That little something we threw together probably took days.

Gossip says more about the person saying it than who it's about.
—Amanda Cernicek

H. Armstrong Roberts/Stringer/Getty Images

Nobody has ever accused Southerners of being direct. Southern words have many shades of meaning, determined by situation, facial expression, tone of voice . . . To the untrained ear, the things Southerners say and what we actually mean can be miles apart. We polled our Facebook Brain Trust to gather a few examples. Here’s what they came up with—how about you?

When We Say: “Good luck to your ball club.”

We Mean: “Hope y’all choke and we cream you.”

When We Say: “She has such a positive personality.”

We Mean: “That girl’s loud.”

When We Say: “Can y'all stay for supper?”

We Mean: “You’ve been here for hours, it’s suppertime, we’re starving, and we’d really like for you to go now.”

When We Say: “I’m fixin’ to . . .”

We Mean: “I'm getting ready to do that, and I'll do that when I'm good and ready.”

When We Say: “I’ll get around to it.”

We Mean: “Ain’t happenin’.”

When We Say: “Let me think about it.”

We Mean: “The answer is no, but I don’t want to deal with telling you that right now.”

When We Say: “Drop by anytime.”

We Mean: “Please call first, and you’d better give me two days' warning so I can clean house and get some makeup on.

When We Say: “Make yourself at home.”

We Mean: “We're happy to have you, but please instruct your three-year-old to stop trying to ride our dog.”

When We Say: “Go ahead. Do it.” [Usually spoken by a Southern woman to her husband or kids.]

We Mean: “You've just pushed me over the edge, and if you even think about doing what I think you were about to do, it could get ugly."

When We Say: “It’s just a little something I threw together.”

We Mean: “I’ve been in the kitchen for days, but I want you to think I'm such a good cook that this seven-layer cake was effortless.”

When We Say: “Isn’t that different/unique?”

We Mean: “That’s ugly as sin.”

When We Say: “She’s a little on the heavy side.”

We Mean: “She has really piled it on, bless her sweet heart.”

When We Say: “Well, isn’t she just precious?”

We Mean:Bless her heart.”

When We Say: “He’s not the sharpest tool in the shed.” OR “Her bread didn’t get done in the middle.”

We Mean: “He/she is not very bright.”

When We Say: “He's not from around here, is he?”

We Mean: “He’s strange.” OR “He just mispronounced the name of the town he’s standing in.”

When We Say: “It’s FINE.”

We Mean: “It most definitely is NOT fine—and you need to do something about that.”

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