15 Words That Have Different Meanings in Michigan
Words are a universal thing that have universal definitions, but sometimes depending on where you are in the world those words can have completely different meanings.
Michigan is a unique place with many things that make us stick out from the rest of the country, including certain words.
Just when people thought they knew what a certain thing meant... they were stumped when they visited or met someone from the Mitten state.
These are 15 words that have different meanings in Michigan:
We might as well get right to it.
A 'mitten' to everyone else is a type of glove that keeps your hands warm in the winter.
In Michigan, a mitten is our state! We're the mitten state because we're the only place cool enough that can show people where we live on our own hand.
Pop is something that lightly explodes, i.e. a balloon pop or "pop goes the weasel"
In Michigan, pop is the caffeinated drink that everyone else refers to as "soda." Ugh. NEVER SODA!
A troll has a number of definitions around the country. According to Google these are the definitions:
- a mythical, cave-dwelling being depicted in folklore as either a giant or a dwarf, typically having a very ugly appearance.
- a person who makes a deliberately offensive or provocative online posting. AKA an "internet troll"
& let's not forget about those dolls with the colored hair and bellybutton gems we played with as kids.
In Michigan, a "troll" is someone who lives in the lower peninsula because they're "under the bridge" (Mackinac Bridge).
**I know the bridge isn't like that, it's just for clarification**
'Party Store' is where you get anything and everything you would need for a party ex) Party City
In Michigan: Party Store is also known as a liquor store where most people go to get their alcoholic beverages. It's also like a convenience store because you can get snacks, cigarettes, and lotto tickets. Mostly alcohol though.
A 'snow day' can just be a day where snow is falling. Not in Michigan, though.
In Michigan, a snow day is the best day ever! It's equivalent to a holiday. That means so much snow has fallen that schools are cancelled, some offices/businesses may shut down and some people can't go to work because the roads are so bad. You celebrate by staying in the house all day or going out and playing in the snow!
Unfortunately, this isn't always the case as most of us Michiganders have adapted to driving in the snow.
Cornhole is a fun backyard game that involves throwing bean bags in holes. It's referred to as "bags" in a lot of places, but in Michigan (and Indiana) we refer to it as cornhole.
To other people, cornhole has a dirty meaning. Just think of Beavis' infamous quote from Beavis & Butt-head. Enough said.
Secretary of State is the DMV. It's where you get your driver's license, register to vote, get your license plate, etc.
Honestly, have you heard anyone in Michigan refer to the SOS as the "DMV?" Never. People look at you funny. And people in/from other states look at you funny when you refer to the DMV as the Secretary of State.
To the world a pastie is a decorated patch that a woman would wear on her nipple. Think Lil Kim circa 1999.
But to Michiganders, a pastie/pasty is a baked pastry that's usually stuffed with meat and vegetables and can be known as a meat pie. It's most commonly found in the U.P.
UP is a direction to most. Going up, facing up, etc.
In Michigan, U.P. is the abbreviation for the Upper Peninsula, where all the Yoopers live. We never say the full word. It's always the U.P.
Again, this would be a directional thing to most people - anything that is north of something.
In Michigan, up north is the northern part of the Lower Peninsula. It's where many of us spend our summers on the lakes and go to the cottage.
Everyone knows what shorts are. They're the clothing item you wear when it's summertime and the temperature is around 70 degrees.
Not in Michigan. As soon as the temperature hits 50 degrees, Michiganders bust out the shorts and flip flops. People think we're crazy but they don't know what it's like to be cold and frigid most of the year. We take advantage of that warm weather almost immediately!
A Lake is a body of water but in Michigan its SO Much more than that!
Michigan has the longest freshwater coastline than any other state. Over 3,200 miles according to Michigan.org.
We have the Great Lakes around us and then, of course, all of the inner lakes within the cities. It's where summer memories are made. Who needs a swimming pool when you have a lake?
When you ask someone "where's Hell?" They'll tell you underground in a fiery pit where the devil lives.
But in Michigan, Hell is a small town in Livingston County, northwest of Ann Arbor.
Here are 13 reasons to go to Hell.
Paradise is where there's complete harmony and happiness. Everyone has a definition of what their own "paradise" is but you are sure to find that in Michigan.
Paradise is a small town, on the shore of Lake Superior, in the U.P. and has the most beautiful scenery. You can go camping, hiking, swimming... pretty much anything that defines the outdoors you can do in Paradise. It is so gorgeous that you truly will feel like you're in paradise.
A U-Turn is just a U-Turn around the country but definitely not in Michigan.
It's also known as "The Michigan Left" which is a complicated way of making a left-hand turn.
Basically, you make a right to get into the farthest left lane so you can finally put your blinker on and make your left to head in the direction you want to go in.
Almost every out-of-stater I know has criticized this crazy thing we call a U/Left- Turn
Wikipedia has a map explaining the Michigan Left which probably still won't make any sense to anyone who's not from Michigan.