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18 words that mean something different in the south

We southerners are known for our flair for creating new and colorful language but sometimes we also give new meanings to old words. Click here to read a list I wrote for It’s a Southern Thing and see a list of 18 fun words below:


Carry: To transport; ie., “She carried the kids over to Grandma’s house.”

Directly: in a little while; ie., “I’ll get to the repairs directly.”


Lay out: To sunbathe; ie., lie in the sun

Cut: To turn off; ie, “Cut out the lights when you leave.”


Fixin’: About to; ie., “Mama’s fixin’ to make dinner.”

Ugly: Misbehave; ie., “Don’t act ugly.”


Carry on: to act foolish; ie., “Y’all better quit carrying on like that before your daddy comes home.”

Piddle: to waste time; ie., “I’m just piddlin’ around.”

Mess: a person who acts the fool; ie., “He’s a mess.”

Obliged: thank you, as in “I’m much obliged for the loan.”


Reckon: to think or suppose; ie., “I reckon she knows what she’s doing.”

Sorry: of inferior quality, worthless; ie., “Her husband’s just sorry.”

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