The Official Southern Vocabulary

When you visit the South there are two things you will need: an empty stomach and a translator. Southerners have a unique way of using words and phrases that can be hard for those above the Mason Dixon Line to understand. Here is a simple explanation of some the South’s favorite sayings.

Bad-mouth – what your momma tells you not to do. Don’t say bad things about people.

Bless your heart – a heartfelt insult or empathy (depending on the situation or person).

Buggy – a shopping cart (and don’t let anyone try to convince you otherwise).

Catty-corner – at an angle (Ex. “He parked the car all ‘catty-corner.’”)

Fat as a tick – a full belly after a good meal (Ex. “I am ‘fat as a tick’ after eating supper at Boudreaux’s.”)

Fit to be tied – extremely frustrated/upset (Ex. “Our friends from Vermont were ‘fit to be tied’ when they found out Chick Fil A wasn’t open on Sunday.”)

Fixin’ to – what you are about to do (Ex. “I’m fixin’ to make a ‘mater sandwich.”)

Hissy fit – being overly dramatic (Ex. “He threw a ‘hissy fit’ because I didn’t use Blue Plate mayonnaise on his mater sandwich.”)

I don’t have a dog in that fight – feeling neutral about the outcome of a situation because it has no effect on you. (Ex. “Oh, that football game, I don’t have a dog in that fight.”)

Madder than a wet hen – one step above a “hissy fit”.

Mind your manners – be nice. The end.

Pocketbook – a handbag/purse (Ex. “I need to grab my pocketbook before we go to the store. Yes, I will need a buggy.”)

Preaching to the choir –  trying to convince people who are already convinced (Ex. “You are preaching to the choir about the deliciousness of NoJa.”)

Reckon – to say you will do something (Ex. “I ‘reckon’ I’ll make myself a mater sandwich.”)

Slow as molasses – something that is extremely slow (Ex. “She was ‘slow as molasses’ when putting on her shoes.”)

Stinks to high heaven – something that has an unpleasant odor (Ex. “Those ‘maters stink to high heaven.”)

Stove-up – stiffness in the muscles after sitting down too long (Ex. “I sat too long on the front porch drinking my sweet tea. Now I’m all stove up.’”)

Sweatin’ like a sinner in church – an abundant amount of sweat.

Tan your hide – you about to get a whoopin’. (Ex. “I will “tan your hide” if you throw a ‘hissy fit’ at Greer’s.”)

That dog won’t hunt – used to express that an idea or plan will not work.

Ugly – being rude or a jerk. (Ex. “He sure acted “ugly” when I told him I was out Moonpies.”)

Y’all” – Most used word by Southerners. A contraction of ‘you all.’ (Who says ‘you all’ anyway?)

Yonder – a great distance when giving directions.(Ex. “We parked the car over yonder.’”)

As you can see, us Southerners have a colorful way with words. So, grab your favorite Yankee and show your manners by going over this list. Don’t be ugly if you get some crazy looks.

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