Wordsmith – Test your ‘Southern American’

“Two peoples divided by a common language” is a phrase often used to describe the differences between the Americans & the Brits. Even within the United States there are divisions as well. None more so than between the Yankee North and ‘Redneck’ South. So how many of these (Southern) American-English words do you know? Improve and test your (American) wordpower by matching each of the words below to one of the multiple possible definitions.

Vocabulary Ratings
14-15 correct ………………….. excellent
12-13 correct ………………….. good
9-11 correct ………………….. fair

(1) juke {jook} v A: to attack verbally. B: weep quietly. C: dance.

C: dance. From Gullah juke, meaning disorderly. Gullah is the language of the black people of the South Carolina coast.

(2) blat n A: newspaper. B drinking mug. C: gold tooth.

A: newspaper. “Her wedding was all over the Sunday blats.” From German Blatt (newspaper).

(3) roustabout {rowst-about} n A: amusement arcade. B: casual labourer. C: late-night party,

B: casual labourer. Nineteenth century, from roust (to rouse).

(4) gumshoe n A: detective. B: bad athlete. C: ancient tree.

A: detective. Early 20th century, from the sort of shoe that suggested stealth.

(5) caboose {cab-oos} n A: railway carriage. B: leather bag. C: chatterbox.

A: railway carriage. Borrowing from Dutch kabuis.

(6) stoop n A: boxing punch. B: front-door steps. C: steeply sloping roof.

B: front-door steps. “She sat on the stoop all day.” Mid-18th century, from Dutch stoep (verandah).

(7) mego {megg-oh} n A: resignation letter. B: Californian sushi. C: boring topic.

C: boring topic. Mego (My Eyes Glaze Over) was first used by Nixon White House staff.

(8) foosball {foohs-ball} n A: battered book. B: unpopular girl. C: table football.

C: table football. Twentieth- century slang term for football.”]

(9) eelskin {eels-kin} n A: thin sandwich. B: a dollar. C: paper hat.

B: a dollar. Early 19th century (the thin nature of a note, like an eel’s skin).

(10) cootie {kooh-tee} n A: louse. B: dancing partner. C: imitation duck.

A: louse. First World War term, from Malay kutu (parasitic insect).

(11) oatburner n A: expensive combine harvester. B: farmer's wife. C: worthless horse.

C: worthless horse. ‘That oatburner will be no good on the farm.’ Early 20th century.

(12) bunkum n A: nonsense. B: sleeping bag. C: fine sand.

A: nonsense. Mid-i9th century, from Buncombe County, North Carolina, where a congressman made a second-rate speech.

(13) sophomore {soff-more} n A: conman. B: genius professor. C: second-year student.

C: second-year student. “The sophomores got the best room in the frat house.” Originally from Greek sophos (wise).

(14) looie {loo-ee} n A: doctor's note. B: copper coin. C: lieutenant.

C: lieutenant. Early 20th- century abbreviation.

(15) sorority {sorr-orr-itee} n A: apology. B female society. C: wound.

B: female society. “The phi beta kappa sorority was the intellectual one.” University term from latin soror (sister).

Author: Robert

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