Sheboyganese: an annotated lexicon

I moved to Sheboygan County, Wisconsin in 1976. I had lived in Iowa, Indiana, and Nebraska for all the years prior to the move. In 1977, I married a local boy. Our two children are born and bred Sheboygan County citizens.

When I started teaching in 1990, my students thought I was from the south. I dedicate this page to my sister, who has lived in Virginia for almost 30 years, who thinks I have a funny accent now.

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bubbler: drinking fountain

The origin of this word is the Kohler company that created a water fountain that bubbled up.

fryer: a grill

It can be charcoal or gas, though brat connoisseurs frown upon gas. The preferred fryer is a kettle model made by Weber. As for charcoal, only the best: Cedar Grove natural hardwood charcoal.

brat: a German sausage revered as holy

I don't like them, but I am the only one in my family who doesn't. You grill them and eat them right away or you simmer them if you've invited a crowd over for da Packer game ya know. Den you put em in a "soup" made of butter (like they need more fat), onions, and beer. My son-in-law makes a brat burger, which is a split brat laid upon a hamburger with massive condiments. Uhm, mmm.

go by: go to

Around here, a lot of people go by relatives at Christmas. I always wondered why they didn't stop in to say hi. "Yeah, we're goin' by my ma's house."

bakery: sweet rolls, doughnuts, etc.

I used to think the bakery was the place you bought all that stuff. What did I know.


This is easier to just use in its typical context. Let's go down by the lake once. I suppose it's like "okay" or even "hey."

dis/dat: this/that

It's more of a lazy thing, isn't it. Dis darn ting.

borrow me a dollar: lend me a dollar

This is definitely local vernacular, though not everyone says it.

schmelt: smelt

This tiny fish is apparently battered and fried and eaten, head, bones and all. I don't think I'll ever try it.

da lake: the lake: Lake Michigan

It's cooler by the lake in the summer. It freezes later by the lake in fall. It causes lake effect snow. Lake Michigan is beautiful, but never really warm enough to swim in.


If you're from here you say "Wi-sconsin" with emphasis on sconce. Clearly I say it wrong, because I say, "Wis-con-sin." It really does bug me though to hear people say "Wes-con-sin." ARRRGGGHHH!!!

hinder: (long i sound); a person's behind.

If you do something not nice, you might get a "kick in the hinder."

tree: three

as in "I got tree dollars." To be fair, not that many young people say this, and it's a subtle "tree," but you can hear it if you listen. I heard it just today (December 16, 2005) as I walked out of the K Mart store.

word: definition


word: definition


word: definition


word: definition


word: definition


word: definition