30 Words And Sayings Only A North Carolinian Will Understand

It’s amazing how words have the power to evoke smells of roasting BBQ, the sound of a tractor in the dead of summer, the bitter taste of moonshine from daddy’s shed. In North Carolina, each of these thirty words mean something special to “us here” natives down in the Tarheel state. Want to understand North Carolinian dialect? Heres your starter pack…

30. Dookies

We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now: https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/nominate/

BBC News BBC News

Tarheels will tell you they’re the worst basketball fans known to man but also evil little blue devils who think they’re so superior to us….

29. Tarholes

‘Preppy’ sports fans who bleed carolina blue and might or might not have legitimately cried after Austin Rivers scored a 3-pointer in the last few seconds of the Carolina vs. Duke game. Giving Duke the win 85-84 and forever etching River’s name on…

28. Tobacco Road

U.S Highway 15-501, a straight-shot that seperates UNC and Duke by just ten miles.

27. Leafers

People from out of state who come during “peak leaf season” to drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway and clog up our interstates. But what lies beneath those beautiful auburn and orange trees is a whole-lotta…

26. Moonshine

Flickr / John Walsh Flickr / John Walsh

The real question—which one of the Miller brothers made this batch? Why do you have five jugs in your trunk? Will you be bringing this to the next…

25. Field Party

How North Carolinians of all ages entertain themselves on a crisp autumn night. Everyone knows it’s not a real field party unless there is a…

24. Bonfire

A more intimate version of a “field party” typically taking place on someones farm land with chairs propped around a roaring fire and plenty of moonshine to go around. You’ll be so hungover the next day you’ll just have to get a…

23. Cajun Filet Biscuit

With bo rounds and a sweet tea.

22. March Madness

unc crying

A spring snow (month) where half of work and or school is comprised of watching the…

21. ACC Tournament

A time that you still can remember, as a child, hearing your father’s raging yells at the TV and probably the first time you learned the appropriate context for multiple curse words.

20. Celebrities

No, not the shiny Hollywood kind. We’re talking Michael Jordan, Dean Smith, Dale Earnhardt, Ben Folds, The Wright Brothers, Coach K, and whoever won first place this year for largest pumpkin at the…

19. State Fair

Flickr / Nathan Walls Flickr / Nathan Walls

A mecca for fried everything. Speaking of…

18. Fried

Not just chicken. Pickles, tomatoes(green), pimento cheese and everyone knows where to find this fried goodness at the best…

17. Joint

Flickr / NC Cigany Flickr / NC Cigany

A term for “restaurant” aka a building that could be abandoned, could be a gas station, or could scare visitors, and you know to have the best freaking…

16. BBQ

One of the many ways our state is superior and possibly the only dividing factor between the coast and mountains. We basically invented the east vs. west battle with vinegar and/or “red” sauce. Make sure to serve it with…

15. Cheerwine

If North Carolina had a statue of liberty it’d be a giant Cheerwine bottle waving a Krispy Kreme doughnut, greeting everyone on boats as they sail past the…

14. Outer Banks

Flickr / Don McCullough Flickr / Don McCullough

Or OBX. A magical place of lighthouses, ferry rides, fresh seafood, natives with strange accents, childhood sand castles, beach vacations, oh and that mystical rip tide you always feared would suck you right in if you went in…

13. Above your knees

A term used to scare children from swimming too deep in the ocean. Yes, I know you all remember those “rip tide today” scale maps at the beach, and that one horror story of someones cousin’s brother who had to “swim against the current.”

12. Hurricane

Flickr / Mike Druckenbrod Flickr / Mike Druckenbrod

Devestating. It’s sunny and school is cancelled because of Hurricane Sandy. Winner of the Stanley Cup in 2006. An excuse to go surfing.

11. Directions

You’re gonna see Walmart on your left, and after you see Four Brothers on your right, you’re gonna make a left turn past the blue house where May Marie lives and keep driving down…

10. Yonder

A magical land ingrained in all North Carolinians like a microchip. It’s kind of far, well kind of close, well it’s past the blue house, it’s just ‘YONDER’ neither here nor there nor anywhere. Quite philisophical, NC.

9. Tobacco Fields

A plant that has supported at least one member in your family(probably the one who went to NC State) and gave Winston-Salem it’s nickname of…

8. Camel City

Flickr / Curt Teich 1941 Flickr / Curt Teich 1941

Also known as the tre fo, the dash. Or, part of the piedmont, the middle region of the state east of the…

7. Yadkin Valley

A beautiful place with rolling hills where delicious wine comes from.

6. Beech

A place to ski in the winter. Sensitive subject for natives when out-of-towners spell it “beach” oh and theres a yellow brick road here, no really

5. Yall

A term that is ok to use in business meetings in the state of NC, but if a northerner(basically VA) tries to use it well…

4. Bless your heart


A verbal slap.

3. Fix

A simple word with multiple meanings depending on if you were fixin’ to make a sandwich or got too tired from fixin’ the car so now you’re fixin’ to go to bojangles so everyone can get fried chicken with two fixins.

2. Cookout

During daylight- A joining of family and friends to grill hot dogs and burgers, gossip, drink some sweet tea, bring a homemade casserole. Perfect on spring Sundays.

During the night- I’m drunk. I need a BBQ tray with a cheerwine, hushpuppies, and french fries. Oh and if it’s July, you know I’m getting a watermelon milkshake.

1. Tarheel


A term used to describe all natives of this great and wonderful state, regardless of which blue we bleed, at the end of the day, we all agree that we LOVE our state!!

What are some words or sayings that evoke a feeling of NC nostalgia for you?? Share them below in the comments.