A newbie to our ‘Steel City’ and wondering how we speak? Well, Pittsburgh owns a unique culture that always surprises you with endless cultural magic. And, one among such wonders is the heavily accented Pittsburghese lingo & phrases.
Among the diverse dialects of America, the origin of Pittsburghese as the trademark of the ‘City of Bridges’ ages back to its history. Our blue-collar workers have gifted us with such an easy slang. But, if you just moved to the city recently, chances stay high to get lost in words and phrases of this ‘Iron City’. Does it seem odd? Not anymore, ‘cause we just curated a list of popular Yinzer phrases & lingo!
These are the common ways when you speak the Yinzer style. We love our beautiful city and its wonderful culture. So, here’s our tribute to the coolest people that make da ‘Burgh, da best; cheers, fella’ Yinzers!
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1. Yinz/ Younz/ Yunz
While America’s major cities modestly resolve from “you all” into “y’all”, Pittsburghese makes it altogether anew! Our Irish immigrants from the 1800s began referring to it as “you one’s”; later on became “you’unz”. But, the changes just rolled in, and finally stated it as “yinz” or “yunz”.
Though “yinz” is used instead of “you all/ones”, Yinzers don’t use them casually in any sentence. But, of course, the beauty of yelling, “yinz better watch out” is the Yinzer style!
2. Moving around da ‘Burgh
The Yinzer slang often misses out elaborate usage of vowels and sounds. Many a time, most “ow/aw” syllables just become “a”, “ee” turns out to be “i” and so on. Especially, if you ain’t a Pittsburgher, you might seem confused while asking for directions. So, here’s how to pronounce the spots in the city in the Yinzer slang.
Image By Doug Kerr from Albany, NY, United States; Uploaded by GrapedApe
- “Going Dahntahn” - When you go “downtown” the city, you say “dahntahn”.
- Pixburgh - “tts” sound as just “x” when yinzers say “Pittsburgh”.
- Arn city - It’s never the “Iron” City, but the “Arn” City.
- Stillers - Yinzers cheer out jovially for their famous home team “Stillers” and it’s not the “Steelers”!
3. How to do it the Yinzer way?
A lot of terms are altogether different not just in pronunciation, but also in their usage in the Yinzer lingo. You might indeed search up a whole Pittsburghese dictionary to figure out the word meaning! :))
Image By Dllu - Own work
- Slippy - When the road or the place is slippery, yinzers say “it’s slippy!”. ‘Cause, you lose the yinzer spirit with too ‘wordy’ words!
- Jeet jet/ jew - You are strolling across the street near Primanti Bros and you watch your friend coming out the eatery. Then, you ask “jeet jew/jet?” for “did you eat?”.
- Jag - If you are extremely annoying, you become a “jagoff” because you “jag”. It means you prick or annoy people like a thorn!
- Redd up - You don’t “clean up” a dirty floor, instead you “redd up” before mom’s in here!
- Worsh - “Washing” happens to be “worshing”; so, never forget to “worsh your hands”!
- Gum band - Mostly, you carry around “gum bands” and not just “rubber bands”.
- Sweeper - A “vacuum cleaner” is referred to as a “sweeper”. But, don’t get it confused with “sweeping”. You just sweep the room with a broom and not with a “sweeper”.
- Nebby - Your “nosy” neighbor is “nebby” because they always look into what happens at your home. And you never want any “nebby” friends at all.
- Crick - This doesn’t mean the usual “creek”. Any water streams other than a river is a “crick” in Pittsburgh.
- Buggy - “Shopping carts” is another wordy term. Hence, we just get our “buggy” filled at the mart.
Image by SHAUN / FLICKR
4. What’s the Yinzer food?
Pittsburgh is the food land of America. The heavy sandwiches and burgers, all loaded with fries always fill you up. Here’s how you order food in da ‘Burgh.
- Pop - You are all the way left to show the true Pittsburgh spirits now. So, it’s neither a “soft drink” nor a “soda”; it’s not even a “soda-pop”. It’s simply a “pop”.
- Jumbo - If you sick hungry and all you want is to hog in some food, then you order for a “jumbo”, the cheese-filled bologna sandwich.
- Dippy eggs - When you want the perfect over-easy eggs for dipping into your toast, you order for “dippy eggs with toast”.
Image by Dan Gigler / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
- Hoagies/Sammiches - Yinzers thrive on their delectable love, the “sandwiches”. At least once a day, they hog into their “hoagies/ sammiches”.
- Chipped Ham - Chipped, chopped, and sliced ham from the deli is a must-try from a heavy Pittsburghese lunch. And, it definitely must be “chipped” neatly.
5. The exclusive Yinzer things!
There are plenty of cultural spaces in Pittsburgh, which were normalized over time as true Yinzer assets. Take a look at these exclusive Pittsburghese phrases and they will certainly surprise you.
- Kennywood’s open - When your “zipper’s open”, your friend can scream out “Kennywood’s open”; better watch out!
- Heinz - Pittsburgh is the home town for world-famous ‘Heinz Ketchup’. So for yinzers, “Heinz” itself is “ketchup”.
Credit: Getty Images
Finally, we have the forever signature statement from every Yinzer. “And that” is never a yinzer tongue. We like it the “n’at” way. So, we always “live, laugh, love n’at”. Visit and enjoy a wholesome time at this beautiful city amongst a bunch of cool yinzers!
Grab the exclusive collection of T-shirts and wooden souvenirs with Yinzer lingo from Yinzershop to cheer up your Pittsburghese memories!