8 Charming Southern Sayings You Should Start Using Regularly

by Lauren Schumacker

Depending on where you grew up or have lived for a number of years, you might be more familiar with certain sayings, words, and phrases, or use them more frequently. In parts of the Midwest, for example, a water fountain is a "bubbler." And while it can be a little bit jarring and confusing to hear these new-to-you phrases or sayings and not necessarily know quite what they mean, there might be some that you should start incorporating into your conversations, beginning with these charming Southern sayings you should start using regularly.

Some sayings or phrases that are attributed to a particular region where you've never lived might already sound familiar to you, because in some cases, they've spread far beyond their region, state, or city of origin. When people move around, they might take some of the language with which they grew up with them. And though people sometimes intentionally drop words, phrases, or even pronunciations and accents to try to fit in better in their new home, some phrases still manage to make it into a broader, more national conversation. These Southern sayings may or may not be familiar to you now, but they're definitely phrases with which you should become better acquainted.


Sweeter Than Stolen Honey

How charming is the phrase, "sweeter than stolen honey?" In its round-up of "colorful Texas sayings," Texas Monthly noted that this sweet phrase is used to indicate that something is good, which probably comes as no surprise because this phrase is clearly a positive one.


Bless Your Heart

Chances are you've heard this once or twice before. And while I hope it wasn't directed at you (because if it was, it wasn't a compliment), it's just about the most polite way to insult, look down upon, or generally dismiss someone or their opinions or efforts.


Madder Than A Wet Hen

If you've never spent much time around hens or chickens before, you might not intuitively know what they're like when they've gotten wet, but, luckily, the "madder than" part of that phrase clues you in as to what it means. Plus, Southern Living noted that wet hens really are awfully mad, and who am I to question that sort of expertise?


Aren't You A Peach?

Again, this one might sound familiar to you. And while comparing you to a peach might be something you should take as a compliment, this phrase isn't always meant to be taken that way. Bravo TV's Jet Set blog noted that this phrase can go either way and the context is important: it can either be a well-intended compliment or a major insult.


More Twists Than A Pretzel Factory

As the previously-mentioned Texas Monthly article noted, this interesting phrase is often used when someone is being dishonest. While it may or may not be regionally correct, I could also see this being used when something is confusing or there was a twist you weren't expecting.


If The Creek Don't Rise

This is sometimes part of a longer phrase, but can also be used on its own. As the aforementioned article from Southern Living noted, it essentially means that you'll be there or do that as long as something that's uncontrollably or unpredictable doesn't prevent it.


It's All Catawampus

The word "catawampus" might be one that you've heard before with a slight variation: "cattywampus." noted that "catawampus" means that something is askew or out of place. The article also noted that British mimicking of Southern phrases might have been what made this phrase a bit more well-known, but it's still something that's considered Southern here in the United States.


You've Got Gumption

The Holiday might be the reason you're familiar with this phrase, though it is, of course, far more widespread than that, but are some Southern roots here too. As the previously-mentioned article from Southern Living noted, this phrase did come from Great Britain and Scotland, but there it meant having common sense. The Southern iteration of the phrase has taken on more of a meaning of courage or initiative, as the Southern Living article noted. If someone tells you this, it can definitely be a compliment.

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