Sweet Sayings for the Southern Mama

Sweet Sayings for the Southern Mama

Southern mamas give some of the BEST advice – even if it doesn’t always make sense (at first)! We rounded up a list of common Southern sayings that our mamas have said to us over the years. Read on to find out what your mama really means when she says you’re “madder than a wet hen.”

1. “Hold your horses”

No, we don’t mean literally (although our Southern Pictographs collection begs to differ). This saying means “wait a minute” or “slow down.” It comes from days of old when people would travel via horses or carriages.

2. “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar”

We have yet to actually test this one scientifically, but the concept is that you’re more likely to get what you want (the ‘flies’) if you are sweet and kind, rather than sour and rude.

3. “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch”

A lot can happen between a hen laying her eggs and the chicks hatching from them. Sometimes they don’t all make it out. You shouldn’t take anything for granted until you are sure you have it!

4. “Too big for his britches”

If you’re overly confident or cocky, you may be too big for your britches (AKA your pants). If your mama says this about you, it’s probably time to stop taking yourself so seriously and have a little fun!

5. “Pretty is as pretty does”

Someone may be physically attractive, but if they are rude or otherwise ‘ugly’ (see #9) then they will never be pretty!

6. “Madder than a wet hen”

When a hen either won’t lay more eggs or let the farmer take her existing eggs, the farmer’s solution is to throw a bucket of water on her and break her of her “broodiness.” We’re no experts, but we can imagine this would make the hen very mad indeed. Use this phrase to describe your rage!

7. “Bless your heart”

This sounds sweet, but it all depends on the speaker’s tone (or what she says afterwards). It can be a heartfelt phrase full of sympathy or gratitude, or it can imply the subject is dumb or pathetic.

8. “There’s more than one way to skin a cat”

We’re not sure why’d you skin a cat, but apparently there are many ways to do it! This phrase suggests there are often multiple solutions to a problem; you simply must find the one that works for you.

9. “Quit being ugly”

This one has nothing to do with how you look, but how you’re acting! Someone is ‘being ugly’ if they have a nasty attitude. If pretty is as pretty does, ugly is as ugly does, too.

10. “She’s like whiskey in a tea cup”

This is a phrase every Southern belle aspires to hear uttered about herself. Tea cups are often dainty and beautiful, while whiskey packs quite a punch. Use this phrase to describe someone who is sweet and ladylike on the outside, but has a fierce personality. Sound like someone you know? Our Tupelo Honey t-shirts make the perfect gift!

What are your favorite #southernisms your mom says? Let us know in the comments!