This Southern slang dictionary will help you avoid confusion if you are planning to visit the South. These are some of the most common (and not so common) Southern slang terms heard in Arkansas and throughout the South.
Etymology: Contraction of are not
- Am not: are not: is not
- Have not: has not
- Do not: does not; did not (used in some varieties of Black English)
To pressurize or inflate. Example: "Air-up your car tires before you go on a long trip."
Function: Verbal phrase
Originates from the word "lark," which means to engage in harmless fun or mischief. To go a larking means to play a prank or joke on someone.
Etymology: Intensive form of y'all
This usage states, "you all" more emphatically. For example, saying "I know y'all," would mean that one knows a group of people, saying, "I know all y'all" would mean that one knows the members of the group individually.
A large knife.
Arkansawyer, Arkansan, Arkie
Function: Adjective or noun
- A resident or native of Arkansas.
- Referring to a resident or native of Arkansas.Residents who refer to themselves as Arkansawyers commonly proclaim, "There is no Kansas in Arkansas." when you call them Arkansans.
Marked by impatience or ill humor. This refers to the way a snake bows up his head before he strikes.
Askew. Example: "The storm knocked the boat cattywampus, and it started to take on water."
Chief Cook and Bottle Washer
A person capable of doing many things.
For sure. Correct. "You're darn tootin', that is oil."
Function: Verbal phrase
To urge to do something. Example: "He only did it because the crowd egged him on."
To calculate, consider, conclude, or decide. Example: "He hadn't figured on winning the lottery."
Fit as a Fiddle
In good shape, healthy.
Fit to Be Tied
To get set: Be on the verge. Example: "We're fixin' to leave soon."
Customary accompaniments. Example: "We had a turkey dinner with all the fixins."
A pole used to spear frogs for cooking.
The act of hunting frogs for meat. Often called "frog gigging."
Grab a Root
Have dinner. "Root" refers to potatoes.
Etymology: probably from Flemishhankeren, frequentative ofhangento hang; akin to Old Englishhangian
A strong or persistent desire or yearning often used with for or after.Example: "I have a hankering for fried okra. I've really been craving it."
A large quantity.Example: "Billy got into a heap of trouble when he stole his dad's car."
A form of "hear it told." Often conveys that the information was passed second hand.Example: "I hear tell that the new mini-mall is going up next month."
Smart.Example: "She has horse sense. She'll make it in business."
Etymology: alteration ofhowdo ye
Used to express greeting.
Everything is great.
Any of numerous rather large leaf-eating scarab beetles (subfamily Melolonthinae) that fly chiefly in late spring and have larvae that are white grubs which live in soil and feed chiefly on the roots of grasses and other plants. Also calledJunebeetles.
Laying Out [All Night]
Function: Verbal phrase
Staying out all night, often drinking or doing something illicit.Example: "I was laying out at the bar last night, so I have a hangover."
Lazy Man's Load
A lazy man's load is an unmanageably large load carried to avoid making more than one trip. This colloquial phrase is often used to indicate that someone is too lazy to think properly.Example: "Sam took a lazy man's load of groceries out of the car and ended up spilling them all over the sidewalk."
Function: Adverbial phrase
Almost.Example: "I like to pee my pants when that car hit me."
Almost.Example: "Inearaboutran over that squirrel in the road."
Of no account; good for nothing.
To nurse.Example: "Shenussedthe sick dog to bring it back to health."
Okie or Sooner
A resident or native of Oklahoma.
Pronunciation: 'or-n&-rE, 'är-; 'orn-rE, 'ärn-
Inflected Form(s): or·neri·er; -est
Etymology: alteration of ordinary
Having an irritable disposition.
Out of Kilter
Not right. Out of sorts.Example: "John was out of kilter for a while when he was relocated toNew York."
Pack or Tote
Concerned over or attentive to details: Meticulous.
Relatives, kinfolk.Example: "Shelly went to see her people on vacation."
Small or inferior.Example: "His work only gave him a piddlin' 1 percent raise.Function: Adverb
Poorly.Example: "She felt piddlin', so she didn't go to school."
To waste time.Example: "He spent all his time piddlin' and never got anything done."
A meat pie made froma possum.
Etymology: Middle English rekenen, from Old English -recenian (as in gerecenian to narrate, akin to Old English reccan
Date: 13th century
- CountExample: "To reckon the days till Christmas."
- To regard or think of as—Consider
- Think, supposeExample: "I reckon I've outlived my time—Ellen Glasgow."
Very.Example: "You're right near the street you want to be on."
Function: Transitive verb
Inflected Form(s): riled; ril·ing
Etymology: var. of roil
To make agitated and angry; Upset.
A form of rather.
Scarce as Hen's Teeth
Rare or scarce.
To remove the outer covering of a nut, corn, or shellfish.
Slap Your Pappy
To pat your stomach.
Snug as a Bug
Etymology: alteration of darnation, a euphemism for damnation
Used to indicate surprise, shock, displeasure, or censure.
Tarred and Feathered
This refers to the practice of tarring and feathering people who committed small crimes such as distilling in colonial America (and in England). Today, it is often used to denote great surprise.Example: "I'll be tarred and feathered, that dog just flew!"
That Dog Won't Hunt
The idea or argument won't work.
Function: Adjectival phrase
- Upset.Example: "He was tore about wrecking his new Corvette."
Function: Transitive verb
Inflected Form(s): tot·ed; tot·ing
Etymology: perhaps from an English-based creole; akin to Gullah & Krio tot to carry
To carry by hand; bear on the person.
A long line on which short lines are attached, each with a hook, for catching catfish. Sometimes mispronounced as trout line.
Etymology: perhaps akin to British dialect tumpoke to fall head over heels
To tip or turn over, especially accidentally.
Etymology: alteration of vermin
An animal considered a pest; specifically, one classed as vermin and unprotected by game law.
Walking on a Slant
War Between the States; War for Southern Independence; War of Northern Aggression
The Civil War.
Variant(s): also wash·e·te·ria /wä-sh&-'tir-E-&, wo-
Etymology: wash + -ateria or -eteria (as in cafeteria)
Chiefly Southern: A self-service laundry.
Whup or Whoop
Pronunciation: 'hüp, 'hup, 'hwüp, 'hwup, 'wüp, 'wup
The variant of "to whip." To hit or spank.
Ye all or you all.
Someone from the North.
Ye ones.Example: "Yeens better go before you're late."
Etymology: Middle English, from yond + -er (as in hither)
Date: 14th century
At or in that indicated more or less distant place usually within sight.
Your Druthers Is My Ruthers
"Your preferences are mine," "We agree."
This is not just a southern phrase, but yes ma'am or yes sir is the only way to answer a yes question in the South, and the same would apply if the answer is no.What is the Southern way of saying shut up? ›
"Hush up" is the Southern way of saying "shut up."
Southerners love to make things sound nicer than they are, so "hush up" is a way to tell someone to "shut up" without sounding too harsh.
- Boujee. Adjective - Rich, luxurious, special, fancy. ...
- Bussin' Adjective - Amazing, really good. ...
- Drip. Adjective - Stylish, sophisticated clothes or appearance. ...
- Extra. Adjective - Dramatic, attention-grabbing, too much. ...
- Rent-free. ...
- Salty. ...
- Shook. ...
- Vibe check.
vulgar, slang. a sexually attractive middle-aged woman. Word origin. C21: from (taboo) m(om) I('d) l(ike to) f(uck) MAMMALS.What do Southerners call their mom? ›
During childhood, Southerners, especially those over 65, were more likely than Northerners to call their mothers "Momma," according to an Atlanta Journal Constitution Southern Focus Poll.What is Southern slang for you all? ›
But the best-known word in the Southern vernacular is probably our most-loved pronoun: y'all. A contraction of "you" and "all" is what forms "y'all" when addressing or referencing two or more people.What do Southerners say when its cold? ›
Colder than a well-digger's nappy: 35-25 degrees.
Any colder than that and the contents of the nappy freeze and remain at 32.
'Mush' is a slang term which is often used to refer to a friend or an acquaintance. Its usage is particularly common in the north of England, with 'yes mush' a familiar greeting in Bradford. The word has its origins in an old Romany Gypsy dialect, which is still spoken by some travellers to this day.What does Aye Wey? ›
1. ( colloquial) (used to express surprise or amazement) (Mexico) Woah! ( colloquial) ¡Ay, güey!What does catawampus mean? ›
Adjective. catawampus (comparative more catawampus, superlative most catawampus) (US) Out of alignment, in disarray or disorder: crooked, askew.
- ain't got no - don't have any (I ain't got no money 'til payday).
- buggy - shopping cart (Bring in a buggy from the parking lot.)
- darn tootin' - for sure, certainly, sure is (Will I take the job? ...
- down to the - going somewhere, regardless of direction (I'm going down to the church.)
Greeting each other in the South has its own particular charm. One usually sees a genuine smile that is seen in the eyes as well. Men usually shake hands and women hug each other. The reason for shaking hands originated to show that you did not have a weapon in your hand.How do you swear in Southern? ›
- “ Dang it”
- “ Damage”
- “ Dad Blast It”
- “ Dagnabbit”
- “ Dadgummit” (A Southern favorite) The 4-letter “S word” substitutes:
- “ Crap”
- “ Crapola”
- “ Crud”
The number 321 can be interpreted to mean “new beginnings.” This is a perfect time to start fresh, and your angels are there to support you every step of the way! If you keep seeing 321, it's a sign that your angels are trying to communicate with you.What is a cool slang word? ›
- On Fleek.
(Internet slang) Initialism of let me see. (travel, dated) Initialism of let message (to) call (back).What does BBG mean M? ›
better be going—a neutral, polite way to end a conversation that might otherwise continue.What does TMB mean in slang? ›
Text me back
This acronym most frequently appears in text messages, but may also be seen in emails and online chat, when a person wants you to answer their message via text instead of another medium. TMB is related to CMB (call me back), MMB (message me back), and WMB (write me back).
In the South, it is common to refer to children as Sister or Sissy, and Brother or Bubba. These are used as substitutes for given names, as in, "Tell Brother to come in for supper." Grandfathers also seem to have the duty of giving nicknames to their grandsons.How do you compliment a Southern woman? ›
- She's as pretty as a peach.
- They're as pretty as a pitcher. ( ...
- He's a tall drink of iced tea.
- They're as happy as clams at high tide.
- She's as smart as all get out.
- They're finer than frogs' hair split four ways.
- She's got gumption.
- They're sweeter than cherry pie.
Southerners are more likely to use Papaw or Pawpaw and those in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware tend to go for Pop or Pop Pop. Other favorites include Abuelo or Abuelito, Gramps, Grampy, Poppy, and Grandad.What is Southern slang for toilet? ›
Powder room, commode
A less genteel Southern-ism for the bathroom is “commode.” While more widely it's used to refer to a ship's bathroom, in the South, it's just any toilet, land-bound or not.
Happy as a dead pig in the sunshine”
As a dead pig's body lies out in the sunshine, see, its lips begin to pull back from its teeth, creating the illusion of a wide grin. The expression describes a similarly oblivious (though quite alive) person who smiles away when in reality things aren't going so hot.
This term is chiefly used in the South and South Midland.
The Southern American English drawl, or "Southern drawl," involves vowel diphthongization of the front pure vowels, or the "prolongation of the most heavily stressed syllables, with the corresponding weakening of the less stressed ones, so that there is an illusion of slowness even though the tempo may be fast."What did the North call Southerners? ›
The Northerners were called “Yankees” and the Southerners, “Rebels.” Sometimes these nicknames were shortened even further to “Yanks” and “Rebs.” At the beginning of the war, each soldier wore whatever uniform he had from his state's militia, so soldiers were wearing uniforms that didn't match.Are Southerners polite? ›
Unlike much of the United States, the South has a culture of honor. While this makes Southerners more polite, it's also something of a double-edged sword. Good hospitality and manners are well-known stereotypes of the American South.What does mish mush mean? ›
(ˈmɪʃˌmæʃ ) noun. a confused collection or mixture; hotchpotch.What is mush faking? ›
Mushfake is a term Gee uses from prison culture, meaning “ to make do”.What does shut your mush mean? ›
Mush. Slang for your mouth, i.e. shut your mush.
Que onda in Spanish is a way friends and family welcome each other in an informal situation. Remember, if you're using que onda as a greeting, it should be with someone you already know or in a casual scenario. Que onda is not acceptable in formal or elegant situations.Whats No Mames wey mean? ›
No mames is sometimes extended to no mames güey (no-mah-mess-goo-ee) and no mames wey (no-mah-mess-way), which both roughly mean “No way, dude!” Wey and güey are both Spanish slang words meaning “dude” or “guy,” though wey can also connote “idiot.”What does Orale Vato mean? ›
It can be used as a form of greeting like 'What's up. ' Mexican Americans often use the phrase 'órale vato,' which means 'what's up, man. ' The word 'vato' is northern Mexican slang words for man.What is a Snollygoster? ›
snollygoster (plural snollygosters) (slang, obsolete) A shrewd person not guided by principles, especially a politician. quotations ▼What does farouche girl mean? ›
farouche. / French (faruʃ) / adjective. sullen or shy. socially inept.What is poppycock in slang? ›
: empty talk or writing : nonsense.What is Southern charm phrase? ›
What some deem as charming is just the natural Southern way of being kind, witty, and considerate to everyone we encounter, whether it be at the post office, grocery store, or at church. Having grace under pressure and making others feel welcome and comfortable is also part of the Southern charm.What are some cool slang words? ›
- On Fleek.
- So the most common Texan vocabulary word is "y'all." ...
- The second most popular phrase is "ain't." ...
- The third most popular phrase is Howdy. ...
- The fourth most popular phrase is "Honey Bunches" or "Honey." ...
- The fifth phrase y'all need to be familiar with is "Neighbor."
- “What good manners you have!” ...
- “I love your rooster decor.” ...
- “This is the best biscuit I have ever tasted.” ...
- “This would win first place at the county fair!” ...
- “What a beautiful garden you have!”
- Salty. What do pretzels, the ocean and your teen have in common? ...
- Periodt. Think of this as the teen's version of her parent's "Because I said so," as in, no further questions, end of discussion. ...
- Highkey. ...
- Spill the tea. ...
- Netflix and Chill. ...
- Turnt. ...
- Diamond Hands.
nounWord forms: plural -pies. US an informal word for father.What words do Texans say weird? ›
"Burn-knee" not "born" or "burn" "Guad-uh-loop-ay" not "Guada-loopy" "Bear" like the animal, not "Bex-are" "B-yewt" not like your backside.What do Texans call people? ›
People who live in Texas are called Texans and Texians.What are Texas men called? ›
Texians were Anglo-American residents of Mexican Texas and, later, the Republic of Texas. Today, the term is used to identify early settlers of Texas, especially those who supported the Texas Revolution. Mexican settlers of that era are referred to as Tejanos, and residents of modern Texas are known as Texans.