If you’ve spent any real time in Maine, you’ve probably heard a few phrases that you’ve never heard anywhere else. If you’ve got grandparents who lived their whole lives in Maine, there’s a good chance you had access to learning an entire foreign language growing up. Mainers have their own language and here are just a few things you’ll want to be able to decipher while you’re here.
1. “All stove to hell!”
If you hit a moose in Rangeley and someone’s talking about it they might say this. “He hit a moose and how the cah’s all stove to hell!”
2. “Tighter than the bark on a tree!”
You might say this if you’re locked out of your house. “Nope, can’t get it – that door is locked tighter than the bark on a tree!”
3. “He grew up in the county!”
We have 16 counties in Maine, but only one can go without an actual name. Here, if you simply say “The County,” everyone will know you’re talking about the one and only Aroostook County.
Some people think this simply means “yes.” But, we think this is just a general acknowledgement.
“I heard it’s gonna snow 6 inches tonight.” — “Ayuh!”
5. “Those folks are definitely flatlandahs!”
If you see a bunch of people eating lobster in bibs, while donning “Maine” sweatshirts they’re probably “flatlandahs” – tourists who are just passing through.
6. …or, you might hear them referred to as being “from away.”
This means the same thing, but it used a bit more often. If you’re not born in Maine, you’ll always be “from away.” Even after living here for 50 years.
7. “Well, aren’t you cunnin!”
In some states the word “cunning” might mean smart, but in Maine we drop the “g” and use it for things like adorable puppies.
8. “It’s darker ‘an the inside of my pocket!”
You might say this when someone asks you to get something out of the car in the middle of the night when you’re at camp.
9. “What do you think you’re doing ya dubbah!?”
A dubbah is easily confused and not all that smart. You wouldn’t want a dubbah to be in charge of anything important. Like bringing the beer up to camp for the weekend!
10. “Send the kids downcellah’!”
Downcellah is where we keep things like snowshoes, old furniture… and kids parties!
11. “They live way out in the willywacks!”
And, after you hear this someone might say “Yeah! Can’t get there from heah!”
12. “Mmm, pick me up a frappe at Giffahds!”
This Maine delicacy is slightly different than the milkshake you might find in another state. Here it’s ice cream, milk and chocolate syrup blended together. And it’s delicious!
13. “When he caught that fish, you shoulda seen his face – happier than a clam at high tide!”
There might not be scientific evidence that clams are happier during high tide, but this is one of our favorites! And, if you live in Maine there’s a good chance you’re happier than a clam at high tide!
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