All the alarms ROARED in my head the first time I was referred to as "from away." My defenses went up and I was prepared for imminent danger through either further "discrimination," an attack, and/or battle. There was a threat present, and I needed to be ready.

I immediately realized my testosterone was getting the better of me and being called "from away" was no threat at all. The label bestowed upon me was purely a way to identify me to Mainers as someone from out of state (i.e. from away).

Now desperate to continue to be welcomed by this wonderful group of people called Mainers, I want to learn everything about Maine, including where in the world the identifier "from away" originates.

Is the Phrase from Away Divisive in Maine?

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This 50-minute radio program from  brilliantly explains the connotation behind "from away" with the help of several Mainers who called in.

One caller expressed that in no way is "from away" a divisive term nor is it meant to be offensive (unless it is, and you'll know it). Being called "from away" is purely a descriptor. Mainers are proud of the state they are from and what it has developed into through the hard work of themselves and the many generations prior.

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Another caller shared that Mainers live in Maine because they love Maine and just the way it is. They don't want people "from away" coming here to try and change it nor barking any demands and disrespecting its hard-working citizens. If you respect Maine for the way it is and respect its people, you will be respected in return albeit "from away."

From Away May Have Started Out as a Derogatory Term in Maine

I was able to find this great article by columnist Dana Wilde who breaks down the history of "from away" through Maine literature.

It is certainly worth a read, but here is my attempt at the SparkNotes version. Wilde shows that "from away" began as a negative term decades ago through the frustration of Mainers being treated as inferiors by visitors and vacationers and the increase of population in areas not built to withstand so many people and vehicles.

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Dana Wilde further proved through her research that Maine evolved in the 70's and 80's, and so did the term "from away." An influx in the amount of people moving to this beautiful state occurred during the "hippie era." As decades went by, defining a true-Mainer became more challenging, and being from away, evolved into simply identifying someone not from the area.

If You Are From Away, Learn Some of the Maine Lingo


Ayuh, can't get there from here, apiece, downeast (this one is the most confusing), The County, and yessah are just a few of the unique phrases from the Maine vocabulary. has provided an excellent guide to help navigate the Maine lingo.

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I understand that I will never not be "from away," and I'll wear that title proudly. Being a visitor of this beautiful state and getting to know and learn from the extraordinary Mainers "from here" is a privilege that I will never take for granted.

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