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Learn Pittsburgeese, and some other interesting Pittsburgh facts.

Updated on February 28, 2011

 I've been in Pittsburgh 9 years now. I moved here from Florida. People always ask me why I would EVER move here from Florida. My answer is simple, I hate the beach, its smelly, sticky, sandy, and there's all kinds of things in the ocean that can hurt you. Second, I missed the mountains and the snow. But why Pittsburgh, well, for that i blame my wife.

Here are a few things that you need to know about Pittsburgh.


#1 - The Pittsburgh Left

This was a new one for me, in Pittsburgh, there is a habit when driving that I consider both dangerous and ridiculous. The Pittsburgh left is when someone is waiting to turn left coming the opposite direction of you, as soon as the light turns green they try to shoot in front of you before you get through the intersection. In my driving experience, I have never seen this anywhere else in the country. I've personally witnessed it nearly cause several accident. Now I understand if there is a line of cars at the light that the lead car may flag you by, but otherwise I think it is a very dangerous practice.

So beware before you cross an intersection when the light turns green, because there may be someone trying to shoot across before you get through!

#2 - Weather

Seems some people will never understand that 4 wheel drive does not equal 4 wheel stop. An SUV will slide just as well, if not better than other vehicles on the road. Yet every year it seems, you see people flying down the parkway doing 40 with ice and snow all over the ground.

Actually I think the rain bothers me more. Mainly because of the above paragraph, but for some unknown reason people will only drive about thirty miles an hour in the rain.

#3 - Blinkers

This is a foreign, maybe even a bad word for Pittsburghers. I know it takes an immense amount of strain to take your left hand of the wheel and move that little lever up or down. Another good thing to beware of, people will slow quickly and turn right in front of you without any notice.

#4 - Pedestrians

Now my mother taught me that you do not cross against the light. Here, they don't even look for a light. So at any given moment someone could walk out from between two vehicles and cross the street right in front of your car. I've seen it happen a hundred times in the last ten years. I'm actually surprised that he don't have more vehicle vs pedestrian accidents than we do.

#5 - Speed Limits

These are not guidelines, recommendations, or even suggestions. From what I have seen in Pittsburgh, this number equates to five miles an hour LESS than you SHOULD be driving. Any attempt to drive at or within two or three miles an hour of that number and you're destined to have people honking and flashing their lights behind you.

This is actually Chicago (apparently they have the same rule we do)
This is actually Chicago (apparently they have the same rule we do)
Wedgie; nothing like the ones you got in Jr. High School.
Wedgie; nothing like the ones you got in Jr. High School.
P.S. If someone says "Kennywood's open" They're actually trying to tell you that your fly is down.
P.S. If someone says "Kennywood's open" They're actually trying to tell you that your fly is down.
Primanti Bros sandwich
Primanti Bros sandwich

#2 - The Language

Here in Pittsburgh they have created their own version of the English language. You laugh, but it's true. They even have a name for it, it's called Pittsburghese. Some are confusing, some are irritating. Either way, I find most of it ridiculous.

First, the Nouns:

Yinz- To mean you guys.

Sweeper- Vacuum (seriously, my first week here my mother in law asked for the sweeper and I absolutely gave her a broom. She looked at me with bewilderment.)

Gum Bands - Rubber bands

Crick - Creek, or stream

Gob - Snack consisting of two large round soft chocolate cookies with white creme filling in between. Common at bake sales and convenience stores

Hot Pad - Oven Mitt

Jaggers - Thorns

Jagger Bush - You guessed it, a bush with thorns

Parking Chair - A chair placed in the road to reserve your parking space

Wedgie - Nope, not what you thought. This is a pizza with a top and a bottom crust

Yinzer- Someone who speaks correct Pittsburgese

Now for some popular phrases:

Getouttatheroad - A not so polite way to say to someone that you are in my way and if you don't move I shall have to run you down

Haaja - How did you. ex: Haaja like them Steelers yesday.

Kennywood's Open- (Kennywood being the local amusement park) This phrase is to tell someone that their fly is down.

Needs swept - No you don't need a broom for that. This means that your floor needs vacuuming.

Out bacca - Out back of

Take the Browns to the Super Bowl - To defecate

Tsgadahntahn - Lets go Downtown ex: Tsgodahntahn and grabsome primanee (Primanti Brothers - A pittsburgh traditional comfort food. Prminati's is open 24 hours downtown and features a sandwich with Corned Beef or Pastrami with fries, sweet slaw and tomato IN the sandwich)

Upanoverdahill - Required for any direction giving as just about everything is up and over a hill. My other favorite direction is when they tell you to turn down where something USED to be. I guess they assume everyone has lived her their whole lives as they have.

Wach a Stillers- Watch the Steelers.

These are just a few of a very long list of phrases and words common to Western Pennsylvania. Basically what you need to know to understand most of it is just to understand that it's spoken in the laziest possible way, with as many nouns or consonants dropped off as possible while still getting the point across. You can read on @

But in my time here there are two facts about the mass majority of Pittsburgh. #1they love their sports teams, even the dismal buccos (Pirates). #2, most are hard working blue collar people who are fairly easy going, as long as you're not blockindaroad!


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    • LisaMarie724 profile image

      Lisa Stover 5 years ago from Pittsburgh PA

      Love this hub! Borned and raised in Pittsburgh, and yes we are some dangerous drivers haha. Even if it's your turn to go technically , if you don't hurry up and go we will!!

    • elanger333 profile image

      elanger333 5 years ago from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

      I love it! I have lived in Pittsburgh all my life and I forget how we can sound to the outside world. Great hub!

    • FreezeFrame34 profile image

      FreezeFrame34 6 years ago from Charleston SC

      Very nice hub! I'm from Butler, so I grew up speaking Pittsburghese! I grew up with family vacations going dahntahn to watch the Buccos or dem' Stillerz! I miss my family, friends, and the Potato Patch fries with cheese from Kennywood! And I will forever laugh about the porch chairs marking parking spots! I once used my couch :)

    • Jon Kohan profile image

      Jon Kohan 6 years ago from Pittsburgh Pa

      i live in pittsburgh now but didn't grow up here. the pittsburgh left is very interesting thing to see. the only reasoning i have for it is all the single lane roads in the burgh, and if you're turning you're going to tick off a lot of people if they've gotta wait forever for you to turn. so as the light switches they gun it to try and not hold everybody else up. that's why i think people do the pittsburgh left. then again i could and probably am way off.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      I have been to Pittsburg twice (twenty years apart) and I liked what I saw the second time ( a few years ago). Thanks for helping me fit in the next time I visit.