As Pittsburghers, we all know we have a vocabulary all our own (see “Pittsburghese“). We put together what will probably be the first of many posts on our very own Pittsburgh “dictionary.” Don’t forget to send this to friends who now live out of town or newbies who want to know just exactly what we’re saying!

1. Ahr (noun)


Ahr, as in hour. This can be used in sentences like “What ahr does church start?” or “Ahr the Steelers playing at 1 p.m. or 4 p.m., what ahr does the game start?”

2. Redd up (verb)


Redd up refers to cleaning up or tidying up a place. It can be used as so: “If you don’t redd up this room you won’t get dessert tonight!”

3. Sar (adjective)


Sar is actually the word sour, like “Wow this candy is really sar!” or “Gross, this milk turned sar!”

4. Back air (phrase)


Back air is “back there.” We often use this phrase in sentences like “Baltimore? I’m not goin’ back air!” or “Cleveland? Why on Earth would I wanna go back air?”

5. Marn Cope (person)


Myron Cope, the iconic sportscaster who died in 2008. “I just love the way Marn Cope calls them Stillers games!”

6. Tahnship (place)


Refers to a township, like Center Tahnship, Robinson Tahnship and others.

7. Bungles (sports team)


This refers to the often hated Cincinnati Bengals NFL team, one of the Steelers’ rivals. “Stillers ahr gonna crush them Bungles Sunday!”

8. Dubya (letter)


No, this does not refer to our former president. We often pronounce the letter W as “dubya.”

9. Erol (noun)

Oil, as in the oil you put in your car.

Whenever we are traveling… all we have to do to find a friend is listen for the Pittsburghese… we’re everywhere!

Here is our Pittsburghese Academy Collection…

9 More Pittsburghese Words or Phrases in Every Pittsburghers Dictionary

9 More Pittsburghese Words in Every Pittsburghers Dictionary

9 More Words to add to your Pittsburghese Dictionary

45 thoughts on “9 Vocabulary Words in Every Pittsburgher’s Dictionary”
  1. Actually, from my experience (and I am a native of the ‘Burgh), #3 should rhyme with #1: “sahr.”

  2. I would like to see this as a regular feature each week or month.
    Soo… many words could be posted from the Burgh.

    Thank you.

  3. What about “gum band” my children in my classroom in New Jersey did not know what I meant!!!!!!!!!!

    1. I know what you mean. Mived to NJ about 20 years ago. Didn’t understand why they didn’t know what a gum band and pop was.

      1. Yeah…..I grew up in the burg and moved out west when I was 23. I still want to say…..
        melk (instead of milk)
        catty-corner (first time I heard kitty-corner I cracked up).
        crick (for creek)

      2. I did it the opposite! Grew up in NJ and went to the Burg to attend Duquesne. I didn’t know what sahr, red up, or “my hair needs warshed” even meant!

  4. Almost everyone in the nation pronounces “W” as “dubya” except for those on the radio and tv, and even those folks are increasingly harder to find. It should be pronounced “doublle u”.

  5. It’s too funny. I married a guy from AL.he didn’t know what red up meant and asked me to spell it.lol.

  6. Pittsburghers pronounce he word “Pirates” the same way as people in Cleveland say “parts.”
    “I’m going to watch the Pirates.”
    “Parts of what?”

  7. My nephews wife is from Indonesia. She loves the Pittsburghese! She bought a bunch of Pittsburghese shirts and took them to her family and friends back in Indonesia!

  8. So happy when “Gynt Iggle” came to central Ohio, bringing Isaly’s chipped ham to displaced ‘Burghers.

  9. I liked the comment from the former `burger who mentioned other folks not knowing what a gum band is; I experienced the same thing when I moved from the `burgh some tie ago.

      1. When I was at Duquesne, there were so many kids from New York and New Jersey. Their accents were just as amusing to those of us fluent in Pittsburghese, just minus our endearing quirks! Anne, N’68

  10. I live in GA now and tell my son all the time that he is getting a “lickin’.” Nobody knows what I mean. My parents always threatened me with that as a child!

  11. City chicken

    I went to Pitt and my girlfriend was from Munhall. I did learn a lot. But being originally from Jersey City NJ also had its struggles in comparison to Pittsburgh.

  12. Put the cat aht (out), and I’m gonna warsh (wash) the car…fond memories of family members with that sweet accent!!

  13. Yes, “Imp & arn” was a popular drink of teenagers out for a night on the town – especially at some spots in ‘Sliberty’. ( boilermaker – or a depth charge if you were hard core – with Imperial and Iron City beer)

    1. As I recall, the past tense of sleep had no “t” in it when spoken in the ‘ burgh. As in: “I sleep onna cahch lass nite”

  14. I worked for The phone company after I moved to eastern PA no one knew what I eas saying when I said dahltone… dialtone!

  15. We moved to Virginia Beach in 1980 and still use Pittsburghese.
    Have been stopped many times and ask “WHAT PART OF PITTSBURGH ARE YOU FROM” ? lOVE IT.

  16. My husband is from DC and cracks up at my native Pittsburgh words and a bit of an accent (I do not say yinz though). He was the first to point out that I say pool, pull, and pole all the same. Working in sales, I often get asked “Are you from Western PA” when calling other states even far away. I don’t have a huge accent but growing up with two native Pittsburgh parents who do have accents, it is with me.

Comments are closed.