Posts Tagged With: kin

Family Sayings and Mispronunciations

Many people think a “Southern Accent” is a southern a southern accent. This just isn’t true.

It’s just like we Southerners thinking that everyone from New York is from New York city.

A southerner can tell if someone is from North Carolina/South Carolina (coast or mountains), Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana or Mississippi. Florida wasn’t mentioned because of the large population of migrating seniors so it’s more of a melting pot.

Of course each state in the south has it ‘s own colloquialisms; and within each region of each state there are even more localized phrases that flow off the tongue like honey off’n a hot spoon.

Even within my family, there are many phrases and ways that we say things that just aren’t heard anywhere else.    I’d like to share some of those with you. I do realize that most probably aren’t exclusive to my family.

So…., without further adieu (A Doo) I present some of the family sayings and mispronunciations that you will hear at the farm:


Pert Near – pretty close, pretty near, soon <and the like>

It’s comin up a cloud – There’s a lot of dark clouds over there

Dinner is lunch and Supper is ithe last meal of the day served in the evening

Do what now? – said after any type of list or instruction even if they have been understood

Fixin’ tuh – Getting ready to, about to

Mash it – to push or press <mash the button>

Cut it on, Cut on – turn it on, turn on <Cut on the light>

Hissy fit – something someone slings or throws when very angry <When he left her she slung one mo’ hissy fit>

Hussy, Huzzy – a strumpet; girl or woman that has what the speaker would consider to be loose morals; or if they just don’t like her or have much else to talk about

I rekin’ – I guess so; I suppose so

Warr –  wire <I gotta fix that bobwarr fence>

Wharr – where

Lawsy – you say this breathlessly and is most often followed by ‘mercy’ “lawsy mercy”  as a useful generic exclamation when surprised or dumfounded

Ink Pen – as opposed to a <straight or safety> pin

Fiddle-fart – depends on how used: (1) “Quit fiddle-farting around and get out here!” = wasting time (2) “Oh, fiddle fart.” = mild frustration

Stoved Up – constipated  NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH…  Swaged Up – swollen

Hussey – pronounced huh-zie  a loose woman, or anyone acting in a way you consider not to be ladylike


Sherwer – shower

Arse – ass

Ax – ask

Bid’ness – business

Callonopy – colonoscopy

Herikin – hurricane

Idn’t – isn’t

Mu nin ci pal – municipal

Ortopsy – autopsy

Quar – queer timey meaning = odd/different> like “He’s sorta quar; but then, he IS a yankee.”

Pelvik – pelvis

Prolly – probably

nerry a’bit – not even a little bit

I swanee – polite Southerner’s use this instead of I swear!

That lil shit – blaming this one on my mom – who taught her grandchildren that Shit isn’t a cuss word – it’s just what you say when you are mad. So, the grandkids would come running into the house and say, “You know what that little shit  <insert kid’s name here> did!?

I’ve shared some from my family, please share some of yours with me! 

From Grammarly

From Grammarly

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Is He Kin?

In the south, whenever you meet someone new, you may as well accept it and be ready to answer. You are going to be asked, “Now who’s yor momma? Yor Granny. . . mmm-hmmm.”

Then, give it about 5 minutes of, “Do you know..? How ‘bout?” and you’ll be certain to find someone who at least knows of your kin. Most likely though, you’ll discover that your Uncle Ted is your ex-aunt Lilly’s mother’s first cousin.”

If you aren’t from the south, go on ahead and sit down till your head stops spinnin’. We can wait.

Down here, knowing ones kin is ‘a given’.  Now I’m not just talking about knowing who your momma, daddy, siblings, aunts/uncles/cousins, grandparents are. Nope. I’m talking about knowing that your daddy’s momma’s daddy was a bastard. He was half Cherokee. His momma was a Cherokee wash-woman. Nobody seems to know any more’n that about it.  And just to clarify, that wash-woman would be my great-great grandmother.

Every family has a “hushed” story like that. I was lucky enough to be born into a family that is overflowing with stories like that – on both sides: the Johnson’s and the Parrish’s!

We all knew that the Parrish’s had an Indian bastard.

It was also rumored that the Johnson’s had a black one; but my generation didn’t know about that one.

Now before you go getting upset with me, remember, this took place in the 1930s and that’s how everyone referred to race, so don’t shoot the  storyteller-I’m just trying to set the tone and flavor of the times.

There was a name the kids in my momma’s generation heard only in hushed tones . . . Ruffin.

Whenever one of them asked about this mysterious person they were hushed and sent outdoors. This was especially painful in a summer thunderstorm or a cold winter’s rain, so they soon learned to stop asking. The mysterious Ruffin remained a mystery to my aunts and uncles.

One day as I was helping Momma around the house, she said to me, “Mr. Ruffin Johnson died. Did you hear that?”

Momma was reading the obituaries while I was scrubbing the cabinets with Murphy’s Oil Soap.

“Mr. Johnson? You mean from down the road?” I asked without turning around.

“Naw… black Mr. Johnson from Four Oaks; the one that helps out with the garden a little. The one that’s kin.” Mom said absentmindedly.

“WHAT?!” I sputtered. “What’s that you said? Ruffin Johnson, a BLACK man, is our KIN?!”

Are you sure you mean this side of the family?  That’s what I really was wondering.

Momma was sitting there looking a little stunned at herself. “Never you mind.” She said, putting the paper away, indicating that this conversation was over.

I grew up thinking that the Johnson side of my family was a little more high class than the Parrish’s because I grew up knowing about my Great great grandmother having an illegitimate child. There were no stories told about the Johnson’s.

Anyway…let’s just leave it with saying that it would be less of a surprise for a (city raised) Parrish to get together with someone of a different race than it would for a (farm raised) Johnson to.

I finished my cleaning and went home, curious as a cat about my ‘Great-Uncle Ruffin”, but not daring to push the subject.

As soon as I left, Momma got on the phone with Aunt Dinah.

“Dinah! Ruffin Johnson died!” she said.

“How do you know?” Aunt Dinah asked.

“It was in the paper,” said Momma. “Sanders Funeral Home is doing the funeral, his visitation is tomorrow. Want to go?”

“Doris! We can’t go to that!” Dinah said surprised. “We’re the wrong color to go there, we’d stand out like sore thumbs.”

“Come on, don’t you want to finally see for ourselves if he’s kin? We can go about an hour and half before the visitation starts. No one will see us. Come on Dinah, it’s our only chance to know once and for all.” Momma cajoled.

So the next morning Dinah came over to the farm and after a bit of back and forth discussion, off they went to finally set the story straight.

When they went into the funeral home, in the parlor just ahead was an open casket and not a soul in sight. PERFECT TIMING! They scooted across the hall and went in. Momma stopped at the guest register.

“DORIS!” Dinah exclaimed. “Get away from that! You are not  going to sign that register. Now hurry and get over here and come with me to  look.”

So Momma and Dinah crept quietly over to the casket and peeped inside.

“Hmmm – he does have the Johnson nose and looks a whole lot like Uncle Harvey, so it must be true.” Dinah concluded as Momma picked up a funeral bulletin to carry home.

The next Sunday, the family mystery was finally laid to rest along with Ruffin.

Dinah and Doris told us all about their adventure and discovery that indeed Ruffin Johnson was Uncle Harvey’s illegitimate son.

RIP Great Uncle Ruffin. If you had born a little bit later in time, I might have gotten a chance to know you.

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