Michigan Glossary

A guide to words only Michiganians, er, Michiganders would know.

Is there a word you would like to see defined here, or do you need help determining what a particular Michigan word means? Contact the Library of Michigan at librarian@michigan.gov.

Big Mac: A nickname for the Mackinac Bridge, which connects Michigan's Upper and Lower peninsulas.

The Bridge: The Mackinac Bridge, which connects Michigan's Upper and Lower peninsulas.

The D: A nickname for Detroit.

D-Town: A nickname for Detroit.

Downriver: The Wayne County suburbs south of Detroit along the Detroit River.

Downstate: Michigan's Lower Peninsula.

Eh: A spoken interjection commonly used by Upper Peninsula natives to solicit a response or add emphasis. For example:

Speaker One: "Michigan is a great place to live, eh?"
Speaker Two: "We sure like it, eh!"

Eight Mile: The boundary between the city of Detroit and Detroit's northern suburbs.

Euchre: A trick-taking card game that is quite popular in Michigan and other Midwestern states.

Fudgie: What people in northern Michigan, known for its fudge shops, call tourists.

Lake: Whatever lake the speaker means. Also used as a nickname for Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie.

Michigan Bankroll: A large roll of money in small denominations, often with one larger bill on the outside to give the appearance of a roll filled with larger amounts of money. Also called a Michigan roll.

Michigan Handshake: A firm handshake that imparts a farwell, as in, "Hit the bricks."

Michigan Left: Popular in urban areas, these traffic devices require drivers wanting to head left to first turn right at an intersection, drive a few yards forward and then make an immediate U-turn to change directions. The Michigan Department of Transportation has more information on Michigan Lefts.

Michigander: A nickname for Michigan residents; sometimes used specifically for a male Michigan resident.

Michiganian: A nickname for Michigan residents.

Michigoose: A nickname for Michigan residents, sometimes used specifically for a female Michigan resident.

Mighty Mac: A nickname for the Mackinac Bridge, which connects Michigan's Upper and Lower peninsulas.

Motor City: A nickname for Detroit that pays tribute to the city's rich automotive history.

Motown: A record label and music style that originated in Detroit. A reference to Motown may indicate the label, the music or the city of Detroit.

Mystery Spot: Located in Saint Ignace, the Mystery Spot is an area about 300 feet in diameter where unusual physical sensations and events defying gravity occur.

Pasty: A hand-held meat and vegetable-filled pastry popular in the Upper Peninsula. Pronounced PASS-tee. History of the Pasty has information on where the pie originated and how it is prepared and eaten.

Pop: What Michigan residents call soft drinks. Pop vs. Soda is a map showing the use of these names for soft drinks by county nationwide.

Say yah to da U.P., eh!: The unofficial motto of Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Spartan: The mascot of Michigan State University in East Lansing.

Thumb: The region of Michigan that looks like the thumb of a hand.

Tip of the Mitten: The Straits of Mackinac, at the very tip of the mitten, i.e., Michigan's Lower Peninsula.

Troll: A resident of the Michigan who lives below the Mackinac Bridge, i.e., in the Lower Peninsula.

U.P.: The abbreviation for the Upper Peninsula.

Up North: North of wherever you are in Michigan.

Wolverine: The mascot of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Yooper: A resident of the U.P., Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Updated 01/29/2016