Have you have ever spoken with anyone from ProEdit? If so, you quickly realized that most of us are from the South (Cumming, GA, specifically).
Folks say we talk kinda funny. We think we sound quite normal. Here are 13 Southern expressions. Are they weird? You be the judge:
- “Like a cat on a hot tin roof.”
Cats are jumpy enough in a comfortable living room. The expression describes someone in an extreme state of upset and anxiety, and, of course, it was used by Tennessee Williams as the title of his Pulitzer-winning 1955 play.
- “Enough money to burn a wet mule.”
Why a person might choose to burn a soaking wet thousand-pound mule is anybody’s guess, but the expression was made famous when legendary Louisiana governor Huey Long used it in reference to deep-pocketed nemesis Standard Oil.
- “Knee-high to a grasshopper.”
Most often used to denote growth, as in: “I haven’t seen you since you were knee-high to a grasshopper!”
- “Slower than molasses running uphill in the winter.”
Things don’t get much slower than molasses. Uphill in winter? You get the picture.
- “Ran like a scalded haint.”
The opposite meaning of the previous phrase. A haint, in old Southern terminology, is a ghost, and according to tradition, scalding one will send it running right quick.
- “Fine as frog’s hair split four ways.”
What’s that? You’ve never seen hair on a frog? Exactly. Split it four ways and it becomes awfully fine indeed.
- “Drunker than Cooter Brown.”
As legend has it, Cooter Brown was a man who did not see fit to take up with either side during the Civil War, and so remained so staggeringly drunk throughout the entire conflict that he avoided conscription.
- “Grinning like a possum eating a sweet potato.”
For a scavenger accustomed to a diet of bugs, slugs, and roadkill, having a fat, juicy sweet potato to gorge on is like winning the lottery.
- “All hat no cattle.”
Imagine the would-be ranching magnate, flush with cash earned elsewhere, who blows into town with a ten-gallon lid, a fresh pair of boots — and a much too loud mouth.
- “We’re living in high cotton.”
Cotton has long been a key crop to the South’s economy, so every harvest farmers pray for tall bushes loaded with white fluffy balls in their fields. Tall cotton bushes are easier to pick and yield higher returns. If you’re living “in high cotton,” it means you’re feeling particularly successful or wealthy.
- “She was madder than a wet hen.”
Hens sometimes enter a phase of “broodiness” — they’ll stop at nothing to incubate their eggs and get agitated when farmers try to collect them. Farmers used to dunk hens in cold water to “break” their broodiness. You don’t want to be around a hormonal hen after she’s had an ice bath.
- “He could eat corn through a picket fence.”
This describes someone with an unfortunate set of buck teeth. They tend to stick up and outward, like a horse’s teeth. Imagine a horse eating a carrot, and you’ll get the picture.
- “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”
A pig’s ear may look soft, pink, and shiny, but you’re not fooling anyone by calling it your new Louis Vuitton bag. A Southerner might say this about her redneck cousin who likes to decorate his house with deer antlers.
Bonus: “Bless your heart.”
Southerners drop this phrase constantly. But it might not mean what you think it means. In reality, the phrase has little to do with religion and more to do with a passive-aggressive way to call you an idiot. Depending on your inflection, saying “bless your heart” can sting worse than any insult.