Those Confederates sure have my balls in a vice.
July 22, 2008 3:43 PM   Subscribe

Two-part slang request. I'm looking for: 1. Colloquial terms for Southern gentlemen types, of the mint julep-sipping variety; and 2. Unique/interesting slang along the lines of, "will have my guts my for garters."
posted by np312 to Writing & Language (28 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The Southern Colonel
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:53 PM on July 22, 2008

a Kentucky Colonel
posted by kimdog at 3:54 PM on July 22, 2008

"a pig with a wristwatch"

Someone out of their element.
posted by sondrialiac at 4:05 PM on July 22, 2008

"will have my guts my for garters."

"will eat my lunch."

"will own my ass."
posted by Bookhouse at 4:06 PM on July 22, 2008

Regarding the second part of your question: he's from Texas but Dan Ratherisms are very...colorful.
posted by Morrigan at 4:15 PM on July 22, 2008

2. "will have my head on a pike."
posted by Caduceus at 4:23 PM on July 22, 2008

"jenny denny kenpah" (I can't figure out how to spell it, so I've just done it phonetically-ish.

Meaning: "I dunno" (a mix of Scottish and French, as in "Je ne sais pas" with Scottish "dinna ken" thrown in for good measure.)

My grandfather used to use this a lot.
posted by blue_wardrobe at 4:30 PM on July 22, 2008

Do Texas-isms count?

"Fixin' to" -- will occur presently. Eg., "We're fixin' to head outta here."

"Might could" -- possibly.

"Ustacould" (pronounced YOO-stah-kud) -- was once able to; may or may not be currently possible. Eg., "Ustacould buy gas for 75 cents."

"A country mile" -- a really long way.

"The berries" -- describes something pleasant or positive. Eg., "It would just be the berries if I won the lottery."

I'll post more if I can think of them. Also, Dan Rather is an inauthentic, self-conscious poseur. Most of his "colloquialisms" are his own invention.
posted by orrnyereg at 4:42 PM on July 22, 2008

"Ass end of no-where," which is the same as "butt-fuck Egypt." - remote place

"Shaking like a dog shitting peach seeds" - describing someone being scared

"Useless as tits on a boar" - useless

"Mickey-Duck" - badly constructed or planned
posted by The Light Fantastic at 4:51 PM on July 22, 2008

"Get r dun" - complete assigned task
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:53 PM on July 22, 2008

This might not be what you're looking for, but I dated a Southern guy who used a lot of colorful similes. Two of his favorites were "fartin' like a pack mule" and "rainin' like a cow pissing on a flat rock" (apparently this resembles a torrential downpour).
posted by arianell at 4:59 PM on July 22, 2008

My 93 year old grandmother in Tennessee says things like the following:

I'll do it/be there in two shakes of a lamb's tail (I'll do it/be there quickly.)
I don't know, but I gave it a lick and a promise. (I did it quickly, but as well as I could.)
That would knock out a raccoon's eye. (Wow, look at that huge diamond.)
That beats a hen a'rootin'. (That's really something.)
posted by mochapickle at 5:02 PM on July 22, 2008

"sweating like a whore in church"
"bless your/his/her heart" means "christ, what an idiot"
"queer as a three dollar bill"
"like a pig in shit" = blissed out
posted by thinkingwoman at 5:06 PM on July 22, 2008

Hi guys-- thank you for your suggestions so far, but I think I was unclear and need to clarify what I need-- I'm looking for specific slang for ONLY THESE TWO THINGS:
1. A southern genteel- type (i.e. "a Kentucky Colonel")
2. Being in trouble with someone. (i.e. "I'm in hot water." i.e. "will have my head on a pike." "will have my guts for garters" etc.)

Just those two things, not southern colloquialisms in general! As interesting as they may be...
posted by np312 at 5:34 PM on July 22, 2008

orrnyereg, I don't doubt it.
posted by Morrigan at 5:39 PM on July 22, 2008

Can't help with 1, but for #2:

"teat in a wringer" is a euphemism for being in an intractable circumstance.

(For those needing a translation, it was possible in early days of wringer washing machines to get a breast caught in the mechanism; they weren't apparently made to reverse. Ouch!)
posted by FauxScot at 5:47 PM on July 22, 2008

My granny used to threaten to "jerk a knot" in me when she didn't like what I was doing.
posted by trip and a half at 6:12 PM on July 22, 2008

Oh, there's also, "Fetch me that gin, son, 'fore I tan yer hide!" from "Ole' Rockin' Chair's Got Me".
posted by trip and a half at 6:15 PM on July 22, 2008

- Up Pike's Creek without a paddle
- Up S**t Creek without a paddle
- Up to your neck in it

All various threats my Dad issued:

Your Mum'll knock you...
... clear into the middle of next week
... so hard, you won't know whether it's next or last Wednesday
... so hard, you won't know your arse from your elbow
... so hard, you won't know whether you're coming or going

None of these ever happened, or maybe they did and he was right...
posted by blue_wardrobe at 6:48 PM on July 22, 2008

1. Southern Dandy?
posted by chococat at 7:07 PM on July 22, 2008

"That dog won't hunt." Learn it. Know it. Live it.
posted by norm at 8:13 PM on July 22, 2008

"Slicker 'n snot on a doorknob."
"Fitter 'n a rooster in socks."

I've only ever heard these out of context, so your guess as to meaning is as good as mine.
posted by HeroZero at 9:31 PM on July 22, 2008

There are no colloquial terms for a Southern Gentleman. He is chivalrous, well mannered, genteel, and very masculine. To paraphrase Justice Potter Stewart when he tried to explain "hard-core" pornography, or what is obscene, by saying, "But I know it when I see it . . . "

Is it getting hot in here? Oh my, where's my fan...swoons onto the sette.
posted by JujuB at 10:56 PM on July 22, 2008

1. Dixie Doodle. A gentleman from Tennessee is still, sometimes, a Volunteer (with a capital V), for similar reasons North Carolina men are still blessed-by-Lee "Tar Heel boys." Owing to the peculiarities of Mississippi state and county court administration, where almost all judges were and are elected rather than appointed, there were a blue ton of local justice-of-the-peace posts filled every election, such that "Judge" became something of a term of respect for senior men in the community, many of whom had actually served an elected term somewhere as a judge, but many of whom hadn't. In a similar way in Louisiana, because of the strong influence of the Catholic church, the office of deacon in the church came to be a generalized term of respect, sometimes applied in secular circumstances even to men who had no such office in the church. In Arkansas and Louisiana, as cotton became King, some of the most prominent men (and largest landholders) begin to be called "planters," as a foreshortening of "cotton planter." In Memphis, this usage still survives in the name of one of the largest bank holding companies in the U.S. In Louisiana, you still occasionally hear of someone referred to as "parrain," literally, a godfather or religious sponsor (from French), but more generally, an important person to whom you might look for support. Across the South, large landholders in particular were referred to as "members of the gentry," to the extent that in some areas of Alabama, Gentry is a fairly common family name.

2) If you're in trouble with a person in the South, you're "up a tree," as in "like a raccoon run up a tree by dogs." Or, you're an "egg suckin' dog." You're likely to be "hung out to dry." You're probably going to have a tough row to hoe. They're likely to lower the boom on you, if they don't tan your hide.
posted by paulsc at 5:35 AM on July 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

I go antiquing with my father-in-law through rural areas of Georgia and South Carolina and have overheard some interesting Southern-isms over the years:

Expressing surprise or disbelief: "Well fry my legs and call 'em drumsticks."
Describing an incompetent worker: "He couldn't drive a boot up a mule's ass with the directions written on the toe."
On seeing someone with an unconventional hairstyle: "I've seen better hair on fatback."
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:06 AM on July 23, 2008

For #2: I'll beat you like a rented mule. It's not exactly right, but it's close.
posted by vilcxjo_BLANKA at 10:53 AM on July 23, 2008

For number two, here are about fifty:

"Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker: For the last half an hour, I've been trying to get the floor, and every time I catch your eye, you wiggle and squirm like a mangy dog with a flea in his ass.

"Maybe you don't know who I am. I'm Senator Johnson from Johnson County, Arkansas, where we raise men who are men, and women who are glad of it. Why down in Johnson county a man can't even stick his ass out the window to take a good country shit without getting his tail filled with buckshot. Down in Johnson county we raise girls who, at the tender age of sixteen, can throw their left tit over their right shoulder and wipe their ass with the nipple thereof, or squirt milk up their asshole, as the occasion demands. When I was a boy at the age of 14, I had a prick the size of a roasting ear, the pride of Johnson County. Why I could piss halfway across the Ouachita River. (The Speaker: Out of order. Out of order.) You're Goddamned right it was out of order; if it hadn't been I could have pissed clear across the son-of-a bitch.

"Now here is this narrow assed, long gutted, cross-eyed son of a cross between a Missouri mule and a gorilla, who proposes that the name of Arkansas be change to Ar-Kansas. Why, Mr. Speaker, to compare the fair state of Arkansas to that of Kansas is to compare the light of the noonday sun in all its brilliance to the feeble glow of a lightning bug's ass; or to compare the sweet fragrance of an American Beauty rose to the foul quintessence of a Mexican burro's fart. Why, to compare the great state of Arkansas to that of Kansas is to compare the puny penis of a Peruvian

"Yes, gentlemen, you may pluck the tail feather of the American eagle. You may piss from the Washington monument. You may shit on the White House steps, and wipe your ass on the Declaration of Independence. Yes, you may even rape the Goddess of Liberty, but change the name of Arkansas, NO. Not only no, but hellfire and damnation, no!"
-taken from Pissing in the Snow, more excerpts here
posted by The White Hat at 2:43 PM on July 23, 2008 [2 favorites]

Huckleberry? It's not exactly Southern, but I think Dan Patch or someone popularized it. Also in a movie, "I'll be your huckleberry."

"will have my guts my for garters"? Do you mean slang for you are in trouble? Like your ass is over a crack? Or a threat, such as the previously posted remarks about being knocked into next week or snatched bald? Perhaps you could threaten to give someone what for, or open that ever popular can of whup ass.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 10:06 PM on July 23, 2008

« Older Where's the best city for living 100% car-free?   |   My freezer is not cold enough Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.