The MHK Dictionary: Your guide to K-State’s local vocabulary

Illustration by Kyle Hampel.

Aggieville (n) – A business district famous for its bars, restaurants and night life. Located southeast of the Kansas State campus, Aggieville is named after K-State’s former school mascot, the Aggie.

Ex: “There aren’t many Aggies in Aggieville anymore, but there sure is a lot of beer.”

Bill Snyder (n) – The K-State football team’s head coach since 1989 (minus a break from 2005 to 2008). Snyder will be turning 79 years old on Oct. 7, and he has received national awards for his coaching career. He is typically seen on game days wearing a purple windbreaker jacket and his iconic glasses.

Ex: “Abraham Lincoln was a great leader and all, but he was no Bill Snyder.”

Bluemont (n) – In general usage, refers to one of four possible locations:

1. Bluemont Hall, a building on the east side of the Manhattan campus, home to the College of Education and the Department of Psychology.

2. Bluemont Avenue, a major street running through the east side of town to connect Anderson Avenue and Tuttle Creek Boulevard.

3. Bluemont Hotel, a local hotel located near Aggieville at the corner of Bluemont Avenue and North Manhattan Avenue.

4. Bluemont Hill, the proper name of a location colloquially referred to as Manhattan Hill (see entry for “Manhattan Hill”).

The Chant (n) – Also referred to as the vulgar chant or the KU chant. A rhythmic chanting of the words “f*** KU” that has been denounced by K-State figureheads for years. Most commonly seen at sporting events, particularly when the song “Sandstorm” by Darude is played during basketball games.

Ex: “Am I a bad person if I practiced the chant in the car today?”

Dodo (n) – A colloquial insult referring to the Jayhawk, the mascot of the University of Kansas. In real life, the dodo was a flightless bird that was hunted to extinction in 1662.

Ex: “I might have gotten a D on that quiz, but at least I don’t cheer for a red and blue dodo.”

GWSS, or Gee-Whiz (n) – The acronym for the Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies Department at K-State. Commonly pronounced out loud as “gee-whiz.”

Ex: “Gee-whiz, this GWSS class is harder than I expected.”

Johnny Kaw (n) – A local legend that was created in 1955 by George Filinger, professor of horticulture at K-State. Kaw supposedly carved the landscape of Manhattan and invented sunflowers. There is a 24-foot-tall statue of Kaw in City Park. Various things in Manhattan are named after him, most notably Johnny Kaw’s Yard Bar, a bar in Aggieville sometimes affectionately referred to as “Kaw’s.”

Ex: “That guy’s so buff, he makes Johnny Kaw look tiny.”

K-State Family (n) – A term often used by university officials and marketing materials to encourage K-State students to treat one another with respect and show support in times of need, as if the student body was one big family.

Ex: “I’m glad the K-State Family’s got my back no matter what my semester grades look like.”

KSUnite (n) – A university event that occurred on Nov. 14, 2017. All classes were canceled in the afternoon, and a rally was held on the lawn of Anderson Hall to promote unity and diversity among the student body. 2017 saw the university enduring increased scrutiny due to a number of incidents in Manhattan that were perceived as racist or hurtful, and KSUnite was a response to said incidents.

Ex: “I wish they’d cancel classes on my birthday like they did for KSUnite.”

KU (n) – An acronym referring to the University of Kansas. Presumably, “UK” is not used due to its association with the University of Kentucky. KU and K-State are in-state rival schools, particularly when it comes to sporting events.

Ex: “I’d rather put pineapple on my pizza than go to school at KU.”

Lawrence (n) – A city located in northeastern Kansas that serves as the home of the University of Kansas. The famous Massachusetts Street runs through the east side of Lawrence and boasts an impressive number of businesses and attractions.

Ex: “I’d love going to Lawrence if it wasn’t for all the KU fans.”

The Library (n) – In general usage, refers to one of three possible locations:

1. Hale Library, the largest library at K-State located in the center of the Manhattan campus.

2. Manhattan Public Library, the city library located on Poyntz Avenue in the southeast part of town.

3. The Library, a liquor store with a cheeky name located on the southern edge of Aggieville.

Manhattan Hill (n) – The colloquial name for Bluemont Hill. Located off Ehlers Road on Bluemont Scenic Drive in the northeast part of town, this scenic destination has picnic tables and walking paths, but it’s most famous for the giant white letters spelling out “MANHATTAN” visible from Tuttle Creek Boulevard.

Ex: “This restaurant smells, let’s go eat our chicken nuggets on Manhattan Hill.”

Pat Bosco (n) – The vice president for student life and dean of students at K-State. Often considered the “face” of the university, Bosco is a common sight at orientation ceremonies and major school events. He is typically seen in a black suit with a purple tie, and his distinctive nose is hard to miss.

Ex: “Pat Bosco high fived me today. I felt like a legend.”

Richard Myers (n) – The president of K-State since 2016. Myers is a retired Air Force general who served as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (the U.S. president’s highest-ranking military adviser) under former president George W. Bush. He is a native Kansan who graduated from K-State in 1965, and he can be identified by his stern face and white hair.

Ex: “I’d feel so important if I could eat some pizza with Richard Myers.”

Top of the World (n) – A nontraditional park with walking trails and a view of the city. Located off Seth Child Road on Top of the World Drive in the northwest part of town, Top of the World is good for a nature walk during the day and stargazing at night.

Ex: “The Top of the World isn’t nearly as tall as the name would suggest, but I do like the fireflies.”

Varney’s (n) – A store in Aggieville that was permanently closed in 2016 after 126 years of business. Varney’s sold textbooks, art supplies and K-State merchandise. The building it used to occupy is currently home to Rally House, a sportswear and K-State merchandise store.

Ex: “The lines at this book store are so long. I miss Varney’s.”

Wabashing (v) – The traditional dance of the Manhattan people. Named after one of K-State’s school songs, “The Wabash Cannonball,” this rhythmic thrusting of one’s upper body is most often seen at sporting events.

Ex: “I bet I could wabash on top of that statue. Here, hold my beer.”

Willie the Wildcat (n) – The official name for K-State’s school mascot. Willie can often be found patrolling the campus and silently interacting with fans on particularly happy days in his unmistakable purple outfit and gray fur.

Ex: “Do you ever want Willie to cradle you in his big fuzzy arms, or is that just me?”

Editor’s note: In an earlier version of this article, under the entry for “Manhattan Hill,” the location of Bluemont Hill was incorrectly stated. Bluemont Hill is accessible off Bluemont Scenic Drive, then off Ehlers Road. The Collegian regrets the error.

Those words you just read were written by me, Kyle Hampel. I am a 2019 graduate in English. I have strong feelings about barbeque pizza and the Oxford comma. I am a former copy chief, community editor, feature editor, designer and deputy multimedia editor. Beloit, Kansas, is proud to call me their own, along with several other towns I've lived in that aren't as special to me.