A Home on the Mississippi

Featured Image: A Home on the Mississippi. (Currier & Ives 1871- small folio.) Before the camera came into common use, the general public had to depend largely on drawings to get an idea of what other parts of the country looked like. Currier & Ives did their part in recording the customs and costumes of the day, not neglecting foliage, architecture, carriages and boats.

A whistling woman and a crowing hen never comes to a very good end. (be who you are)
Ain’t that the berries! (that is great!)
As easy as sliding off a greasy log backward. (very easy)
Barking up the wrong tree. (you are wrong)
Be like the old lady who fell out of the wagon. (you aren’t involved, so stay out of it)
Busy as a stump-tailed cow in fly time. (very busy)
Caught with your pants down. (surprised and unprepared)
Chugged full. (full and over-flowing)
Do go on. (you must be joking)
Don’t bite off more than you can chew. (attempt what you can accomplish)
Don’t count your chickens until they hatch. (first know the results)
Don’t let the tail wag the dog. (the cheif is in charge, not the Indians)
Don’t let your mouth overload your tail. (talking too much)
Either fish or cut bait. (work or make way for those who will)
Even a blind hog finds an acorn now and then. (everyone is sometimes lucky)
Every dog should have a few feas. (no one is perfect)
Fly off the handle. (angry and lashing out)
Get the short end of the stick. (not invited and treated wrong)
Give down the country. (give someone a peice of your mind)
Go hog wild. (have a good time)
Go off half-cocked. (have only half the facts)
Go to bed with the chickens. (in bed early)
Go whole hog. (go for it all)
Gone back on your raisin. (deny heritage)
Got your feathers ruffled. (upset and pouting)
Happy as a dead pig in the sunshine. (doesn’t grasp or worry what’s going on)
Have no axe to grind. (no strong opinion)
Holler like a stuck pig. (someone mislead you)
I do declare. (usually means nothing)
In high cotton. (rising up in society)
In a coon’s age. (been a long time)
Like a bump on a log. (lazy and doing nothing)
Like two peas in a pod. (act and think alike)
Mend fences. (settle differences)
Scarce as hen’s teeth. (no such thing)
Sight for sore eyes. (Nice to you!)
Stomping grounds. (familiar territory)
Sun don’t shine on the same dog’s tail all the time. (you’ll get what you deserve)
That takes the cake. (surprised)
Too big for one’s britches. (someone taking themself too seriously)
Two shakes of a sheep’s tail. (done quickly)
Well, shut my mouth. (shocked and speechless)

AIM TO- plan to do
AIRISH- cold
BIGGITY- vain and overbearing
BITTY BIT- a small amount
CARRY ON- to carry on foolishness
CLODHOPPER- heavy work shoes or large shoes
CHUNK- throw, toss
‘COON- Raccoon.
COW LICK- hair standing out on one’s head.
DIRECTLY- in a little while, or a couple of weeks
DIXIE- Southern States of the U.S.A
DO-HICKY- substitute name. Like the terms whata-ma-call-it or thinga-ma-jig
FALLING OUT- disagreement
FEISTY- being frisky
FIXING TO- about to
HEY- hello
HOLD YOUR HORSES- (be patient)
HONEY- affectionate term
LAID UP- ill, hurt, unable to work
MESS-one who carries on, “He’s a mess.”
MUCH OBLIGED- thank you; hope to return the favor
PIDDLE- waste time, doing nothing
PLAYING POSSUM- playing dead
RECKON- think or supose so.
SHINDIG- dance or celebration
SMOKEHOUSE- Shed with a dirt floor where pork and other meats is cured, and then smoked.
SORRY- inferior quality, worthless, and lazy
SOUTHERN BELLE- Southern lady
SPRING CHICKEN- young thing
SWEET TALKING THING- has a good line
TIGHT- stingy with money
WAIT ON- serve or assist
WART-TAKER-one who removes warts by charms or incantations
WHITE LIGHTNING- moonshine whiskey
WORRY-WART- one who is annoying
YA’LL- you all, two or more people

Interesting History of Southern Words

CARPETBAGGER: A term of disgrace applied to Yankee opportunists and uncompromising Secessionist who settled in the South during and after the Civil War, some with all their possessions in carpetbags. Years later, history shows us that some carpetbaggers were respected citizens who came to the South for humanitarian and legitimate business reasons. But, for the most part, they were trouble. **In earlier years the term described itinerant bankers who carried their negotiable assets in gritchels made of carpeting material.

SCALAWAGS: Southern whites who, during the Reconstruction Era, joined carpetbaggers and freedman for profit and political power. They formed the Republican party in the South.

REDNECK: Two definitions from 2 different sources** First definition- One of Southern, rural, or small town origin. This term describes poor white subsistence farmers, sharecroppers, and tenants beginning in the nineteenth century. They had red necks from working in the field long hours. Second definition- The Scottish origin to supporters of the National Covenant and The Solemn League Covenant, or “Covenanters”, largely Lowland Presbyterians. In 1638 and 1641 many covenanters signed documents which made notice that Scotland wished the Presbyterian form of church government, not the Church of England as the official state church. Some Covenanters signed in their own blood and wore red pieces of cloth around their necks as distinctive insignia; hence the term “Red neck”. Since many Ulster-Scottish settlers in America (especially the South) were Presbyterian, the definition was to describe them, and then, later, their Southern descendants.

GOOD OL’ BOY: A rough and fun lover who likes most anything involving challenge and expression of virility. Many wear cowboy hats and boots, and drive pick-up trucks equipped with CB radios, fishing rods, and firearms.

COON-ASS: A good ol’ boy in Cajun Country.
Second definition: Only people born and raised in South Louisiana, and of French Canadian decent (the original Acadians) are called this, and it is generally considered a vulgar and derogatory term, and most South Louisiana residents of French decent do not use this term.**Submitted by Frank Johnson.

Reference: Southern Words and Sayings by Fabia Rue Smith and Charles Rayford Smith & You All Spoken Here by Roy Wilder.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *