Sunday, October 28, 2007


The following are my definitions of the words and phrases I mentioned in a previous post. So when my novel After The Dance hits the shelves in April of 2008, don't forget you already have a reference guide here at the Old School Mix (smile).

1) bourgie: a less than flattering way of describing the middle-class; derives from the word "bourgeois."

2) chillren / chilluns: children

3) Christmas gift: a friendly Christmas greeting, like "Merry Christmas." The hubby swore only the old folks in my family used this particular expression until I showed him this reference in the Dictionary of American Regional English.

4) deef: deaf

5) haint: a ghost

6) hainty / haintey: stuck-up; haughty; uppitty

7) hey: hi; hello; how are you?

8) holped: helped (a couple of weeks ago, the hubby came home all excited about an NPR program he'd heard in which the word "holped" was actually discussed **LOL**)

9) knee baby: the next to the last child

10) main / mane: how many Black males in Memphis commonly pronounce the word "man"; this was one of the few things Brewer got right in the movie "Hustle & Flow."

11) mama 'nem: mama and them; one's relatives

12) mannish: a boy who isn't yet an adult, but who acts like one

13) roguish: bad; mischievous

14) sadiddy / saditty: stuck-up; self-righteous; arrogant

15) scound-bugga: a soundrel

16) sho' nuff: sure enough; also this is quite frequently used as a question or a version of the word "really" (Sho'nuff, girl?)

17) slobbed: slobbered

18) Sunday week: To be honest, I still don't know what this means (LOL). It refers to either this coming Sunday or the next.

19) trifling: shiftless; lazy; shady; no good

20) you (s) a tale/tail: you're a liar; you're lying

I appreciate all those who commented on the previous post. You all aren't as bourgie and sadiddy as I thought you were (smile). Seriously, thanks for sharing. I even learned a couple of new words and as we all know knowledge is truly power.


Brian Dunbar said...

Hmm. Some of those are words I picked up when I lived in North Carolina. I would call them more 'southern talk' than ebonics but I'm not a pro.

pjazzypar said...

Hey Lori,

I thought of another one. Remember the film "To Sleep With Anger"? In one scene Vonetta McGee refers to the Danny Glover character's friends as raffish (which probably derived from the term riff raff). My uncle's wife is from the Memphis area and she says mane, unfortunately. Anyhow, thanks for the definitions.

Lori said...

You tickled me about your uncle's wife. No doubt, quite few Memphis women say "mane" as well, but thankfully, I've heard more males than females use the term (LOL).

"To Sleep With Anger" is one of my all-time favorite movies. I'll have to watch it again to see if I can't catch that scene where the word "raffish" is used. You're probably right though. It probably derives from "riff-raff." BUT, my grandmother used to refer to the devil as "Rayford." I'm wondering if there might be a connection there . . .

Hey, thanks for the additional info. After reading your comments, I noticed a spelling error in my own list. Rougish should be roguish.

Lori said...

Yes, there is quite a bit of cross over when it comes to the way working class White and Black Southerners speak. But I've never heard some of these word and phrases used by anyone but Southern African Americans. Thanks for adding your comments to the "Mix."

Emanuel Carpenter said...

Here's a few more:

pallet- a blanket on the floor for sleeping. (Ya'll can spend the night and make a pallet.)

bottle-an alcoholic drink. (Go to the store and get me a bottle.) My dad used this one a couple of days ago.

knowed-knew. (I knowed it was a lie.)

snuff-chewing tobacco.

roots-a curse or ill will. (I think somebody put roots on me.)

high yellow-someone extremely light skinned.

blue black-someone so dark the skin appears to be blue.

good dirt-edible dirt, usually of red color.

good hair-an African American's hair that isn't hard to comb.

When I spent a brief time in Texas, they used to use the phrase "that don't will hunt" when something was true or correct or "that don't won't hunt" if it wasn't true or was incorrect. Do they use that in Memphis?

Lori said...

Hey Emanuel,
You're on a roll, aren't you (smile). Lots of good ones on your list--pallet, knowed, high-yellow. Even though, I thought high-yellow was sorta, kinda used everywhere. Lots of high-yellow folks in the Cleveland area (smile). And what about "redbone?"

Never heard of "that don't will hunt" or "that don't won't hunt." I HAVE heard "that DOG won't hunt."
Perhaps it's similar?

Gotta tell you though, in case you didn't know, snuff and tobacco are not the same things. They are in the same family of nasty a$$ habits, but slightly different (smile). For one, you dip snuff. You chew tobacco. Check out Goggle if you want additional details.

One of my great-grandmother's used to dip snuff. Curiosity got the best of my bean-head little brother one day and he knocked over the snuff can our granny used to spit in. Talk about GROSS (LOL)!

Courtney said...

I remember people always saying to me "howjamamanem" for, "How's your mom and them?" I also saw the discussion in your earlier post about "finnah". That's one I'm in the habit of using. The other one I remember hearing is "cotton", as in, "I don't cotton to that nonsense." I've never heard "finnah" or "cotton" used in those ways up here in MT, and it's never fun trying to explain what I mean when I say, "I ain't finnah do [something],"