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20 Words And Phrases That Are Uniquely Pittsburghese

20 Words And Phrases That Are Uniquely Pittsburghese

Take a read through these words and phrases that are so uniquely Pittsburghese. If you are from the area, you will definitely recognize these!

Every region across America has its own dialect and words that are unique to them. But I would argue that none are so specific to such a small region than the dialect of Pittsburgh. What makes the way we talk so unique is that it all happens inside only one city. You go outside of Pittsburgh—even into the rest of Pennsylvania—and suddenly no one understands you. If you ever have a chance to visit our beautiful city, these are some unique words and phrases that you should know (because we probably won’t take time to explain them to you when we start talking a million miles an hour). It’s a language we like to call “Pittsburghese.” Take a look at these uniquely Pittsburghese sayings!

1. Yinz

You all: In the 1800s, Irish immigrants in the city started using the phrase “you one’s,” which eventually evolved into “you’unz” and then the modern-day “yinz.” But don’t yinz make fun of this word. We’re Pittsburghers and we’re dang proud of it. This is one of the most popular of the uniquely Pittsburghese sayings!


Roberto Clemente Bridge Pittsburgh PA

2. Buggy

Shopping cart: That word is way too long. Buggy works just fine.

#Pittsburgh has a great sense of humor!


3. Slippy

Slippery: Again—why add extra letters to the work “slippery” when you can make it shorter? Besides, it’s much more fun to say.

Pittsburgh Skyline, Pittsburgh Pirates

4. Crick

Creek: It’s not just the sound your bones make when you get up in the morning. It’s the trickling stream that runs through your backyard, and it’s called a “crick.”


5. Get some eats

Get something to eat: At least this one is understandable, right? Except you knock out the infinitive and somehow make “eat” a noun. Perfectly acceptable.

Roberto Clemente Bridge in Pittsburgh The Roberto Clemente Bridge is closed to vehicular traffic on game days, providing a safe, pedestrian walkway between downtown Pittsburgh and PNC Park.


6. Chipped ham

Sliced deli ham: Chip it, chop it, slice it. It all means essentially the same thing. The end result is still not a whole ham.

And here it is! This is what you all it's gorgeousness - PITTSBURGH

7. Gum bands

Rubber bands: My dad used to have a gigantic gum band ball that he kept on his desk at work that he added to for years. If you want to talk like a real Pittsburgher, try this one on for size. It will definitely take some getting used to.


8. Pop

Soft drink: Although this is definitely more of a regional difference than a uniquely Pittsburgh word, don’t try to pick a fight with a Pittsburgher over whether it’s “soda” or “pop.” And please—please—don’t ever say soda-pop. You need to pick which side you’re on.

Allegheny Riverfront Photograph. Pittsburgh


9. Reddup

Clean up: Yeah… I don’t know how that one got started.

Cathedral of Learning - University of Pittsburgh

10. Nebby

Nosy: This is definitely unique to Pittsburghese. Something we use to describe a person who can’t mind their own beeswax.


Pittsburgh, PA-Even the little building I used to work is in this picture!

11. Sweeper

Vacuum cleaner: It sweeps things up sort of like a broom. Therefore it just stands to reason that something that sweeps…should be a “sweeper.”

Duquesne Incline, Pittsburgh. Been there, done that! Really neat! - I have been here too, and if I am correct, when we lived in Pittsburgh there was a really great Lebanese Restaurant we went to up at the top.

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12. Woosh

Washing machine: Unlike many Pittsburghese words that I’m very proud to say, this is one that I have gone to great lengths to avoid. I just don’t like how it sounds, and it’s more of an onomatopoeia than anything else. This can be used either to describe a washing machine or the actual act of washing something. “I’m going to put the clothes in the wooshing machine.” “You need to woosh the dishes.”


13. Clicker

Remote control: I was just at a get-together the other day with two Delawareans and a Kansan (no, this isn’t the beginning of a joke) and asked them to pass me the clicker so I could turn on the TV. Man, the looks I got. Guess they never heard that one before.

14. Face rag/dish rag

Wash cloth: You use hand towels to clean your hands. So shouldn’t towels that wash your face be “face rags” and towels that clean dishes called “dish rags?” Just so we’re on the same page here. This is another of the uniquely Pittsburghese sayings.

15. Needs done

Needs to get done: You may be starting to pick up on the fact that if Pittsburghers don’t see extra words/letters as necessary, we get rid of them. “The floor needs done” or “Your hair needs brushed” is how this can be used.


16. Yello

Hello: It’s just easier to slide into a word than to say that “huh” sound. We’re very efficient speakers (or just plain lazy). This is yet another one of the uniquely Pittsburghese sayings.

17. Heinz

Ketchup: There is only one real kind of ketchup in this world, and don’t you forget it. So if it’s the best, why even mention the word “ketchup?” There’s no reason to clarify.

18. Sammich

Sandwich: Again, just making a word easier to say. You’re welcome. Just make sure you put fries on it.


19. Stillers

Steelers: That’s our football team, people. We decide how we say their name.

20. You’re going to get a lickin’

You’re going to get whooped/spanked: As weird as it sounds…nope, never mind, it just sounds plain weird.


Now, it may seem that Pittsburghese words and phrases may make us sound unintelligent. Possibly. But in the back of our minds, we know we’re Pittsburghers through and through, and we are willing to retain that kind of dedication to the words we’ve been raised on because it’s what sets us apart—for better or for worse.

Which of these sayings that are uniquely Pittsburghese do you know? Let us know in the comments.

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