Crafting A Language

SOME WORDS AND PHRASES JUST SAY SOUTHERN

INTERVIEWS BY STELLA JIANG & DESIGN BY JESSICA CASTRO-RAPPL

We know these terms have different definitions for different people. We invite readers to write to us with their own definitions.

Southern Greetings

A good friend I haven’t seen in a while, I’d give them a hug or a high-five. Or I’d do the thing where you high-five them and give them a hug. This might be biased, but I feel like Southerners are definitely more welcoming. I feel like Southerners live a slower pace of life. I feel like Northerners would be like, “Hey!” and shake your hand. I feel like Southerners are more there to talk slower and get to know what you’re doing more than just say “Hey….” I feel like there’s a difference, yeah.

“Tar Heel”

This is probably totally wrong, but it was either the Revolutionary War or the Civil War and somebody was running or some soldier was running and had tar on his feet and left a mark…. I’m pretty sure 99 percent of people don’t know where it came from.

Sam Wilkins,

Hendersonville, N.C.

“Witch’s tit in a brass brassiere”

So my grandmother, she is born and bred from the South. And one time we were driving in the car, and it was really cold outside and she goes, “Paula, it’s as cold out here as witch’s tit in a brass brassiere.” And I was like, “What did you just say?” And she said, “It’s just as cold out here as witch’s tit in a brass brassiere.” And I was like, “Where did that come from?” She explained that it’s an expression she heard growing up in the rural South.

Barbecues Versus Cookouts

I am from the South, and I have a lot of friends who are from the North, from the West and from other areas of the country. For instance, barbecue versus cookout. Here, if you are outside grilling something, like burgers and hotdogs, you say it’s a cookout. And up north you say it’s a barbecue. But here barbecue means something different. Barbecue is only for cooking a pig.

Paula Seligson,

Raleigh, N.C.