How to Speak Southern

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How to Speak Southern
Lisa Holt

Every country has its’ traditions, various cultures, food and language. The South should be a country unto itself. Our history is rich, colorful, humorous, and if you’re not from ‘round here, can be a bit confusing. We speak the English language, but our words sometimes have a different meaning. Let’s imagine for a moment that someone from another planet, like New York, was moving to the South and would be experiencing Southern culture and language for the first time. Here is a handy “How to Speak Southern” guide to words and phrases and their meanings, while some are just plain self-explanatory:

Bless your heart – You’re an idiot.

Girl, get your face on – Put on your makeup.

Fixinto – About to do something.

Honey – Either a term of endearment or a warning.

Lollygag – Aimlessly dawdling.

I declare, if you want something done right, ya gotta do it yourself.

Uglier than a mud fence.

If you are too sick to go to Church on Sunday morning, you are too sick to play outside the rest of the day.

Have you lost your everlovin mind?

Quit being ugly.

With all due respect – The speaker feels you have no idea what you are talking about.

Stop all that carryin on – Stop being dramatic.

Your face is gonna freeze like that – Spoken by every Southern momma ever.

Because I said so – Also spoken by every Southern momma, and sometimes daddy, indicating the end of conversation.

You weren’t raised in a barn – Should be self-explanatory. If it’s not ,then bless your heart.

Blow it off, it’s not that dirty.

Pretty is a pretty does – This came along before Forest Gump.

You’ll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar – Southern mommas have been saying this forever, even though small children have no idea what they are talking about.

There’s no accounting for taste – The speaker feels the topic of conversation is ugly as a mud fence.

You may have to move some things around to find it, it’s not gonna jump right out at you – Wish I had a penny for every time I was told this!

If it were a snake, it would have bitten you – (see previous phrase).

She can charm the dew right off the honeysuckle – Watch that one closely, she’s sneaky.

Coke – Any carbonated beverage.

Hold your horses – Stop whatever it is you are doing.

Thank you kindly.

Heavens to Betsy – Who is Betsy anyway?

Honey, you can read a newspaper through her sweet tea – She makes weak tea and probably won’t be asked to bring it to the family picnic.

Raising these children is like herding cats

For cryin’ out loud – If you are a child, you should scatter when you hear an adult say these words because someone is about to be in trouble.

Be back directly.

He thinks he’s the best thing since sliced bread – he thinks he’s all that!

If I had my druthers – If I had a choice (but what is a druther anyway?)

Rode hard and put up wet – Looking rough.

Slow walking and bad singing – Funeral procession.

What in tarnation?

Honey, wouldn’t you feel better with a little lipstick on? – Southern mommas way of saying you look rode hard and put up wet.

Well, shut my mouth – I don’t believe you!

If you think for one second I’m going to put up with that, you’ve got another think coming.

You better straighten up before I put a knot in your tail.

You better unflop that lip or I’ll give you a reason to flop it.