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13 Things That Give Away Your Southern Roots
Southern Stories

13 Words That Give Away Your Southern Roots

13 Words That Give Away Your Southern Roots
Jan 24/17

13 Words That Give Away Your Southern Roots Posted by: Hedi Hemenway | 18 Comments

We asked the Bourbon & Boots brand followers to send us a list of unique “Southernisms” we could share with our audience.  We culled out the typical Y’all’s, Sweet Tea’s, and Bless Your Hearts and selected some off-the-beaten path expressions used exclusively by Southern patriots.


1. Lagniappe: a little bit of something extra (especially for those from N’Awlins and the Gulf area)

2. Pocketbook: girls from the deep South are known to call it this instead of a purse.

3. Po’Boy: a long sandwich, usually served with fried oysters, shrimp or fish. But in NOLA, your po’boy could even have plain deli meat. Po’Boys are really defined by their good, long crusty French bread.

4. Sweeper: as in run the sweeper referring to the vacuum cleaner. 

5. “Oh Honey” : the proper way to start most any sentence.  

6. Fixin’ to: used to let your compatriot know what’s up. As in “I’m fixin’ to make me a drink”

7. Buggy: it’s not a shopping cart, it’s a buggy

8. Might Could: a polite way of considering a request while considering all the work required. 

9. “Dumber than a box of rocks”: a kind way to describe someone a few bricks short of a full load. 

10. Caddywompus: a more fun way to say sideways

11. Access Road & Main Roads: There are only two kinds of roads, the access road and the main road. If the D.O.T. is working on the highway, there’s only one road to get back on your route again and it’s via an “access road” not a “service road”. And by the way, if you live in the South, that construction is going to take five years just to pave two lanes. Especially if it’s I-75 in Georgia or Florida. Same thing for I-85 in the Carolinas. Because of this tragic lack of getting the roads fixed, Southerners do not call our interstates “freeways” but “highways”. There’s nothing free about our highways (see GA-400).

12. Clicker: you need to change the channel and want me to pass you what? A remote control?  Honey, that thing is called a clicker. There’s no controlling the remote in a Southern house. 

13. Ketchup or Catsup?: The H.J. Heinz Company started producing the tomato sauce in 1876 and originally called it catsup, mimicking the name of a 17th century Chinese sauce. The company switched the name to Ketchup to differentiate from the Chinese sauce and Ketchup caught on as the primary name of the tomato sauce in North America.  However, there are still pockets of area in the deep south that still call it Catsup.  

14.  Can someone reach up and "cut off the light".  A phrase used to turn off the light switch in the room. 

15.  I need someone to "carry me down to the store".   This person isn't asking for a someone to physically pick them up and take them to the Piggly Wiggley or A&P.  Rather they are asking for a car ride to the store and back. 


Bourbon & Boots is a southern lifestyle brand, integrating artisan inspired and maker quality craftsmanship into rare, unique, unusual personalized gifts for the person that has everything. Come visit us if you are looking for vintage gifts or seeking cool gift ideas.



Sandra on February 20 2017 at 08:13AM

When I left NC and wound up in college in NW OH, I learned with great rapidity never, ever to say, “Y’just mash this button, and….”

Vickie on February 05 2017 at 07:16PM

Run a comb thru your hair!

Liz Ryan on February 03 2017 at 10:08AM

I’ll contribute:
Slow as molasses in winter (or January, variations are possible)
Dark as the inside of a cow

Cindy on February 03 2017 at 08:19AM

She threw a hissy fit.

Ashley Hoben on January 30 2017 at 03:14PM

“Do what?” This can be a question about what I’m told to do, an exclamatory stating what I refuse to do, or it can be a simple way to ask someone to repeat himself.

Linda on January 30 2017 at 01:40PM

Y’all (as opposed to “you guys”, “everyone in the room currently”, etc.)
tump (to knock over…“did you just tump over that stool?”)

Grandma Scooterbug on January 30 2017 at 07:45AM

I’ve lived my entire life in NW Ohio as well as my relatives and friends and many of the words and phrases that are supposedly southern I grew up hearing and using, as a matter of fact we still do. There are probably many more that are “southern” that are frequently used up hear in the north. Dinner, as well as lunch, is the noon meal, supper the evening meal, also lunch is a sandwich type meal while dinner is a big full meal for example.

PAT CLINGFOST on January 29 2017 at 10:37PM

we used to call the trunk of the car a “TURTLE HULL”.:)

Tra Davis on January 29 2017 at 12:51PM

How about a sursie or sursy? A sweet little surprise (gift)for a friend.

Paige Love on January 28 2017 at 06:23PM

When someone is lying:

(Fill in the liar’s name)‘s mouth isn’t a prayerbook, even if it DOES open and close.

Elizabeth Barger on January 28 2017 at 03:56PM

This Arkansan says we use “purse” rather than pocketbook. How could this list be complete w/o the phrases “tumped over”, the combination of turned/dumped and “bless her heart” usually said right before you say something not so nice about someone!

Michelle on January 28 2017 at 03:37PM

He’s “Crazy as a bitsy bug”

George on January 27 2017 at 02:27PM

“Will you carry me to the store”

Jenny on January 26 2017 at 11:24PM

“Cut off the light " and “Pick up the room”. My mother in law used to say, “Mash the button.” (Turn off the light)

Amanda D on January 26 2017 at 04:49PM

“I’ll pick you up after supper,” or “would you pick me up at nine?” To mean to give or ask for a ride.

Mary E Penick on January 25 2017 at 12:16PM

Don’t forget your bumperchute ‘cause it’s supposed to rain today!! My Mom never called it an umbrella. We also had an outdoor fireplace made of “Breeko” blocks which northerners call cinder or concrete blocks and my hosepipe is connected to the faucet in case of fire!!

Laura on November 08 2016 at 06:26AM

Hose pipe. Mind you, I don’t say it anymore, but I grew up calling it that.

Alicia savoy on October 03 2016 at 09:06PM

To get down as in to get out of the car. Let’s get down and go in the store.


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