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Dr. Goodword's Office

A Glossary of Quaint Southernisms

Dr. Goodword at Play. I grew up just down the road from Andy Griffith in North Carolina. We both share a love for the southern accent of that warm and beautiful state. That southern accent has almost been successfully eradicated by the excellent Southern school systems and the invasion of northern companies, eager to benefit from the high levels of creativity and intelligence found in the Southern gene pool. So, this collection is as much a historical document as one about language and accents. The important thing to remember as you laugh at these entries is that they represent perfectly good English. Sorry, teachers, I know this hurts, but these expressions represent nothing but a regional dialect. So, the southern dialect is simply a variation of grammar spoken in that particular region, the southern tier of US states.

We all speak with the accent of the region we are raised in during the critical language learning period from 2 to 6 years of age. Your accent has nothing at all to do with intelligence or knowledge of the rules of grammar. It is simply a regional dialect and dialects are equally grammatical; they are simply slight variations in the grammar of a given language that characterize the various regions where that language is spoken. All dialects have rules every bit as rigorous as those of the standard dialect, which is usually determined by the most influential social class. So speaking with a Southern, Brooklyn, or Black accent is not a matter of breaking the rules of grammar but of speaking with slightly different ones. So, if you change your accent, remember, the reasons are all economic or social; they should not be linguistic.

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A
a- A prefix added to the present participle to make it purtier, e.g. "Abe's a-workin in backer t'day; Ma's a-talkin to you, son!" (see also agwine, agonna; acoming, aworking, etc.)
Afore prep. Just as good as "before" in some parts.
Agonna v. aux. Future tense auxiliary, as in "Ahm agonna gichew ifn yew don't quit bothern my dawg!"
Aggervatin a. Bothersome, upsetting. Etymology: From citified English aggravate meaning "make worse": My dawg jes won't point and dats so aggervatin.
Agwine a. Heard mostly in the mountains. Variant of "agonna"
Ahere adv. In this direction, as in, "Yall come ahere; I got sumpn a show yuh."
Ain't v. cont Contraction of "am not." Not really a Southern contribution but usually attributed to them. The problem is not the word, but the use of the word to replace "isn't" and "aren't". Dr. Goodword has much more so say on this topic.
Air adv. Close to the listener, as in "What is that air thang you got air in yore han', Lela May?" Etymology: City-slicker jargon "there" which arrived through normal channels. Not to be confused with what you breathe, err.
Air up v. Put air in, "I stopped at d'fillin station to air up my tars."
Airy pro. Any but only singular: "You got airy (a) coon dog left?" Antonym of nairy.
All n. A petroleum-based lubricant as in, "Fill up d'all 'n check duh gas in muh pickup." Yankees drag this meager three letter word out into three syllables (o-ee-yul) for reasons linguists have yet to explain. (For regular all see awl.)
Allus adv. Always. "Does Roscoe allus keep six pickups on cinderblocks in his back yahd?"
Allow v. To concede, grant, suppose, figure, expect. examples: "I allus allowed as how he'd hafta git mared."
Anglun n. The country that gave us Anglish.
Any count n. Of any value: Is attur fried chicken yall's eatin any count? A question with this phrase in it has only a negative answer: No 'count.
Are, R n. 60 minutes: "Hit took me 3 ares (Rs) just to git my gumption up anuff to even talk to Lulu Belle."
Arsh tater n. The opposite of 'sweet tater', you know, the white ones. (Short for "Irish potatoe".)
As how conj. That: "Ahl allow as how Luke's got dem coon dogs of his sos'n dey's afixin tuh win duh field trahls come Sundy a week. (Thanks to Ed Brown, Jr.)"
Atter p. After
Awfully adv. Substitute for very, which can't be used south of the Mason-Dixon line. Very is avoided in the South. See also mighty.
Awl a. Ever damn one. Damyankees spell it "all".
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B
Backer n. A large cultivated weed you can smoke legally. (Southerners don't get all that excited about the syllable in front of the accented one.)
Backer barn n. Where you cure your backer of what ails it (and what don't).
Bag n. A milk container with four spigots that hangs under the rear end of a cow. For example: "Did you hear about Katie Belle? She wuz amilkin the cow when somebody rolled a hangernade under it and it went off!"
"Lord a-mercy! Was she kilt?"
"No, bless Patsy, the cow was; Katie Belle was jis left holdin the bag!"
Bammer n. The state west of Jawjuh. The biggest town is Buhminhayum, e.g. "A tore-nader jes tore through Bammer 'n left $20,000,000 in improvements."
Bard v. Past tense of borry , as in "My brother bard my pickup truck in never brung it back."
Bare (also byer) n. An alcoholic beverage made of barley, hops and yeast. Usage: "Ah thank ah'll have anover one of dem der bares (byers)."
Bait n. A sufficient portion: "He ate a bait a collards and dey tore his stomach up sump'n awful."
Be-ins conj. Since, if, so long as: "Be-ins yore a-goin' to duh kitchen, why donchoo git me a glass a warter, too?"
Biddy n. Baby chicken or a middle-aged female human, as in "old biddy".
Bidnis n. What you get down to or stay out of other people's, as in, "That ain't none a yore dad-burned bidnis!" (Southerners don't like "s" before "n", do you?).
Bile v. Heat up until it bubbles.
Bless Patsy! int. A pleasant expletive phrase expressing surprise. (Patsy is the patron saint of Southern euphemisms.)
Bless yore heart! int. A nice expletive expressing approval, encouragement, or to soften a subtle jab.
Boat n. (1) A screw with a nut on it that you tighten with a ranch, as in, "Pass me dat-air munky ranch, Homer Joe, sos'n I can tighten up dis-here head boat." (2) A marine vessal of some type.
Bob war n. A twisted wire studded with barbs. Usage: "Boy, stay away from that-air bob war fence!"
Bobby-Q n. A delicious meat dish made from pulled pork roasted over hickory wood and doused with red pepper boiled in vinegar: "Pass me some moa dat bobby-Q, Leniel, foh ah stahves to death." (Folks from Texas pours spaghetti sauce on beef and calls that 'Bobby-Q' but it hain't.)
Borry v. (past tense: bard) To take something with the full intention of returning it someday or t'other.
Booger n. Nose stuffing; a rascal, as in "Come here, you little booger!"
Booger man n. Something or somebody that'll gitcha.
Briarberry n. The wild blackberry, so called for the briars that afflict their leaves and stems.
Britches n. Pert much anything worn over the legs: pants, dungarees—trousers? What's that?
Bumfuzzle v. To confuse, puzzle, or stump, as in "I don't know how that beer cap got in d'carburator; hit's got me plumb bumfuzzled."
Buzzard n. Horsefly or other variety of large fly. Southerners don't see much of the scavenger bird, so the word was left over and, well, we put it to use.
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C
Cackleberry n. Egg. Go figure.
Calaboose n. Hoosegow, lockup, jail.
Caint v. aux. Can not.
Canned Coon n. prop. The name of a city in Mexico with one of the silliest names in the world.
Carry on v. Overdo your actions or make a lot of fuss, as in, "Yall young'ns stop a-carryin on so; we cain't hear each other talk."
Care v. Take though it sounds more like "carry", as in "I'mon care Mary Sue tooda dance Saerdy night."
Catty-corner(ed) a. Diagonal.
Cattywampus a. Askew, awry; not straight.
Chicken fried steak n. A steak dipped in batter like chicken then fried until crisp. Some cooks will then smother it in gravy to hide the evidence.
Chinchy a. Real stingy, as in, "That Roscoe's the chinchiest sonnovagun I ever seen."
Chunk v. To throw, thoe, or toss, as in, "Hey, boy! Chunk me a chunk of at-ere wood you got dere."
Citify v. To take the country out of the boy; said by some to be impossible.
Citified v. Urban or urbane. Takes yuh pick.
City slicker n. Wunna dem smaht fokes whut lives in town.
Co-Cola n. The most famous of the cold dranks. (Coca whut?)
Collards n. A leafy vegetable high in iron and, when cooking, odors.
Conniption n. A major fit, total loss of control of one's temper; you pitch a conniption (cf. hissy).
Consarned adj. (Archaic euphemism for darned) Doggoned, dad-burned.
Coochie-coo Int. Something you say to a baby to make it smile and I don't mean one of them there hoochie-coochie babies, neither!
Coon n. (Rac)coon. Syllables preceding the accented one seldom catch the attention of people born below the Mason-Dixon line. See also backer, Bammer, gater, Lanner, tater.
Coot n. As in "old coot"; a person over 60 years of age.
Cooter n. Turtle or a general name of affection.
Corn bread A lethal form of bread made from cornmeal fried in pork lard.
Cracker n. A native of Jawjuh.
Creation n. The world: "Where in creation did you git that-air todefrawg from?"
Critter n. Creature, with special preference for animals.
Cuber n. The island surrounding Havaner, as in "Why cain't we go t'Cuber if'n we want to, Homer?
Cut on/off v. Turn on/off: "Cut off d'lights when you leaves d'room, Randy Mae.
Cut up v. Show off, as in, "Now don't you young'ns cut up in church today; do you hear?
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D
Dad-burned a. Doggoned, consarned, dang-nabbed; an emphatic epithet indicating disappointment or frustration, as in "How'd all them dad-burned Ds git all over your report card?"
Dad burn it! int. A borderline expletive expressing disappointment or frustration. "Dad burn it! Ah hit my finger widda hammer agin!"
Damyankee n. City-slickers from exotic places like New York, Chicago or Philadelphia. (Notice down South it is one word.)
Dang part. Emphasizes almost anything you want it to: "Git your dang hands off'n my sledge hammer, Dooley!
Dang nabbed a. Characterized by disappointing or frustrating features. (See dad burned).
Dang nabbit! See Dawg nabbit.
Dat-air Away from me, as in, "Gimme dat-air munky ranch, bubba." (See also dis-hyeer.)
Dawg n. An animal of the canine persuasion, "Hetty, git your dawg-burned dawg off'n my poach!
Dawg nabbit! int. A nice expletive expressing disappointment or frustration.
Differnt a. Not the same, different.
Dinner n. The meal et around the middle of the day.
Dis-hyeer n.Near-by, near me: "Take a look as dis-hyeer munky ranch I just bought me, bubba." (See also dat-air
Dissermember v. Antonym of "member," to forget: "I planned to stop for a mess of butterbeans but I plum dissermembered."
Doohickey n. A Southern thingamabob.
Dried apple a. An extreme kind of damn as in "I don't give a dried-apple damn if you do it or not!"
Drink n. Soda, pop.
Druther v. aux. To prefer, as in, "I druther watch The Wheel; how abou chew?"
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E
Edgy-cation n. Larnin whut gives you a edge in life. "He got lots of smarts but not much edgy-cation."
Err n. A colorless, odorless gas containing oxygen, as in: "He cain't breathe. . . givvim some err!"
Et v. past tense. The past tense of eat, also found in other English dialects, such as Received Pronunciation, as in: "How many dem poke sawssigiz is you et, Caeser Earl?" "Et two, Brutus Bob. Dass awl."
Ever a. Quicker form of every.
Everbody pro. Not excluding anyone. (The pronouns "everyone", "someone", etc. with "one" instead of "body" are avoided by real Southerners.)
Eye-talian n. Fokes from Itly.
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F
Fall off v. To lose weight: "Minnie Faye's fell off a lot since her mama-'n-law moved in and started doin the cookin, don't you think?
Far n. A conflagration. For example:
"What did da Wise Men do for a livin?"
"I don't know what?"
"Dey was farmen."
"How joo know dat?"
"Well, hit sez in da Bible dat when dey came to see baby Jesus, dey was a-comin from a far."
Farner a. Somebody whut done come from a farn country.
Fetch v. Go, get, and bring back. Another example of clever compacting in the Southern dialects.
Fix n. A mess, trouble: "Sally May has really got herself in a fix, now!"
Fixin v. aux. Getting ready to: "I'm fixin to leave."
Fixins n. What is needed to prepare a dish.
Fokes n. People (good ol' boys and girls).
For crying out loud! Well, I'll be darned!
Frazzle v. Wear out, fatigue, especially the nerves. "His nerves have been frazzled ever since his finger got caught in the corn sheller."
Frizzly a. Messed up, uncontrollable, as the frizzly her whut might be on y'haid.
Fur piece n. A long way, a great distance
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G
Gallivant v. Travel widely, ignoring one's responsibilities, "Emma Mae, whir've yew been a-gallivantin all day?"
Galluses n. Suspenders, probably derived from gallows.
Gator n. The larval stage of alligator boots and pocketbooks. (Initial syllables often elude detection in the South. See also backer, Bammer, possum, Lanner, tater.)
Give out adj.Exhausted, tard, tuckered out, as coming home from plowing 40 acres plumb give out.
Goober pea n. Peanut
Gol darn (it)! int. An expression of surprise or frustration.
Gol darned int. Yet another expression of surprise or frustration.
Gone v. Completely finished doing it: "Billy Rae's done gone et the last piece o' fried chicken, mama? What am I sposed t'eat?"
Gosh dang int. Southerners are easily surprised and frustrated .
Gosh dang it! int. Yet another expression of surprise or frustration.
Goodness gracious! int. An expression of surprise you can use in front of your mother.
Goozle n. Uvula, that funny little punching bag in the back of your throat.
Gracious me! int. Another expression of surprise you can use in front of your mother.
Grits n. Do you have to ask?
Gubmint n. A bureaucratic institution. Usage: "Them gubmint boys shore is ignert."
Gwine v. aux. Contraction of agwine; a mountain variant for on: "Yo daddy's on whup you," would be, "Yo daddy's gwine whup you!" up in them thar hills.
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H
Hafta v. aux. Modal auxiliary indicating obligation. (Must is a word not found in most Southern dialects).
Haid n. The uppermost part of a human or animal body. Etymology: Early High-Falutin head.
Haint n. (1) A supernatural spirit that means living fokes no good. (2) A variant of ain't.
Hawg n. An animal of the porcine persuation, as in, "That's my hawg a-wawkin over yonder." Southerners like to separate the lip-rounding from the "ah" sound in words like dog, hog, thought, walk, ought, and pronounce it after the "ah". Yankees do it all at one time.
Hayseed n. Somebody without much larnin, that is, edgy-cation; usually from the sticks. In other words, fokes rednecks look down on. (We all have to have someone, don't we?)
Heap quan. A lot. "But dahlin, don't hit me; I loves you a whole heap."
Heidi greet. As in "Heidi doo!" Simpler (and faster) way to put "How do you do". The exact date when the Germans borrowed it from Southernese remains obscure.
Her n. The frizzly stuff growing on yore haid and elsewhir round yore body.
Her'n poss. pro. Belonging to her: "The pickup ain't her'n but everthang else is." Etymology: either morphological analogy from "mine" or the Southern suffix "-n" found elsewhere in young'n, his'n, etc.
High-falutin a. Extremely fancy.
Hire yew greet. Variant of "Heidi doo!" used to divine the current state of the listener. In fact the two phrases may be combined as in, "Heidi, hire yew?
His'n poss. pro. Belonging to him, as in "Are them-air boots mine, yourn or his'n." (See "her'n" for more.)
Hissy n. A minor fit, slight loss of control of one's temper (cf. conniption); you pitch a hissy or hissy fit.
Hit pro.. 3rd person neuter pronoun: "I was a-tawkin to him when hit hit me dat he warn't a-movin his lips."
Hoe cake n. Not what's left on your hoe after weeding but bread made from corn meal. Sorta like cornbread.
Hope (holp) v. Past tense of help. All English-speaking people used to use it. Helped is a recent innovation.
Holler n. A small valley ("They live down dere in Coon Holler").
Holler v. Talk at the top of your voice ("You young'ns stop yore whoopin anna hollerin for a minit sos'n we can unnerstan what we're a-sayin").
Holt a. In your hand: "If'n I gits holt of a shotgun, you'll shore change yore tune!"
Hoochie-coochie n. A shameful dance I don't even want to talk about.
Hoot 'na holler n. A short distance: "Why he lives just a hoot 'na holler from hyere."
Hot damn int. An especially good damn, as in a hot sale or a hot deal.
Howdy int. Short for 'howdy do', a common greeting down South.
Huckleberry n. Blueberries found in the woods.
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I
Ice n. A bad word we can't define here, so we'll just give an example: How to you ketch a polar bar? Well, fust you digs a hole in the ice. Then you sprankle peas awl round it. Now, when the polar bar stops to take a pea, you kicks him in the ice hole.
Ida Claire int. The saint Southerners turn to in moments of surprise: "Well, Ida Claire! If that don't beat all!
Idear n. Idea with overcompensation.
Idnit? Same problem as with bidnis—them "s's" before "n" again.
If that don't beat all! A phrase expressing surprise: "If that don't beat all! Bobby Leroy done gone and got hisself hitched!"
If'n conj. Variation of "if". (Southerners love their new suffix, -n, so much, they stick it everywhere. See young'n and his'n.
Ignert a. Not smart, as in "Dem Bammer boys shore are ignert!"
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J
Jawjuh n. Southen state that gave us Martin Luther King, Jr. and Jimmy Carter. (Thanks.) The capital is Lanner: "My bruvver from Jawjuh—runs duh biggis junkyard in Lanner."
Jawl subj-pred. Contraction of "Did yall", as in: "Jawl know whir I can git some cornbread 'n grits dis time a night?"
Juvember n. A slingshot made of a Y-shape stick with strips of inner tube tied to each arm of the Y and connected by a piece of leather: "Jawl know Luther kin knock a June bug off'n a dog's nose with his juvember an not make the dog sneeze?"
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K
Kick up a ruckus verb phrase. Cause a commotion.
Kilt a.Past tense of kill: He kilt hisself a bar in dem dere woods.
Kin to a. Related to (someone)
Kissin kin n. Kith and kin as pernounced by fokes what don't lithp. Dem "th's" again.
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L
Lanner n. Capital of Jawjuh. Uptown pronunciation: Lana.
Lawg n. What you cut trees up into.
Lick n. The smallest amount, whacha might lick up from the bottom of the plate. "At-ere dawg o'mine, he ain't got a lick o'sense."
Liddle-biddy n. About the same size as a lick, very small: "Where'd you git at-ere liddle-biddy hammer o'yorn?
Light bread n. Store-bought white bread, as opposed to corn bread and biscuits (= real bread).
Like-to adv. Almost, nearly. "Hit like-to kilt d'man when he saw his boy a-wearin' a kilt."
Liver puddin n. Sausage made from highly peppered pig liver. Mmm-mmm, good! Better than haggis.
Looky int. What you say when you hear they're putting liver puddin on the table: "Well, looky, would you, at the nice liver puddin Lila Mae's a-puttin on the table."
Looky hyeer! v. Emphatic variant of "Looky." "Looky hyeer" and "Look a-here" are purt near the same.
Lord a'mercy! inter. What you say when thangs get outta control.
Lordy, lordy! int. Something else that works in a bad sichashun.
Lot n. Enclosure for the cows and mules by the barn.
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M
Mash v. (1) Push (a button). (2) Squush up, as in "mash 'taters".
Mawnin n. The early part of the day.
Member v. Remember. (See also backer, Bammer, possum, Lanner, tater.) Antonym: dissermember.
Meer n. A looking glass.
Mess n. A peck a'trouble or a serving, as in "He et a big mess of greens afore they let him eat any pie."
Might could v. aux. Might be able to. Auxiliaries don't scare Southerners the way they scare Northerners; we string them together fearlessly, "I might coulda finished choppin the wood if'n hit ain't rained."
Mighty adv. Substitute for very, which can't be used south of the Mason-Dixon line. Very is avoided in the South. See also awfully.
Mommick n. To tire, wear out, frazzle (eastern NC).
Moo juice n. Milk. You figure it out.
Munt n. A calendar division. Usage: "My brother from Jawjuh bard my pickup truck, 'n I ain't heard from him in munts."
Murry n. (1) Marry n. prop. (2) Mary. (3) Murray a. (4) Merry, as in "Did Murry murry Murry, mama?" or "Show did—and a murry weddin hit were, too!"
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N
-n Suffix for creating nouns from adjectives: young-n, little-n, big-n, that-n over yonder. However, Southerners are so proud of it, they stick it on a lot of other words: if'n, his'n, her'n, sos'n, etc.
Nairy quan. Not one, none: "They ain't nairy (a) one in the house." Antonym of airy.
Nearbout adv. About, nearly: "Old Frosty, my horse, is nearbout dead he's so worn out."
Nigh (on) adv. Nearly, approaching: "We don't have no birf certificate for Bubba but they sez he's nigh on 70 year olt."
No 'count a. (contraction of 'no-account') Worthless. Answers the question of whether it is 'any count': That no 'count sunovagun gone shot my huntin' dog!
Nome adv. 1. Negative response to a woman (unemphatic for no, ma'am). 2. Contraction of know them, as in "Nome, days strangers; I don't nome 'tall.
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O
Okry n. A poddy vegetable that cooks up slimy but delicious if you cook it up with a slice of fatback
On v. aux. Future tense marker, as in "I'm on gichu!" Etymology: Uptown English "going to" (believe it or not!)
Ornery a. Mean, hard to get along with.
Orshter n. A nasty marine bivalve whose looks belie its edibility.
Orta v. aux. Ought to, as in "You orta not tawk wif yore mouf full."
Outta kilter a. (1) Crooked. (2) Not working properly. "My frigerator's outta kilter and won't keep the bare cold."
(Overcompensation) In many dialects speakers try to compensate for characteristic features that are ridiculed by others. Since Southerners are accused of dropping their r's, they compensate by adding this sound to the end of words. Problem is, they don't know where the r's go, since they have never pronounced them, so they often put them where they are not supposed to go, e.g. "Cuber," (At)lanter," "(Ala)bammer," and so forth.
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P
Part n. (Usually plural) Region, area. "Ain't there no udder rednecks in these parts?"
Pastry n. Flat dumplings boiled in chicken fat with chunks of chicken. The PA Dutch call it "chicken pot pie".
Pea can n. The correct pronunciation of pecan (not pee-KAHN!—I can't help what it sounds like correctly pronounced.)
Pester v. Act like a pest: annoy, persistently bother.
Pitcher n. (1) A vessel for holding and pouring water. (2) A visual representation of something, as a photograph. The "t" is silent.
Pick on v. Pester someone in particular.
Pile quan. A lot (of), as in "Everthang you sed is a pile a crap, Lonnie Sue!"
Pistol n. (1) Someone who is really good: "She's a pistol when it comes to churnin butter." (2) Someone who is unpredictable: "Sarah Lee Got married last night? She's a pistol, I'm atellin you!" Etymology: Old Yankee term referring to a small firearm.
Plain a. Somewhat ugly, e.g. "She's a plain girl, ain't she, a-wearin that air tow-sack dress a her'n?"
Plane adv. Downright, as in "That's plane ignert, whut you jes sed."
Play possum v. Act like you're asleepin or pretend in general.
Plumb adv. Completely: "Are you plumb crazy?"
Plunder v. Rummage around, as in "Who's been plunderin 'round in my underwear drawer 'n mixed up the dirty stuff with the clean stuff?"
Poach n. A place on the front of your house where you sit in the swing of a Sunday afternoon and watch the cars go by. Forerunner of the "deck".
Pocketbook n. A woman's purse. (A bag is something different).
Poke n. (1) A sack, as in a pig in a poke. (2) Pork, as in "Gimme wunna dem poke chops, hunny."
Polecat n. (1) Skunk. (2) A really bad person.
Pooch (out) v. Stick out: "Why yore lips pooched out like that, honey?"
Possum n. Opossum. Southerners are characteristically uninterested in what comes before the accented syllable of a word. See also backer, Bammer, gater, Lanner, member, tater.
Puny a. Weak, sickly, as in "Thank ah'll stay home; ah feel a little puny today."
Purdy, Purt a. Attractive, as in, "She's downright purdy." Fairly, "Hey, that came purt near hittin me!"
Purse n. pro.The capital of France.
Purt near adv. Nigh but not plumb; nearly, close to.
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R
Ranch n. A tool used for tight'nin boats. Usage: "I thank I left my ranch in the back of that pickup Ise tighnin duh boats on."
Rascal a. Mischievous person. That rascal
Reckon v. Think, figger. "I reckon he done got too big fer his britches, thinkin he's a lawyer."
Recollect v. Remember
Retard v. Past tense of retar. To have stopped working due to age "Paw retard when he hit 95."
Rye-cheer adv. Very close to the speaker, as in, "Why don chu build yore still rye-chere under the porch, Donnie Lou?"
Rile v. Stir something or someone up. Etymology: From Early High-Falutin roil (see also bile.)
Ruckus n. A loud noise or anything that makes one. Etymology: Early High-Falutin raucus, where it was bard from Latin.
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S
-s Present tense suffix. "I knows, you knows, he/she/it knows; we knows, yall knows, they knows." Much simpler.
Saerdy n. The sixth day of the week.
Sass n. Talk back insolently: "Don't sass me, young man; I'll tell yore daddy on you!"
Scalawag n. "A white Southerner acting in support of the reconstruction governments after the American Civil War often for private gain." —Merriam-Webster, 10th ed. (The reference of this word has become must broader lately.)
Scannel n. A mean person: "What a sorry scannel he is!" Etymology: Damyankee scoundrel.
Seed v. past tense of to see. Variant of seen: "I seed (seen) him jis d'ovver day hangin' round d'fillin' station."
Seeins how v. Since, it being the case, as in, "Well, I ain't fixin' your supper no more, Willy Joe, seeins how we's divorced now an all."
Seen v. Some people use this as the past tense of to see: "I seen him over yonder this mawnin."
Septin prep. With the exception of, as in, "Everbody ate his collards septin Rachael Ann."
Shed n. Rid, as in, "I just cain't git shed of this hyere cold."
Shore a. Positive, as in "Are you shore you know whir we are?" Shore doo
Shore doo adv. Definitely: "Do you luv orshters?" "Shore doo!"
Show n. Short for "picher show", a motion picture.
Sichy-ayshun n. A perdicament or whatnot: "How'n duh Sam Hill did you ever gicherself in a sichy-ayshun whirr duh fish er a-bitin' an' you ain't got no pole?"
Smack (dab) a. Precisely, as in "smack dab in the middle."
Smart a. Diligent, enjoys working. "Ain's she smart; she's already cleaned up the mess Uncle Billy made!"
Smarts n. A kind of intelligence found down South. Etymology: derived via the suffix -s from the adjective "smart".
Someone pro. Doesn't exist in real Southern. You can only say somebody, anybody.)
Sorry a. No good, as in, "Ain't he a sorry scannel?!"
Sos'n conj. So that.
Sot (down) v. Past tense of sit, as in "Jis as soon as I sot down, them fokes started makin fun of my hercut."
Spell n. (1) A while, a stretch of time. (2) Trying to get the letters of a word in the right order. (It hain't easy.)
Squall v.To cry at the top of your lungs, as in a roomful of squallin' younguns.
Stob v. Accidentally hit your toe on something sticking up from the ground. Etymology: Middle High-Falutin stub (your toe), which arrived through normal channels.
Sticks, the n. Far from civilization; way out in the backwoods.
Still adv. (1) Yet; (2) distillery. (Again, all them unaccented syllables don't catch the attention of people born below the Mason-Dixon line.)
Story (tell a) n. Well, sorta, you know, tell a lie. For example, "That's a story, mama! I never told his girlfriend he et snails!"
Study v., a. (1) Pay attention to, as in, "Lula Mae, you might as well stop amakin faces 'cause I ain't studin a thang you do!" (2) Stiff, firm, as in, "I don't sit on my poach no mo' causin hit ain't so study." (Thank you, Nate in WV)
Sump'n n. Something.
Sump'n teet n. Food: "I hain't had sump'n teet since dinner.".
Sugar n. As in "Gimme some sugar": affection, a chance to snuggle your neck, huggin' or kissin' or both.
Supper n. The meal (supposed to be) et around 5 o'clock.
Swaller v. What you do after you chew sump'n teet up. (Overcompensating "r")
Swanny int. Doggone! Dadburned! "I swanny, if'n Billy Sue ain't done shot anudder 'possum!" (I swan works just as well.)
Swarp v. To run hog wild, cut up to beat the band: "Try'n git them 'ere young'ns to stop swarpin' all over the house!
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T
Tar n. A rubber wheel, as in "Hot damn, I hope that brother o' mine from Jawjuh don't git a flat tar in my pickup truck."
Tarred n. Tuckered out, exhausted, fatigued as to come home from work too tarred to hold a fork.
Tarnation An acceptable substitute in the presence of ladies for "damnation".
Tater n. The potato. (See comment under "coon" and "possum")
Tawk v. To communicate using language.
Tell the news vp.Scream bloody murder. Boy, ain't that young'n tellin the news?
Tetched a. Not quite all there, a brick or two shy a full load, sorta crazy. I don't know about that-air Sonny Boy; he seems a little tetched in the haid.
Tetchy a. A little irritable, easily annoyed. Don't be so tetchy; I just said that if brains wuz dynamite you couldn't blow the wax outen yer ears.
Thang n. Any object, concrete or otherwise. Etymology: City-slicker "thing".
Thank v. The ability to cognitively process. Usage: "Ah thank ah'll have a bare."
Their'n poss. pro. Predicate possessive pronoun for "their", for exampe: "Theys always atakin thangs that ain't their'n." Etymology: The other Southern suffix -n that is added to all possessive pronouns to make the predicate form (mine, yourn, his'n, our'n, their'n).
Them pro. Those. "Jimmy John, where in the world did you git them pants?"
Them-air pro. Variant of them: "Whirs them air nails I bawt, Willy Earl?"
"Why, they's rye-cheer, Uncle Bubba. If'n they'd abeen a snake, hit wood abicha."
Them-air yonder pro. Those not near by: "An by the way, whose is them-air pants (over) yonder?"
They (dey) pro. (1) They. (2) There, as in, "Theys (Deys) more since in a bag a'hammers than they is in you!"
Thoe n. To chunk, toss. Very similar to throw without the R: "Thoe me dat ere munky ranch, Lureen, but don't aim it at muh head."
Tire n. A tall construction, often found in Europe. Usage: "If'n the Lord's willin' and the creek don't rise, I shore plan to see that Eyeful Tire when I go to Paris (Texas, that is)."
Toad v. Past tense of "tell", as in "I toad you so!"
Todefrawg n. Either a toad or a frog. Southerners don't worry about the differnce since if either one pees on you, you gits warts!
Tore-down a. In less than optimal condition.
Tore Nader n. No relation to Ralph: a strong, spinning wind that stirs things up considerably.
Tote v. Carry.
Tow sack a. Burlap bag.
Tucker out v. Exhaust, fatigue, as to be plumb tuckered out from cleaning fish.
Tune up v. Start crying. "When Ginny Mae didn't git any candy, she tuned up and gave out a squall they heard in Kalamazoo."
Turn loose v. Release oneself to wild abandon. "He turned loose and cut a jig right air in d'livin room!" (Notice the French influence.)
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U
Udder a. Not this/these. "Ain't you got no udder kind a veggie-tables septin deeze?"
Uppin v. aux. To do something suddenly or unexpectedly: "I toad him we's havin liver puddin fer dinner and he uppin left."
Upside adv. On the side of, as in, "When Andy toad her how ugly she wuz, she hittim upside da haid widda fryin pan."
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V
Veggie-table n. Not the salad bar but edible plants like field peas, butterbeans, collards, okry, snap beans, and the like.
Vetern n. Somebody who fought in a war and came back home.
View v. cont. A phrase used to find out it someone else has done something, as in "I hain't never seed New York City, view?"
Vittles n. Anything worth eating.
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W
Wadn't it? That pesky little "s" before "n". (See "bidnis", "idnit").
Waller v. To toss and turn, wallow with overcompensation, as a hog wallers in the mud.
Warnt v. aux. (1) Negative of "were", as in, "Hit warnt his fault." (2) A piece of paper that gives somebody the right to tear up your still: "Billy Joe I got a warnt rye-cheer to tear up yore still."
Wawk v. The opposite of run, to run slowly.
Wear out v. Whup, tear up, beat real good as in, "When I git you home, boy, I'm gonna wear you out!"
Whir pro. The interrogative place pronoun, as in "Whirred yew put my galluses, mama?"
Whup v. Inflict physical pain on someone younger and/or smaller than you using a leather strap or switch.
Whoaman n. An adult of the female persuasion. Etymology: commonly thought to come from the response of many Southern women to the advances of pesky males.
Wuhd n. Things that make up sentences.
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X Y Z
Yahoo n. A ignert hayseed from the sticks. (Antonym: "city slicker")
Yall pro. The plural of you.
Yankee n. See "damyankee."
Yonder adv. (over here, over there, over yonder)
Young'n (See -n) A young thang, a baby.
Yousta adv. An adverb indicating past frequentative activity, as in, "I yousta smoke but now I druther chaw" (an expression speading to the North even as you waste your time reading this glossary.)
Thanks to Faye Beard, Chris Blackwood, Thomas Peebles, Michael Gedenberg, Paula Gray, Emmett H. Griner, Steve Innskeep, Rachael Malagon, Danielle Davis, William "Mike" Chapman, Julie McIntosh of Dallas, Dee Miller from somewhere down there, and Stacy from Carteret County, NC, among many others, for their suggestions and contributions.

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