Personal dictionary provides word play

Several years ago I mentioned a book that caught my eye, title now long forgotten. The book was formatted in dictionary mode, defining words or phrases meaningful to the author. I filled a column then with some of my own favorites, and today (without shame since I’m leaving on vacation shortly) I’m resurrecting that format with words from my Southern youth – words I don’t hear much any more. Here’s a new list with my original examples. How many do YOU remember?
A – Aplenty: Abundance. Example: “Don’t give me no more greens. I’ve had aplenty.”
B – Barking dogs: Sore feet. Example: “Lemme prop up these ol’ barking dogs!”
C – Call hogs: To snore. Example: “Lawsy, he was sure calling some hogs last night!”
D – Drip-drop: Itty-bitty bit. Example: “Trust me – you don’t want but a drip-drop of that Louisiana Hot Sauce.”
E – Egg on: Urge. Example: “Mama blamed me for putting the cat in the tub, but Billy egged me on.”
F – Folderol: Nonsense. Example: “Missy passed on the New Year’s Eve folderol, which flat puzzled her partying cousins from New Orleans.”
G – Gallery: Long porch. Example: “Granny kept her canning jars on the back gallery.”
H – Hydrant: Faucet. Example: “Weren’t nothing better on a hot day than cool water from the hydrant in the side yard.”
I – Idn’t: Southern pronunciation of “isn’t.” Example: “Now, idn’t it true Reed Givens could jump over a car?”
J – Jookin: Bar-hop. Example: “I couldn’t date him ’cause he was bad to go jookin.”
K – Kick-the-Can: A children’s game. Example: “My sister says the only childhood game better than Kick-the-Can was Spin-the-Bottle.”
L – Loblolly: Mud; mess. Example: “In the hot summer we’d play under the hose and make a real loblolly in the backyard.”
M – Make like: Pretend. Example: “Jimbo stood her up, but she was gonna make like she didn’t care.”
N – Nairn: None. Example: “She had two biscuits and I didn’t have nairn.”
O – Outen: Out of. Example: “Hiram hit that durn ball right outen the park.”
P – Plug ugly: Homely. Example: “Excuse me, but yo’ boyfriend is just plug ugly.”
Q – Quietus: Silence. Example: “When Mama gets mad, that puts a sure ‘nough quietus on the whole family.”
R – Ramshackle: Dilapidated. Example: “That ramshackle barn ain’t fit for a mule.”
S – Scutterbug: Rascal. Example: “Keep your distance from that scutterbug; he’s trouble.”
T – Tarnation: Damnation. Example: “Why in tarnation did he marry that whiney gal?”
U – Umpteen: Indefinite number. Example: “G-Man can give me umpteen reasons he ought to be out on the golf course.”
V – Veranda: Patio; terrace. Example: “Her mama named her ‘Veranda’ because she wanted her to be outdoorsy.”
W – Wanchalla: Want you all to. Example: “We wanchalla go down to Destin with us.”
X – X-rated: Not for children or anybody with good sense. Example: “His mama found out he snuck in that x-rated picture show and now he’s grounded ’til Christmas.”
Y – Yankee dime: A kiss. Example: “C’mon over here, buster, and give yo’ pappy a big ol’ yankee dime!”
Z – Zig and zag: Moving erratically. Example: “We could tell when Uncle John had been out jookin ’cause he zigged when he shoulda zagged.”
Now, your turn. Let’s keep Southern expressions alive; send me your list. Contributions will be published at
Beth Jacks is a columnist from Cleveland, MS. Her light look at life could qualify her as Mississippi’s answer to Erma Bombeck. Write:

Chris Wilson

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