Outen the light!

There’s a Yorkism for you – “Outen the light!”

It means, not surprisingly to turn out the light, and if you’ve read my thoughts on other Yorkisms like been and butter bread and whatfer, you’ll know that I think we stick with “outen” because it’s shorter than “put out” or “turn out” the light.


The house I grew up in, in northern Dover Township, had a wrought-iron switchplate cover in our dining room that actually said “outen the light” on it. It’s very similar to the one at right from someone who runs a business called Orchard Cove Photography. They found it in a ranch house they were renting.

And, in more randomness, there is a band called Alkali Flats that had a CD titled “Outen the Light” in 2004. Weird…

About Joan

My name is Joan and I'm a lifelong Yorker. Throughout high school and college, I swore I was getting out of here as soon as possible. Now, a few years later, I can't think of anywhere I'd rather be. I love my town, and I hear every day from readers who love their towns, too. So please, connect with me and let's share what makes life in York County great. I'm here to help you enjoy this place as much as I do!
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4 Responses to Outen the light!

  1. Nicki says:

    I love reading this because I read stuff and wonder, “What’s wrong with blank” Growing up in Lancaster was not much different than here, I guess.
    My dad actually says “Crick” and you’d die laughing if you heard my Pap say Piano (pronounced PIE-ano)

  2. Jo Ott says:

    Crick is good. In my teen years I spent summers away from Shiloh in Juniata Co. where there are more relations than any one person needs. We had an aunt–Lydia Bratton–who owned a restaurant in the town of Mifflin. Lyd, as she was always called by everyone, built a home out in the countryside about eight miles away, along the Licking Creek. If you were in town and heading out to that house you were “goin’ up the crick” or if someone came into the restaurant and wanted to know where a family member was they might be told “up the crick,” and everyone knew what that meant and where that was. I still use the word to this day.
    Is it a Pennsylvania thing to refer to one’s grandfather as “Pap?”

  3. Nicki says:

    I had two paps.

  4. Codswallop says:

    We had an “Outen the Light” switch plate in our house growing up in Allegheny County, PA. A lot of people said “crick” too. Pittsburgh has dozens of these weird little constructions and unusual expressions (a common one meaning “to clean” is “redd up,” as in “Go upstairs and redd up your room right now.”
    I always thought “outen” was Pennsylvania Dutch.

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