Here Are Famous Southern Phrases And Sayings You Will Probably Encounter Soon

Published on 01/05/2021
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As far as the United States is concerned, the South has several interesting cultural elements that you won’t notice everywhere else. Love for baseball, home-style food, and funky slang can make you believe it’s a different world! If you ever travel there, you might find yourself baffled by all the phrases used by locals in places like Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi. But there’s no reason to think about it because you’ve come to the right spot! Trust us, guy. You will be fluent in their language by the time you finish reading this post. We’re not lying when we say that this is a fun way to mix up your vocabulary.

Aren’t You Precious

Hospitality is also another thing that defines the southerners! The reality is that locals like to be friendly and sometimes use congratulations to cover their insults. If somebody suggests, “You’re not precious,” you may want to take that with a grain of salt. They are likely sarcastic! This expression is also used when they feel insulted. Sorry, but it’s not really seen in any other context, so you should be careful of that.

Aren't You Precious

Aren’t You Precious

Reckon

We reckon it’s about time you heard what this term is. If you just want to express your views and feelings, that’s just what you’re doing. In the south, it’s fairly normal to hear anyone use this term instead of “think,” “suppose,” “imagine,” or “believe.” We’ve mentioned all the synonyms that we can think of, but we’re sure you’ve already found it out! It’s a pretty nice term, actually.

Reckon

Reckon

Over Yonder

Where? Over yonder? Nope, this isn’t a grammatical mistake. If you ever find yourself in the south and need directions, you may hear someone say that. Let us clarify to you what it really implies. It’s not all that complicated to find it out. Basically, this is yet another way to mean, “Over yonder.” There’s a fair possibility that they’ll be pointing in the general direction of anywhere you need to go!

Over Yonder

Over Yonder

See To Christmas

No, this guy is not a psychic who can see what Christmas is going to be like. This is not what the term applies to at all. The expression is also used to speak about a woman wearing a skirt that might afford to be a little longer. You might want to think of a grandmother scolding her cheeky granddaughter! She might tell off the younger woman by saying that she can “see to Christmas.” Next time, you might want to cover up some more if you drop by her house!

See To Christmas

See To Christmas

Being Ugly

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re visually unattractive. The Southerners would label you ugly if you behave inappropriately. It seems like they admire more than they look at what’s inside! It’s a fascinating word, but it might contribute to a lot of misunderstanding and anger if you ever start using it this way in some other region of the world! Feel free to use it as long as you can clarify the use of it.

Being Ugly

Being Ugly

Sweating More Than A Sinner In Church

There are moments that the light appears a bit too brilliantly. No one likes to sound like they’re roasting in a volcanic pit, don’t they? It’s much harder when the air conditioner doesn’t work when you need it most. This is an expression you’ll learn in the middle of the season when you’re actually practically sweating worse than a sinner in the church. It also reveals exactly how devout people are in this section of the US!

Sweating More Than A Sinner In Church

Sweating More Than A Sinner In Church

Pretty As A Peach

Do you realize a beautiful lady you can’t help but feel the urge to compliment her? It’s simple enough to say generic things, but you can lend it a Southern flavor as well! Southerners are typically going to suggest that someone’s sort of like a peach. Of necessity, this is not to be taken literally. It’s just a polite way to suggest that a girl looks pretty! There’s no reason to be alarmed if you’re ever told this.

Pretty As A Peach

Pretty As A Peach

Hissy Fit

Can this be more precise than this phrase? Given this, it’s more popular in the south. No one loves it when a little kid throws a tantrum when they say no. Overall, it may be tough to settle them down. This is an obvious example of someone having a hissy fit. The helpful term does not only refer to girls, either! And so you know, adults like to have hissy fits on their own as well.

Hissy Fit

Hissy Fit

Fixin’ To

It can be embarrassing when someone orders you to do what you’ve always agreed to do. This is going to happen to us all the time. They came up in the south with a brilliant way to respond: fixin’ to. “Hey, what are you going to do? “Somebody’s wondering. The response, “Well, I’m fixin’ to do the dishes and then go for a six-mile run.” To clear up some misunderstanding, this just means you’re going to do something.

Fixin' To

Fixin’ To

Too Big For Your Britches

It is not strange for locals to use britches to apply to trousers and underwear in the south. So what does it mean when they say you’re too large for your britches? Don’t worry; they’re not insinuating you’re overweight! Sometimes, that just means you’re running ahead of yourself. They might think you’re looking too far. This is usually heard as parents attempt to punish their children!

Too Big For Your Britches

Too Big For Your Britches

Full As A Tick

What was the last moment you felt so complete after a meal? This is also what occurs to us as we meet our people for the weekend. You would also have to take down the zipper of our trousers to fit it! While you’re in the south, you might tell, “I’m full as a tick.” Whether you’re fortunate enough to be inexperienced with ticks, they’re in a balloon after swallowing a decent volume of blood! It’s not a lovely photo, but if the shoe suits.

Full As A Tick

Full As A Tick

Hold Your Horses

Not everybody owns a horse, but the term doesn’t ask you to get one! It’s such a popular term that people toss it around in the south all the time. If anyone ever mentions this to you, they really want you to calm down a bit. We also realize that it requires a lot of self-control to stay patient at all times. It can’t hurt, though, to simmer and take it easy now and again!

Hold Your Horses

Hold Your Horses

If The Creek Don’t Rise

It’s not convenient to keep a healthy social life because you’ve got a lot on your mind. Perhaps, because of existing obligations, you may have to turn down invites. There’s a strong Southern expression that you should start to use in these cases. This photo depicts a bunch of older gentlemen. Let’s presume they’re working at the same time on Tuesdays. So one of them wants to do something else next Thursday. He may have prepared arrangements for his nephew, although it is yet to be confirmed. He could say something like, okay, Jim, if the creek doesn’t rise, I’m going to be there.” That means he’s going to see, but no guarantees!

If The Creek Don't Rise

If The Creek Don’t Rise

Yankee

You’re obviously not from the south if you’re alluded to by this word. In case you were curious, this has nothing to do with baseball. In the south, this is actually a term used to identify anyone from the north. If not, maybe it’s somebody who’s behaving like that. This word extended back to the south throughout the Civil War. It was a term used in those days to identify a Union soldier.

Yankee

Yankee

Barking Up The Wrong Tree

This is more general than other list entries. And if you’re acquainted with it, you may not have realized it originated from the south. The fact is, we’ve been barking the wrong tree a lot of time. We actually cannot know why this is the case until anyone tells us about it. Someone is known to be barking the wrong tree because they’re assuming the wrong thing. Your parent may have once told you, “If you think I’m going to give you $100, then you’re going to bark the wrong tree.”

Barking Up The Wrong Tree

Barking Up The Wrong Tree

Cattywampus

We accept that this is a really dumb term! However, you will not be able to stop yourself from thinking that once you get started. It’s a lot of fun to say out loud! You’re mistaken, however, if you thought it had something to do with cats. This applies to something out of the norm, like the painting in the living room that tilts to the right. Your southern friend might say he’s pretty cattywampus! Has it correct now?

Cattywampus

Cattywampus

Till The Cows Come Home

Again, you don’t need to have a farm of your own to use this word. Will you have a buddy who guarantees to come back, even if they normally take a really long time? We were both there. This is a smart term for a case like that! You’re supposed to sit until the cows come home as it happens. This indicates that the delay won’t be quick, so you may as well be doing something new in the meantime.

Till The Cows Come Home

Till The Cows Come Home

No Bigger Than A Minnow In A Fishing Pond

As you may know, in the south, people enjoy their euphemisms and their metaphors. This expression is right to the mark, but you can be lost. It’s a nice way to explain a little stuff when you’re sharing a novel. People from the south are trying to bring the argument home, claiming it’s no bigger than a minnow in a fishing pond! We also recognize that the Minnows are much bigger than the Bass.

No Bigger Than A Minnow In A Fishing Pond

No Bigger Than A Minnow In A Fishing Pond

Three Sheets To The Wind

Anyone who has ever been intoxicated in the past should use the word. We appear to overestimate ourselves in more respects than just one! You’re just going to suggest that you’re all right while you’re on your way to being drunk. Ok, we bet your buddies disagree with that. Trust us; if you don’t want to make poor choices, you can trust us! That’s when the word in question falls in. The term sounds nautical because it is. The “sheet” is, in reality, a string that is unmoored, flailing like a drunk person in the storm.

Three Sheets To The Wind

Three Sheets To The Wind

Madder Than A Wet Hen

We have to confess that we’ve never seen a wet hen before. The word is not intended to be taken literally, however. If a woman is reported to be “madder than a wet hen,” that means you’re not going to provoke her any further. You never know what she’s going to do when she’s driven to the max! In reality, this is very close to the old saying that says, “Hell has no fury as a woman scorned.”

Madder Than A Wet Hen

Madder Than A Wet Hen

A Mind To

Have you ever found yourself dreaming, preparing, reflecting, and considering something? They’ve got a word for that in the south. It’s not what you’re necessarily likely to learn in various areas of the United States. There, as you think about it, you have a “mind to” do something. Here’s a neat example: “I have a mind to go over to Tom’s house to help him work on his car, but I’m not sure when.”

A Mind To

A Mind To

Piddle

Can you infer what the piddle means? In the South, it means you’re procrastinating or only being lazy! So, if a person is a sort to “piddle” around, it means they like to waste time. If you need a longer illustration, here it is: “Would you stop piddling around back there and get it done?” Here is another decent one: “Jane was going to come out tonight, but she piddled away all her money before Friday.”

Piddle

Piddle

Happy As A Pig In Mud

We are city folk, but we just don’t know whether pigs are really comfortable in the mud. Come on, when was the last time you ever saw a live pig? We bet that there was no mud in sight at the County Fair. In case you’re in the same aircraft, we want you to realize that they’re always comfortable in the mud. “Jimmy is as happy as a pig in the mud at college” implies that he’s getting the time of his life now that he’s in college.

Happy As A Pig In Mud

Happy As A Pig In Mud

Dog Won’t Hunt

You may not be a hunter, but you might be able to find out what this entails if you thought long and hard. If anyone uses this expression, it implies that the dog refuses to do his duty! It doesn’t encourage its creator to watch after birds, raccoons, and other small animals. “Dog won’t hunt,” therefore, implies that anything “will not work.” It’s possible to use this as a term to explain anything that won’t get you anywhere.

Dog Won't Hunt

Dog Won’t Hunt

If I Had My Druthers

Fun fact: this is an expression from the ’50s Broadway musical that depicts life in the South: Li’l Abner. The musical makes fun of the lifestyle of the people living in the rural South. In those times, they claim, “If I had my druthers… “It says, “If I had my way…” or anything like that! An indication of this would be, “If I had my druthers, this party would be over by 9, and I would be in bed by 10.”

If I Had My Druthers

If I Had My Druthers

All Get Out

Just because you remember, that’s a ton of fun to tell this. “All get out” is meant to explain anything really extreme. That’s a term that you can use with various scenarios every day long. It may be a good idea to use that phrase. While you’re hungry, you should just say, “I’m hungry like all of you get out of here.” If you’re satisfied with the show, you might even claim, “That concert was as good as everyone gets out of here.”

All Get Out

All Get Out

Gumption

The reality is that many people from all over the country use this word in different contexts. However, they don’t necessarily recognize that it has its origins in the South. It’s great to hear that you’ve got gumps. After all, that means you’re brave and bold! It’s usually not used in a derogatory light, so you shouldn’t be defensive when someone says something along those lines about you.

Gumption

Gumption

I Declare

If you try to apply this to the language, bear in mind that you ought to use that at the beginning of a phrase. In fact, you should really do that no matter what you claim. However, you can truly believe in whatever it is! “I do declare, it’s hot today!” is just another indication that you assume it’s boiling. “I do declare; this is a good chicken you’ve cooked,” however, implies that you’re very fried.

I Declare

I Declare

Living In High Cotton

It’s not really a mystery that the cotton industry was significant in the South. It also influenced the society of this area of the world in certain respects. You’ll see several cotton fields down there because it makes sense that there’s more demand. After all, there’s a larger output of cotton. That’s why an individual who’s “living in high cotton” doesn’t care about their next meal.

Living In High Cotton

Living In High Cotton

Hush Your Mouth

Well, it’s not like this one is complicated to find out. It’s actually right to the point! When your pal starts chatting even when they’re not meant to, you might remind them to hush their ears. You might mean this in a variety of ways! Some could instead say shut your lips or place a sock in it. This one has a more southern accent, but you can do it if it sounds nice to you.

Hush Your Mouth

Hush Your Mouth

Cat On A Hot Tin Roof

As you can tell, the Southerners tend to use animal metaphors rather than anything else. What does “cat on a hot tin roof” mean? Let’s just assume that the meaning of this is really fascinating. A human who is like a cat on a hot tin roof acts in a sketchy and nervous way. It might help if you thought about how a cat might act on a literal hot tin roof!

Cat On A Hot Tin Roof

Cat On A Hot Tin Roof

Stompin’ Grounds

We bet you didn’t realize what it meant! If that was the case, let’s correct the misunderstanding. That’s essentially only a spot you deem home. You might use that word to define your childhood hometown until you leave for college or work. Did you come from the south but now live elsewhere? If that’s the case, you can still assume that the “hood” is your old stomping grounds.

Stompin' Grounds

Stompin’ Grounds

Can’t Make A Silk Purse Out Of A Sow’s Ear

We’ve got another animal joke on the list! You know, the Southerners aren’t talking about a literal female pig. They’re simply doing that as a taunt instead. If anyone ever calls you this, they’re poking fun at your taste. It’s typically used to speak about tacky clothing so that you can respond appropriately. We’re holding our fingers crossed that you never have to hear.

Can't Make A Silk Purse Out Of A Sow's Ear

Can’t Make A Silk Purse Out Of A Sow’s Ear

You Can’t Carry A Tune In A Bucket

It’s got to hurt a lot if anyone has already told you anything along these lines. Let’s clarify just what it entails that you can’t fit a melody in a bucket. It simply means that you’re not the greatest singer out there. All in all, it’s basically pretty easy. Most of the time, a bucket should be enough to help you sound great. If this doesn’t make things better, it’s definitely time for you to offer it.

You Can't Carry A Tune In A Bucket

You Can’t Carry A Tune In A Bucket

There’s More Than One Way To Skin A Cat

No one is figuring out various ways to skin a cat! Again, Southerners only want to include livestock in their lexicon. This term has everything to do with versatility. If you hear it, bear in mind that it just implies different ways to do something. For example, you may be tired of consuming soggy cereals. If this is the case, you can put the milk before the cereal to make it less.

There's More Than One Way To Skin A Cat

There’s More Than One Way To Skin A Cat

God Don’t Like Ugly

Will it get more southern than this? We doubt it! Earlier in this post, we spoke about what it meant to be ugly down south. “God doesn’t like ugly” is much worse than that, though! This is a simple indication that nobody likes it when you’re behaving in an unwanted manner. It’s crucial to remain optimistic if you don’t want to hear that word. As long as you don’t stay on the dark side of things, that’s what it requires.

God Don't Like Ugly

God Don’t Like Ugly

Cuttin’ A Rug

You don’t need to find a knife or a pair of scissors for this one. Really, the only thing you need is the music. After all, cuttin’ a rug means dance! Maybe you want to invite your buddies to cut a rug next weekend. When the pandemic is done, we can’t wait to reach the dance clubs again! If you see a few moving to the beat amazingly, you might say, “Wow, they’re cuttin’ a rug.”

Cuttin' A Rug

Cuttin’ A Rug

Whatever Floats Your Boat

There are moments that some people are looking for your advice. What do you mean when you have no clear feeling about it in some way? Sure enough, whenever you feel like it, you can still shrug. However, you may also incorporate this southern line, which will have the same effect: wherever your boat floats. This is yet another way to convince somebody they’re free to do anything they want.

Whatever Floats Your Boat

Whatever Floats Your Boat

Pot Calling The Kettle Black

This is not the word everyone needs to say. If you’ve ever been told this, they’re basically branding you a hypocrite. When you claim why a pot is labeled a black kettle, you say that someone suspects another person of being guilty as well. This isn’t the way to work, boys. It’s meant to be okay if you mention it as a joke. You may want to be patient, though, before you chuck it around seriously.

Pot Calling The Kettle Black

Pot Calling The Kettle Black

It Doesn’t Amount To A Hill of Beans

You may have heard this expression before, while you were watching Casablanca. In the classic film, Humphrey Bogart says this to Ingrid Bergman as he bids her farewell: “Ilsa, I’m not good at being noble, but it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.” This has something to do with the reality that you can raise beans very quickly. When anyone does this, they generally say that someone or something has no importance.

It Doesn't Amount To A Hill Of Beans

It Doesn’t Amount To A Hill Of Beans

Bless Your Heart

The fact is that there are multiple interpretations of “bless your heart.” It depends on your use. For one thing, this may be a passive-aggressive way to claim someone’s wrong. If this isn’t the case, it may also be a way to express compassion! On the other side, you may use that as nothing more than an exclamation. You’re going to be on the alert for the sound and delivery and find out what it says. Reese Witherspoon once spoke about it and said, “How we feel about everyone, that’s what we literally say about everyone we know, and that’s what we mean. We do.”

Bless Your Heart

Bless Your Heart

Heavens To Betsy

This is a humorous little expression, but no one understands how it came to be. “Heavens to Betsy” is a phrase used to express confusion at anything that has just occurred. Several people believe it has anything to do with Betsy Ross, but it stays unrecognized. Its first recorded appearance was in the fifth volume of the American newspaper, Ballou’s Dollar Monthly Magazine.

Heavens To Betsy

Heavens To Betsy

I’m Finer Than Frog Hair Split Four Ways

Much of the time, people reassure you that they’re good when you inquire how they’re doing. In the south, you could hear them reply, “I’m nicer than frog hair broke four ways.” This was supposed to be an amusing way to speak about how they were doing. It first appears in C. Davis’s 1856 Diary. He said, “I’ve got a stronger flow of spirits this morning, and really sound as fine as frog’s hair as Potso uses it.

I'm Finer Than Frog Hair Split Four Ways

I’m Finer Than Frog Hair Split Four Ways

I’ve Got A Hankerin’

There are many words connected with “hankerin.” Etymonline states that it is to “have a longing or a longing for” or to “linger in expectation.” Anytime anyone from the south says that they are hankerin’ for something, it implies that they want it. This goes back to the Flemish word called “hankeren” and the Dutch word called “hunkeren.” They both imply “to long for something.”

I've Got A Hankerin'

I’ve Got A Hankerin’

I Might Could

You would find this sounds weird, but this double modal is used in the south. It means a person might be down to doing things in the future. Let’s pretend someone asked you, “Are you going to work on the car later? “You should still answer by saying, “I Might Could.” As you may have worked out by now, Southern slang involves reducing the number of terms you need in the answer. It’s also a shorter way to say to them, “I’m not sure, but I might decide to do it later.”

I Might Could

I Might Could

It’s Blowin’ Up A Storm

We’ve spoken a lot about metaphors, but this one really means what it means. You’re using this term in the south to speak about the scent, sound, and feel of an incoming hurricane. You could note that the temperature had fallen or that the wind was heavy all of a sudden. It often includes the smell of thunder, as well as the sight of lightning. If you ask us, we wouldn’t mind other people using the word in the same way!

It's Blowin' Up A Storm

It’s Blowin’ Up A Storm

Can’t Never Could

Here’s another definition of a two-way model from the south! What does it say that someone’s never been willing to? The fact of the matter is that there is a clear logic behind this southern expression. You’re never going to meet your ambitions if you believe you can’t do anything. If you’re worried about the mission’s detrimental facets at hand, you appear to derail the shot to achieve this target successfully!

Can't Never Could

Can’t Never Could

Well, I S’Wanee

It is a very normal practice to use needless terms in the south. This time around, that’s not the case. For whatever explanation, “I swear” has been turned into “Well, I S’wanee.” According to the Southerners, it has everything to do with the Southern Suwannee River or a little town named Sewanee, Tennessee. It’s also likely that this is another way to say “I s’wan” or “I s’wan ye.” They all come from the northern English dialect and signify, “I shall warrant (you).” In our view, this is quite a fascinating way to swear anything!

Well, I S'Wanee

Well, I S’Wanee

Worn Slap Out

You probably also realize that getting stressed out is going to be drained. However, to be a “worn slap” brings it a step deeper. Essentially, it indicates that you’re both emotionally and physically drained. You’re definitely going to experience this a lot in the middle of the season when temperatures go up to three figures. No one is loving heat strokes! This is another cool southern slang you may like to apply to your repertoire.

Worn Slap Out

Worn Slap Out

Busier Than A Moth In A Mitten

True enough, this one isn’t seen as frequently as the other list submissions. At any point, it’s always a helpful Southern term now and again. A month within, a wool mitten will presumably be busy consuming the stuff. This expression isn’t all that complicated to find out. We all know the moths enjoy nothing more than our favorite wooly clothing. A human is “busier than a moth in a mitten” because they’ve got a lot of stuff on their plate right now. It’s not that hard, isn’t it?

Busier Than A Moth In A Mitten

Busier Than A Moth In A Mitten

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