Do You Know the Meaning of These Common Southern Phrases?

Becky Stigall

A ____ to.

"I've got a mind to" is a common Southern saying. It means someone is considering something.

Aren't you ________?

"Aren't you precious?" is not typically a compliment. This phrase is usually used sarcastically.

Stop ______ ugly.

The expression is "stop acting ugly." Ugly usually means "mean."

Barking up the wrong ____.

The expression is "barking up the wrong tree." This means that you are off track or wrong about something.

Bless your _____.

"Bless your heart" is another one of those Southern sayings that isn't really a compliment. This means that the speaker thinks you are not particularly bright.

Too big for your _______.

The expression is "too big for your britches." This usually means that the speaker thinks you're a bit too proud of yourself.

Catty ______.

The phrase is "catty corner." This means "diagonal to."

Back teeth are ________.

The expression is "back teeth are floating." This means that you really have to go to the bathroom.

Fixin' ______.

No, it doesn't have anything to do with side dishes, although side dishes may be called "fixins." In this case, "fixin' to" means thinking about doing.

Fly off the ______.

The expression is "fly off the handle." This means that you've lost your temper or gotten ahead of yourself.

Got the _____ end of the stick.

The expression is "got the short end of the stick." It means that you got a raw deal or you were cheated.

Give me some _____.

The expression is "give me some sugar." It means "give me a kiss."

Good old ___.

The expression is "good old boy." This is used to describe a rough and tumble, traditional Southern male.

She had a _____ fit.

The expression is "she had a hissy fit." A hissy fit is a temper tantrum.

Nervous as a long-tailed _____ in a room full of rocking chairs.

The expression is "nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs." As you can imagine, such a cat would be pretty nervous.

Off like a herd of _______.

The phrase is "off like a herd of turtles." This means that you are off to a slow start.

I _____ that's so.

The expression is "I reckon that's so." If a Southerner says this to you, he/she is actually agreeing with you.

Run with the ___ dogs.

The expression is to "run with the big dogs." This means that you might be getting in over your head.

Snake in the _____.

The expression is "snake in the grass." Watch out for someone with this reputation - they probably can't be trusted and will strike without warning.

Squeeze a quarter so tight the _____ screams.

The phrase is "squeeze a quarter so tight the eagle screams." This expression is used to describe someone who is very cheap.

Hit ______ the head.

The expression is "hit upside the head." This means on the head... anywhere really.

Back in her _______ grounds.

The expression is "stomping grounds." The word "stompin'" can also be used. Stomping grounds are another word for home neighborhood.

He's all ____ up.

The expression is "all tore up." This means to be upset about something.

Doesn’t amount to a hill of _____.

The expression is "doesn't amount to a hill of beans." This means that something is relatively worthless.

Madder than a ___ hen.

The expression is "madder than a wet hen." A wet hen is very mad indeed.

'Till the ____ come home.

The expression is "till the cows come home." This might take a while.

Full as a ____.

The expression is "full as a tick." Since ticks are known to gorge themselves, this expression means that someone is very, very full.

Hold your ______.

The expression is "hold your horses." This means to slow down.

If I had my ________.

The expression is "if I had my druthers." This means "if I had my way."

Over ______.

The expression is "over yonder." This means "over there," but the "there" in this case is open to interpretation.

Explore More Quizzes

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

People in many areas have their own ways of saying things. If you aren't in the know, you might feel left out. Southerners are known for their colorful dialect. Can you complete each one of these phrases?

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!