Yoop·​er ˈyü-pər How to pronounce Yooper (audio)
: a native or resident of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan
used as a nickname

Did you know?

The word Yooper comes from the common nickname of Michigan's Upper Peninsula—the "U.P."—and the etymology requires the same follow-up question that a challenging joke does: "Get it?" If you're not there yet, try saying them both out loud: Yooper, U.P. Yoopers have been saying both out loud now for about 40 years, but it's only in recent years that those beyond the U.P. and its geographical neighbors have begun to encounter Yooper in use. Yoopers refer to people who live in the Lower Peninsula as trolls (they live "under" the Mackinac Bridge, after all), but that nickname is still at this point too much of a regionalism to qualify for entry in our dictionaries.

Examples of Yooper in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Well, Yoopers are switching things up with the installation of a 15-foot-tall troll fishing with his beard for people to visit. Marina Johnson, Detroit Free Press, 26 Aug. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'Yooper.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


yoop- (from the abbreviation UP) + -er entry 2

First Known Use

1975, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Yooper was in 1975


Dictionary Entries Near Yooper

Cite this Entry

“Yooper.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Yooper. Accessed 20 Feb. 2024.

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