Southern Slang Sayings Dictionary
A complete list of Southern slang terms and phrases!
Southern Slang Sayings Dictionary:
Southern slang is as Southern as hushpuppies and fried chicken. Anyone from the South knows that there is a unique Southern Slang. This Southern slang, like "supper" or "y'all," holds a special place in your heart if you're from the South. Like a proud trademark, Southern slang is just as integral to Southern identity as a warm Southern accent.
Whether you’re from Alabama, North Carolina, or Texas, as a Southerner you know that you’ve got your own way of talking. People from Georgia, Oklahoma, and Arkansas do all have their own special words they use – but no matter where you are in the South, you know that if you say your baby girl is in a “lick” of trouble, the whole town knows that your daughter has it coming. Northerners might wonder what exactly does “Bless your heart” mean, but whether you’re in Kentucky, Tennessee, or Virginia, a true Southerner knows exactly the intention that phrase has.
If you are from The South, you are proud of your knowledge of Southern slang. If it's been a while since you've been home to visit and you want to test those Southern slang chops try taking this fun southern slang quiz: Only 1 in 50 People Can Pass This Southern Slang Test. Can You?
You can show how much you truly do know about the language Southerners use. So, whether you are a real Southerner, or you’re just looking to see how well you know Southern slang, after taking this Southern Slang test, you’ll know exactly when to properly use the most popular Southern phrases. Or, you’ll learn that you maybe have a little bit more studying to do before you can be considered a real Southerner!
Southern Slang Sayings Dictionary - Complete List:
Being from the South, you know that you have immense pride in your hometown, the Southern food you eat, the phrases you use, and where you came from. Southerners, no doubt, have a special way of living, full of Southern charm!
If that's the case and you want to brush up on all of your Southern sayings you can find all of the Southern slang sayings and phrases alphabetically below:
Southern Slang Sayings, Words & Phrases:
1. Access road: Service road; the road that allows you entrance to the highway.
2. (A) mind to: To consider doing something.
Ain't: Etymology: contraction of are not - am not : are not : is not - have not : has not - do not : does not : did not
Air-Up: Function: Verb To pressurize or inflate. Example: "Air-up your car tires before you go on a long trip."
A larking: Function: Verbal phrase Originates from the word "lark" which means to engage in harmless fun or mischief. To go a larking means to play a prank or joke on someone.
All y'all: Etymology: Intensive form of y'all This usage states "you all" more emphatically. For example, saying "I know y'all," would mean that one knows a group of people; saying, "I know all y'all" would mean that one knows the members of the group individually.
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).
Arkansas toothpick: Function: Noun A large knife.
Arkansawyer, Arkansan, Arkie: Function: Adjective or noun 1: A resident or native of Arkansas. 2: Referring to a resident or native of Arkansas. Residents who refer to themselves as Arkansawyers commonly proclaim, "There is no Kansas in Arkansas." when you call them Arkansans.
Being ugly: This has nothing do with physical appearance — instead it means misbehaving.
Barking up the wrong tree: Being mistaken or misguided.
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!
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.
Bowed Up: Function: Colloquialism Marked by impatience or ill humor. Refers to the way a snake bows up his head before he strikes. Bread Basket: Function: Colloquialism Stomach.
Britches: Pants or underpants.
Cattywampus: Sideways or crooked.
Catty-corner: Diagonal to something, like catty-corner buildings on a street.
Chief Cook and Bottle Washer: Function: Colloquialism A person capable of doing many things.
Citified: Urban, sophisticated and not country in any way.
Clicker: Remote control.
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.
Commode: Toilet. Cattywampus: Function: Adjective Askew. Example: The storm knocked the boat cattywampus and it started to take on water.
Darn tootin': Function: Colloquialism For sure. Correct. "You're darn tootin', that is oil."
Egg on: Function: Verbal phrase To urge to do something. Example: "He only did it because the crowd egged him on."
Figure: Function: Verb To calculate, consider, conclude or decide. Example: "He hadn't figured on winning the lottery."
Fit As A Fiddle: Function: Colloquialism In good shape, healthy.
Fit to be tied: Function: Colloquialism Angry.
Fixin': Function: Verb To get set: be on the verge Example: We're fixin' to leave soon. Function: Noun Customary accompaniments. Example: We had a turkey dinner with all the fixins.
Frog Gig: Function: Noun A pole used to spear frogs for cooking. Function: Verb The act of hunting frogs for meat. Often called "frog gigging."
Goobers: Function: Noun Peanuts.
Grab A Root: Function: Colloquialism Have dinner. "Root" refers to potatoes.
Grits (Hominy Grits): Function: Noun Hominy or plain corn that's been ground until it has the consistency of coarse sand. It's used as a side dish, a breakfast cereal, or as an ingredient in baked goods.
Hankering: Etymology: probably from Flemish hankeren, frequentative of hangen to hang; akin to Old English hangian Function: Noun A strong or persistent desire or yearning often used with for or after. Example: I have a hankering for fried okra. I've really been craving it."
Heap: Function: Noun A large quantity. Example: Billy got into a heap of trouble when he stole his dad's car.
Hear tell: Function: Verbal phrase A form of "hear it told." Often conveys that the information was passed second hand. Example: "I hear tell that the new mini-mall is going up next month."
Hoecake: Pronunciation: 'hO-"kAk Function: Noun Date: 1745 A small cake made of cornmeal.
Hominy: Pronunciation: 'hä-m&-nE Function: Noun Etymology: Virginia Algonquian -homen, literally, that treated (in the way specified) Date: 1629 Kernels of corn that have been soaked in a caustic solution (as of lye) and then washed to remove the hulls.
Horse sense: Function: Colloquialism Smart. Example: She has horse sense. She'll make it in business.
Howdy: Pronunciation: 'hau-dE Function: Interjection Etymology: alteration of how do ye Date: 1712 Used to express greeting.
Hush puppies: Function: Noun A Southern food made with cornmeal. They are small, round balls of cornbread and spices that are deep fried and often served with fish. These were originally fed to dogs to quiet their begging at the table.
Hunkey Dorey: Function: Adjective Everything is great.
June bug: Function: Noun Date: 1829 Any of numerous rather large leaf-eating scarab beetles (subfamily Melolonthinae) that fly chiefly in late spring and have larvae that are white grubs which live in soil and feed chiefly on the roots of grasses and other plants. Also called june beetles.
Laying out [all night]: Function: Verbal phrase Staying out all night, often drinking of doing something illicit. Example: "I was laying out at the bar last night so I had a hangover."
Lazy man's load: Function: Colloquialism A lazy man's load is an unmanageably large load carried to avoid making more than one trip. This colloquial phrase is often used to indicate that someone is too lazy to think properly. Example: 'Sam took a lazy man's load of groceries out of the car and ended up spilling them all over the sidewalk."
Lickety split: Function: Colloquialism Very quick.
Like to: Function: Adverbial phrase Almost. Example: "I like to pee my pants when that car hit me."
Nearabout: Function: Adverb Almost. Example: "I nearabout ran over that squirrel in the road."
No 'count: Function: Contraction Of no account; good for nothing.
Nuss: Function: Verb To nurse. Example: "She nussed the sick dog to bring it back to health."
Okie or Sooner: Function: Noun A resident or native of Oklahoma.
Okra: Function: Noun A green, cylindrical vegetable that is often fried in the South.
Ornery: Pronunciation: 'or-n&-rE, 'är-; 'orn-rE, 'ärn- Function: Adjective Inflected Form(s): or·neri·er; -est Etymology: alteration of ordinary Date: 1816 Having an irritable disposition.
Out of kilter: Function: Colloquialism Not right. Out of sorts. Example: John was out of kilter for a while when he was relocated to New York."
Pack or Tote: Function: Verb To carry.
Particular: Function: Adjective Concerned over or attentive to details: meticulous.
People: Function: Noun Relatives, kinfolk. Example: "Shelly went to see her people on vacation."
Piddlin': Function: Adjective Small or inferior. Example: "His work only gave him a piddlin' 1% raise. Function: Adverb Poorly. Example: "She felt piddlin' so she didn't go to school." Function: Verb To waste time. Example: He spent all his time piddlin' and never got anything done."
Poke, Pokeweed, Poke Salad: Function: Noun A type of salad often eaten in the South. Pokeweed can be toxic if not chosen and prepared properly.
Possum Pie: Function: Noun A meat pie made from possum. This is not actually eaten in Arkansas!
Purdy: Function: Adjective Pretty.
Rag-baby: Function: Noun A doll.
Reckon: Function: Verb Etymology: Middle English rekenen, from Old English -recenian (as in gerecenian to narrate, akin to Old English reccan Date: 13th century 1: Count Example: To reckon the days till Christmas 2: to regard or think of as : Consider 3: Think, suppose Example: "I reckon I've outlived my time -- Ellen Glasgow"
Redneck Caviar: Function: Noun Potted meat.
Right: Function: Adjective Very. Example: "You're right near the street you want to be on."
Rile: Function: Transitive verb Inflected Form(s): riled; ril·ing Etymology: var. of roil To make agitated and angry : Upset
Ruther: Function: Verb Form of rather.
Scarce As Hen's Teeth: Function: Colloquialism Rare or scarce.
Sho 'Nuff: Function: Contraction Sure enough.
Show:: Function: Noun A movie.
Shuck: Function: Verb To remove the outer covering of a nut, corn or shellfish.
Skedaddle: Function: Verb Run, scatter.
Slap your pappy: Function: Colloquialism To pat your stomach.
Snug As A Bug: Function: Colloquialism Comfortable, cozy.
Tarnation : Function: Noun Etymology: alteration of darnation, euphemism for damnation Used to indicate surprise, shock, displeasure, or censure.
Tarred and Feathered: Refers to the practice of tarring and feathering people who committed small crimes such as distilling in colonial America (and in England). Today, it is often used to denote great suprise. Example: "I'll be tarred and feathered, that dog just flew!"
That dog won't hunt: Function: Colloquialism The idea or argument won't work.
Tore up: Function: Adjectival phrase 1: Broken. 2: Upset. Example: He was tore about wrecking his new Corvette. Tote Pronunciation: 'tOt Function: Transitive verb Inflected Form(s): tot·ed; tot·ing Etymology: perhaps from an English-based creole; akin to Gullah & Krio tot to carry Date: 1677 To carry by hand : bear on the person
Trotline: Function: Noun A long line on which short lines are attached, each with a hook, for catching catfish. Some times mispronounced as trout line.
Tump: Function: Verb Etymology: perhaps akin to British dialect tumpoke to fall head over heels Date: 1967 To tip or turn over especially accidentally.
Uppity: Function: Adjective Conceited.
Varmint: Function: Noun Etymology: alteration of vermin Date: 1539 An animal considered a pest; specifically : one classed as vermin and unprotected by game law.
Walking on a slant: Function: Colloquialism Drunk.
War between the States: Aka: War for Southern Independence; War of Northern Aggression Function: Noun The Civil War
Washateria: Variant(s): also wash·e·te·ria /wä-sh&-'tir-E-&, wo- Function: Noun Etymology: wash + -ateria or -eteria (as in cafeteria) Date: 1937 chiefly Southern : a self-service laundry
Whup or whoop: Pronunciation: 'hüp, 'hup, 'hwüp, 'hwup, 'wüp, 'wup Function: Verb Variant of "to whip". To hit or spank.
Y'all: Pronunciation: 'yol Function: Contraction Ye all or you all.
Yaller dog: Function: Colloquialism A coward.
Yankee: Function: Noun Someone from the North.
Yeens: Function: Contraction Ye ones. Example: "Yeens better go before you're late."
Yonder: Function: adverb Etymology: Middle English, from yond + -er (as in hither) Date: 14th century At or in that indicated more or less distant place usually within sight.
Your druthers is my ruthers: Function: Colloquialism "Your preferences are mine," "We agree."
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