noun | col-lo-qui-al-ism | \ kə-ˈlō-kwē-ə-ˌli-zəm \: a local or regional dialect expression. Wisconsin’s got plenty of ‘em. Here are just a few of our favorites:
Loosely translates to “Of course” or “You’re welcome”, depending on context.
“Stop and Go light”
What do you do at a traffic light? You stop, and then you go. It only makes sense.
The term originates from the Kohler Company’s invention in 1888 of this model of drinking fountain in Kohler, Wis.
“Cold enough for ya?”
Usually said when the temperature reaches -15 or colder.
“…real quick once.”
Just one example of Wisconsinites adding several unnecessary words to the end of a sentence. “Can you come here?” turns into “Can you come here real quick once?” “What are we doing tonight?” becomes “What are we doing tonight here now then?”
“What’s a snow day?”
Some states down south (don’t worry, we won’t call you out) give out snow days for an inch of snow or “frigid temps” of 30 degrees. A snow day is a foreign concept to kids in Wisconsin – whether the roads are covered in a sheet of ice and then blanketed with two feet of snow, or the temperature reaches -20, Wisconsin schools are notorious for staying open.
It’s a specific place. The catch? This place is different for everyone. It’s where you jumped off a raft into a sparkling Wisconsin lake. It’s where you roasted marshmallows around a crackling fire, telling spooky stories with your family. It’s where you watched fireworks and lit sparklers each 4th of July night. It’s where you fish, and jet ski, and pontoon and canoe. It’s a cabin or cottage, where your best memories are made.
Translates to “Sorry” or “Whoopsie daisies” or “This is awkward”. We say it when we bump into someone, when we’re stuck in that hug/handshake limbo, and about 47 other times each day. Now that you read about it, you’ll notice yourself saying it all. the. time.
“I’m Sorry” Ever notice how we apologize for everything? Must be those Midwest values.
“…or no?” Instead of just asking a question and leaving it at that, we second-guess ourselves and end with “or no?” just in case.
There’s plenty to make fun of us for. But, we’re endearing, right? Right?? What are some other “Wisconsin-isms”? Share with us on social media using #discoverwisconsin.
Kristen Finstad is a member of the Discover Wisconsin crew. Having grown up in River Falls, attending UW-Stevens Point and now living in Madison, she’s a Wisconsin girl through and through. Watch Discover Wisconsin TV Saturday mornings at 10 on Fox Sports Wisconsin. (Twitter: @DiscoverWI)
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