Humanities › English Southern Slang Dictionary Share Flipboard Email Print Linda Henderson / Getty Images English English Grammar An Introduction to Punctuation Writing By Amanda Galiano Amanda is a freelance writer and lifelong Little Rock resident who has written more than 200 articles on her hometown our editorial process Amanda Galiano Updated April 06, 2020 This Southern slang dictionary will help you avoid confusion if you are planning to visit the South. These are some of the most common (and not so common) Southern slang terms heard in Arkansas and throughout the South. After you're done, brush up on some Southern manners and learn how to pronounce these commonly mispronounced Arkansas names. Ain't Pronunciation: 'Ant Etymology: Contraction of are not Date: 1778 Am not: are not: is notHave not: has notDo not: does not; did not (used in some varieties of Black English) Air-Up Function: Verb To pressurize or inflate. Example: "Air-up your car tires before you go on a long trip." A Larking Function: Verbal phrase Originates from the word "lark," which means to engage in harmless fun or mischief. To go a larking means to play a prank or joke on someone. All Y'all Etymology: Intensive form of y'all This usage states, "you all" more emphatically. For example, saying "I know y'all," would mean that one knows a group of people, saying, "I know all y'all" would mean that one knows the members of the group individually. Arkansas Toothpick Function: Noun A large knife. Arkansawyer, Arkansan, Arkie Function: Adjective or noun A resident or native of Arkansas.Referring to a resident or native of Arkansas. Residents who refer to themselves as Arkansawyers commonly proclaim, "There is no Kansas in Arkansas." when you call them Arkansans. Bowed Up Function: Colloquialism Marked by impatience or ill humor. This refers to the way a snake bows up his head before he strikes. Bread Basket Function: Colloquialism Stomach. Cattywampus Function: Adjective Askew. Example: "The storm knocked the boat cattywampus, and it started to take on water." Chief Cook and Bottle Washer Function: Colloquialism A person capable of doing many things. Darn Tootin' Function: Colloquialism For sure. Correct. "You're darn tootin', that is oil." Egg On Function: Verbal phrase To urge to do something. Example: "He only did it because the crowd egged him on." Figure Function: Verb To calculate, consider, conclude, or decide. Example: "He hadn't figured on winning the lottery." Fit as a Fiddle Function: Colloquialism In good shape, healthy. Fit to Be Tied Function: Colloquialism Angry. Fixin' Function: Verb To get set: Be on the verge. Example: "We're fixin' to leave soon." Function: Noun Customary accompaniments. Example: "We had a turkey dinner with all the fixins." Frog Gig Function: Noun A pole used to spear frogs for cooking. Function: Verb The act of hunting frogs for meat. Often called "frog gigging." Goobers Function: Noun Peanuts. Grab a Root Function: Colloquialism Have dinner. "Root" refers to potatoes. Hankering Etymology: probably from Flemish hankeren, frequentative of hangen to hang; akin to Old English hangian Function: Noun A strong or persistent desire or yearning often used with for or after. Example: "I have a hankering for fried okra. I've really been craving it." Heap Function: Noun A large quantity. Example: "Billy got into a heap of trouble when he stole his dad's car." Hear Tell Function: Verbal phrase A form of "hear it told." Often conveys that the information was passed second hand. Example: "I hear tell that the new mini-mall is going up next month." Horse Sense Function: Colloquialism Smart. Example: "She has horse sense. She'll make it in business." Howdy Pronunciation: 'hau-dE Function: Interjection Etymology: alteration of how do ye Date: 1712 Used to express greeting. Hunkey Dorey Function: Adjective Everything is great. June Bug Function: Noun Date: 1829 Any of numerous rather large leaf-eating scarab beetles (subfamily Melolonthinae) that fly chiefly in late spring and have larvae that are white grubs which live in soil and feed chiefly on the roots of grasses and other plants. Also called June beetles. Laying Out [All Night] Function: Verbal phrase Staying out all night, often drinking or doing something illicit. Example: "I was laying out at the bar last night, so I have a hangover." Lazy Man's Load Function: Colloquialism A lazy man's load is an unmanageably large load carried to avoid making more than one trip. This colloquial phrase is often used to indicate that someone is too lazy to think properly. Example: "Sam took a lazy man's load of groceries out of the car and ended up spilling them all over the sidewalk." Lickety-Split Function: Colloquialism Very quick. Like To Function: Adverbial phrase Almost. Example: "I like to pee my pants when that car hit me." Nearabout Function: Adverb Almost. Example: "I nearabout ran over that squirrel in the road." No 'Count Function: Contraction Of no account; good for nothing. Nuss Function: Verb To nurse. Example: "She nussed the sick dog to bring it back to health." Okie or Sooner Function: Noun A resident or native of Oklahoma. Ornery Pronunciation: 'or-n&-rE, 'är-; 'orn-rE, 'ärn- Function: Adjective Inflected Form(s): or·neri·er; -est Etymology: alteration of ordinary Date: 1816 Having an irritable disposition. Out of Kilter Function: Colloquialism Not right. Out of sorts. Example: "John was out of kilter for a while when he was relocated to New York." Pack or Tote Function: Verb To carry. Particular Function: Adjective Concerned over or attentive to details: Meticulous. People Function: Noun Relatives, kinfolk. Example: "Shelly went to see her people on vacation." Piddlin' Function: Adjective Small or inferior. Example: "His work only gave him a piddlin' 1 percent raise. Function: Adverb Poorly. Example: "She felt piddlin', so she didn't go to school." Function: Verb To waste time. Example: "He spent all his time piddlin' and never got anything done." Possum-Pie Function: Noun A meat pie made from a possum. Purdy Function: Adjective Pretty. Rag-Baby Function: Noun A doll. Reckon Function: Verb Etymology: Middle English rekenen, from Old English -recenian (as in gerecenian to narrate, akin to Old English reccan Date: 13th century Count Example: "To reckon the days till Christmas."To regard or think of as—ConsiderThink, suppose Example: "I reckon I've outlived my time—Ellen Glasgow." Redneck Caviar Function: Noun Potted meat. Right Function: Adjective Very. Example: "You're right near the street you want to be on." Rile Function: Transitive verb Inflected Form(s): riled; ril·ing Etymology: var. of roil Date: 1825 To make agitated and angry; Upset. Ruther Function: Verb A form of rather. Scarce as Hen's Teeth Function: Colloquialism Rare or scarce. Sho 'Nuff Function: Contraction Sure enough. Show Function: Noun A movie. Shuck Function: Verb To remove the outer covering of a nut, corn, or shellfish. Skedaddle Function: Verb Run, scatter. Slap Your Pappy Function: Colloquialism To pat your stomach. Snug as a Bug Function: Colloquialism Comfortable, cozy. Tarnation Function: Noun Etymology: alteration of darnation, a euphemism for damnation Date: 1790 Used to indicate surprise, shock, displeasure, or censure. Tarred and Feathered This refers to the practice of tarring and feathering people who committed small crimes such as distilling in colonial America (and in England). Today, it is often used to denote great surprise. Example: "I'll be tarred and feathered, that dog just flew!" That Dog Won't Hunt Function: Colloquialism The idea or argument won't work. Tore Up Function: Adjectival phrase Broken.Upset. Example: "He was tore about wrecking his new Corvette." Tote Pronunciation: 'tOt Function: Transitive verb Inflected Form(s): tot·ed; tot·ing Etymology: perhaps from an English-based creole; akin to Gullah & Krio tot to carry Date: 1677 To carry by hand; bear on the person. Trotline Function: Noun A long line on which short lines are attached, each with a hook, for catching catfish. Sometimes mispronounced as trout line. Tump Function: Verb Etymology: perhaps akin to British dialect tumpoke to fall head over heels Date: 1967 To tip or turn over, especially accidentally. Uppity Function: Adjective Conceited. Varmint Function: Noun Etymology: alteration of vermin Date: 1539 An animal considered a pest; specifically, one classed as vermin and unprotected by game law. Walking on a Slant Function: Colloquialism Drunk. War Between the States; War for Southern Independence; War of Northern Aggression Function: Noun The Civil War. Washateria Variant(s): also wash·e·te·ria /wä-sh&-'tir-E-&, wo- Function: Noun Etymology: wash + -ateria or -eteria (as in cafeteria) Date: 1937 Chiefly Southern: A self-service laundry. Whup or Whoop Pronunciation: 'hüp, 'hup, 'hwüp, 'hwup, 'wüp, 'wup Function: Verb The variant of "to whip." To hit or spank. Y'all Pronunciation: 'yol Function: Contraction Ye all or you all. Yaller Dog Function: Colloquialism A coward. Yankee Function: Noun Someone from the North. Yeens Function: Contraction Ye ones. Example: "Yeens better go before you're late." Yonder Function: adverb Etymology: Middle English, from yond + -er (as in hither) Date: 14th century At or in that indicated more or less distant place usually within sight. Your Druthers Is My Ruthers Function: Colloquialism "Your preferences are mine," "We agree."