Ope! The Midwest Accent & Slang Terms
If you're from the Midwestern United States and you've accidentally run into someone or made a minor mistake, chances are you've said, "ope!"
It's a "surprise word", a variant of "oops", often said with a sudden start as if you've been taken aback. For example, if you turn a corner and bump into someone when you didn't expect anyone to be there:
"Ope! I'm sorry!"
We only just noticed it!
Interestingly, the exclamation only recently gained recognition. In fact, we've all been saying it, but weren't really aware of it! A tweet, by @Alex_but_online (posted in October of 2017) recognized this phrase. The tweet then went viral as other Midwesterners realized they've been saying all along (and yes, it's kind of strange!)
It's only said during a light inconvenience and users from all over the Internet are sharing that it's only a Midwestern thing. In fact, it's been hailed by Mike McKelly and Kalamazoo radio station, 1077 WRKR, as "The Sound Michiganders Make Instead Of Saying Excuse Me." According to McKelly, "You bump into someone and yo go 'ope'. You fumble something you're trying to give someone and you go 'ope'. You simply get in someone's way and you go 'ope'."
McKelly goes on to say, "Apparently, other parts of the country don't use this little 'blutterance'." Is this true? Does anyone outside of the Midwest say this?
Senior staff writer for The Huffington Post, Todd Van Luling, wrote "The Story Of The World’s Most Annoying ‘Word’ You Can’t Stop Saying”, citing that it was both ubiquitous and terrible. Van Luling noticed the phrase while speaking with The Late Show's Jon Batiste, when Baptiste said, "You open the box and ― ope ― there it is!"
Do you say "ope"?
Is it truly Midwestern or does everyone say it?
Despite it being heavily referenced as a "Midwestern thing", Reddit users from all over the world have shared that they also use the phrase. For the record, "Midwestern" states are defined as Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
Many describe it as not quite sounding like "ope", but more like "oh" with a very quiet p at the end, heavily on that glottal stop. Sometimes it a similar sound (more like "up") is made in place of ope.
So is this a Midwestern utterance or is this just a weird sound a lot of us make (and somehow never noticed)? Please weigh in and take the poll below!
Of course, "ope" isn't the only terminology to come from the Midwest! There are other terms ubiquitous to the area as well!
Bubbler - This is another word for a "water fountain" or "drinking fountain." The term is most commonly heard in Wisconsin, but can occasionally be heard in the bordering states of Minnesota, Michigan, and Illinois.
Doncha Know - Anytime anyone knocks on the Minnesota accent, the phrase "doncha know" is used. Of course, it's mocked with that thick Fargo-esque accent!
Where at? - We love our dangling prepositions in the Midwest! For example, I'm headed to Detroit. Would you like to come with?
Hot dish - This is a casserole-like meal popular to Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. There is no exact recipe, but it usually is made with a can of cream of mushroom soup as a base with corn, green beans, and beef. The topping is the best part, usually comprised of tater tots or cheese (or even better, both!)
Jeet? - This is another term that seems to be heavily used all over the Midwest (and is heavily outlined by "The Michigan Accent & Slang Words". It's a quick and dirty mish-mash of "did you eat".
Pop - In the Midwest, we don't drink soda. Soda is for your laundry! We drink pop.
Cornhole - A backyard game played at every summer barbeque.
Duck, Duck, Gray Duck - In some areas of the Midwest, "gray duck" is said instead of "goose" when playing Duck, Duck Goose.
Puppy chow - The Midwest equivalent of muddy buddies.
Where are you from?
Annnnnd, of course, there's the Michigan accent!
Are we missing anything? Comment below!
Questions & Answers
© 2018 Melanie Shebel