Southern Thing Column

Why Southerners say ‘fixin’ to’

Below is an excerpt from my column that was original published on Click here to be directed to the full column.

When I was at Auburn University, I went out with a guy in a fraternity for a couple of weeks (the brothers put a hose through a window and played slip-n-slide down the hall of their house. I mean inside the house. They’d just let ’er rip, tater chip. It was no place for decent people – or people who wanted to live to see graduation.)

What I recall most, second only to the slip-n-die, is that he, an engineering major, he had the nerve to correct the speech of yours truly, an English major. He told me saying “fixin’ to” made me sound ignorant.

At the time, I was young and impressionable and I stopped saying “fixin’ to.” These days, I would respond: “I’m fixin’ ta jerk a knot in your tail.” Not really. That would be rude and therefore un-Southern. But I would stand up for my Southern heritage and say, “I’ll say ‘fixin’ to’ whenever I dern well please.”

Southerners know “fixin’ to” has nothing to do with making repairs. It is a handy-dandy phrase meaning “about to.” It functions as a verb.

Some examples:

  • “He was fixin’ to watch football.”
  • “I’m fixin’ to go to the store.”
  • “I reckon it’s fixin’ to rain.”
  • “I’m fixin’ to jerk you bald.”

I asked the internet the origins of the phrase and it said an archaic meaning of “fix” is “to prepare.” And please note, there is no “g” on the end of “fixin’”. If you pronounce the “g,” you’re doing it wrong.

Click here to read the full column.

2 thoughts on “Why Southerners say ‘fixin’ to’”

  1. I enjoyed the “fixin’ to” article. Some words are just so useful!

    One comment . . Have you ever seen a Corelle plate break?
    It doesn’t.
    It shatters into about 1000 shards!

    I love my lightweight, translucent Corelle dishes, but wow!

    Keep writing! I don’t always comment, but I do always read!!!


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