Friday, September 19, 2008


Since James recently did a post about Kiwiology (not kiwiology... since kiwi's can't talk, of course), I have decided to follow in a similar vein. I present: Southernisms. Admittedly South Carolina is not quite as exotic as New Zealand, and we definitely don't have any hobbits or belrogs or rings of infinite power, nonetheless, it is where I live. So here are some words and phrases I have heard used in regular conversation since moving here.

Bless Your/Her/His Heart: Usually said in a pitiful or condescending way. "The poor thing just ain't pretty, bless her heart."

Ya'll: You All. A Quintessential Southernism.

Ain't: Are Not. Another Southern classic which has spread nation wide.

Fixin' to: Preparing to. "I'm fixin' to make me some fried chicken."

Over/Down Yonder: Over there, wherever. "We're goin' down yonder to the Bob Evans."

Whenever: Used in place of "when", referring to a specific incident or day. "I was so proud whenever my boy graduated from college."

A Whole Mess Of: A LOT. "I've got myself a whole mess a' fried chicken, I tell you what."

Up Under: This phrase is utterly nonsensical. "I'm gonna hafta get up under the house to do some work."

Cute As A Bug's Ear: Cute. Really cute. Adorable, even. I didn't know bug's had ears, I thought they had sonar or vibration sense or something, but whatever. "Cute as a bug's sonar sense mechanism" doesn't roll off the tongue quite as nicely.

Useful As A Trap Door In A Canoe: If you can't figure this one out, I'm not explaining.

Slipperier Than Snot On A Doorknob: A lovely, refined way to describe something which is slippery, be it figurative or otherwise.

Bo': Dude. Bro. Man. Our friend Scott uses this one a lot and it still sounds weird to me.

I Done...: Used in place of the pronoun "I". "I done told ya, woman." One time I was grocery shopping and was buying a single can of beer to put in chili. The woman behind me in line shouted, "That ain't my beer! I done quit drinkin!"

Smack-Dab in the Middle: Another one that just doesn't make sense to me. What the crap is a smack-dab?

Hanker: I want. "I've got a hankerin for some fried chicken."

Dadgum: Damn.

Dagnabbit: Damnit.

Plumb: Completely. "I'm plumb wore out from workin up under the house and eatin all that there fried chicken."

That'll Learn Me (or Learn You): That'll teach me. "That'll learn you not to eat a whole mess a' fried chicken and then work up under the house, bo'."

In the Woodshed: You are in trouble and you're gonna get beat. You even get to pick your own switch, according to my friend Kristen.

Double Negatives (didn't nobody go, hadn't ought): "Didn't nobody learn nothin from this here dadgum post?".



ThomG said...

I'm still getting used to Midwestisms, like the "hot dish," which of course is a casserole.

a.matson said...

I have to say.....yes! A big freakin' yes! Since I'm in FL, I've heard a few of them there phrases, but not quite all. I think that you're living in the South more than I am.....I am living amongst a flock of snowbirds, all of which seem to hail from Arizona. So, admittedly, the Southerisms I hear are not truly authentic...dagnabbit!

Amy said...

AHhhhhhhh! Hahahahahahahahaha! Ah, Rachel, so amazing. YOu had me laughing form the part about no hobbits in South Carolina. I thinkmy favorite is the one about snot on the doorhandle.

Melissa said...

Oh gosh... I have to admit that I've said (and still use) several of these. I'm so country and I can't help it (though, there are several I'd never heard). I grew up with fixin', dadgumit, smack-dab... Okay, I'm going to stop telling on myself. I know there have to be more that I'm not even aware of! "Good night!" Yes, I'm "serious as a heart attack!" ROFL

Melissa said...

BTW... when we were in Dallas, I told my uncle I was having a hankerin' for a burger!

jkr said...

These are great. I've heard some of these here and there over the years, on tv and from people who moved from the south. Remember Sandy from Bel-Rea? She had some great expressions, although I don't remember them and some of them were probably more "Texasisms" rather than "Southernisms".

j.matson said...

Holy crap. I have new pitty for you! Ours are at least a bit cool...ish. Snot on a doorknob made my laugh so hard I fell of my bed! (BTW, how do you create a link? I can't figure it out!)

RachelRenae said...

I have to admit, I use a few of them, too. Bizzarely, I've been saying ya'll since well before we moved. Strange.

James:there should be a button at the top of the compose field when you're writing a new blog that does it. It looks like a little earth with a cahin link on it... select the text and hit that button.