City Cast

How To Speak Like a Utahn

Terina Ria
Terina Ria
Posted on August 28
You say mountain and I say mou-in. (@wassatchbackcountryalliance/Instagram)

You say mountain and I say mou-in. (@wassatchbackcountryalliance/Instagram)

Utahns have a very particular way of speaking. It’s in our accent (can you say mou-in? ⛰) and our charming expressions (oh my heck). Here are some common phrases and terms that are telltale signs you’re from the beehive state.


This term is uniquely Utah and means to skip or ditch school. Did you do a lot of sluffing in your school days? Enjoy this piece of sluff history: In the Deseret News archives from 1993, you’ll find a disgruntled reader submission about the correct spelling of sluff (not slough!).

For Cute or for Cool

While others around the country may say, “How cute,” a lot of Utahns will use the word “for,” as in, “For cute!” According to a linguistics professor at Brigham Young University, this expression can also be heard in Minnesota and Iowa and originates from Scandinavian immigrants. While it’s becoming less common nowadays, you might still hear an older neighbor or relative saying it.

400 N = Fourth North

Our grid system and the way we say road names are an essential part of surviving SLC. Remember, everything is built around the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints temple. If you’re on 400 N. (aka Fourth North), you’re four blocks north of the temple.

That’s OK

This is a phrase I’ve noticed myself saying and wonder if any other Utahns use it. For example, if I’m out at a restaurant and someone asks if I want a refill or something, I’ll say, “That’s OK,” as in, “No.” But sometimes there’s confusion on the receiving end, like, “Do you mean yes or no?” IDK, does anyone else use “That’s OK” instead of “No?”

I put together a quiz to find out how Utahns say a few everyday things. Do you say sneakers or tennis shoes?

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