Slang dictionary

yinz

[yinz]

What does yinz mean?

Yinz is a Pittsburgh equivalent to y'all. It is used to address two or more people as a second-person plural pronoun.

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Examples of yinz

Yinz Want Crepes? Pittsburgh’s Top 4 Creperies

KDKA (headline), May 2018
I love all of you. Whether we’re best friends or aquatinted. I love yinz
@WhoIsNark, October 2018
Wicked Pittsburgh
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Where does yinz come from?
Getty Images / Sporting News

In the early 17th century, southwestern Pennsylvania, including Pittsburgh, was settled by Scottish-Irish immigrants. They spoke a Scots-Irish variety of English which featured you ones used as a second-person plural pronoun (vs. the Standard English use of you for both the singular and plural).

Barbara Johnstonea professor at Carnegie Mellon University and an expert in what’s called Pittsburghesehas located the Scots-Irish you ones as the source of the Pittsburgh yinz. You ones became pronounced as you-uns by the 1800s, further smushed to yinz, among other forms like yunz, by at least the 1980s.

Yinz has since become so associated with Pittsburgh identity and pride (though forms are also found in Appalachia) that locals may refer to themselves as Yinzers.

@YinzerMob / Twitter

Who uses yinz?

Yinz is common (and useful) feature of the Pittsburgh dialect of English. It is used for the plural you just like you all or the Southern English y’all.

Besides its actual use, Pittsburghers also use yinz as a shibboleth and symbol of pride along with other terms like jagoff. Companies may also use the local color of yinz as a marketing strategy.

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Note

This is not meant to be a formal definition of yinz like most terms we define on Dictionary.com, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of yinz that will help our users expand their word mastery.