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Deep South Expressions and Colloquialisms
by Grady Givens


    Note from Ye Editor: Quite often we receive e-mail messages from our readers, and we’re always pleased to get the comments, suggestions, and story/poem submissions. This makes editing USADEEPSOUTH a real pleasure. Keep ‘em coming, readers!

    Many times the messages contain southern expressions for the SouthMouth pages. The following e-mail from Grady Givens was lengthy enough to have article status. Enjoy!

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    Grady Givens in Tennessee writes:


      It always amuses me when the hired hands tell you "that won't work!" You know, there's a reason they are the hired hands. I always look at em and say, "If I tell you a rooster will pull a freight train, hook him up!"

      My grandfather always said, "That's highbrockery." When I asked him what that was, he would say it was "snatching shit from a flying goose" -- meaning it was funny, outrageous or a lie.

      I'm so hungry I could eat the ass end out of a skunk!

      Eatin high on the hog! Meaning: you're well-to-do. For you Northerners let me explain. When a Southerner raised hogs he would always sell that [high] part because it brought the most money. So if you could afford to eat that part you were eatin high on the hog.

      "Flicted" - short for afflicted meaning crazy

      Every female is called "Sister" if you don't know her name.

      Dancing like a cat on a hot tin roof.

      Full as a tick. From Arkansas. We stayed the night with an old farmer that we were picking up cattle from and they gave us a bite to eat. They had already eaten. The wife asked the husband if he wanted anything else to eat, and he replied, "Naw, honey, I'm full as a tick."

      "Set a spell" - means stay a while.

      Or "Let me spell ya for a minute"- means let me give you a break.

      "Distraction box" - TV

      Join us "if you're not havin dinner at the Governor's Mansion" - meaning if you're not too busy.

      "This ain't the Governor's ball" - not a dress up event.

      "Don't rush on my account" - meaning don't hurry for me.

      "Busier n'a (than a) cat coverin up shit" - meaning industrious or very busy.

      This one is not really a saying, but an explanation. I always heard that the reason Southerners talked so slow was because we leave out words and shorten them. The reason Northerners talked so fast was because they were not smart enough to abbreviate. Our grandparents were still stinging from the Union victory, you know.

      "Don't cha see" or "Don't cha know" - meaning "Do you understand?"

      "That ain't right" - self explanatory. Made popular in a movie.

      "Full ta burstin" - meaning full enough to bust.

      "That's slicker than owl shit" - meaning Neat or Cool or Wow.

      "Colder than a witch's titty in a brass bra" - meaning very cold.

      "Chicken scratch" is unreadable handwriting.

      "Come on now" means "Be serious!"

      "Easy now, ain't nobody hurtin you" - means "Calm down."

      Run or ride out the road means go to the store or to town or just out ridin around.

      "Go to town" could mean anything from going the nearest town or to three towns away.

      Go sit in the truck" means "Get out of my way."

      "Ain't got enough sense to pour piss out of a boot" - meaning stupid.

      "Dumber than a rock" - meaning stupid.

      "Don't know his ass from a hole in the ground" - meaning stupid.

      Graveyard dead" - meaning not just dead but really dead.

      Fry up a mess" - meaning cook a bunch of fish.

      Every time my grandfather caught a fish he'd shout. "Oh, Lordy, get your fryin pan ready!"

      Every time he sneezed he would say "Me, me, catchin cold, right now."

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