If you’ve ever traveled to the southern United States or have friends and family from there, you may have noticed that they sometimes use phrases and words unfamiliar to those in the north. These unique expressions are a part of Southern culture and add charm and character to their conversations.
However, for those who are not from the South, some of these phrases can be confusing and even humorous. In this article, we will explore 20 common phrases only Southerners use to help you understand what they mean.
‘Bless Your Heart’
This phrase is commonly used in the South to express sympathy or understanding towards someone. But beware, it’s not always used genuinely and can also be used sarcastically to convey disapproval or pity.
‘Madder Than a Wet Hen’
This phrase is used to describe extreme anger or frustration. It may seem strange to northerners, but down south, hens get agitated when wet.
In the South, this phrase doesn’t mean physically fixing something. It’s a way of saying “getting ready to” do something. For example, “I’m fixin’ to go to the store.”
This phrase refers to a place or direction that is not too far away but not immediately close. It’s a vague term that can mean anywhere in the general vicinity.
This shortened version of “I would rather” is often used to express a preference or choice. For example, “If I had my druthers, I’d be on the beach right now.”
‘Full as a Tick’
This phrase may sound strange, but it describes someone completely satisfied or content after a meal. It comes from the idea that a tick becomes full after feeding on its host.
‘Worn Slap Out’
This phrase is used to describe extreme exhaustion or fatigue. It’s an everyday way of saying that someone is completely worn out.
‘Til the Cows Come Home’
Southern folks often use this phrase to describe an extended period, similar to “forever.” For example, “I could eat biscuits and gravy ’til the cows come home.”
‘If the Creek Don’t Rise’
This phrase expresses hope or a plan that may not come to fruition if external factors interfere. For example, “I’ll see you tomorrow if the creek don’t rise.”
‘Let Me Let You Go’
This phrase is often used instead of “goodbye” or “see you later.” It’s a polite and gentle way of ending a conversation or hanging up the phone.
‘Hill of Beans’
This phrase is used to describe something insignificant or of little value. It comes from the idea that a hill of beans would not yield much food.
‘No Bigger Than a Minnow in a Fishing Pond’
This phrase is used to describe something or someone small. It’s often said to children but can also be used humorously towards adults.
‘Heavens to Betsy’
An expression of surprise or shock, this phrase is used instead of saying “Oh my goodness” or “Wow.” Its origin is uncertain and has been traced back to the early 1800s.
‘You Can’t Make a Silk Purse Out of a Sow’s Ear’
This phrase means you cannot make something good out of something inferior. It’s often used to express disappointment or frustration.
‘Pretty as a Peach’
This phrase describes someone or something attractive, charming, or pleasant. It’s a common compliment in the South.
‘Butter My Butt and Call Me a Biscuit’
This phrase is used humorously to express astonishment or disbelief. It’s a lighthearted way of saying “wow” or “oh my goodness.”
‘Gimme Some Sugar’
In the South, this phrase means giving someone a hug or kiss. It’s often used between friends and family.
This phrase means dressing up or getting fancy, often for a special occasion. It originates from the word “gussy,” which means to adorn.
‘Tie up Loose Ends’
This phrase means to finish or complete unfinished tasks or projects. It’s often used in business settings but refers to personal matters.
‘Carry Your Own Weight’
This phrase means being responsible and not relying on others to do things. It can also mean pulling your weight in a group setting or relationship.
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