Thursday, October 20, 2016

45 Southern phrases Yankees just don't understand

by Heather Barnett
Y'all listen up, now — here's what people from the South really mean
You might hold a soft spot in your heart for the South if you have ever been invited to "supper" — or have been asked to pass the "clicker." Admittedly stereotypical, Southern slang is a trademark, right along with that adorable Southern accent. And while it may sound like some Southern sayings makes no damn sense if you weren't born and raised in one of the down-home states, they always make for some really interesting conversation.

The first thing you should know is that Southerners are prone to hyperbole. While this list covers some of the main phrases you'll hear, if it sounds like we might be exaggerating, we probably are, but it's just for effect:

1.      Access road  : Service road; the road that allows you entrance to the highway.
2.      (A) mind to  : To consider doing something.
3.       Aren’t you precious? : Most always said sarcastically in response to someone being offensive (i.e., if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it at all).
4.       Being ugly : This has nothing do with physical appearance — instead it means misbehaving.
5.       Barking up the wrong tree  : Being mistaken or misguided.
6.       Be able to see to Christmas
Something Grandma would say when she thinks your skirt is too short — you can see clear to the top of the Christmas tree!
7.      Bless your heart  : A seemingly empathetic phrase usually uttered when the speaker believes the recipient to be sweet but misguided or stupid or when they believe the recipient needs to grow up and deal with it; when said sarcastically, dumbass.
8.       Britches  : Pants or underpants.
9.       Catty-wampus  ;  Sideways or crooked.
10.     Catty-corner  :  Diagonal to something, like catty-corner buildings on a street.
11.     Citified  :  Urban, sophisticated and not country in any way.
12.     Clicker  :Remote control.
13.     Coke  : We may mean Coca-Cola, but they may mean any other carbonated beverage. If you order a Coke in a restaurant, do not be alarmed if they ask you what kind.
14.      Commode  :Toilet.
15.      Doesn't have a pot to piss in  : Really, really broke
16.      Dressing  : No, not the stuff you put on salads. This is the stuffing that goes in or alongside a turkey.
17.      Eyeballs are floating  :  Need to use the bathroom very badly (could also be back teeth).
18.      Fixin' to  :  About to do.
19.      Fly off the handle  :  Totally lose it.
20.      Get the short end of the stick :  Get cheated, or get an unfair deal.
21.     Give me some sugar :  Give me a kiss.
22.     Good ol' boy :   A male who tends to enjoy challenging situations; tends to be rambunctious and often enjoys hunting, mudding and fishing.
23.     Hissy  :  Shorthand for a hissy fit — a grown-up tantrum as bad as a toddler would throw.
24.     Hold your horses :  Be patient.
25.    Holler  : To let someone know something. Example: Holler at me when you’ve put the kids to bed, and we can grab a drink.
26.      Idjit  :  Idiot.
27.     If the creek don’t rise  :  If nothing bad happens, then everything will go as planned.
28.     Muddin' :  A pastime involving driving a four-wheel-drive vehicle in the mud with the goal of nearly losing control.
29.     Nervous as a long-tail cat in a room full of rocking chairs :
Nervous to the point of being jumpy; constantly on the lookout.
30.     Off like a herd of turtles :   Not off to a great or speedy start.
31.     Tennis shoes :  Athletic shoes of any kind, not just the kind you use to play tennis
32.     Pitcher :    Not a pitcher on a baseball team, but a plastic container to hold tea or lemonade
33.     Playing possum :   Playing dead (as a possum does to escape danger); also used when someone is feigning sleep.
34.     Reckon :   To suppose or believe something is true.
35.     Rode hard and put away wet :   Unbelievably exhausted, like a sweaty horse that just got put back in the barn.
36.     Run with the big dogs  :  Taking a risk or making a big decision that could have serious consequences.
37.     Snake in the grass  :  A conniving person who could strike at any time without warning.
38.     Squeeze a quarter so tight the eagle screams  :  Describes a person who's very, very cheap.
39.     Supper  :  Dinner.
40.     Sweeper  : Vacuum.
41.    Tore up  :  Broken
42.    (To) carry on  :  To continue on foolishly, usually referring to a tantrum or fit
43.     (Too) big for your britches  :To take yourself too seriously.
44.     Upside  :  The long way of saying “up,” like smacking somebody upside the head.
45.     Stompin’ grounds  :  Your hometown or where you’re from.

  • Stay Tune ... I do so hope these  Southern saying put a smile on your face .   More to come  Y'll hear !


  1. Just awesome. I love to learn southern sayings and the localized idioms of all countries of the English speaking world. The UK has 30 dialects just on two small islands, believe it or not.
    But southern dialects sound so cool. Correct me if I'm wrong but each southern state seems to have a different accent and slang phrases. I notice Texans have a harsher accent. Not smooth and lazy like yours. I had a problem following the speech of a guy I met from South Carolina. And a few times when I was in central Georgia I had to ask people to repeat themselves a couple of times. But it was a fun learning experience.
    Great post
    Luv PIC

  2. You are right , each southern state has it's own accent and slang phrases . Texas is harsher , they are the good old boys or so they think , Smooth ... Hahaha other southern states say we are just lazy and have to make up our mind if we want to say anything .
    Never feel bad if you have to ask a southern to repeat what they said ... it's makes them proud ... they know you will remember them .
    I bet Nana know a lot of them . I will put more on ... one about a real southern wedding Hahaha!!!!
    Thank you
    Love PIC