~~Sent in by USADEEPSOUTH readers~~
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Rita A. writes to USADEEPSOUTH: “I'm a Virginian living in Australia, but I still use my Southern-isms, much to the humor of the Aussies I know. My friend Andrew says I'm like Blanche on Golden Girls. My Aussie husband calls me his Southern Belle, and I reckon he's right. I'm originally from the hills of southwestern Virginia. Here are a few of my favorite Southern-isms.”
~~ He's too "sorry" to work. (lazy or unmotivated)
~~ She didn't know whether to "sh*t or go blind." (didn't know what to do)
~~ He was feeling "lower than a doodle bug." (feeling down or depressed)
~~ I love them "roast nears." (corn on the cob, comes from "roasting ears")
~~ Can you put my groceries in a "poke"? (a paper grocery bag)
~~ Want some butter on your "cat head"? (a large biscuit – at least that's what my Aunt Cora Mae called them)
And these were said by my co-workers in South Carolina. I still say them.
~~ "Up the window" (raise the window)
~~ "Down the window" (close the window)
~~ "Out the light" (turn the light off)
~~ "Running around like a cut-off-head chicken" (Don't know where to turn or what to do) I had always heard "like a chicken with its head cut off," so this version is a bit different and funny.
Anne McKee (Mississippi writer) says these were her granny's expressions:
~~ After someone had taken a bath, Granny would ask them (especially the grands), "Did you wash both faces?" then end it with a gleeful “tee-hee-hee!”
~~ When making phone calls to her good friends or relatives, she would begin the conversation with, "Well, Sizzy Lou, how's your fat?"
~~ When eating something tasty, Granny would say, "Hmmm, that has a more-ish taste."
~~ She said, "The secret to tasty chitterlings was in the cleaning." (Note: That's all I needed to know about that.)
~~ On commenting on someone else's cooking, "And it was just BLACK with pepper." (She didn't like black pepper.)
Granny never drove a car, never wore slacks or, God forbid, shorts. She was widowed at 26 years of age, during the Depression, and left with 4 small children to raise, but she did it, and I never heard her complain, not once, about those sad days. She never remarried and was dedicated to her family until the day she died.
She lived to be nearly 90 years old, always clear minded and never wore glasses and with very little gray hair, but shortly before her sudden death, she remarked, "Everybody I know is dead."
She was born, lived and died in Lauderdale County, Mississippi. She is greatly missed.
These gems came from Sandra A. (Sandollar):
Don't know if you already have these, but these are things my mother used to say.
~~ You feel froggy? Jump! (You feel like doing something? Don't talk, do it!)
~~ You ain't got the sense God gave an ant. (Really dumb person)
~~ She wouldn't tell the truth to save her life from dying. (Bigtime liar)
~~ He is the meanest person God ever put breath in. (Meanest person ever born.)
Hope you enjoy these. I did when I thought about them again.
“Hi, here is one I haven't read on this site,” wrote Tracy from Louisiana.
~~ "So poor he doesn't have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of."
Rodrigo in Brazil e-mailed us: “Kindly give the right meaning of this phrase, although I assume it roughly means ‘I don't care a bit’. I am a translator in Brazil and should like to know where it orginally came from.”
~~ "I give two hoots and a holler" about flying inside the helicopter.
Ye Editor doesn’t know the origins of this expression. Anybody know? Could Rodrigo have it wrong. Shouldn't it be "I WOULDN'T give two hoots and a holler . . ."? That would mean, of course, even if the helicopter ride were practically free, the speaker is not interested. The origins of the expression were probably in the creative mind of a good Southerner.
“Lordy, Lordy, I enjoyed readin' your pages. I didn't realize that things I hear (or heard growing up) everyday were so unique until I read your pages. You made me proud to be a southern "redneck" from Western Kentucky. I think I have compiled a list of sayings that weren't on your list. Some could be taken as variations.”
~~ If the good Lord's willin' and the creek don't rise.
~~ My Granddaddy (now that's southern) called toys "play purties" as in "Better pick up 'em play purties before your Momma gets home."
~~ Course we were all "fixin' to” do somethin' or other...
~~ But lately my shoulders been "all stoved up” (tight muscles, sore, stiff)
~~ Been accused of “not knowing my ass from a hole in the ground,” or the “difference between shit and Shine-ola” (shoe polish), but that's because I was “a bit tetched” (touched) as in simple, slow minded.
~~ My dad said about the butt of that woman walkin' down the street "Looked like two possums in a tow sack." (I know fightin' would fit in here but we Southerners are lazy talkers.)
~~ I do have a saying that I haven't a clue what it means, “Ettered” or perhaps “Eddered sayin'” such as: "A penny saved is an ol' ettered sayin',” perhaps someone could “shed some light on this?” (Note from Ye Editor: Of course, they’re saying the word “uttered.”)
~~ But one of the most important parts of speech that we Southerners use, has been totally neglected in your collection. It is used so frequently “in these here parts,” I suppose it was “all but forgotten.”
In the South you can say just about anything about anybody as long as you end it with..."Bless his heart!" That phrase does away with the meanness of the preceding slur. "She's so ugly, she could stop an eight day watch. Bless her heart" (whatever an eight day watch is?).
~~ After stayin' up all hours of the night..."His eyes looked like two fried eggs in a slop jar. Bless his heart."
~~ That boy is “flat out” rude; he ain't got no "home trainin'”...." (or in yankee speak: manners)
Keep up the good work! Just write slower, cause I don't read so fast.......bless my heart.
Steve in Madisonville, Kentucky
PS: I just noticed spell checker “ain't worth a plug nickel!”
Songmaker sent this one:
“I used to hear this quite often growing up in Georgia in the 1950's.”
~~ "I'll knock a knot on your head Oral Roberts cain't take off."
Charles M, originally from North Carolina, comes ‘round again, saying, “A few years ago I submitted something to you at usadeepsouth.com, which I think was regarding the use of ‘right’ to mean ‘very’ or ‘quite,’ as in ‘It's right hot outside.’
"Recently another expression bubbled up to the surface of my old North Carolinian memory, even though I don't think I've heard it used in decades. (I'm not living there anymore, just visit a few times a year.) I wondered if it is ‘pan-Southern’ or maybe limited to the area where I grew up.
"The expression is teeniny, pronounced like ‘tee-NIGHnee,’ putting an extra level of drama into the word ‘tiny’ and meaning very, very small. For even more drama you should always put a lot of emphasis on that second syllable, e.g., ‘tee • NIGH • nee’.
"(If it's even smaller than that, you might say ‘a little ol' teeniny...’)
"This is possibly in the same class as other inventive Southern words that fill in the gap when normal English words just don't do the job. I would argue that this is actually the precursor to the more modern ‘nano,’ which has become quite a prominent word and concept these days."
Read more USADS southern expression submissions from readers.
And here's more: Even More SouthMouth
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And here's another good one: Southern Speak by Beth Boswell Jacks
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Even More South Mouth II
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