Seein’ that we’re both from the south, growing up learning certain “southernisms” is a given. As a writer from the south, it’s doubly frustrating trying to catch those words or phrases that seem to be the “norm”. To people from the northern or western states, sometimes we appear to have a language all our own.
Now y’all sit back for a spell and let us tickle your funny bone with some of the southernism we learned over the years—and now have to un-learn them!
So, to wit, y’all…
Well bless his little heart (usually a polite way to denote that someone did something stupid. “Yep, he got drunk, took off all his clothes and went streakin’ down the street.” “Well I’ll be! Well bless his little heart”. )
Cut the light on/off (Cut is to sever, which one would never do with the lights. I believe “turn” for “flip” would make more sense to those not from the south. Note, in the olden days, light switches weren’t switches, they were round knobs that turned, hence, “Henry, turn the light off.”)
Where’s the clicker? (Are we speaking of the garage door opener? “Oh, you’re looking for the TV remote control! It’s over yonder”.)
Over yonder (A quick way to denote where an object is, usually accompanied by the pointing of a finger or tilting of the head toward the object’s direction. “Boys, it’s right over there; right where ya’ll left it!”)
Over yonder a fer piece (See above definition, but add that the distance isn’t calculable by the person, but the distance is probably several miles. “Mister, to get downtown take that dirt road over yonder and go a fer piece.”)
Don’t get your panties in a wad (A phrase said to try to get the other person to calm down. “It ain’t what ya think honey, now don’t get your panties in a wad”.)
Pitch a fit (To get mad. “Now honey, don’t pitch a fit or get your panties in a wad about what I’m gonna tell you.”)
Ya’ll (A short version of you all – everyone in the room. “Now ya’ll, listen to your grandma!)
All Ya’ll or Ya’ll All (Plural of Ya’ll. See above definition, to include everyone in the room, plus those in other rooms. “If I said it once, I’ve said it twice—listen to your grandma! You got on her last nerve. All ya’ll, that means ya’ll in the back room too, you know I got eyes in the back of my head, all ya’ll kids get outside and play.”)
Britches (Pants. “You got a hole in your britches again? Guess I’ll patch ‘em up”.)
Coke (An illegal white powdery substance – or any canned soda (beer not included.)
Caddywampus (Crooked. “That thar picture is hangin’ caddywampus on the wall.)
Fix’n to (Getting ready to do something. “Hold your horses; I’m fix’n to get to it once Nascar is off”.)
I can’t see through muddy water (My daddy’s favorite saying. I’d somehow end up in the middle of the living room in front of the TV. It was his nice version of “Get the hell out of the way”.)
Shake a leg (To hurry up. “Ethel, we’re already ten minutes late for preachin’, now shake a leg!”.)
Kiss my grits (A nicer way to say “kiss my ass”. “Frank, the Preacher will have to wait. My curlers are stuck in my hair, so just kiss my grits”!)
Slap yo mama (Implies something was very good. “That fried chicken was so good it’d make you wanna slap yo mama”.)
That dog won’t hunt (something that didn’t work – or was a dumb idea. “Junior, you actually went ahead and added ____ to the gas to make the truck go faster? From the beginning I told you that dog won’t hunt!)
Haint (A ghost. “I ain’t goin’ in that graveyard. There’s haints in thar”)
For all ya’ll that understand what we’re talkin’ ‘bout, well, all I can say is your pluff mud is showin’!