Although rednecks and Southerners are not necessarily the same, redneck slang words are very often the same as Southern slang words. We’ll look at the difference between the two, and then you can see 50 examples of redneck slang words.
Southern vs. Redneck
Rednecks are everywhere. The term “redneck” comes from the fact that farmers got sunburnt on the backs of their necks from being outside all day. Thus, a redneck was a farmer. Farmers tend to live outside of urban areas, so the definition then widened to include anyone who lived out in the country or in a small town away from a city. Now, a redneck is someone who is uncouth and uncultured because they grew up in a working class family, far from the cultural influence of an urban area. There are plenty of Southern Americans who fit this description, but by this definition, there are also rednecks in all rural areas - even in England.
As you can imagine, the slang used by British rednecks is quite different from that of American rednecks. However, with Southern comedians like Jeff Foxworthy and Bill Engvall making jokes exclusively about rednecks in the South, it seems that “Southerner” and “redneck” have become nearly synonymous.
So, although not all Southerners are rednecks, the colloquialisms and idioms common to the South are now thought of as redneck slang words.
Redneck Slang Words
The following words and phrases are Southern for sure, and some would be considered more “rednecky” than others, but the line between redneck and simply Southern is so fine that it doesn’t even matter.
- (to) be too big for one’s britches – to think too highly of oneself
- britches – pants
- can’t carry a tune in a bucket – to be unable to sing at all
- clod-hopper – large, heavy shoes like those worn by farmers
- colder than a witch’s tit (in a brass bra in January) – the bit in parentheses simply adds some extra color to an already off-color (but quite effective) description of the weather
- (gosh) dang/darn/dern – a cleaner version of a well-known, blasphemous expletive
- dang/darn/dern tootin’ – an expression of agreement, as in, “Louella, you make the finest biscuits this side of the Mississippi.” “Dern tootin’.”
- fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down – if someone is unbelievably unattractive, looking as though they’ve been hit with several ugly sticks, this is the proper way to express that ugliness
- fixin’ to – getting ready/preparing to, as in, “I’m fixin’ to go to the Wal-Mart. Do y’all need anything?”
- get up with – to contact or get together with
- granny-slappin’ good (so good, it makes you want to slap your granny) – very good, usually delicious
- gussied up – cleaned up and dressed very nicely (perhaps formally)
- a hankerin’ for – a desire/craving for
- happy as a puppy with two peckers/peters – very happy
- high cotton – wealthy; successful (and maybe snobby)
- hit with the ugly stick – if someone is quite unattractive, you can say they look like they’ve been hit with the ugly stick
- honky-tonk – a bar, perhaps where country music is played live for folks to dance
- hotter than a goat’s butt in a pepper patch – very hot
- how-do – shortened form of “How do you do?”
- If I had my druthers – if I had my way/my preference
- kin/kinfolk – family, especially extended family
- knee-high to a grasshopper – very young and small, as in, “The last time I saw you, you were knee-high to a grasshopper, and look how grown-up you are now!”
- lick – (noun) any amount at all, usually used in negative sentences such as, “I didn’t get a lick of work done today because my boss kept calling me in for meetings.” (verb) To beat up, as in, “I licked him good that time.”
- like herding cats – anything that is difficult to do, but especially anything that requires organizing difficult people (like small children)
- mash – to press or push, as in, “Mash that green button and turn on the computer.”
- (to) need something like one needs a hole in the head – Obviously you do not need a hole in your head; it’s even bad for you. Thus anything you definitely don’t need, and that might be detrimental to you in some way is described by this phrase.
- ornery – difficult to deal with; stubborn; finicky
- piddly/piddlin’ – a small amount (negative connotation)
- poop or get off the pot – make a decision and take action
- reckon – suppose, guess, as in, “I reckon we’ll see you at the reunion.”
- right – very (often surprisingly); an adverb usually used to modify adjectives, as in, “You wouldn’t know it to look at him, but he’s a right good ball player.”
- rough talk – to speak harshly
- rubber-neck – to drive slowly so as to get a good look at a wreck or disabled vehicle on the side of the road. Those who rubber-neck are rubber-neckers.
- skedaddle – to leave hurriedly
- snug as a bug (in a rug) – very comfortable
- sugar – affection, as in, “Come here and give me some sugar.”
- sweet talk – to speak nicely, usually in order to get something you want
- tater – potato
- (to) think one’s s*** don’t stink – to think too highly of oneself
- tore up – broken/destroyed, as in, “I came home to find the curtains all tore up,” or, “My knee has been tore up since that skiing accident back in ’93.”
- uppity – snobby
- used to could – used to be able to, as in, “I can’t do a cartwheel any more, but I used to could.”
- useless as tits on a bull – utterly useless
- varmint – an animal (usually wild)
- Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle. – an expression of surprise, shock and/or disbelief
- y’all – a contraction of you + all. This is the informal 2nd person plural in Southern English.
- yankee – a person from the North
- yapper – mouth
- younguns – young people
- you’uns – y’all
Learn these, and you’ll be speaking Southernese before you know it!