best to watch yourself in the future.

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Carbonated drinks in the Midwest are often called what?
Soda
Drinkage
Pop
Pop ... it's called a pop. Pepsi, Coke, Dr. Pepper ... it's all pop to us. Do the right thing, and if a Midwesterner calls a "soda" (or whatever you call it) a pop, don't make fun of them. It's not nice.
Tonic

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How will a Midwesterner describe you if you have had too many adult beverages?
Schnockered
Oh for schnockered! You are inebriated beyond all recognition, and it's probably time to go home. Another way to say this is "schnookered," but depending on the region, there is only one right way (and it is one of these terms).
Litis
Fullion
Sleepy

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What would you call a traffic light in Wisconsin?
Flight
Trafficers
Stop and go light
There are a lot of four-way stop signs in Wisconsin, and they are accompanied by a red flashing light. On the other hand, traffic lights have red, yellow and green lights; therefore, they are "stop and go lights." ("Stop, go and yield lights" would be a little too long.)
Slappers

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In the Midwest, how would someone say "yes" to you?
MMMM
Yes
You betcha
This is a shortened way of saying "you bet your butt" ... except not butt. It's simply a way to say yes (or yes, please) in a very enthusiastic way. You betcha we're from the Midwest!
Yellow

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Do you know what a water fountain is called in Wisconsin?
Drinker
Thinking
Stinker
Bubbler
No, it doesn't make bubbles, but "bubbler" sounds lovely. There's an urban legend that the term actually originates from branding by the Kohler company that produces drinking fountains, but there's no truth to it.

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If someone from the Midwest is going camping, where are they usually going?
On the go
Into the woods
Up nort'
This one is clearly reserved for people who live in the southern Midwestern states, but it can be used by those in the northern Midwestern states, as many of them go to Canada to get their fishing, hunting and camping fixes.
Out back

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When someone in the Midwest is really frustrated but still wants to be polite, what do they say?
Please
Fleas
Jeez
In yet another way to avoid taking the Lord's name in vain, Midwesterners like to avoid calling for Jesus by saying "Jeez." It's a way to show that you're mad (or surprised or amazed) without going all the way.
Meez

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Comfortable shoes that you can use for running are usually called what in the Midwest?
Gym shoes
In some areas of the Midwest, sneakers are also known as tennis shoes. However, for the majority of the region, gym shoes are for the gym, and that's what they are called (even if they're worn everywhere).
Sneakers
Soft shoes
Happy shoes

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A beanbag game has a million names. What is it called in the Midwest?
Cornhole
While we all know the nasty definition for "cornhole," some people immediately think of a game of bags when you say this term. You know, the game where you try to throw beanbags into a hole in a platform? It's a fun game.
Short fro
Mile grow
Style no

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In the rural areas of the Midwest, how is distance measured?
By blocks
By farms
By time
If you ask for directions in the Midwest, you may find yourself a little confused. You'll probably hear something like this: "Oh, this time of day? Jeez ... that's about 30, 40 minutes away" ... however, this distance is actually very accurate.
By miles

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Where do people go on Fridays in the Midwest?
Chicken fry
Fish fry
While most fish fries are held around the time of Lent, in the Midwest many smaller towns and VFW halls will have Friday night fish fries year round. It's a great way to get people out of the house and eating deep-fried foods.
Milk house
Underdogs

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What do Midwesterners call deep fried balls of cheese?
Gross
Cheese curds
While you can buy cheese curds pretty much everywhere these days, in the coastal and southern regions of this country, they are usually called "fried cheese curds." However, in the Midwest, you know if you see cheese curds on a menu, they're deep fried, and if they are in a bag, they're "raw."
Fords
Fjords

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Do you know what a small diner in the Midwest is called?
Dirty dining
Supper club
You may have only guessed this one if you've rolled through a small town in Wisconsin or Minnesota. The great thing about supper clubs in the Midwest is that you don't need a membership to eat there.
Holes
Fallow

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Can you guess what Midwesterners call fireflies?
Lightning bugs
If you were born in the Midwest or you lived there at least four years, you know fireflies by no other name than lightning bugs. This is probably because they light up the skies in swarms in the Midwest.
Fire butts
Bright flies
Greenies

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When something is gross, what will a Midwesterner say?
Gross
Raw
Isch
"Isch" is a great way to exclaim that you are totally grossed out in the Midwest. You may also hear a Midwesterner say that something is "nasty," but they won't be referring to a person when they say this (as they do in other regions and in rap songs).
Blah

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"Sticker shock" is when someone looks at a price and is surprised at how much the item costs. When a Midwesterner has sticker shock, what do they say?
"That is way expensive."
"It's too spendy for me."
Depending on which part of the Midwest you're in, you may also hear "That is too pricy for me," or "Who can afford that?" These are great ways for Midwestern consumers to express their disgust about pricing.
"I can't afford this."
"No thank you!"

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What is another word for "vacuum" in the Midwest?
Sweeper
This term is mostly used in Indiana and Ohio. When someone tells you to sweep, you may have to ask for clarification. However, it's generally known that you sweep a hard floor with a broom and you sweep a carpet with a vacuum.
Sheeter
Fleeper
Creeper

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