Like every state, we Indiana residents have created unique words and terms over time. Some of those we share with our midwestern neighbors in surrounding states, and some you likely won't hear in other parts of the country. However, recent data suggests one term is used more than any other, but I'm not so sure.

Popular Indiana Slang Words

The most popular one that comes to my mind is one I'm guilty of using regularly — "Ope." I can't give it an exact definition other than it's basically a hillbilly way of saying, "Oops." It will come out of my mouth if I accidentally drop something, turn a corner at the store, or in the hallway at work, and almost run into someone coming from the other direction.

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I'm also guilty of frequently using the phrase, "There you go." That one usually pops out after I get an answer to a question I've asked someone during a conversation.

Them: Did you hear Jill broke her ankle?

Me: No. How did it happen?

Them: She tripped over the cat.

Me: Well, there you go.

There are plenty of others, but the one recently listed as the most common by 24/7 Tempo has me scratching my head. It's one I've heard, but I have a hard time believing it's the most commonly used one in the entire state.

The Most Commonly Used Slang Word in Indiana

Maksym Kapliuk
Maksym Kapliuk

Reviewing data from an online survey conducted by the gaming company, PlayNJ, they claim the most commonly used slang word in the Hoosier State is, "Naptown."

If you're not familiar with the term, it's the nickname given to our state capitol, Indianapolis. Over time, it evolved as a term to define the city as a place with not much going on. However, it was originally used to describe the city oppositely. According to an August 2021 article in Indianapolis Monthly, the term originated in the late 1920s by the Indianapolis Recorder, the city’s highest-circulating African American newspaper.

It was first used in a 1927 article about jazz musicians as a "hip, fun way" to refer to the city, and "was used regularly to refer to Indy in articles about music, baseball, social happenings, and various events around town" throughout the 1930s. Eventually, other publications began to use it in similar ways.


I'm sure the term is widely used by residents of Indianapolis, but to say it's the most commonly used in the entire state feels like a stretch. Granted, I live in Evansville and I know the term, but if I'm going to Indianapolis to catch a Colts game on a Sunday, or for some other reason, I don't tell people I'm heading up to "Naptown." I tell them I'm going up to Indianapolis for the game, or more often, I shorten it to "Indy." Of course, I'm just one person, and just because I don't use the term doesn't make the claim null and void. Maybe it is more commonly used throughout the state than I'm aware of. If that's the case, I guess the only thing I can say to that is, "Ope."

[Sources: Higher Language / 24/7 Tempo / Indianapolis Monthly]

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