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A Beginner's Guide to Speaking Fargonian

A Beginner's Guide to Speaking Fargonian

Posted by Addie Long on Sep 5th 2019

Have you ever dreamed of living in a place that is both 80 degrees and -60 degrees within six months of each other? Then the Midwest is just the place for you! However, if you are anything like us you will fall for the charm of the Fargo-Moorhead area. Whether it is the unique downtown shops, support for entrepreneurship or the Midwest nice that fills the community there truly is something special about Fargo. Not to mention the slang that seems to be unique to the Fargo area, so to help those thinking of moving here (or those who just need a good refresher) we present 34 terms to help you speak Fargonian:


  1. Ope: The staple of any good Midwestern vocabulary. If you bump into a Midwesterner you might hear this phrase uttered. If we mess up....well you might hear this phrase as well.
    1. Also interchangeable with the term “Oop” for our higher pitched Midwest folk.
  2. Dontcha know: a form of agreement
  3. Cornhole: It is the game of all tailgating champions where you pick your teammate and carefully throw a bag at a board, ‘bout 27 feet away, that has a hole cut out. Sink it and find your way to victory!
    1. Also known as bags.
  4. Oof: term expressing sympathy “Oof feel better” or “Oof that was a rough cornhole round"
  5. You betcha: A term of agreement. Many not from around here may say a simple yes; however, you betcha any true Midwest native will take the extra time for a good "You Betcha."
  6. Ope, I’m just gonna sneak right by ya: The most non-confrontational way to say excuse me.
    1. Get your own Midwest manners coasters HERE!
  7. No yeah: Meaning yes
  8. Yeah no: Meaning no
  9. Yeah no for sure: Meaning definitely
  10. You’re schnockered: You’ve had a bit too much to drink at the local bars.
    1. Get your Where the Beer is Always Cold shirt HERE!
  11. Pop: The carbonated flavored water that Americans love so dearly. If you are looking to order something like this in the Midwest, you better say pop because there’s no soda here.
  12. Puppy Chow: No we aren’t feeding our dogs. This Midwestern delicacy is made of cereal mixed with chocolate, peanut butter and powdered sugar.
  13. I’m fine: This one can catch even the most seasoned Midwestern. If one says they are “fine” they probably aren’t and you better hope you know what they are mad about. Nobody holds grudges like Midwest natives.
  14. Oh fer..: Ya that word for...Midwesterners have never heard of her. This sentence can end in so many ways:
    1. Wanna come over fer dinner?: An invite to share a hotdish with your folks.
    2. Oh fer cute: expression of how adorable something is.
    3. Love these phrases? Get Magnets from Fargo HERE!
  15. Ya know?: Do you understand
  16. Sorry ‘bout that: A common way to apologize and avoid ANY potential conflict. Conflict just goes against the Midwest way of life.
  17. Uffda: A sign of relief, relaxation, surprise and so much more. (Oofda that’s a lot of ways we use this one)
    1. Alternate spelling: Oofda
  18. Hotdish: Not to be confused with a dish that is in fact hot. Some other parts of the country may call this a casserole but true Midwest folks know there’s a difference.
  19. Okey-dokey: Okay we understood cha.
  20. Spendy: Midwesterners use the slang term to describe anything that might be out of the budget or is a little bit expensive.
  21. FOlks: This could refer to your parents, friends or a general group of people.
  22. Padiddle: This is a car game known to help ease the pain of driving the not so scenic flatlands. When you spot a car with only one working headlight you shout “PADIDDLE” and then punch the roof of the car.
  23. Jeet: A quick way to ask the most important question out there…”Did you eat yet” or “Jeet yet?”
  24. Holy Hannah: An expression of surprise, excitement or shock. “Holy Hannah that’s a big snow drift!”
  25. bAAg: When a Midwesterner leaves for vacation the most notable thing about our accents is the long "aaa" found when saying things such as baag or maaagazine.
    1. This same effect is found when saying HammOck. Those dang vowels seem to get the best of us.
  26. Bizon: Referring to North Dakota State University’s Bison. If you visit the Fargo area always be sure to use the z in Bison or the locals will correct you right away!
  27. Horns Up: No we aren’t talking about animals, this refers to the hand gesture that you will see nearly every Saturday in the fall when NDSU football season begins.
    1. Note: This is used in place of a simple wave as well. 
    2. Get your Bison Nodak Tee HERE
  28. Well I ‘spose it’s about that time: A sign that a Midwesterner is trying to leave. Don’t worry too much though, this will be followed by ‘bout 20 minutes of goodbyes in the following order:
    1. Beginning with “it’s about that time”
    2. Then a “we better get going”
    3. Enter the hug phase
    4. One more brief conversation (probably about the weather) at the door
    5. More hugs
    6. Talking while someone is putting on their winter boots
    7. Hand on door knob
    8. The final waves getting into the car and driving away
  29. Can I get a side of ranch with that?: If there’s not ranch at the table it’s not a Midwest meal. Simple as that.
  30. Can I have a pickle with my beer?: Head to any local establishment to order a light beer with a pickle. Many will laugh but this is truly a Midwest drink of choice. The best part about finishing the beer is finally getting to eat the pickle...then ordering another one of course.
  31. Ope surry: Slang for I’m sorry
    1. Also used in place of excuse me
  32. Going up north: Any more north and you're in Canada, but hey we still say we are headed up north.
  33. It’s not the cold it's the wind: It’s never the freezing temperatures that are bad, it’s the wind chill that gets down to -60 that makes it worse. You’ll never hear a Midwest native complain about the temps, but that darn wind is always to blame.
  34. It’s not the heat that gets you it’s the humidity: A cousin to the term above. In the summer the temperatures can get up to 90 degrees or higher, but again it’s not the temps that make it unbearable it's that dang humidity (then add thousands of mosquitoes).

  35. If we haven’t sold you on moving to the Midwest yet check out our low crime rates and even lower rates of unemployment. Despite having some unique sayings there isn’t a place we’d rather call home!