Ettie Newlands

Originating on “It’s a Southern Thing,” Lisa Blayton shared this on Facebook, and hopefully, these definitions will keep some newbies from making some of the mistakes I made when I moved south in 1981:

Coke: Everywhere else, it means an abbreviation of Coca-Cola. In the south, it means any carbonated beverage, including Coca-Cola.

Toboggan: Everywhere else, it means a snow sled. In the south, it means a skull cap, often worn while riding a snow sled.

Ugly: Everywhere else, it means an unattractive person. In the south, it means to behave in a manner that is unbecoming.

Buggy: Everywhere else, it means an antiquated mode of transportation pulled by horses. In the south, it means a cart in a grocery store, or what your windshield gets when you drive towards the beach.

Barbeque: Everywhere else, it means grilling in the backyard. In the south, it means slow-cooked meat served with baked beans, or a favorite sauce that leads to more family arguments than politics.

Carry: Everywhere else it means to take objects in your arms and move them elsewhere. In the south, it means to transport in a vehicle, such as, “We had to carry Mama to the hospital last night.”

Cut: Everywhere else it means to make an opening, incision or wound with a sharp tool. In the south, it means to turn something off, such as, “Cut off the lights.”

Mash: Everywhere else, it means to crush, grind or squish. In the south, it means to press a button, as in “Ernest mashed the elevator button.”

Fixing: Everywhere else, it means to make a repair. In the south, it means about to do something, as in “I’m fixin’ to go to the store.”

Spell: Everywhere else, it means to put letters together to form a word. In the south, it means to feel faint or light-headed, or a measure of time such as, “Come sit on the porch for a spell.”

The worst bout with vocabulary I had when we moved here was when a neighbor brought us some veggies from his garden and asked if they would “make me a mess.”

I said they wouldn’t, but that if they did, I’d just clean it up.

A mess, everywhere else means something sloppy that needs to be tidied. In the south, it means enough, a whole bunch.

I’m sure my neighbor is also still telling that story.

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