Hugh’s News & Views (Southern Expressions)

hugh’s news & Views


Several weeks ago I ran a column titled “Southern . . . And Proud Of It” in which a number of southern expressions were used. The column generated a higher than usual feedback from my readers and brought from them several other distinctly southern words and phrases. I thought it might be entertaining and educational to notice some of them, as well as some of my own, along with an explanation of their meaning for those who don’t live in the South.

“Full as a tick” Can’t eat another bite of fried chicken.

“At air” That there, as in, “Would you please pass me at air gravy.” Or, as the dental assistant said to the Southern country boy when she blew cold air into his mouth, “Does that air hurt?” and he responded, “At air what?”

“Ouchonder” Out yonder. The t and the y take on the ch sound to form one word.

“Yellow” How it often sounds when a Southerner answers his phone.

“L-I-B” “Well, I’ll be.” A reaction to an unexpected event.

“Hit” An Appalachian form of “It,” as, for example, “Don’t hit say somewhere in the Bible that the time will come when you can’t tell one season of the year from another except by the buddin’ of the trees and the fallin’ of leaves?” (No, the Bible does not say that. It sounds more like something Al Gore would say.)

“Aint” The sister of your mother or father. “Son, go over there and give yore Aint Bea a big hug.”

“Heepa” A great deal of, as in, “You in a heepa trouble, boy.”

“Dinner” The meal Southerners eat while Yankees are eating lunch. “We had a big dinner of fried catfish, french fries, fried onion rings, cole slaw, baked beans, hushpuppies, and pecan pie. I’ll prob’ly just have a bowl of flakes for supper tonight.”

“Kwiled/Quiled” Coiled, as in, “I was picking butterbeans out in my garden the other day when I came up on this snake kwiled up right there in the middle of the row.” (I still remember how baffled my Kansas-born wife was when, over fifty years ago during a gospel meeting at a country church in the South she later asked me what a good woman meant by “kwiled” as the ladies visited in the living room after Sunday dinner.)

“Ranch” A light washing, as in, “Would you fellers like to ranch off your hands before we eat?” Evolution of the words is as follows: rinse>rench>ranch.

“Lawst” To be unsure of one’s location, as in, “This road don’t go nowhere. We’re lawst.”

“Libel” Liable, likely to, as in, “If your wife finds out you’re going fishin’ instead of going with her to see her momma and daddy, she’s libel to kill you.”

“Awf” The opposite of on, as in, “Get your muddy shoes awf the coffee table!”

“Guff” Gulf, as in, “We’re plannin’ on spendin’ a few days down at the guff next week.”

“Hose pipe” Water hose, as in, “I need to get the hose pipe out and water them flares (flowers).”

“Everwhichaway” To be scattered in all directions, as in, “You shoulda been there when that freight train hit that truck load of chickens. Them chickens flew everwhichaway.”

“Man aize” An exclamation, as in, “Man, aize a big crowd at the game today!”

And to close this educational foray into the language of the South, I’ll call attention to the difference between a Yankee fairy tale and a Southern fairy tale. A Yankee fairy tale always begins with “Once upon a time.” A Southern fairy tale always begins with “Y’all ain’t gonna believe this.”

Speaking schedule:

March 24: Neely’s BendChurch of Christ, Madison, TN (a.m.)

March 31: CullmanChurch of Christ, Cullman, AL (a.m.)

Hugh Fulford

March 19, 2013

#hughfulford, #southernisms