Every region of the country has their own particular way of speaking, be it a drawl, an accent, or even catchy sayings specific to that area. Mississippi is no exception.

Here in the Hospitality State we have been known to use some unique phrases in our everyday conversation. Some of these are self-explanatory, while others make it seem like the Sip (Mississippi) has its own language.

“I’m cravin’ some nabs”

This means you want some snack crackers. You know the kind, the peanut butter or cheese crackers. And no matter what the brand of cracker, even if they are Lance or Toast-Chee, they are referred to as ‘nabs’ which comes from the original manufacturer of the crackers, the National Biscuit Company (Nabisco). These sleeves of crackers, that hit the market in 1924, originally cost five cents and became popular staples at filling stations, check-out counters, and lunch rooms, and newsstands.

“Your mom ‘n ‘em”

This refers collectively to anyone in someone’s family. Not just his/her mother, but his/her father, sister, brother, daughter, son, cousins, distant relatives. It’s used to ask how someone’s family is doing.

“I’ll be there, the good Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise”

This phrase is used by someone to imply that they’ll do something or show up somewhere unless some unforeseen circumstance occurs. The origin of the phrase is unknown, but considering that a risking creek in Mississippi often leads to flooded, impassable roads, it makes sense.

“Go up the road a ways”

If you ask someone for directions, they may likely start off by telling you to “go up the road a ways.” But just what is “a ways”? No matter the directions you get, usually either “a little” or “a lot” will follow “a ways” to let you know just how far or how close your destination is.

“Give me some sugar”

This phrase doesn’t mean you want some sugar. It means you want a kiss. The origin of this saying is unknown but it’s been used since the early 1990s, and probably goes back further.

“I had to carry Mama to the doctor”

This mean you took your mother to the doctor, although not by literally carrying her.

“What kind of Coke do y’all want?”

In the South, all sodas are generally referred to as a Coke. And considering that Barq’s Root Beer was invented in Biloxi, the answer to this question in Mississippi could also be a Root Beer. So if you’re asking for a soda in Mississippi you need to specify what kind.

“Finer than frog’s hair”

This popular expression is confusing mainly because frogs clearly don’t have hair. But that’s exactly the point. Since there is no visible hair on a frog, it’s safe to assume that if it did exist it’d be extremely fine. This is an American simile dating back to the mid-nineteenth century and is used to relate one is feeling excellent.

“The food is rurnt”

Mississippi is known for having some great food, however, sometimes things can go awry in the kitchen and the food is ruined. The origin of this phrase is unknown, but it’s possibly a combination of food being burnt and ruined, thus, rurnt.

“Jeat yet?”

This is simply a shortened version of “did you eat yet?”


Written by Mimi Bosarge


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