Header photo by @icelandicfestival
Last winter, we published our first Manitoba lingo guide titled 'A fat boy and a jambuster play spongee at a social.' It struck a funny bone with many of our readers and they commented with loads of other regional colloquialisms they wanted added to the list! So here's version 2.0, full of words and sayings that, if uttered, only someone born or bred in Manitoba (or perhaps elsewhere on the Prairies) would understand.
Wear it proud
garbage mitts - sturdy leather mitts with thick pile liner that got their nickname because originally garbage men wore them through Winnipeg winters. Nowadays, garbage mitts are go-to gear for all Manitobans – young and old - to keep their digits warm while enjoying the frigid outdoors. Manufactured since the 1940s by Winnipeg-based Raber Glove.
gotch/gitch - slang for men’s underwear. The debate is real: do you say gotch or gitch? These may be words used across Canada, but we’re pretty sure they are most profusely said in small towns across the Prairies. That is, unless you’re from Alberta, and for some reason you say gonch or ginch out there. Believed to have derived from the Ukranian word for underwear.
Food for thought
farmer's sausage - a culinary tradition of the Manitoba Mennonite. These cold smoked, uncooked sausages are made of three simple ingredients: ground pork, salt and pepper. A common sidekick on a plate of perogies (or should we say: vareneki). Guaranteed to be sold in the gas stations of towns in southeastern Manitoba such as Altona, Blumenort, and Niverville.
rye & sev - short form for an alcoholic beverage that mixes whisky with 7 Up. A "rye & sev" is a Manitoban’s top cocktail of choice, especially when at a social (definition here).
bumper shine - the act of stealthily grabbing a car’s bumper and being pulled behind on an icy road. Often waged as a competition between two teenaged boys to see who could go the farthest before letting go or falling down. Common throughout the 1970s and 80s in Winnipeg neighbourhoods like Transcona. This form of tomfoolery is so endeared by a certain generation of Manitoba men that local craft brewery, Torque, named a beer after it.
frisnok - a sport invented by residents of Gimli in which teams compete against each other to knock a beer bottle off a post with a Frisbee. Frisnok tournaments take place every August during Islendingadagurinn, Icelandic Festival of Manitoba.
What's in a name?
pickerel - a species of freshwater fish commonly caught in Lake Winnipeg. Truth: these fish we’ve come to love (on the line or on the plate) are technically walleye, which is a completely separate species from pickerel. For whatever reason, local anglers have been calling ‘em pickerel for generations and, well, we're slow to change in Manitoba.
fish flies - winged, mouthless insects that descend en masse on the town of Gimli for a few days at the start of each summer. Likely to cause kid tourists to freak when they discover one sticking to their sleeve. These harmless bugs are scientifically identified as mayflies, but like pickerel, locals have been calling them by the wrong name for decades. And it just sticks.
May long - formally known as Victoria Day, the statuary holiday during the third weekend of May. Ask any Manitoban what they have planned for Victoria Day and you will get a blank stare. Ask them what they have got planned for May long and they’ll tell you all about their camping plans or (if they’re older than 29) their gardening plans.
Meet you there
dugout - there’s no baseball played here. To a Manitoban with farming roots, a dugout refers to a large reservoir used to collect rain and snow run off and offer water supply to livestock. Even though drinking from or swimming in the dugout was acceptable in grandma and grandpa’s day…it’s probably not the smartest thing to do.
bush party - beer + country music + bonfire + secluded field or wooded area = having harmless fun
the LC - where you visit before attending a bush party (see definition above). LC is the nickname for liquor commission, a government-regulated store that sells alcohol.