Although rednecks and Southerners are not necessarily the same, redneck slang words are often considered Southern slang words. Learn the differences between the two, then review a long list of examples of redneck words.
Redneck Slang Words
Southern vs. Redneck
Rednecks are everywhere. Not all Southerners are rednecks and not all rednecks are from the South, but the colloquialisms and common idioms from the South are now frequently thought of as redneck slang words. Why is that?
- The term redneck is generally thought of as coming from the fact that farmers get sunburns on the backs of their necks from being outside all day. Thus, the term redneck started as a way to refer to farmers.
- Farmers live in all regions, not just the South. They do tend to live outside of urban areas. So, the definition widened to include people who live out in the country or in a small town away from a city.
- According to a board member for West Virginia’s Mine Wars Museum, the term redneck was also used in the late 1800s in southern West Virginia when the coal miners fought the owners of the mines. They wore red bandanas around their necks, so they were called rednecks.
- The definition for redneck has further grown to reflect someone who is uncouth and uncultured because they grew up in a poor or working class family, far from the cultural influence of an urban area.
Plenty of Southern Americans fit this description, but by this definition, there are also rednecks in many areas inside and outside of the United States. However, with popular Southern comedians like Jeff Foxworthy and Bill Engvall making jokes about rednecks in the South, it seems that Southerner and redneck have become nearly synonymous.
Examples of Redneck Slang
The following words and phrases are Southern for sure, and some are considered more "rednecky" than others.
- 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) - off-color description of cold weather; the bit in parentheses adds extra color
- gosh dang/darn/dern - cleaner version of a well-known, blasphemous expletive
- cang/darn/dern tootin' - 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 - someone is unbelievably unattractive, looking as though they've been hit with several ugly sticks
- 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 (or so good, it makes you want to slap your granny) - very good; delicious
- gussied up - cleaned up and dressed very nicely (perhaps formally)
- hankerin' for - 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 - someone who is quite unattractive
- 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."
- lick (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."
- 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); 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
- to be too big for one's britches - 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."
- to need something like you need a hole in the head - anything you definitely don't need, and that might be detrimental to you in some way
- 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 - expression of surprise, shock and/or disbelief
- y'all - contraction of you + all (This is the informal 2nd person plural in Southern English.)
- yankee - person from the North
- yapper - mouth
- younguns - young people
- you'uns - contraction of you + ones (It is a collective plural as in "each of you.")