Photo: Stayman/Shutterstock

10 Quirky Expressions You’ll Need in the American South

Travel United States
Photo: Stayman/Shutterstock
Hank Mendheim
Apr 8, 2015

1. Southerners don’t “get angry”…they have a “hissy fit”.

Loraine threw a hissy fit when she found out Billy crashed her car.

2. Southerners are not “very busy”…they’re “running around like a chicken with its head cut off”.

This term refers to farmers beheading chickens. The chicken still runs around like mad after it’s decapitated.

I have so much stuff to do I’m running around like a chicken with my head cut off.

3. Southerners don’t order a “soda”…they want a “cold drink”.

You’ll never hear the word “pop” down south, but many people will ask what kind of cold drink you want. You may also be asked what kind of Coke you want. It’s the same question.

What kind of cold drinks do ya’ll have?

4. Southerners don’t say someone is “untrustworthy”…they say “He’s a snake in the grass”.

Much like someone who can’t be trusted, a snake lies low in the grass hidden from predators, but they can move fast.

I don’t like Junior one bit. He’s a snake in the grass.

5. Southerners don’t refer to people by their last names. First names are just fine.

If John Smith walks into a business, you better believe he’ll be called Mr. John before he’s called Mr. Smith. The same goes for Jane Jones; she’s Miss Jane.

6. Southerners aren’t “happy”…they’re “happier than a pig in slop”.

It seems pigs are happier when they are wallowing in slop. I’ve never asked a pig, but they do appear to be very content farm animals.

When Bettie walked in that room, Mike was happier than a pig in slop.

7. Southerners don’t call you “stupid”…they say “the porch light’s on, but no one’s home”.

Look at that report card. The porch light’s on, but no one’s home.

8. Southerners won’t say someone’s “unattractive”…they’ll say he “fell out the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down.”

I took one look at him and I knew he fell out the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down.

9. Southerners don’t use “shopping carts” …they use “buggies”.

Just about everyone in the south calls a shopping cart a buggy. Who knows where it came from, but I was in college before I knew any different.

Darlin’, if you’re done with your buggy can I have it?

10. Southerners aren’t “poor”…they “don’t have a pot to p**s in or a window to throw it out of”.

This southern phrase dates back to the days when families didn’t have toilets, instead they did their business in a pot. In this case, if you were very poor you didn’t have a pot or even a window to dispose of it.

Lucinda acts like she’s rich, but she don’t have a pot to p**s in or a window to throw it out of.

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