Colloquialisms from the land of the Pennsylvania Dutch

LincLinc OwnerDetroit Icrontian
edited December 2015 in Community

I perpetually misspell 'Hampster' and blame it on my Pennsylvania Dutch roots in Lancaster, PA (which is of course said by enunciating the letters, not actually saying the actual state name). Since this is a perennial favorite topic in the house with guests at ICHQ, I thought I'd try to pull together some of the best phrases that might make any other person squint their eyes and look at me funny.

  • Man, that guy is dopplic. [laughably uncoordinated]
  • Quit rooching around. [squirming]
  • The pizza is all. [gone]
  • The house catty-corner to ours. [kitty-corner]
  • When's Faschnacht Day? [Fat Tuesday]
  • With a side of dippy eggs. [over easy]
  • Red up your room.* [clean]
  • Outen the lights.* [turn off]
  • Did all of younz make it?* [you]
  • Did you finish the warsh?* [wash]

*My family was never PA Dutch enough for those last 4 but friends' were.

I don't think I even knew "Fat Tuesday" was a thing until I moved.

And asking for a "barbecue sandwich" or a "lager" actually mean extremely specific things [sloppy joe & a Yuengling], asking for a steak sandwich is definitely not a cheesesteak minus the cheese, and asking for a hoagie is gonna make folks tell ya to go back to Pittsburgh.

I still miss having tender tips on toast and chipped-beef over biscuits; I realize they extend outside my hometown but damned if I can find them in the midwest, and they are definitely favorites.

The secret code of Lancaster is also being able to tell who is an outsider by what syllable in the city name you give the emphasis to. Lanc-aster is the native way (and all in one breath like Worchestershire), not Lan-cas-ter (which everyone new inevitable still does even after being fed the correct way three times).



  • edcentricedcentric near Milwaukee, Wisconsin Icrontian

    You need to read the DARE (Dictionary of American Regional English).
    It is interesting, and gives you a lot of funny things to say.

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