Top 37 Slang For Southerners – Meaning & Usage

Y’all ready to dive into the colorful world of Southern slang? From “bless your heart” to “fixin’ to,” the South has its own unique way of talking that’s as sweet as a glass of sweet tea on a hot summer day. Whether you’re a Southern native or just curious about the linguistic quirks of the region, we’ve got you covered with our list of the top slang words and phrases for Southerners. So sit back, relax, and get ready to add a little Southern charm to your vocabulary!

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1. Fly off the handle

To become very angry or enraged.

  • For example, “He flew off the handle when he found out his car was towed.”
  • In a heated argument, someone might say, “Don’t make me fly off the handle!”
  • A parent might warn their child, “If you keep misbehaving, I’m going to fly off the handle.”

2. Doohickey

A term used to refer to an object whose name is unknown or forgotten.

  • For instance, “Hand me that doohickey over there.”
  • When trying to describe something, someone might say, “It’s like a doohickey, you know?”
  • A person might ask, “Do you have a doohickey I can borrow?”

3. Carry me to the [Store]

A request for someone to give you a ride or transport you to a specific location, such as a store.

  • For instance, “Can you carry me to the store? I need to pick up some groceries.”
  • When making plans, someone might say, “I’ll carry you to the store later, if you want.”
  • A person might ask, “Can you carry me to the store on your way home?”

4. Busy as a cat on a hot tin roof

To be very busy or occupied with multiple tasks or responsibilities.

  • For example, “I’ve been busy as a cat on a hot tin roof trying to meet all these deadlines.”
  • When asked about their schedule, someone might say, “I’m as busy as a cat on a hot tin roof.”
  • A person might comment, “I’ve never seen someone as busy as you. You’re like a cat on a hot tin roof!”

5. Aren’t you precious

This phrase is often used sarcastically to imply that someone is behaving in a way that is overly cute or precious. It can also be used sincerely to compliment someone on their adorable behavior.

  • For example, if someone is dressed up in a fancy outfit, you might say, “Aren’t you precious in that dress!”
  • If someone is trying to act innocent or naive, you might sarcastically say, “Oh, aren’t you precious, pretending like you don’t know what’s going on.”
  • When a child does something adorable, a parent might say, “Aren’t you precious with your little smile!”

6. Worn slap out

This phrase is used to describe a state of extreme exhaustion or fatigue. It implies that someone has been working hard or exerting themselves to the point of complete exhaustion.

  • For instance, after a long day of physical labor, someone might say, “I’m worn slap out. I can’t do anything else.”
  • If someone has been staying up late for several nights in a row, they might say, “I’m worn slap out. I need to get some sleep.”
  • When someone has been running around all day, a friend might ask, “Are you worn slap out yet?”

7. Hold your horses

This phrase is used to tell someone to wait or to slow down. It is often used when someone is rushing or getting ahead of themselves.

  • For example, if someone is talking too quickly, you might say, “Hold your horses! I can’t keep up with what you’re saying.”
  • When someone is trying to rush through a task, you might say, “Hold your horses. Let’s take our time and do it right.”
  • If someone is getting impatient and wanting to leave before everyone is ready, you might say, “Hold your horses! We’re not all packed up yet.”

8. Hush your mouth

This phrase is used to tell someone to be quiet or to stop talking. It can be used playfully or in a more serious manner.

  • For instance, if someone is teasing you, you might playfully say, “Hush your mouth!”
  • When someone is talking too loudly or interrupting, you might say, “Hush your mouth and let others speak.”
  • If someone is spreading gossip or saying something inappropriate, you might say, “Hush your mouth! That’s not something we should be discussing.”

9. Highfalutin

This word is used to describe someone who is acting pretentious or snobbish. It suggests that someone is putting on airs or trying to appear more important or sophisticated than they actually are.

  • For example, if someone is using big words unnecessarily, you might say, “Don’t be so highfalutin. Just speak plainly.”
  • When someone is acting superior or looking down on others, you might say, “She’s always so highfalutin, thinking she’s better than everyone else.”
  • If someone is being overly fancy or extravagant, you might say, “All this highfalutin behavior is unnecessary. Just keep it simple.”

10. Bless your heart

This phrase is often used in the South to express sympathy or condescension towards someone. It can be used genuinely to show empathy or as a subtle insult.

  • For example, if someone spills their drink, you might say, “Oh, bless your heart, let me help you clean that up.”
  • In a sarcastic context, if someone does something foolish, you might say, “Well, bless your heart, you tried.”
  • When someone is complaining excessively, you might respond with, “Oh, bless your heart, you must have it so tough.”

11. Sweet tea

Sweet tea is a popular beverage in the South, made by brewing tea and adding a generous amount of sugar. It is typically served over ice and enjoyed as a refreshing drink.

  • For instance, if you visit a restaurant in the South, you might see “sweet tea” listed as a beverage option.
  • When ordering at a restaurant, you might say, “I’ll have a glass of sweet tea, please.”
  • In a conversation about regional drinks, someone might mention, “Sweet tea is a staple at Southern gatherings.”

12. Pecan pie

Pecan pie is a classic Southern dessert made with pecans, a sweet filling (usually made with corn syrup or molasses), and a flaky pie crust. It is often enjoyed during holidays and special occasions.

  • For example, if you attend a Thanksgiving dinner in the South, you might find a pecan pie on the dessert table.
  • When discussing favorite desserts, someone might say, “Pecan pie is my absolute favorite.”
  • If you’re hosting a party and want to offer a traditional Southern dessert, you might consider baking a pecan pie.
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13. Biscuit

In the South, a biscuit refers to a type of bread roll that is typically flaky, buttery, and served with meals. Biscuits can be enjoyed on their own, used as a base for sandwiches, or served with gravy.

  • For instance, at a Southern-style breakfast, you might be served biscuits and gravy.
  • When ordering at a restaurant, you might say, “I’ll have a biscuit on the side, please.”
  • In a discussion about regional cuisine, someone might mention, “Southern biscuits are known for their light and fluffy texture.”

14. Grits

Grits are a popular Southern dish made from ground corn that is boiled and often served as a side dish or breakfast food. They can be enjoyed plain or flavored with butter, cheese, or other ingredients.

  • For example, if you visit a Southern diner, you might see grits listed as a breakfast option.
  • When discussing Southern cuisine, someone might say, “Grits are a staple in Southern cooking.”
  • If you’re curious about trying grits, you might ask, “What’s the best way to enjoy grits?”

15. Hush puppies

Hush puppies are small, deep-fried balls made from cornmeal batter. They are a popular side dish in Southern cuisine and are often served with seafood or barbecue.

  • For example, “I ordered a plate of fried catfish with hush puppies on the side.”
  • A restaurant might advertise, “Our hush puppies are made with a secret family recipe.”
  • A Southerner might say, “You can’t have a fish fry without hush puppies!”

16. Tater

Tater is a colloquial term for a potato. It is commonly used in the South as a shortened form of the word “potato.”

  • For instance, “I’m making mashed taters for dinner.”
  • A person might ask, “Do you want fries with that? Regular taters or sweet taters?”
  • A Southerner might say, “I love a good tater salad at a summer cookout.”

17. Co-Cola

Co-Cola is a regional pronunciation and slang term for Coca-Cola, a popular carbonated soft drink. The term originated in the South and is often used as a generic term for any cola beverage.

  • For example, “I’m going to grab a cold Co-Cola from the fridge.”
  • A person might say, “Pass me a Co-Cola, please.”
  • A Southerner might ask, “Do y’all have any Co-Cola in the vending machine?”

18. Mosey

To mosey means to walk or move slowly and leisurely. It is a term often used in the South to describe a relaxed and unhurried manner of walking.

  • For instance, “We’ll just mosey on down to the park.”
  • A person might say, “I like to mosey around the neighborhood and enjoy the scenery.”
  • A Southerner might invite a friend, “Come on over and we can mosey down to the river.”

19. Reckon

Reckon is a Southern term that means to think or suppose. It is often used in place of words like “believe” or “guess” and is a common part of Southern dialect.

  • For example, “I reckon it’s going to rain later.”
  • A person might say, “I reckon I’ll head on home now.”
  • A Southerner might ask, “You reckon they’ll have sweet tea at the party?”

20. Yonder

This word is used to indicate a location that is not close to the speaker. It can refer to a place that is within sight or a short distance away.

  • For example, “The store is just yonder, down the road.”
  • Someone might say, “I saw a beautiful sunset yonder, over the hills.”
  • In a conversation about directions, a person might ask, “Is the gas station yonder, on the left or right?”

21. Howdy

This is a common greeting used in the Southern United States. It is a shortened form of “How do you do?” and is often used in a friendly and informal manner.

  • For instance, “Howdy, y’all! Welcome to the party.”
  • A person might say, “I always start my emails with ‘Howdy’ to add a personal touch.”
  • When meeting someone for the first time, a Southerner might say, “Howdy, nice to meet you!”

22. Fixins

This word is used to refer to the additional items or side dishes that accompany a main course or meal. It can include things like vegetables, condiments, or toppings.

  • For example, “We’re having fried chicken with all the fixins.”
  • A person might say, “I like my burger with extra fixins, like cheese and pickles.”
  • When hosting a barbecue, someone might ask, “Who’s bringing the fixins for the burgers?”

23. Piddle

This word is used to describe spending time in a way that is considered unproductive or insignificant. It can refer to activities like dawdling, puttering around, or engaging in small tasks.

  • For instance, “I spent the afternoon piddling around in the garden.”
  • A person might say, “I don’t have time to piddle, I’ve got work to do.”
  • When someone is procrastinating, they might be told, “Quit piddling and get to work!”

24. Cattywampus

This word is used to describe something that is not straight or aligned properly. It can refer to objects that are tilted, slanted, or out of order.

  • For example, “The picture frame is hanging cattywampus on the wall.”
  • A person might say, “I need to fix my glasses, they’re all cattywampus.”
  • When something is not lined up correctly, someone might comment, “That fence is cattywampus, it needs to be straightened.”

25. Goober

In Southern slang, “goober” is a term used to refer to a peanut. It can also be used as a playful nickname for a person.

  • For example, “I love snacking on goobers at baseball games.”
  • A parent might say, “Come here, little goober!” to their child.
  • In a conversation about allergies, someone might ask, “Are you allergic to goobers?”

26. Tarnation

“Tarnation” is a Southern slang term used as a euphemism for “damnation” or “damn.” It is often used to express surprise, frustration, or annoyance.

  • For instance, “What in tarnation is going on here?”
  • A person might exclaim, “Tarnation! I can’t believe I lost my keys again.”
  • In a humorous context, someone might say, “Well, slap my tarnation!”

27. Dern

In Southern slang, “dern” is a variation of the word “darn.” It is used as a mild expletive or expression of frustration.

  • For example, “Dern it, I forgot my wallet at home.”
  • Someone might say, “Well, dern me! I didn’t expect to see you here.”
  • In a conversation about a disappointing outcome, a person might say, “We came so close to winning, but we dern lost.”

28. Britches

In Southern slang, “britches” is a term used to refer to pants or trousers. It is often used in a playful or nostalgic context.

  • For instance, “I need to buy a new pair of britches for the wedding.”
  • A grandparent might say, “Back in my day, we had to mend our own britches.”
  • In a conversation about fashion, someone might comment, “Those are some stylish britches you’re wearing!”

29. Skeeter

In Southern slang, “skeeter” is a term used to refer to a mosquito. It is often used in a casual or colloquial context.

  • For example, “I got bit by a skeeter while I was fishing.”
  • Someone might say, “Watch out for them skeeters, they’re fierce this time of year.”
  • In a conversation about outdoor activities, a person might ask, “Do you have any tips for keeping skeeters away?”

30. Bubba

This is a nickname often used for a close friend or family member, especially in the southern United States. It is typically used to show familiarity and affection.

  • For example, “Hey Bubba, how’s it going?”
  • A person might say, “Bubba and I have been friends since we were kids.”
  • In a family gathering, someone might say, “Pass the potatoes, Bubba.”

31. Coke

In the southern United States, “coke” is often used as a generic term for any type of soda or carbonated beverage. It is not specific to the Coca-Cola brand.

  • For instance, someone might say, “Do you want a coke? We have Pepsi, Sprite, and Dr. Pepper.”
  • A person might ask, “What kind of coke do you have?”
  • In a restaurant, a server might say, “Can I get you something to drink? We have coke, diet coke, and root beer.”

32. Pecan

A pecan is a type of nut that is native to the southern United States. It is often pronounced as “puh-kahn” in the South.

  • For example, someone might say, “I love pecans in my pies.”
  • A person might ask, “Do you have any pecans for sale?”
  • In a recipe, it might state, “Sprinkle chopped pecans on top for added crunch.”

33. Jambalaya

Jambalaya is a spicy rice dish that originated in Louisiana and is commonly associated with Creole and Cajun cuisine. It typically contains meat, vegetables, and spices.

  • For instance, a person might say, “I’m craving some jambalaya for dinner.”
  • Someone might ask, “Do you know a good jambalaya recipe?”
  • In a restaurant, a menu might offer, “Try our delicious seafood jambalaya.”

34. Gumbo

Gumbo is a thick stew that originated in Louisiana and is often associated with Creole and Cajun cuisine. It typically contains a variety of ingredients such as meat or seafood, vegetables, and spices, served over rice.

  • For example, someone might say, “I make a mean gumbo.”
  • A person might ask, “What’s your favorite type of gumbo?”
  • In a cooking show, a chef might say, “Today, we’re making a classic chicken and sausage gumbo.”

35. Coon’s age

This phrase is used to describe a significant amount of time or a very long period. It is derived from the idea that raccoons have a long lifespan.

  • For example, “I haven’t seen you in a coon’s age!”
  • Someone might say, “I’ve been waiting for this concert for a coon’s age.”
  • In a conversation about a historical event, one might comment, “That happened a coon’s age ago!”

36. Hollar

This term is used to refer to a small valley or a low-lying area between hills or mountains. It is often pronounced as “holler” in Southern dialect.

  • For instance, “I live down in the hollar.”
  • Someone might say, “We used to play in the hollar as kids.”
  • In a discussion about rural landscapes, one might mention, “There are many beautiful hollars in this area.”

37. Ain’t

This word is a contraction of “am not,” “is not,” or “are not.” It is commonly used in Southern dialect and informal speech.

  • For example, “I ain’t going to the party.”
  • Someone might say, “That ain’t right!”
  • In a conversation about grammar, one might comment, “Ain’t is considered non-standard English.”