The Unofficial Guide to Southern Slang
by Reece Maguire
There are currently 6,909 living languages scattered across the globe. One person alone could not even begin to learn and understand them all, but they can settle on a few. With each of those languages comes various and unique accents, customs, and slang. Every country, city, and even household has its own version of slang than anyone else would deem as gibberish or silly if they tried to understand it. Living in the South, the people of Shreveport, Louisiana, know a thing or two about interesting phrases or “funny” words. Some of them can seem a bit outdated or hard to understand if you’re new, but not to worry. Here, you have the Unofficial Guide to Southern Slang.
One of the most important things to know about southern slang is the buggy. Under no circumstances do you stroll through Kroger with a shopping cart; it’s always a buggy. We understand that there’s no horse involved, but if you try to correct someone, it may be a one way ticket back north. Another word you’ll need to add to your vocabulary is rag. Rag is equivalent to a washcloth or a dish towel, but rag is much quicker and includes all types of cloths. If you’re about to leave or go do something, all you have to do is shout, “I’m fixin to…” and simply add what you’re about to do. “I’m fixin to leave!” or “We’re fixin to go to the store” are both common uses of the word. If you’re trying to tell someone you don’t particularly like their friend because he/she acts a bit uptight and snooty, the word “uppity” is perfect for this situation. Uppity refers to someone who has his nose in the air and believes himself to be better than everyone else.
Ever had a relative say the last time they saw you, you were knee-high to a Junebug and had no idea what they were saying? The phrase knee-high to a Junebug refers to a period when you were young or younger. When you were about to get in trouble and your parents warned you katy bar the door? Unknowing what that meant, you continued your mischief and were probably spanked soon after. Katy bar the door is simply another way to say trouble is fixin’ to happen. How about when you wanted to try something and someone told you “That dog don’t hunt” and you thought that had nothing to do with what you were doing? That dog don’t hunt refers to what has just been said as untrue, not likely, or just simply impossible. A phrase that isn’t quite as popular is it’s a sad dog that doesn't wag its own tail. This simply means it’s okay to brag on yourself or build yourself up. One of the most popular phrases used in the South is bless her/his/your heart. If you’ve never heard this before, then you clearly haven’t been in the South very long. Bless her heart is basically a passive-aggressive way to insult someone. “Bless her heart, she’s as dumb as a doornail, but at least she’s pretty.” What phrases have you grown to love? If the answer is none—Well, bless your heart, you are missing out.