Write Again … A guide to Southernspeak

Published 4:36 pm Thursday, March 30, 2023

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Today’s column, fellow citizens, is for those good folks who have moved here from other places.

You know, those who talk faster than we do, and put “g’s” on the end of words, most of whom have crossed the Smith and Wesson line to get here.

So. What I’m offering them here is a few, just a few, good old Southern expressions, with explanations of the meanings.

Let’s start with:

Y’all -The quintessential Southern phrase has several meanings. The word typically refers to a group of people being spoken to. It can be directed towards a group or individual that is inherently part of a group, even if the rest of the group isn’t present.

Bless Your Heart – A phrase used to show appreciation to someone who does something nice, or as a sympathetic phrase to let you know that the person understands the difficult time you are going through.

I Reckon – To suppose or believe something is true. It is used in place of I believe, imagine, suppose, or think.

If the Creek Don’t Rise – We’ll be there unless something out of our control stops us.

Fixin’ To – This phrase is as Southern as ‘sweet tea’. It means you’re about to do it, and will get it done.

Hill of Beans – In short, it means something ain’t worth much.

Over Yonder – A distant direction in any direction. As in “Where is . . .?” Answer: “Over Yonder.”

Pot Calling the Kettle Black – Used when someone is guilty of the same thing in which they are accusing someone else.

Doohicky – The name for an object one can’t remember the name for or never knew in the first place. Other variations are thingamajig and whatchamacallit.

Aren’t You Precious -Although this sounds like a question, it’s merely a statement to compliment something cute or precious.

Hush Your Mouth – Often used when someone is talking offensively.

Too Big for His Britches – Which means he sure does think a lot of himself. That is, so full of it he can’t fit into has pants.

Since I’m taking up too much space, let me conclude, as a bonus, a few more expressions without explanations.


We’re Livin’in High Cotton. She Was Madder than a Wet Hen. Till the Cows Come Home. It’s Blowin’ Up a Storm. She’s pretty As a Peach.

I’m So Full I’m About to Pop. I’m About to Fly Off the Handle. Gimme Some Sugar. That Dog Won’t Hunt. Hissy Fit.

Well, I Declare. My Eyeballs are Floatin’. Wore Slap (or Slam) Out. Hold Your Horses. Highfalutin’. Barkin’Up the Wrong tree. It’s Rainin’Cats and Dogs.

Plus even more.

Thanks to Paul Credle, a Washington native, my Incomparable First Wife’s cousin, who brought the list of “Southernese” to my attention.

We’ll do this again next week, if the creek don’t rise. So. Y’all come on back, you hear.