Southern Momisms
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Southern Momisms

An interpretation and explanation of common southern phrases.

Southern Momisms

Growing up in the south as a child is pretty great — drinking sweet tea everyday, going to church on Sunday morning, and being raised by a southern woman. Well, the last one can be a bit interesting at times, especially if your mama ever used any of the following momisms growing up. It took me a while to figure some of them out and others I still haven't quite found an explanation for. Here is my interpretation of what my mom was trying to tell me growing up using these phrases

1. "I haven't seen you since you were knee high to a grasshopper."

Growing up, I always thought this was an acknowledgment on how short I was. Grasshoppers aren't very tall and neither I am. I could never understand why everyone had to comment on it when they saw me, but now I know this is more about stating that someone hasn't seen me in a while and not so much to bring attention to the fact that I am vertically challenged.

2."Barking up the wrong tree."

This phrase would come out of my mama's mouth right before I got in major trouble. I kind of like to think of it as the flashing warning that comes up on your television when a storm is about to hit, this was my mother's own personal storm warning to let me know that I better stop what I was doing. Now that I am a little older, I realize that it's more about letting someone know that they are wrong or misguided.

3. "If I've told you once, I've told you a million times."

One of my favorite "momisms" because when I heard it, I was immediately impressed as a child with the fact that my mother had not only been keeping count of how many times she told me something, but also that she had counted to a million.

4. "You catch more flies with honey then you do vinegar."

This momism always left me befuddled, my mom never once tried to catch flies. Living in front of a barn my whole life meant we had flies around and it was never about catching them, to say the least. Now that I am older, I think of this phrase when trying to get out of a speeding ticket. Kindness gets you a lot farther then being sour.

5. "Pretty is as pretty does."

I always thought that this meant if I wanted to be pretty on the inside then I should eat makeup.

6. "Stupid is as stupid does."

Refer to #5.

7. "You make a better door then you do a window."

Now let's be honest, I have hips and thighs SO I thought this frequent phrase was a reminder when I stood in front of the TV that those very hips and thighs were large enough to block the whole thing, but now I know a little better.

8. "Hold on a cotton picking minute."

To this day I am still not sure if this is longer then an actual minute or shorter.

9. "Pot to pee in or a window to throw it out of."

Now that I am in college, this phrase is a very accurate representation of my life. I don't own a pot to pee in and I mostly definitively do not have a window to throw it out of.

10. "Was you raised in a barn."

No, but as mentioned earlier I did live in front of one; which is the same thing, right?

11. "It will all come out in the wash."

I experienced a lot of heartbreak as a kid. Mostly because I had dated a lot of the available men by high school, but that's a different story. Anyway, my mom would always comfort me with this phrase, but I never felt better after my clothes were washed. However, I did look better. I now look to this phrase as encouragement and a reminder that things will be alright.

12. "Cute as a button."

I heard this so much as a kid that I started collecting buttons and to this day, I still haven't found a cute one or one that looks like myself.

13. "Don't count your chickens before they hatch."

I did get my hopes up a lot as a kid rather it was a friend coming over to spend the night, a certain present I believed I would get on Christmas, or constantly telling everyone I would be the first doctor lawyer in space ( a long shot, but still a girl has to dream) this momism still comes in handy today as a reminder to not get my hopes up.

14. "Look what the cat drug in."

Since I live in the country, my cat drug in some pretty gruesome things every once in a while. When my mom compared me to that, I knew it was time for a shower. Now I use this expression when I haven't seen someone in a long time.

15. "Y'all."

The ultimate southern momism. Although it is not technically a phrase, it's definitely a word southern moms use a lot. It was the holy grail of my childhood. I hope YA'LL (see what I did there?) enjoyed this article and it put a smile on your face! If you have any other funny southern "momisms" interpretations, comment on this article. I would love to hear about them!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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