For Cheechakos new to Alaska, here is some slang so that you can blend right in on your visit to Alaska!

  • Going Outside: Leaving the state for any reason.
  • Lower 48: The 48 states south of here. (We don’t know how to refer to Hawaii)
  • Cheechako: Anyone new to Alaska
  • Sourdough: Anyone old to Alaska
  • Cache (cash): A very small, food storage cabin. Elevated, out of reach of both animals and your children.
  • Ice Fog: A dense, winter fog of suspended ice particles that can sparkle all around you if there’s a little sun coming through.
  • Ice Worm: Small, very tiny worms that actually live in glacial ice. You can eat them but you need at least 1 million to make a meal ….. well, maybe a little less.
  • Bear Insurance: Handguns – 357 or better, a 12 gauge shotgun ……… or small, handheld, nuclear weapons – if you can get ’em.
  • Snowmachine / Tin Dog: A snowmobile.
  • Musher: A person who travels in winter by dog sled. Yells ‘mush’ a lot.
  • Permanent Fund: Money we get for living here – from the state; who gets it from the oil companies; who supply 20% of the Nation’s oil needs. You get oil; we get cash!
  • Ulu Knife: A native, half-moon, all-purpose knife. Pretty-cool actually.
  • Bullchitna: Bet you’ve guessed this one! ………. it means …… you know ….. BS.
  • Stampled: Being trampled to death by an elk – but popular among the Southeast Alaskans to include stomped on, crushed, flattened, chewed on, or otherwise badly stepped upon.
  • Moose Nuggets: Moose droppings. Found in everyone’s backyard …. AND …. in all Alaskan gift shops believe it or not – dried, cured, and shellacked into swizzle sticks, ear-rings, and Christmas decorations.
  • Bear Insurance #2: It’s the best protection of all ……… always, be with someone you can outrun.
  • Mukluk: No … it’s not something you just stepped in out there on the tundra. But rather, a very warm, fur boot ….. usually knee high.
  • The Bush: Villages, mountains, and valleys you can only reach by boat or plane. That amounts to almost the entire state.
  • Termination Dust: The first, light dusting of snow; on the very tips of the mountains. It’s a warning. The first, big snow is just around the corner. This of course, triggers a huge shopping frenzy.
  • Cabin Fever: When Alaskans start bouncing off the walls … from being inside those walls, way too long in winter.
  • Ditch Divers: Those who own 4-wheel-drive vehicles – learning the hard way – that one needs to drive slow on ice and snow …. just like the rest of us!
  • Arctic Entry: A pre-entry into your home where dirty, slushy boots, winter gear, mud, work clothes, etc., can be taken off before they’re taken off ‘inside’ your clean house.
  • Mosquito Dope / Bug Juice: Mosquito repellant – spray, liquid, and roll on. Citronella anything – patches, bracelets, smoke rings, candles ….. anything citronella. We do have a skeeter problem here.
  • Alaskan Sneakers: Fishing Waders – leg, hip, or chest waders.
  • Permafrost: Ground that is frozen year-round. About 2-5 feet under the surface. Probably should be called perma-ice.
  • A Three Dog Night: It’s so cold, that two dogs ain’t keepin’ ya warm enough.
  • Sing Song: Any concert, recital, or competition for singing.
  • Breakup: The process by which all snow and ice finally melts away – but all at once. Real sloppy for about 2-3 weeks. For Alaskans, it means the end of winter and the beginning of tourist season.
  • Borough: Alaska’s answer to the “county”. We have to be different, don’t you know.
  • Two Seasons: We have two seasons – winter and road construction. Actually it’s more like “road fixing” construction. We don’t get many new roads here.
  • Sundog: A large, noticeable circle around the sun on very cold days. Sun glasses really help enhance this phenomenon.
  • Bunny Boots: Big, fat, white, rubber boots that keep your feet warm up to -65 degrees. But it really looks like you’re wearing small boats.
  • Heater Plugs: An electrical plug protruding from the grill of your car or truck. Plug it into an outside outlet, at home or at a business and it keeps your engine-block warm either overnight or while you’re parking.
  • Fireweed: The weed everyone loves. It grows anywhere it wants to. Has pink flowers … and in fall, the leaves turn a fiery red ….. hence the name Fireweed.
  • Dip Netting: Holding a large fishnet, on the end of a long poll, in a river, waiting for fish to swim into it. Rather successful.
  • Moose Gooser: Similar to a cow-catcher on the front of a train. In Alaska, we GOOSE rather than cow-catch on railroad tracks.