On Sunday when I went with my Grandfather to the Sell-Barn (A place where you sell animals, mainly cattle) as I listened to him and my baby cousin talk I realized that to someone who was not from around where I live might get totally lost in quaint country jargon that characterizes people like my grandfather and grandmother. My sister and I are generally use the words less because we belong to a different generation and lived in Florida for sometime ̶ enough time to lose most if not all of our accent. Here is a list of ten common terms along with their meaning.
- Cyote (pronounced Ki-oat) this is a term heard year round and is simply another pronunciation of Coyote.
- Coon this is a simple dropping of the ra from racoon and is a term heard particularly in the spring and summer when the “coons” begin getting into crops.
- Heifer is a term used for a cow and while it is a technical term for a female bovine that has yet to have a calf it is used more broadly in the area where I live.
- Cow you may think you know what a cow is but you most likely don’t. A cow is a female bovine and can have horns. When I lived in Florida I debated with many a person on the fact that a cow and a bull are two different things.
- Bull a male bovine, these are seen less than cows because you almost never have more than one in a pasture as they would fight. Some bulls will have horns but others don’t. For the record a group of cows and a bull is called cattle and a bull or cow alone can be called a bovine.
- White Trash after living in this community my whole life I’ve heard this phrase mainly from my grandparents and occasionally from my parents generation. The term is an insult for someone whose house is a disaster. My mother most often uses the term on Saturdays when it is time to clean
- Mater to quote Cars “It’s like towmater without the tow,” and it does mean tomato.
- Tater as anyone who has watched lord of the ring can tell you it’s Potato. This word can also be heard as potater.
- Britches is a common term for pants, “I’ve just got to get my britches on and then I’ll be ready.
- Sell-Barn as you can probably guess from the name it is a barn like building where you sell cattle, goats, and sheep. I am not sure it has a technical term because I have never heard one mentioned anywhere but Alabama. If I had to guess I would say cattle auction would be the closest term. There isn’t a sign outside so the building isn’t much help.
When I first moved back from Florida I looked down on people who spoke this way as beneath me. I have grown up some in my outlook on life and realize it is simply a trait of the people around me. I feel I must also make clear that although I live in the south these are not redneck terms. In fact most people who use these terms look down on people who would be considered redneck. Southern and Redneck as not the same, southern simply mean from the south while when I think of red neck I think of this:
And country or southern means this:
I live in a small country farmhouse that was built by my great grandfather in the late 1940’s similar to the above photo. The house has remained the same since it was built with only two additions, even keeping the original hardwood floor in the living room, dining room and library. The additions were a bathroom and two bedrooms when my great aunt was born. I will eventually post a picture but I have to take it first.