The Southern Writer’s Dictionary

As a southern writer who uses southern vernacular in her writing, I often wonder if readers are confused by some of the words I use. Well, that confusion ends today! I have compiled a list of a few words and phrases southern writers often use to aid non-southern readers who pick up our books. Behold, the Southern Writer Dictionary!


Ain’t: (Contraction) Slang for “am not” or “is not”.

‘Backer: (Noun) Slang term for tobacco.

Boot: (Noun) Another word for a vehicle’s trunk.

Britches: (Noun) Another word for pants; usually men’s pants.

Chaw: (Noun) Slang for chewing tobacco and/or tobacco dip.

Chicken and Pastry: (Noun) Another way of saying chicken and dumplings.

Dag on: (Phrase) Another way to express dang or darn.

Fly Flap: (Noun) Another word for fly swatter

Four-Wheeler: (Noun) What most people in the South call a four-wheel-drive ATV.

Miss Priss: (Noun) Nickname for a snooty/preppy female.

Nabs: (Noun) A slang (mostly in North Carolina) term for orange Lance snack crackers.

Pecan: (Noun) (Pronunciation: Pee-can) A type of nut, typically pronounced as pi-caan by others.

Porch: (Noun) Another word for a home’s stoop.

Shug: (Noun) An affectionate nickname for someone (usually a female) | Short for the word sugar.

Slaw: (Noun) Short for coleslaw; usually paired with pulled pork (eastern NC style barbecue) on a sandwich.

Wallago: (Phrase) A verbal slang for “a while ago”; can mean any length of time.

Y’all: (Noun) Slang for “you all”; can mean two or more people. “All y’all” means a large group.

Youngin: (Noun) Slang combination of “young one”; another word for child or kid. | Plural form: Youngins.

Talk to Me, Arrowheads!

What other words can you think to add to the Southern Writer’s Dictionary? Let me know in the comments!

Aim high, stay strong, and always hit your mark.

-Allyson 😀

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As an author and blogger, my goal is to teach writers that there is a way to write realistic, thought-provoking, redemptive Christian fiction that honors God while not sugarcoating the realities of the world. 

11 thoughts on “The Southern Writer’s Dictionary

  1. This is funny and helpful! When I first read “Can’t Beat the Heart…” it took me a few times of seeing Shug to figure out it must be short for Sugar. I’m from Wisconsin, so even though I love pretending to have a southern accent, the terms are not all familiar 😉

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