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45 Southern Phrases Explained for the Yankees Among Us

Call us crazy. Call us country. Call us rednecks. Just don’t call us late for supper.

And if you need to understand the conversation around the table, you should know we Southerners have a certain way of talking — and we love it. We also like to think that Southern accents are downright adorable, because, well, they are. And just because y’all can’t always understand what we’re saying, doesn’t mean we’re not making total sense.

The first thing you should know is that Southerners are prone to hyperbole. This list covers some of the main phrases you’ll hear. If it sounds like we might be exaggerating, we probably are, but it’s just for effect.

If you’re looking to decode Southern slang, then you came to the right place. Whether you’ve got a Southern relative or friend, or are just looking for some pointers before a trip down south, we’ve put together a list of phrases you’re likely to hear. Bless your heart, don’t worry too much about it. We’re sure you’ll get up to speed… eventually.

More: 104 Urban Dictionary Slang Words That Have Made Us What We Are Today

1. Access road

Service road; the road that allows you entrance to the highway.

2. (A) mind to

To consider doing something.

3. Aren’t you precious?

Most always said sarcastically in response to someone being offensive (i.e., if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it at all).

4. Being ugly

This has nothing do with physical appearance — instead it means misbehaving.

5. Barking up the wrong tree

Being mistaken or misguided.

Next Up: More of what people from the South are really saying

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