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A North Dakota Adjective

July 14, 2011 by Hailey Goplen

Yesterday, I sucked it up and decided it was time to cave and buy a new set of tires for my little car. I was debating all winter to purchase some better all-weather tires, but my ever penny-pinching self decided there was still life in them and slipping on snow and ice was better than coughing up a not yet needed $400. Besides, a mechanic had told me I could hold off until July, so why argue with an expert?

With the end of July fast approaching, I realized it was time. I brought my car in and was asked what kind of tires I wanted. My response? “Well, I’m from out of state. I know I have all-weather tires but they aren’t North Dakota all-weather tires. So, I want North Dakota all-weather tires.”

He knew exactly what I meant. While yes I had all-weather tires, they weren’t able to handle all of the weather in North Dakota. Therefore, they weren’t North Dakota all-weather tires.

Me experiencing "North Dakota cold" for the first time while trying to use my ice scraper... not a North Dakota ice scraper.

North Dakota has become an adjective for me, and I use it to describe many things. For example, if I’m driving down the interstate and there happens to be a slight bump in a field off in the distance, that is a North Dakota hill. When a snack is being served at a work or family function and I’m expecting a few crackers and some fruit but instead get an entire meal, well, that’s a North Dakota snack. I never seemed to get bitten by mosquitoes before living in Fargo, but now I get chewed up every time I set foot outside past 5:00. That’s because they are North Dakota mosquitoes. And to combat these pests, there is insect repellent and then there is North Dakota, 100 deet, backwoods, insect repellent.

There’s a whole slew of words to describe weather and temperature that require adding North Dakota before it. There’s cold, and then there’s North Dakota cold. You may have a winter coat, but is it a North Dakota winter coat? Likewise, you may have a snow shovel or ice scraper, but is it a North Dakota one? Visitors from out of state may think 32 above zero is cold, but here, its North Dakota warm. If family or friends from out of state say its windy there today, I say “Well, its no North Dakota wind.”

By placing “North Dakota” in front, the word takes on an entirely different meaning that you could not fully appreciate or understand unless you spent some time in this very unique state.



  1. Don Lajoie says:

    Just wanted to say thank you for the information on becoming Midwestern. I am getting ready to move to N.D. And was doing some investigating, Your post have convinced me that it is possible. I currently live in Jacksonville Fl. So I am working up the courage.

  2. I really like your writing style, fantastic information, thanks for putting up : D. Brian McFadden sets the record straight

  3. Nathan says:

    Absolutely true! And funny too! Keep up the great work!

  4. I just love reading everything that you have to say. It seems ou always come up on some conversation that I am having. For example we just cam back from The Cities this weekend and you were a big conversation piece there as well. Thank you for the laughs,I was born and raised here so I never thought of half the things you talk about. Exmaples would be our LOVE for a great home cooked meal, the bridal showers that we have (on a school bus), the climate changes that we have (even though the 90 degrees is much better than the 20 below.) Anyways keep up the good work, I love to read wha tyou write.

    • Thanks, Angela! I’m so glad you’re enjoying my posts. You know, the majority of my ideas lately have come from talking to people who have been reading my blog and then inevitably the conversation navigates into me pointing out something unique to the Midwest. Thanks for reading!

  5. Kate says:

    Its all so true! Love the blog keep it up!

  6. Lisa Anderson says:

    I love this. I came here from the Black Hills of SD. Winters there are so mild compared to here. HA! I always can hold the weather over my family’s head when I call home in the winter. Is that a good thing? Really?

  7. Renee says:

    My friend Julie linked me your blog. I loved it immediately. Thanks for sharing your life experiences. This is why I love the internet. You are now in my RSS reader.

  8. Claudia says:

    Found your blog and I really enjoy it ! I am another born and never left North Dakota girl. My Grandmother moved on this spot in 1905 and I am still here – on the same spot.
    Have you read the book “How Fargo of you” ….LOL
    I will keep reading your blog.

  9. Stan says:

    Not just interesting….but North Dakota Interesting.

  10. Woody says:

    I love it.
    I lived in Fargo until I was old enough to leave. Not that I don’t love it, I just love Portland more. Your blog is great, I get “a little taste of home” every time I read it.
    Keep up the good work.

  11. Jeff says:

    I’ve lived here my whole life and I just love hearing your point of view. Very entertaining keep it up.

  12. Joel says:

    never really thought of it that way, but it’s very true. that’s funny – North Dakota funny!

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