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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Southern Sayings...

I once dated a guy whose family had moved south from Wisconsin.  He could be a bit of a jerk at times but for a very brief time his opinion mattered to me.  I said something in his presence once that I had been saying and hearing being said my entire life and really never gave any thought to the fact that it was a very southern thing to say....

I said, "I'm fixin' to...."  I don't remember what I was fixin' to do but I do remember the way he made me feel after I'd said it.  He made this huge deal about it, laughing and going on about how hysterically comical it was that I had just used such hillbilly slang.   So I stopped saying it and became very self conscious about the things I said after that.  For a long time. Way after I told him to hit the road.  

But at some point in my adult life, I realized that those southern sayings I grew up with were a big part of me, an endearing part, and regretted the fact that I didn't tell him just where to stick it way back then.  I can't go back and do that but I can make a list of some of my all-time favorite southern sayings for  y'all...

1. What in the tarnation (or Sam Hill) do you think you're doin'?  (This one is used  when you catch somebody doing, or about to do, something completely stupid, careless or thoughtless that will in no way result in a good outcome.)

2. Pitched a conniption (or hissy) fit. (When someone, usually a child, does not get his or her way and just really shows his/her arse in a very dramatic and over the top fashion.)  

3. Well, I reckon.  (Usually said when you are giving your approval for something that you aren't quite sure about or convinced of. Or it's just something you have to do but really don't want to...Like, "Well, I reckon I better get busy mopping these floors.")

4. Bless his/her/your heart. (We've all heard this one, right?  This one is a little more complicated because it can mean very different things, depending on the context and tone in which it's used.  It can be used sincerely to express concern and compassion or it can be used in a catty way.  Like this... "Bless your heart, sweetie.  That is a shirt, not a dress."   

5. That boy don't have the good sense God gave a billy goat. (I don't think this one needs any further explanation.)  
6. Lord have mercy/Lawda mercy/Lorda mercy! (When something is so overwhelming or unbelievable that there are just no other words that will do and one must always nod his or her head 'No' while saying it in order to get the full effect.)  

7. I think somebody's gettin' a little bit too big for her britches. (I heard this one a few times growing up.  It's a reminder to stop drinking your own darn kool-aid so much before your head gets so big it won't fit through the front door.)  

8. I didn't just fall off the turnip truck! (I use this one quite a bit on the boys. It basically just means that I'm a whole lot smarter, wiser and intuitive than they think I am and that they aren't fooling me for one second.)  

9. Madder than an old wet hen.  (You simply can't get any madder than this.)  
10. Flat tuckered out/Plumb tuckered out. (To be flat or plumb tuckered out is to be so tired that you don't even have the energy to change out of your clothes before crashing face first into the bed or couch.)  

11.Well, I swaney! (When you can barely believe your eyes or ears...aka WTH?!)

12. That's it! I'm cuttin' me a hickory switch! (You did not want to hear this one growing up because your little ass was about to get it if you did!) 

13. Quit runnin' around here like a chicken with its head cut off. (In other words, chill the heck out!)  

14. It's hotter than blue blazes outside. (I use this one a lot in the summer.)

15. I am fit to be tied! (If someone says this to you, you'd better get outta their sight quick because they are madder than an old wet hen and somebody's about to pay!) 

16. I've got a hankering... (To say you have a hankering for something means you are wanting or craving it in a bad way... "I've got a serious hankering for some fried okra and fresh tomatoes.")

17. Ain't  no' count. (Saying someone or something ain't no' count means it's pretty much useless...good for nothin'.)

18. Ill as a hornet. (I've used this many times to describe the boys when they've not had enough sleep and are so cranky you can't stand to be around them.)
19. Over yonder. (This is usually accompanied by a hand gesture while giving someone directions...."It's just over yonder, on the other side of that hill...")

20. I've got to fix my hair. (Because southern women don't 'do' our hair or our makeup...Nor do we 'make' dinner, which is actually lunch; supper is what you eat at night...We fix it.)

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  1. You made me smile & brought back lots of great memories of my grandparents. I'm Southern also & grew up with a lot of these sayings also. Fixin' to aka finta & y'all weren't allowed in our house though. I tease my oh so sophisticated hubby from MN about always saying he's finta do something lol

  2. I've used most of those phrases all my life!

  3. I've heard, but never used them. But oh, they are a pain to interpret, let me tell ya.

  4. LOL

    I feel like i'm sitting on the porch with family. I've heard and used then all except maybe fixin my hair.

    There are only 4 folks from NC working in my office. I end up having to translate quite often.

    Thanks for this one. Love it.

  5. I actually love sayings like these, and believe it or not, I used some of them while I was northerner. I think they're definitely endearing and cute. Use 'em all!

  6. I am not from the south and yet I have used them all. Tony makes fun of me all the time for saying "Darlin'"

    Up here, we just can't seem to get away from being "wicked"

    It's wicked cold here.
    I'm wicked tired.
    That was totally, wicked, awesome.


  7. Diane,
    Being that I grew up in Arkansas and have lived in the south all my life, I use every one of those sayings all the time! My girls always get so tickled at me! Here's another one for you..."You're crazier than a Bessie bug!" My dad used to say that all the time and, now, I do, too! Thanks for making my day! BLESS YOUR HEART!

  8. I love all of these, and even though I'm from the midwest, I use some of them!

  9. I never heard #12 until I worked in Detroit. A lot of my co-workers parents migrated up to Michigan from the south and they said their parents used this a lot.
    All I have to say

  10. Love this post! I'm shocked by how many of these I use...some I've used my whole life... it was fate that I move south!

  11. I have said most of these. It was such fun to read through them.

  12. I grew up hearing (& saying) all of those!
    My sister married a guy from New York - he halfheartedly teased us about some of the things we said too.