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More Southern Slang, Commonly-Used Nouns

Updated on December 2, 2016
kenneth avery profile image

Kenneth, if you have followed him, is not a self-promoter. He can write about most anything. No. He is not a boastful guy.

Writer's note: I gladly give credit for the inspiration of this piece to Tammy Lochmann, a fellow hubber who published a wonderful hub entitled, "My Favorite Southern Expressions." This hub is in no way, shape, form, fashion, text or image a copy of Tammy's work. Not is it any shape or form of plagiarism. I have her written permission on file in my office if anyone needs to see it giving me the go-ahead to write my version of things that we say in the south. Thanks, Kenneth.

Source

To all non-southerners

The above photo is of an outdoor toilet or as us southern folk refer to as a "privy." Most "privies," had one hole for the owner to relieve themselves when Nature called. You could tell how well off a southern family was by the amount of holes they had in their privy. Example: if a person owned a privy with two or three holes, they were considered well off.

An easy introduction

is what you are hopefully reading right now. I feel that there is no point of publishing a lengthy, long, drawn-out introduction to a topic that almost everyone knows about: Southern words and slang, so I am going to lead off with my headline at this point.

This video contains loads of southern slang and nouns

Big companies were known to utilize the sides and rooftops of rural barns to advertise their products by paying the owner of the barn a weekly or monthly fee
Big companies were known to utilize the sides and rooftops of rural barns to advertise their products by paying the owner of the barn a weekly or monthly fee | Source
Cute isn't he? But cute notwithstanding, pigs, like barns, were the source of many southern slang terms such as: "Paw, your feet are as dirty as pigs' feet."
Cute isn't he? But cute notwithstanding, pigs, like barns, were the source of many southern slang terms such as: "Paw, your feet are as dirty as pigs' feet." | Source
Men and boys who love to be lazy in the south were not called lazy, but "loafers," not to be confused with Penny Loafers, a popular shoe
Men and boys who love to be lazy in the south were not called lazy, but "loafers," not to be confused with Penny Loafers, a popular shoe | Source
The mule was the most important piece of equipment (as it were) to the early southern farmer before the tractor came along,. But mules were used to describe a person's stubborn attitude or just plain slow nature
The mule was the most important piece of equipment (as it were) to the early southern farmer before the tractor came along,. But mules were used to describe a person's stubborn attitude or just plain slow nature | Source
"He's tight as Dick's hat band," was a phrase that had its roots around this southern contraption: a moonshine still
"He's tight as Dick's hat band," was a phrase that had its roots around this southern contraption: a moonshine still | Source

Southern dialects, drawls origins

One source says that Southern dialects originated in large part from a mix of immigrants from the British Isles, who moved to the American South in the 17th and 18th centuries, and the creole or post-creole speech of African slaves.

Marc Ettlinger, PhD, Linguistics, UC Berkeley, wrote an interesting paper on southern accents April 30, 2013 where he indicated that
the Southern Accent is actually pretty diverse and though many of us (e.g., me) can't really hear the differences, the accent in West Texas is very different from the accent in Appalachia or the heart of the Carolinas. Kentucky, too, will have its own differences since eastern Kentucky is Appalachia and western Kentucky will have a more Missouri accent.

This is important, because the Southern accent is therefore subject to a lot of different influences.

Having said that, there is most definitely an influence of immigrants from the British Isles. The Kentucky accent that you're probably talking about is most heavily influenced by the Scots that settled the region; the more traditional Southern accent (e.g., Georgia) is influenced by the British debtors who settled the state in the early 18th c.

Roast an Ear: corn on the cob boiled and eaten with a generous amount of butter applied to its surface.
Southern meaning: "Hey, Julie Jo, brang us 'nuther roast-neer to go with thu ribs!"

Window: opening in a house with glass inset to keep the inside of the dwelling free of dirt, dust, insects and such.
Winder: (play on words) "Hey, Pa! Don't run the mule too much or you might wind-er."

Hard: firm surface such as "The surface of the table was hard."
Southern meaning: "Jimmy Jim was 'hard' this moaning to run thu dozer."

Pole: an object used to attach a line, hook, and bait in order to catch fish. (play on words: "poor old.")
Southern meaning: "Pole Bobby got served with de-vorce papers and now hez drunk."

Frog: an amphibian that lives near water and lives on flies.
Southern meanings: "My husband was so hungree that he begin to frog his sides on catfish."
"Aww, Teddy, I gest frogged ye' arm cos' yore muh bud-eee."

Yore: a time frame indicative of centuries past in our history.
Southern meaning: "Kin I borreee yore lawnmower? Mine done and went ka-put."

Crack: an opening in a wall allowing air to enter a room.
Southern meaning: "Hey, Sally, crack open me a cold un'"

Wax: a sticky substance used to mold candles or polish a tile floor.
Southern meaning: "Hey, store keep. Gimme a pack o' that spearmint wax."

Jig: a festive dance originating in Ireland.
Southern meaning: "That corn likkeer wuz so smooth I got up and danced a jig."
"Live bait? You kiddin'? I uze that new fishing jig they selling at Bass Pro Shop."

Bare: nude; not covered with clothing.
Southern meaning: "I'um gonna git me uh bare skin this winter to keep me warm."

Seed: items to be inserted into fertile soil to produce plants, trees and vine life.
Southern meaning: "Hey, have you seed the new girl down to the Happy Plate Diner? She's a doozy!"

Lug: a label designating a nut on the wheel of a vehicle.
Southern meaning: "Buddy, you got yeself a high-powerformance engine. You gest can't lug it around all day!"

Poke: a gentle action of using the index finger to tap or jab someone in the ribs.
Southern meaning: "Would ye' pleeez put them thar sweet taters in a poke please?"

Daze: when a person is not fully responsive from a mental standpoint.
Southern meaning: "Daze a lot of horseflies in this barn."

Far: a measure in distance. Example: Chicago is far from our town.
Southern meaning: "I hate bein' the boss, for tomorrow, I gots to far Ol' Billy Jim for showing up drunk last Tuesday."

Heard: an action dictating that one has heard a sound made by another human or machine.Southern meaning: "Hey, great news! Tommy Joe got hisself a job working a heard of cows in Texas."

Atter: not a real word, but southerners use it as a verb. Example: "I was at Millie Davenport's house kissin' the fire outta her and her jealous husband got atter me like a wild buck in mating season."

Dogs: canine; four-legged animals used for pets or hunting.
Southern meaning: "Man, I need to put my dogs up. Been walking behind that mule most of the day."

Crib: a cradle built in olden times for an infant to take a needed nap.
Southern meaning: "Junior, you-a doofus or something? I told you to fill that corn crib with corn, not your girlfriends from across the holler."

Hollow: empty; without substance.
Southern meaning: See above usage "across the holler," which in old South times, before telephones were affordable, people would communicate with each other by yelling to each other at a certain time of the day across a section of low land in the woods. So it was only natural that the Southerners, as genius thinking as could be, started calling these places "hollers."

Southern slang

  • "I learned all about smoking and sex out behind the barn."
  • "Junior, you throw another rock at our neighbor, the preacher Johnson, and I'll tan your hide out behind the barn."
  • "Yeah, man. That Jenny Lou's a fast female alright. She give me a hot kiss last Sunday evening whilst we was courtin' out behind the barn."
  • You are as mule-headed as an old stubborn mule that's showing it's end.
  • Are you sure that you don't have a lost cousin who is a mule? Wife, I can't take no more of that sawmill work. They want me for a mule, not a saw operator.
  • "I'd let my new coon hound into our house, but the smell would be awful." "Aww, Ol' Boxer would get used to the smell of your wife. Haw, haw!"
  • "Sometimes I can't tell if you are my husband or Bowser for you are both so smelly and lazy.
  • "Ol' Buster's buck teeth sticks out so much that he could bite an apple through a rail fence."
  • "Drunk? Larry Joe was drunk?" "I didn't know he was drunk til' I saw him one day last week and he was sober."
  • "Why is my moonshine against the law if it helps me not beat up my mother-in-law?"
  • "Do I drink sodas?" "Are you nuts? Do you know what that stuff can do to your insides?" "Well, you drink moonshine don't you?" "Yeah, and my stomach feels fine."

Good night, Hendersonville, Tenn.

Other Interesting Links:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_American_English
https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-origin-of-the-Southern-accent-in-the-US

This is what us southern folk call a barn. Not a storage facility, but an important building in the operation of running a farm. But the barn was used as a source of some time-tested southern slang and axioms
This is what us southern folk call a barn. Not a storage facility, but an important building in the operation of running a farm. But the barn was used as a source of some time-tested southern slang and axioms | Source

Tammy's permission to write "my" take on her southern words

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Hi,
Thank you for reading my hub. It's okay to do as you wish with that subject. Good luck.
Tammy Lochmann

Sent from my laptop:
On Oct 28, 2016, at 23:23, Kenneth Avery (via HubPages) <email@hubpages.com> wrote:
Kenneth Avery (gNxY21O@yahoo.com) kenneth avery on HubPages
has sent you this message.
(email address verified)

Oct. 28--11:26 p.m., cst
Dear Tammy,
Hi, I hope that this finds you well and doing good. I want to get right to the point. I enjoyed your hub, "Funny Southern Expressions," very much and I was going to ask your permission to write a hub of this nature, but NOT in any way, text or image, like yours. I am not a plagiarist.
I have found a few older southern words that I would love to publish, but I would also like to give you the credit at the top of my hub for the inspiration.
Would this be okay with you?
Sincerely,
Kenneth Avery

© 2016 Kenneth Avery

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    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 9 months ago

      That's hilarious, Kenneth. "Poke" was widely used in the Ozarks, too. I wonder where that came from.

    • kenneth avery profile image
      Author

      Kenneth Avery 9 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, MizBejabbers,

      Ozarkisms is perfect for YOU to get on board with this study of various remarks and words we all use sometimes correctly and incorrectly.

      "Poke," is my favorite of my own terms. The story goes that a southern man, looking for work in the early 40's, moved to Michigan and landed a job in an auto plant and of course he and his wife found a good house to rent.

      He decided he wanted groceries and since the market was a block away, he walked to the store, gathered his goods and carried them to the cashier.

      When she had finished checking his prices, he said quickly, "I need a POKE," pointing (not saying) at his goods.

      Upon hearing his demand, an assistant male manager came from behind the cashier's station and POKED him in the ribs sending him to the floor in pain.

      Then the southern man explained that POKE meant bag.

      Then another argument broke up when the male asst. manager argued that "BAG," meant bad woman.

      The poor cashier was left to put the southern guy's goods back on the shelf for the guy was too embarrassed to pay for them.

      Merry CHRISTmas to you and write soon.

    • kenneth avery profile image
      Author

      Kenneth Avery 9 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      TheoNatureBoy,

      Good to hear from you and I do not disagree with your disagreeing with my Roast-Neer verb/noun usage.

      I know that different regions of the land can take ONE term such as Roast-Neer and make it their own.

      This may have happened to me when I researched this one.

      Merry CHRISTmas and write me anytime.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 9 months ago

      Reading this reminded me of some good ole Southern words that we don't use at the state Capitol down in Little Rock, lessn' yore a legislator, of course. Seriously, I enjoy making people laugh at my Ozarkisms. Of course we pronounce some things different in the Ozarks from the way y'all do in the deep South. My grandma use to say "roseneer". I never did figure out why they were called that because we always boiled them, but Grandma did say that at one time they were roasted.

      We would never say soda. It was a "sody" or a "sody pop". We had one legislator nicknamed "Sody" because he drank so much sody pop. And seriously, when I was a kid, I thought people with two-holers were rich!

      Did Tammy do a series on Southern slang? I think I've read her hub or hubs. This one was a fun one, too, and it was totally different from hers.

    • The0NatureBoy profile image

      Elijah A Alexander Jr 9 months ago from Washington DC

      Being a Louisiana boy I disagree with "Roast an Ear" being boiled. We got corn fresh "out'a du" field, shucked it down then put it in the oven to roast is what we called "Roast 'nEars."

      I just couldn't pass that one up.