Yooper Bits T-Z



Takin Wood: Yooperese for cheating at cribbage

Tamarack: (Larix laricina) Small to medium-size deciduous conifer – e.g., sheds needles every year. Turns bright yellow in the fall. Wildlife use tamaracks for food and nesting. Does not like shade.

Tech: Slang for Michigan Technological University in Houghton.

Thrums: Fringe of buckskin.

Timberdoodle: Woodcock.

Tip-up: An ice-fishing device that is spring loader to raise a flag when a fish takes bait.

Tip-up Town: Technically a gathering of ice fisherman on Houghton Lake, but can refer to any collection of ice fishermen anywhere in the state.

Tote /? CourderoyRoad: Old logging road, often with timber logs as bed.

Tough Bark: Trapper term for someone with a tough hide, who refuses to be killed.

Team Names:? Upper Peninsula high schools have some unusual mascot names: Examples: Watersmeet Nimrods (once prominently featured by ESPN) ; Bessemer Speedboys, Houghton Gremlins; Soo Blue Devils; St. Ignace Saints; Ishpeming Hematites; Rapid River Rockets; Manistique Emeralds; West Iron County Wykons; Kingsford Flivvers; Cooks-Bay de Noc Black Bears; Brimley Bays; Ontonagon Polar Bears; Lake Linden – Hubbell Lakes; L’Anse Purple Hornets; Calumet Copper Kings; Ishpeming Westwood Patriots; North Dickinson Nordics; Negaunee Miners; Painesdale Jeffers Jets; Escanaba Eskymos; Gwinn Model Towners; Soo Blue Devils; Soo Loretto Angels.

Toque: Okay, pay attention. This word is french and refers to a sock hat. In the U.P. such hats are called chukes (sounds like puke) or chooks (sounds like crooks). Occasionally hear them call “tooks.”
You want one that’s wool or a wool-nylon blend and keep it in your fish truck year-round.

Trapper Sandwich: Peanut butter, jelly, honey and oatmeal between two slices of bread. Contains all the elements needed to sustain energy in the cold.

Treaty Areas:? Rights to fish and hunt certain land and waters ceded to native Americans in 1836 and 1842 treaties.

Treeing A Bear: Hound hunters usually have their dogs tree a bear before killing it. Coon hunters do the same thing.

Tree Hugger: Derogatory term for environmentalist.

Tree Town: Slang for the town of Cedarville in Chippewa County.

Trenary Toast: Texas size toast best dipped in coffee, otherwise, you’ll lose some teeth trying to chew it.

Troll: Yooper term for anyone from BTB.

Trot Line: A set line with multiple hooks and baits.

Trunk-Slammer: Tourist

Two-Track: Unpaved road, largely two ruts in ground with high center. A COs natural habitat.


Unthaw: Yooperese can be a language of misdirection. Unthaw actually means to thaw.

Up North: Geographically the northern lower or Upper peninsulas, though there is no clear demarcation line. You either know when you’re there, or you don’t.

Upper Peculiar: The Upper Peninsula.

Up? Da Line: Technically a term used in Wakefield or Marinesco to refer to a road trip to Ironwood or Hurley, but the phrase is also used to describe goal of high school sports teams to move forward in state tournaments. Ironically to go upward the tournament you end up traveling down state as you rise higher.


Vasoline: Good remedy for removing ticks because they breathe through their butts. Smear the tick with Vasoline and when it backs out, remove and discard the little bugger.

Varmint: Term from vermin for generally undesirable animals. Many classes of animals that were formerly considered varmints are now managed as game animals.

Vernors: The archetypal Detroit soft drink. It’s a form of ginger ale.


Wallhanger: Animal for fish worthy of being mounted by a taxidermist and hung on a wall.

Walmdach:? Finnish for “hipped roof.” An architectural style from Finland, features a sharp-angled front roof to shed snow, and a long, tapered back roof to maintain snow for winter insulation. Not many examples left in the U.P. Best chance of seeing this feature is in town of Eben, a Finnish farming community in south Alger County.

Whiteout: Condition of falling and/or blowing snow. Makes it impossible to see when you are driving. If you’ve never driven in a full-out whiteout, you haven’t driven!

White Rain: Snow

Whistletrout: Carp.

Wilderness: A relative term used to describe a place or area in which human beings are the outsiders and animal and plant life reign supreme. An alternative view is to say that in wilderness, human beings are potentially on the menu.

Willow Killer: First real cold spell of fall that takes leaves off the willows.

Wind Chill: Add moving air to the ambient temperature and it will either increase it or lower it. A 10 mph wind at 32 degrees makes the effect on skin much colder. And a 10 mph wind at 92 degrees makes the effect on the human body much warmer. There are published tables for the effects.

Windigo: A sort of cannibal from Native American legend, someone who has frozen inside and kills and eats his family. Must be killed to stop him.

Winterkill: Mortality to game from long, hard winters. In an average winter 100,000 deer will die in the Upper Peninsula. A hard winter will take twice as many.

Wolf Tree: A trap used by anti-wolf personnel. They kill a deer, chain it to a tree, and then ring the tree with heavy duty kill traps. [This is a JTH term. I’ve only heard of once instance of such a lethal set-up, and gave it the name.]

Writer (Da):? For Yoopers there is only one, John Voelker aka John Traver, former Michigan Supreme court justice and life long resident of the U.P. Native of Ishpeming. Best known for Anatomy of a Murder, made into a Hollywood film, in the U.P. Okay, Jim Harrison gets consideration too, but he’s not native.


Yooperese: Old time U.P. twang, patois, related primarily to Canadian English and largely disappearing as cable TV forces cultural homogenization, eh.

Yooper Opener: Traditionally U.P. deer poaching began after July 4th when the meat was tastier to eat.

Yooper Tennies: Hiking boots, worn in summer – when not wearing swampers.

Yoopinite: A seldom used word to replace Yooper.

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