Top 5 Southern Sayings and Their Meanings

If you are from the South, or have ever visited it, then you will know that Southerners tend to have their own vocabulary. You may have heard some sayings that make absolutely no sense, or at least to you they don’t. However, to every other Southern born and bred individual, these sayings are regularly used and commonly understood. We understand that conversations south of the Mason-Dixon Line can be confusing, so below we are breaking down 5 Southern sayings and just what those sayings mean. Keep reading below if you are ready to have your vocabulary expanded and your mind blown.

“We’re Living in High Cotton”
Why would you want to live in cotton may be the initial response to this commonly used Southern phrase. However, the real meaning behind this phrase is quite clever. For a long time, cotton has been a key crop for the South’s economy. Because of the monetary benefits of cotton, Southern farmers used to pray for tall bushes loaded with cotton in their fields. If a farmer was successful in growing these tall cotton bushes, it made them easy to pick and yielded higher returns. So, to put it simply, if you are considered to be “living in high cotton” it means that you are feeling successful or wealthy. When we put it in those terms, who doesn’t want to be living in high cotton?

“She Was Madder than a Wet Hen”
We don’t know who she is, but it does not sound like we want to meet her! If someone refers to you as madder than a wet hen, you may have just made yourself an enemy. The meaning behind this odd little saying is because hens can enter a phase of “broodiness”. They can get to a point where they will stop at nothing to incubate their eggs and can get very aggravated when farmers try to collect them. In order to break them of this, farmers used to dunk hens in a cold water.

“He’s as Drunk as Cooter Brown”
Cooter Brown may or may not be a name you have heard before. If you haven’t, it’s okay! Cooter Brown is an infamous character of Southern folklore. According to Southerner’s, Cooter Brown lived on the Mason-Dixon Line during the Civil War. In order to avoid being drafted to the North or South side, he stayed drunk throughout the entire war – which made him ineligible for the war. So, if someone compares your level of inebriation to Cooter Brown, it may be time to grab yourself a glass or five of water.

“He Thinks the Sun Comes Up Just to Hear Him Crow”
As most of us know, roosters usually crow when the sun rises. This typically wakes the house and pretty much anyone else who lives near it. You may meet a rooster or two in your life who thinks that the sun rises only because he crows – or in other words, a cocky individual who believes that when they speak, everyone should listen. No need to tell names here, we all know a person like that!

“Bless Your Heart”
This phrase is in the vocabulary of pretty much every Southern woman. If you have ever crossed paths with a Southern woman, you may have heard her drop this phrase a time or two. In reality, this phrase has very little to do with religion. In fact, it has nothing to do with religion at all. It is used as a passive-aggressive way to call you an idiot. Depending on when it’s used, telling someone “bless your heart” could be the most effective insult.

Of course, there are more than just the above southern sayings, but these are probably the phrases you are most likely to hear on your next visit south of the Mason-Dixon line. It’s a good to get your vocabulary in check, so you can know the difference in a compliment and an insult.


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