Aug 8, 2023 - Culture

Your guide to Utah lingo

Illustration of a bee and a megaphone emitting a buzzing sound.

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

We recently asked subscribers and social media users to send us words and phrases that are unique to Utahns and Salt Lakers, and you delivered.

State of play: Different regions use specific slang and expressions depending on the context.

  • For instance, "the industry" in Los Angeles refers to the movie, film and entertainment sectors.
  • Meanwhile, Seattleites call their perceived cold shoulder toward transplants the "Seattle Freeze."

Here's a list of terms we compiled with your help:

🙏 The church: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

🕯️ Member: A member of the church.

⛰️ Point of the Mountain: The mountainous area that informally separates Salt Lake and Utah counties.

🚗 The red snake: The trail of tail lights ascending up Big or Little Cottonwood Canyons on heavy snow days.

🍞 Scones: Not the triangular kind. This bread is a cross between a beignet and fry bread and is usually served with powdered sugar and honey.

📝 Sluffing: Skipping school.

  • Fun fact: Kim's sluffing in middle school forced her to enter a truancy intervention court program.
  • (You'd ditch school, too, if you attended Payson Junior High.)

⬅️ The west side: The Salt Lake City neighborhoods — Fairpark, Glendale, Jordan Meadows, Poplar Grove, Rose Park and Westpointe — west of I-15.

🍸 Zion curtain: The partitions formally required in Utah restaurants that aimed to hide the creation of alcoholic beverages from children.


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