Yooper Bits I-L


Ians: Slang for immigrants from Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Russia, Ukraine, etc, who go north and break the rules.

Ice crusher: Electric trolling motor.

Ice Dam: Formed by anchor ice piling up during spring Runoff.

Ice Fog: Introduce a high heat source, like a jet engine, in below-zero weather, and the heat creates thick fog, which takes a long time to dissapate.

Ice Spiders: Dendritic cracks formed in early ice; with a little imagination they? look like spider webs.

“If It Flies, It Dies”: The motto of unscrupulous waterfowl hunters who do not take the time or make the effort to identify different ducks and kill all that enter their kill zone.

“If It’s Red, It’s Dead”: How poachers thought of deer in summer coats when meat best in August-September.

IGA: Generic word for grocery store. Red Owl and Co-Op also used.

Iggy: Slang for town of St.Ignace (Mackinac County).

Indian Bread: corn meal bread.

Inkpen: Any writing implement that uses ink. (more modern version of leadpencil).

Iissakki knife: A Laplander or Lapish knife, similar to Finnish pukko.

Illegals: Tongue-in-cheek slang for Wisconsin residents who hunt, fish and trap more in the U.P. than in Wisconsin.

Illinoid: A resident of Illinois.

Imperial Bull: A bull elk (wapiti) that has seven points on each antler (7×7).

In Velvet: A male deer with new growth antlers covered by a mossy looking substance filled with blood vessels. Bucks rubb the velvet off in fall in preparation for rutting. The discarded velvet is odiferous to say the least.

Island (The): To Yoopers this refers to Isle Royale, not Mackinac Island, which is not usually considered by many Yoopers to be part of the U.P.

Izzo: Tommy Izzo, an Iron Mountain boy is the very successful, long time basketball coach of Michigan State University. Izzo and former Lions coach Steve Mariucci grew up together, played high school sports together and both went to Northern in Marquette. The student section at basketball games is called The Izzone.


Jack-Pot: Contemptuous expression for an unskillful logging job. Also refers to more than one tree hanging up when another is felled.

Jacktown: Slang for Southern Prison of Michigan, located in Jackson.

Jenny: Governor Jennifer Grandholm.

Jobber’s Sun: The moon. Term derives from loggers working early and late when the only light available was the moon.

Joker: Term from western UP for tractor made from old truck or car.

Jornada: Trapper term for one day’s journey.

Jumbo: quart-size beer. Also a trout stream in northern Iron, southern Houghton Counties.

Jump-Shooting: Moving cautiously toward ducks in a boat or on foot to flush them and shoot at them. Sometimes called potholing.

Juustoleipa: Finnish bread cheese.


Kaikki menne mita tuule eika pusaken: Finnish greeting. When someonessays How are you or how’s it going or akin to that, this reply translates to something like “What goes around, comes around.” Term was widely used, even by non-Finns.

Kalabama: Deragatory term for Kalamazoo.

Keeweenaw (The): Peninsula that juts north into Lake Superior about 100 miles west of Marquette. See also Copper Country.

Killshot: A bullet or arrow that kills an animal.


Laker: See Lake Trout.

Lake State: Lake Superior University in Sault Ste. Marie.

Lake Trout: A pan favorite of Yoopers.


Lambeau: Can refer to either Curly Lambeau, a former pro football player who was co-founder and first coach of the Green Bay Packers, or it can refer to Lambeau Field, the Pack’s home field in Green Bay. Packer home games at Lambeau have been sold out since 1960.

L’Anse Vegas: Slang for town of L’Anse (Baraga County).

Leaf Peeper: Citzens who enjoy seeing fall color.

Les Cheneaux: French for “The Snows,” an archipeligo east of St. Ignace, close to Cedarville and Hessel. Good yellow perch fishing in the old days, coming back.

Lights: To a butcher: lungs. A deer shot in the lights, is lung-shot.

Little Sweden: Section 23, Bates Township, Iron County.

Live Weight: An animal’s weight before dressing out (gutting).

Long Gun: A rifle.

Loon Ranger: Person on a lake assigned by the Audobon Society,? or the USFS to monitor loons.

Lifesaving Station: Before the advent of the U.S. Coast Guard there were lifesaving stations located around Lake Superior and manned by crews in long boats ready to row out to foundering ships. Not many of the old buildings remain and the history of the service is not well known. The best preserved remains of one of these stations is at Vermillion Point in north Chippewa County.

Locks (The): Series of locks between the two Soos on the St. Mary’s river, that allow tankers, ore and grain carriers to descend the lower lakes from Lake Superior.

Loon Shit: Slang for fine black, cold silt at the bottom of certain lakes. In marshes it can be 2-4 feet deep and difficult to get out of.

Lufda: A Swedish exclamation of surprise or emotion.

Lumpy Dick: Early pioneer pudding: stir dry flour into boiling milk until thick, serve with sweet milk, molasses or sugar. Form of British naval pudding called Spotted Dick.

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