I’ve lived in Texas for 11(!) years now, and it’s been a great experience. I knew in my heart, even as a little boy, that if I wasn’t living in my beloved Dayton, Ohio, I’d be in Texas. I even dated someone when I was in my mid-20s who told me I didn’t have what it took to move to Texas, which only made me want to do it more, naturally. Also, she was an asshat.
Anyway, part of living in the South, the Midwest and Texas—which was literally its own country at one point and still feels that way—and surely other regions of the U.S. is the colloquialisms people use. In Ohio, my buddy and Capricorn brother, Matt, had some colorful language: “That dog’ll hunt” (that idea/thing will work), for example. And Texas is full of country euphemisms. Here’s five I’ve I’ve actually used in speech or writing:
• Yankee A Texan friend once told me that he knew of someone who considered all of the U.S. north of Dallas—which would certainly include Ohio—as Yankee territory. Not Yankee as in the Yankees baseball team, but Yankee as in those who are northerners. I think this is my new favorite word. No, actually, my favorite word is still “free,” as in costs me nothing. My favorite two words together are “you’re right” when spoken to me.
• Fixin’ to This gets used a lot. It just means “I am about to do something.” It’s so common in usage that I find myself typing it in messages to co-workers, as in “I’m fixin’ to send you a PDF,” or “I’m fixin’ to go to McDonald’s.”
• Out where the buses don’t go I’ve heard this in radio, seen it in print and used it in conversation. It just means something is located in the middle of nowhere, so far out that there’s no bus service.
• Darker than the inside of a wolf This is an incredible phrase, but one I’m also morally opposed to. Why? Wolves, my favorite animal, always get a bad rep in nursery rhymes and historically because they’re thought to be bad, evil animals. They’re not. They’re beautiful, smart creatures that are important to the environment, as the folks at Yellowstone Park found out. I love wolves so much that I even had a Minnesota Timberwolves jacket in middle school, and people would give me a hard time about it because they were such a random, poor-performing team.
• Y’all I find it especially funny when people new to Texas say this as a way to fit in. And then I remember I was that guy once, y’all.
Midwestern sayings I enjoy: “You’re cruisin’ for a bruisin'” (acting up almost enough to be punished); “As the crow flies” (a straight line from point A to point B as opposed to how roads might get one to point B); “High-tailing it” (getting away from something as fast as possible).
What do folks say in your area?