Although some of the things shared in this post may be funny, my purpose in posting them is to save them for posterity. My family moved to central Indiana from “very rural” Kentucky around 1950. Needless to say, by the third generation (my age) most of the “southernisms” have all but disappeared. My Grandparents and Great Aunts & Great Uncles have all passed on, and my Aunts and Uncles are getting older now (my father was the youngest child in the family). So I thought I would create a list of how they talked so that a) I wouldn’t forget it, and b) I could share it with my children.
My Uncle Ron is the source of many of these expressions.
1. “Pert’ner”. I believe this to be a form of “pretty near”, as sometimes the usage is like this: Me: “Uncle Ron, how far is it to Wal-Mart?” Ron: “Well, it’s pert’ner 8 mile.” The part that confuses me, however, is that he often uses this word in response to the question, “How you doing, Ron?” “Pert’ner.”
2. “Fine as frog’s hair split in two.” I take this to mean he’s doing OK!
3. Directly. (soon) as in “I’ll be in there directly.”
4. “Fixin’ to Get Ready.” An intention to get yourself out of the chair and actually do something.
5. If’n. – as in – “If’n you don’t stop teasing the dog. I’m gonna put the hurt on you.”
6. You’ns. Usually referring to your immediate family, as in, “You’ns coming over tonight?”
7. Nary, as in “Ain’t nary a one”
8. “Jerk a knot in your tail.” My dad used to tell me this to prepare me that a spanking was approaching quickly.
9. “High falutin.” Someone who is acting above their social status.
10. “Don’t go off half-cocked.” An admonishment to get all the facts before jumping to action.
11. “slicker ‘n snot.” My dad’s inevitable statement when driving on ice.
12. “might could.”, as in “I might could eat something about now”.
13. “showed his behind” – making a fool of one’s self publicly. “He sure showed his behind today.”
14. “how are you fixed for” – meaning “do you have enough of?”, as in, “How are you fixed for milk?”
15. “got yer ox in the ditch” – you got yourself into some real trouble and need some help.
16. “gag a maggot on a gut wagon” – something that’s disgusting or gross, as in, “That would gag a maggot on a gut wagon.”
17. okry. This is for my wife. She makes fun of me when, once in a blue moon, I slip and call it “okry” instead of “okra.”
I’ll post more as I think of them! (or after I talk to my Uncle Ron again).