Yooper Bits M-P


Mackinaw: A heavy wool shirt-jac. Standard wear for loggers. Also called Pea jacket, jumper or reefer.


Mackinaw Boat: An 18-24 ft wooden boat, propelled by oar and/ or sail and used extensively 1830-1890. Could carry surprisingly heavy cargos.

MD (Mad Dog) 20/20: Red grape flavored cheap wine favored over champagne. It’s 36 proof.

Make Her Out: A lumber jack’s term for quitting. Make out my paycheck and I’ll be on my way.

Man-door: In your grudge (garage) you have the door for the vehicle and the smaller one, called the man-door.

Marble’s: Gladstone-based company, formed in 1892 as Gladstone Mfg. Co by land appraiser Webster L. Marble. Maker of high-quality sporting cutlery, axes, gun sights and compasses. Still operates, still makes quality products.

McDonald Boys: Menominee County cousins, naer-do-wells and besotted rowdies  who ran afoul of the law and the community and were lynched (twice) and horribily disfigured by a mob. Source of stories in southwest Yoop for a long time. Lots of versions, but almost all older yoopers have heard something about the McDonalds.

Mounts Arvon and Curwood: Highest peaks in the state are Mount Curwood at 1,978.24 feet, and nearby Mt. Arvon at 1,978.238. Both are in the northwesternwestern Huron Mountains. There are some Yoopers who, after a few brews drive up on Mt. Arvon and stack rocks, hoping eventually to make it higher than Curwood. Another groups works similarly for Mt. Arvon. Which group will win remains unanswerable until the next geo survey. For a long time a peak in the Porcupine Mountains was assumed to be highest in the state.

Make Meat: Trapper term: To Kill an animal for food, rather than the pelt.

Make Wood: Yooperese for cutting firewood.

Mal de Raquettes: French for inflammation of the shins from wearing ill-fitting snowshoes, or not being in shape to use them for extended periods of time.

Manistee/Newaygo/Yooper Twitch: An erratic retrieve-and-jerk motion with a rod and reel – a favorite of salmon and steelhead snaggers and easily identifiable.

Mashed Potato Snow: Heavy, wet, gluey, difficult to lift or move with a shovel. Could also be called Heart Attack Snow.

Mask: The head or face of a fox, raccoon, wolf or coyote.

Meat Bag: The stomach to a trapper.

Meat Hunter: See Pot-Hunter.

Mer Douce: French for the Sweet Sea – Lake Huron to French Explorers.

Michigander: Correct term for resident of the state. Not Michiganian.

Mystery Light (The): See Paulding Light.

Michigan‘s Siberia: How one Detroit mayor once referred to the Upper Peninsula.

Midden: A domestic waste dump, often the focal point for bottle and artifact hunters on sites of abandoned homesteads and Native American camp sites.

Milbeerkie: Slang for Milwaukee

Minnie Polis: Slang for Minneapolis.

Mitten: The lower peninsula.

Morel: An edible, highly prized mushroom that develops after rains and about the time trillium are blooming. Places to find morels are more closely guarded secrets than good trout streams.

Mud Hooks: Feet.

Musher: One who runs (drives?) sled dogs.

Muskeg: Kind of soil associated with bogs, consists of dead plants in various stages of decay, with a lot of sphagnum moss and water table near the surface. Muskeg, depending on the terrain, can be 100 feet deep. As you look at it muskeg looks like a grassy plain with small stands of trees. Walking on it can be very dangerous because muskeg can grow on the surface of water. As you walk on it, it will feel bouncy and spongy. Term derives from Indian word for grassy bog. Look for stunted tamarack,larch,willow, cottonwood, and black spruce as indicators.

Muzzleloader: Black powder rifle. A muzzleloader was also logger’s term for bunks into which the men had to crawl in from the foot of the bed.


Near Side / Off? Side: To a trapper the near side is left, the off side is right.

North of Nowhere: Slang for a largely inaccessible location. Add a distance, such as 10 miles north of nowhere and the location is even more inaccessible and remote. Also a synonym for the? expression “between a rock and a hard place”? – a tough situation. If you add mileage the situation is nearly impossible and insoluble. This is an expression less offensive than the famous Bumfuck, Egypt.

Nosebag: lunch bucket made of tin and strapped to the back of a river driver.

Noseeums: Yooperese for gnats.

No-No Road: Impassable, or off limits.

Nookick: Mealcake: ground parched corn mixed with enough maple or brown sugar that the resulting meal is almost too sweet to eat from the bag. Almost 100 percent carbs. Concentrated form of things body needs to produce energy and a staple of old-time trail food. Mix it into water, boil and you have a high-energy tea.

Northern: Generally refers to Northern Michigan University in Marquette, but also to northern pike.

Nisua: Finnish cardamon bread.

Northwest Territory: Around 1820, this was how the U.P. was referred to in popular publications around the U.S. One publication called it “the perfect wilderness.”


Ohiowhiner: A citizen of Ohio.

Oriniack: French for moose. Also sometimes pronounced “hriniack.”

Ouisconsin: Common old French spelling of Wisconsin.

Outfitter: Someone who provides — for a price — equipment, provisions, training and guidance to persons engaged in outdoor activities.

Outstater: A non- resident of Michigan.


Pac boots or Packs: Felt-lined, insulated boots used in extreme cold and heavy snow conditions.

Pack (Da): Green Bay Packers, the team most Yoopers support, not the Detroit Lions – except during the Steve Mariucci years. Mooch is an Iron Mountain boy and Yoopers always support their own.

Packerbacker: Green Bay fan.

Paczki: Deep fried Polish pastries, often filled with fruit and topped with sugar or some kind of icing.

Paint the Soles of Your Wader Boot Soles Orange: A not-so-subtle warning that water you are about to wade is dangerous. Having you soles painted orange will make it easier to find your body after you drown.

Pank: Yooper term for flattening and packing down snow.

Pasty: A Cornish miner concoction. Folded dough covering potatoes, pork, rutabagas. Would fit on a shovel so it could be warmed over a torch or fire. Not to be confused with Titty bar tassles.

Paulding Light:? Area on Robbins Pond Road between Watersmeet and Paulding where mysterious lights appear each night. Main colors are red, white, green and blue. Red and white are most common. Source undetermined and highly speculated. Attracts a lot of curious people. Also called the Mystery Light.

Pays d’en haut: French for the” Upper Country,” generally referring to the Great Lakes west and north of the Michilimackinac.

Pelage: Fur, hair or wool covering of a mammal.

Pelleterie: French for skins, furs or pelts.

Pemmican: Indian word for pounded dried meat, combined with dried berries, mixes with melted fat, and stored in small cakes. Add a little water, heat and you have soup. Sort of early trail food.

Permafrost: Ground frozen year round up to a certain depth.

Piece: The mid-day meal carried by a shooter.

Pink: Humpback or Pink salmon, introduced accidentally to great lakes in 1950s. Said to run every other year in UP streams, though they now seem to have spawning runs every year.


Pike: Another favored eating fish in the U.P.


Plew: A beaver pelt.

Poacher: One who takes fish or game illegally.

Pine Box Pay: One or two months of pay given to survivors of men killed in mining accidents.

Pine Stump Junction: Term used to describe former logged over areas from the big logging era in the 19th century. Specifically refers to a crossroads north of Newberry where mail was left on a tree stump to be picked up by personnel from the area logging camps.

Plank Road: A road made of wooden planks 2 inches thick and eight feet long, nailed to four-inch-square stringers at a 90-degree angle. Most plank roads were toll roads, and the toll was typically one cent per mile for single-animal vehicles and an additional half-cent per mile for the animal hauling the vehicle. Sounds much like the toll structure on the Big Mac Bridge.

Pokelogan: A bay or pocket into which logs may float during a drive.

Poika: Finnish for son or boy.

Pointer Trees: The tips of mature hemlocks tend to bend to the east. If you’re lost, knowing this can help you find your way out of the woods.

Pork Eater: A term of French voyageurs, ref young, inexperienced fur traders. In French, Mangeur de lard.

Porkies: The Porcupine Mountains in northwestern Ontonagon County.

Porch Beer: Left outside on porch to keep cool. In winter you have to be careful or it can freeze. The back door at camp is the fridge door.

Portable Lightning Rod:? A graphite fishing rod.

Pot-hunter: One who hunts for meat, not sport. Also called Meat Hunter.

Popcorn Snow: Small pellets, more ice than snow. They sting as they hit

Pope and Young: Scoring system for deer taken by bow and arrow. Slang: Po-Yo.

Popple: Popular tree – Aspen. Logged for soft wood.

Pop-up: a portable ground blind used by hunters.

Priest: A club used to kill large fish. BTW, it is a felony punishable with five years in prison to possess a billy club in the state of Michigan, so it might be wise to use a rock or the butt of your knife to dispatch a fish you are going to keep.

Puukko: Finnish sheath knife, in the old days carried by men and women and used for all sorts of tasks. Typically hard steel blade with birch handle. Workmanship of the old knives is pure art. This knife is tool, not weapon.

Pulla: Finnish coffee bread. Sweet, but not overly so,? and takes as much as four hours to make. Served nowadays mostly around Thanksgiving and Christmas. Some people add raisins to the dough, and sprinkle almonds on top – along with a sugar glaze.

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