Words Your Southern Grandma Used That Are Dying Out

September 7, 2019
1 min read

No one has a way with words quite like a Southern grandma. Unfortunately, a generation of Southern Grannies is dying off and they’re taking some words that we will miss. If you had a grand mother who was a member of The Greatest Generation, you’ll be familiar with some of these classic Granny-isms that we won’t hear much longer and are already leaving our lexicon.

Commode: While this can refer to an antique cabinet, your Southern Granny couldn’t bring herself to say an impolite word like “toilet,” so she used the colloquial term “commode.” She was trying to be polite and classy, but to anyone under age 60, the word “commode” is going to trigger laughter.

Usage: “Who forgot to flush the commode? Get on back in here!”

Frigidaire: If there’s one thing The Greatest Generation was known for it is brand loyalty. Your Southern Granny drove a Buick, had one favorite department store that she shopped at, and probably went to the same grocery store every week. Because of this loyalty, some generic items were often referred to as brand names. Since Frigidaire was the first company to develop a self-contained refrigerator, there are a lot of Southern grandmothers who used the brand name to refer to any refrigerator.

Usage: “I need some sweet tea, go get one over there in the Frigidaire.”

Icebox: Prior to the refrigerator, Americans kept food cold in an icebox, and since that is what Your Southern Granny grew up with, if she didn’t call the refrigerator a Frigidaire by default, she probably called in an icebox.

Usage: “I need some sweet tea, go fetch me some from the icebox.”

Yonder: No word has baffled younger generations more than your Southern Granny’s use of the word “yonder.” Yonder to Grandma didn’t mean out a long way away in the wild blue yonder, it usually meant “right over there.” If you were lucky, Granny might point to give you some indication of where yonder is, but most of the time you were left to fumble around the house searching for the mythical land of yonder.

Usage: “Why haven’t you gotten my rolling pin yet? I told you five minutes ago, it’s right over yonder.”

Dungarees: Brand loyalty again. The word “dungarees” was used by your Southern Granny to refer to any type of blue jeans.

Usage: “Pick your dungarees up out of the floor.”

What are some words your grandmother used that you remember vividly and are dying out? Click here to tell us about them.

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