Tags: south | southerners | speech | linguistics | verbiage

10 Phrases Only Southerners Use

jimmy carter walks through a field and smiles
The phrase "Carter's got little pills" did not refer to former President Jimmy Carter. (David Goldman/AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 07 August 2019 04:08 PM

People do things a little differently in the South – including the way they speak. Southerners have a string of sayings that only locals understand, and which sometimes leave visitors confused.

For those of you not living in the good ol' South, here are a list of 10 phrases that only Southerners use, as highlighted by Southern Living:

1. "Bless your heart" – It sounds well-meaning and most times it is. But it also can have a bit of an edge to it. A dead giveaway is if it is accompanied by an exasperated head shake.

2. "Fixin to" – If you are wondering when a Southerner is going to get around to a certain task or chore, they might be "fixin' to do it." Which means it will happen, but it might not happen right away.

3. "It doesn't amount to a hill of beans" – Firstly, what exactly is a hill of beans? And why is it relevant? In the South, it is more an indication of something's worth. So, if something is being compared to a hill of beans, it really is worth very little.

4. "It's blown' up a storm" – A summer storm in the South is something else. The skies suddenly darken, the winds blast, and heavy rain pours down. Only once you have experienced this will you understand the phrase "it's blowin' up a storm."

5. "More than Carter's got little pills" – This is another phrase with more questions than answers for some people. Who is Carter? And what pills are we talking about here? Carter is a company from the 19th century that sold a popular patent medicine orignally called Carter's Little Liver Pills, and reference crept into the Southern vocabulary.

6. "Over yonder" – In the South, this phrase is used to indicate a distant direction. Over yonder toward the field, over yonder by the railway – you get the point.

7. "She was madder than a wet hen" – You do not mess with a wet hen, apparently. They tend to get extremely angry. Which is why in the South, this phrase is an appropriate way of describing just how angry someone was.

8. "Till the cows come home" – Cows are known to take their time strolling back home from the fields, so in the South, if you hear this phrase get ready for a long wait. If you do something "till the cows come home" chances are it will take a very long time.

9. "If I had my druthers" – This phrase makes more sense when you realize that druthers translates into "I would rather" and is basically another way of saying "If had things my way."

10. "I reckon" – This is a multi-purpose Southern phrase that can be used in place of, "I think," "I guess," and "I suppose."

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People do things a little differently in the South, including the way they speak. Southerners have a string of sayings that only locals understand, and which sometimes leave visitors confused. For those of you not living in the good ol' South, here are a list of 10 phrases.
south, southerners, speech, linguistics, verbiage
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2019-08-07
Wednesday, 07 August 2019 04:08 PM
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