8 Charming Phrases Southerners Use (And How to Decode Them)

8 Charming Phrases Southerners Use (And How to Decode Them)

Gather round for a lesson, youngens.

By Lindsay Tigar

If you’ve ever visited the South — from North Carolina all the way to Alabama — then you might have found yourself scratching your noggin’ (that’s head, by the way) when they threw out a word (or three) that you couldn’t decipher. While some might consider a varying vocabulary somewhat uneducated, the truth is, Southerners have a language all of their own — just like Los Angelenos, Midwesterners, and as the Southerners would call them up North, the Yankees.

Don’t sweat your pretty little brow though, you can whip out this handy guide when you’re feeling at a loss for words during your next visit down south:

1. Will you grab me a buggy, buddy?

When you’re picking up some sweet tea and some flour to have your very own at-home fish fry (or fried chicken leg dinner) at your local supermarket, you might hear a Southerner asking their pal or spouse to get a "buggy." They’re asking for a shopping cart, so just move aside to they can get on their merry little way.

2. You’re hoggin’ the clicker!

Visiting a pal down south and your host thinks you’ve taken over the television at night? They might try and battle you for the "clicker" or "flicker" that controls the screen. We suggest handin’ it over.

3. I’ll have a large Coke, thank ya.

Remember this tip: If you try and ask for a Diet Pepsi or a Diet Coca-Cola and call it "pop" at a Southern joint, you’ll earn yourself a raised eyebrow. Regardless if it’s Pepsi or Coca-Cola, Southerners call the sugar-filled beverage one thing, and one thing only: Coke.

4. Look at my pretty new pocketbook — I got it on sale!

Though it may fit everything she needs for a full day on the town, you won’t catch a Southern woman calling her prized accessory a bag or a purse. Nope, below the Mason-Dixon line, it’s a pocketbook — even if it’s designer.

5. Will you pick me up some of that there Clorox and some Kleenexes while you’re out?

It might sound like a formal request for a specific name-brand product, but Southerners won’t mind if you pick the off-brand. For many household products — like tissues and bleach — Southerners just pick out the brand they know the best and refer to it as shorthand.

6. Come inside, now! It’s time for supper, y’all.

Staying with the family friends in the Southern states and they’re whippin’ you up a batch of something delicious? When it’s time to chow down and feast on their meal — likely early, around 6 p.m.! — they won’t call it dinner time. Instead, it’s suppertime.

7. Just mash that down for me, will ya?

Regardless if it’s a button on a clicker’ or an elevator, your Southern friends might ask you to "mash" it for them. Before you question why you would want to crumble a button, just remember that they really mean "push."

8. What a sweet youngen you have!

Bring your babe with you on a trip to the South, and strangers might coo and smile at your cutie. And after they asked you if it’s a boy or girl, what his or her name is, and if you carried him or her high or low, they might refer to your baby as a "youngen," which is a Southern way of saying, "kiddo."

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