Southern Mama Sayings - The Rusty Mom

15 Phrases I Learned from My Southern Mama

Southerners pride ourselves on our food, our accents and our upbringing. We love Jesus . . . but we cuss a little and our mamas taught us that pearls are always in style. When you cross the Mason-Dixon line, it’s like crossing into another world. Our words are long and days are longer. Our tea is always sweeter than it needs to be and our Mama’s sayings stick with us well into adulthood. Here are 15 phrases I learned from my Southern mama:

1.) You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

You’re more likely to get your way by being sweet than throwing a hissy fit (temper tantrum).

2.) Pretty is as pretty does.

It’s how you look on the inside that matters.

3.) It’ll all come out in the wash.

Eventually, everything is going to turn out alright.

4.) Don’t be ugly.

Don’t be rude / disrespectful

5.) You can’t ride 2 horses with one ass, Sweetheart.

It’s never worth trying to be someone you aren’t.

6.) Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

Don’t assume something is going to turn out the way you want it to . . . until it does.

7.) Pretty as a peach / Pretty as a magnolia in May.

If you get this compliment, you’re a 10.  We Southerners pride ourselves on having some of the prettiest peach and magnolia trees worldwide.

8.) Madder than an ol’ wet hen.

Get out.  Run.  Mama’s about to go off.

9.) You’re getting too big for your britches.

You’ve been sass-mouthin’ a little too much, actin’ a little too grown and Mama’s patience is wearing thin.

10.) Down the road / Over yonder

These two expressions are the reason a Southerner’s directions are so hard to comprehend. Down the road could be an hour away. Over yonder could be the next town over. Ya’ just never know with us.

11.) Livin’ in high cotton.

A phrase used to describe people who are living ‘well off’. A.k.a. Rich folks.

12.) Bless your heart.

Mama’s ‘polite’ way of calling you ignorant.

13.) I declare / I s’wanee

A southern lady never swears. We just say one of these, instead.

14.) Fixin’ to . . .

Our way of saying “going to”.

Example: I’m fixin’ to fry up some okra.

15.) I’ll give you something to cry about.

Does this even need an explanation?


Were you raised by a down-home, God-fearin’, Southern mama?  What were some of her expressions that stuck with you?

Are you visiting from elsewhere and can’t make heads or tails of our euphemisms? What expressions have you heard that made you feel like you needed a translator?

F.Y.I. – I married a Maine man.  If we can understand each other, you’re golden!

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Hi, there! I'm Danya, a 20-something mother of 2. We all know that everything in marriage and parenthood isn't perfect. Sometimes, we're all a little rusty. I'm so glad you're here! XOXO

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