If you are looking for some funny Southern words or sayings, then you are in the right place. The American South -- the states south of the Mason-Dixon line that divides the USA into horizontal halves -- has a culture, humor, and slang all its own.
For example, should you venture south of the Mason-Dixon, you can call just about any Southern male you know well "Bubba," "Junior," or simply "son." The word "said" is pronounced "sed" and "roots" are pronounced "ruts." Southern English even has some words regular English doesn't: "ain't" is a colloquial contraction of "am not" as well as "are not," and "y'all" isn't just short for "you all." It's a general purpose second person plural pronoun.
Classic Southern Phrases
Following here are some funny words and phrases that portray a special kind of wisdom only found in the South. We've provided example sentences for a few so you can see them in action.
- Can't carry a tune in a bucket: Tone-deaf, unmelodic. "Sing beside him every Sunday. Man can't carry a tune in a bucket."
- Could start an argument in an empty house: Argumentative, grouchy
- Engine's runnin' but nobody's drivin': Foolish or clueless, especially if the subject is also very animated
- Fit to split: Doing something excessively or excitedly. "We were laughing fit to split."
- Fixing to pop: Full after eating a lot. "I ate so much at supper, I was fixing to pop."
- Hit the bushes: To go to the bathroom. "If y'all don't mind, I'm gonna hit the bushes before we head out."
- Have a mind to/have half a mind to: To be inclined to do something. "I got half a mind to go in there and tell him what I think of him."
- If brains were leather, he wouldn't have enough to saddle a Junebug: Clueless or unwise, sometimes phrased as "saddle a horsefly"
- Not a pot to pee in nor a window to throw it out of: Impoverished, poor. "I gave to that old boy's collection fund. His poor family don't have a pot to pee in nor a window to throw it out of."
- Off like a herd of turtles: Of a group, moving slowly
- She needs some fries to go with that shake: Said of an attractive woman, especially when peering at her posterior
- Squeezes a quarter so tight the eagle screams: Cheap, miserly
- That dog won't hunt: A bad idea or plan. "Son, that dog won't hunt. You need to come up with a new idea."
- Well, don't you look prettier than a glob of butter melting on a stack of wheat cakes: General term of approval of someone's appearance. Largely gender-neutral, with a slight edge of teasing if applied to a boy or man dressing up.
There is some debate about the overlap between Southerners and rednecks. Not all rednecks are Southerners, and certainly there are many Southerners who would not thank you for calling them rednecks. You'd likely have an easier time finding a redneck on a Montana oil field than on the campus of the University of Texas.
Being a redneck is a state of mind characteristic of the American working class, especially farmers and other people who work outdoors. That state of mind produces many funny, and often insightful, words and phrases.
- About as useful as a trap door on a canoe: Useless, unhelpful.
- As happy as a tick on a fat dog: Satisfied, comfy.
- As nervous as a long-tail cat in a room full of rocking chairs: Worried, twitchy.
- Busier than a one-legged man at a butt kickin' contest: Overworked, worn out. Also, "About as much use as…" with the meaning "useless."
- Excuses are like backsides. Everybody's got one and they all stink: Expressing disdain for making excuses. Also "opinions are like backsides," occasionally with more colorful language.
- Happier than a tornado in a trailer park: Cheery and comfortable. Redneck humor can get dark. Tornado Alley, right down the middle of the United States from Texas to the Dakotas, is rich in rednecks, trailer parks and, alas, tornadoes too.
- If everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane: A classic redneck joke: silly with a dash of wisdom. Rednecks know when things look too good to be true, they generally are.
- If his brains were dynamite, he couldn't blow his nose: Clueless, doesn't know anything.
- He's so rich, he buys a new boat every time one gets wet: As with many cultures made up mostly of working folks, there is a rich vein of redneck humor making fun of the wealthy.
- Mad as a mule chewing on bumblebees: Thoroughly ticked off. Angry.
- One fry short of a Happy Meal: Clueless, crazy or both of the above
In the immortal words of Jeff Foxworthy, you know you're a redneck if you think the last words to The Star Spangled Banner are "Gentlemen, start your engines." Not fed up yet with Southern sayings? Take a look at our collection of hillbilly sayings for even more laughs and wisdom.
Southern Fried Wisdom
It's no coincidence that the American South has produced some of America's greatest authors. William Faulkner, Harper Lee and Zora Neale Hurston all grew up steeped in the unique poetry and rhythm of the South. While there are few words only Southerners use, there are many phrases that express the region's unique spirit.