Yinz yinzers

Patrick Neil Illustration

My latest column is now online at Pittsburgh Magazine’s site, this one about whether the word “yinzer” is a positive descriptor, as The Duke of Fug and the Earl of Gross seems to think it is, or if it is a negative descriptor, as I think it is.

A snippet, about Bill Cowher:

I hated that he was leaving Pittsburgh. I prefer that my sports heroes stick around—atrocious sweaters and all. But with that one word, it felt OK. Yinz. He wasn’t going to forget his hometown of Pittsburgh. He wasn’t going to change or stand sobbing in a shower in North Carolina, trying desperately to scrub the ’Burgher off himself. He was and would remain one of us.

Have a read and then be sure to read the now-standard comments about how I have a country view of things, about how I live in Westmoreland County, and about how I jumped the shark.

On the blog over there, I wrote about what didn’t make the column due to space issues.

A snippet of that:

I contacted the owner of Yappin’ Yinzers, Alex Kozak, to find out what he thought about the word “Yinzer,” as his dolls, named Nebby Debbie and Chipped Ham Sam, are outfitted with jorts, mall-bangs, mullets, and halter-top mesh, and say things like, “Jeet jet?”

Go read his answer. It’s great.

Next month: my three-hour stint with a local volunteer fire department and how ridiculously heavy the Jaws of Life machine is.


  1. BeauJacques
    September 29, 2010 11:55 am

    It’s YUNZ, from you’uns, that is all.

  2. Al
    September 29, 2010 12:31 pm

    Cowher chose to cheer for the Carolina Hurricanes and rather than do it quietly, he decided to make a spectacle out of himself in the process. He’s as yinzer as Ben.

  3. Pensgirl
    September 29, 2010 12:49 pm

    Whether yinzer is positive or negative is really context-dependent. Specifically, I tend to find that it’s used positively as a way of distinguishing between Pittsburghers and the rest of the world, but that it’s used in a classist way when referring to a particular person or subset of people from Pittsburgh.

  4. Natalie
    September 29, 2010 12:54 pm

    i grew up in greensburg and when i went to maryland to college for three years it took my roommate a week to catch on to my slang dialect… at first she laughed at me and by the end of the year she was calling rubber band gumbands… its just who we are, its the entire area, and whether you want to or not if you live here long enough you’ll end up picking up a part of the dialect and taking it with you where you go…

    if people choose to classify us by how we speak and one of the words we tend to use than so be it… i have no shame… when I hear someone say “slippy” on the TV i get excited and say seeeee it is a word…

  5. Joe K.
    September 29, 2010 12:55 pm

    What Pensgirl just said. Depends on the context. And I have friends and relatives that might fit the negative connotation of Yinzer, and I have a Camaro, so I can’t throw too many stones from my glass house.

  6. jen
    September 29, 2010 1:44 pm

    I agree w/ Al- you can’t be a yinzer and cheer for a team playing *against* Pittsburgh!

    The YINZER article needs a follow-up to define that other great Pittsburgh vocabulary word: *JAGOFF*.

  7. Al Lambrini
    September 29, 2010 1:56 pm

    @ Monsieur BeauJacques Thank you, I am not sure where this yinz thing came from I always knew poeple to say yunz not yinz

  8. bucdaddy
    September 29, 2010 2:34 pm

    One is a Pittsburgh guy. The other is an Ohio guy who thinks by adopting the language he classes himself up to being a Pittsburgh guy.

    Sorry, you can take the asshole out of Ohio … but then it would only be Ohi.

  9. Sooska
    September 29, 2010 4:49 pm

    Pittsburgh Mag’s commentors are just as stupid as any other blog or column commentors, but with better grammar and more snobbery. They think they are more erudite than tPB’s current crop of foul-mouthed cbloggers, but are just as insightful, intelligent and inventive.

  10. Pam
    September 29, 2010 5:14 pm

    We have also always said YUNZ.
    Now you must pardon me because I need to red up the table before walking down to see how high the crick has risen.

  11. unsatisfied
    September 29, 2010 6:46 pm




    if you want to sound like an ignorant country hick, keep on using it.