Awhile back we did an article on “
Things You’ll Only Understand if You’re from Virginia.” There were a number of words and phrases that, seriously, you’d only get if you’ve done your time here. There were also some sayings that Virginians use by virtue of being Southerners.
Then, there were entire categories of words that sparked debate. Some people grew up saying them. Others had never heard them before. And still others had a completely different pronunciation. Finally, a reader pointed out that, actually, there should be separate lists depending on where you live in Virginia. After taking a look at some more of the comments, I realized that truer words had never been spoken.
We’ve gone through the suggestions that y’all (that was one we all agreed on) sent in and we’ve pulled some classics. Now, before you start telling me that I’m clearly not from the South or have obviously never lived in Virginia, let me assure you, all of these suggestions have come from readers describing the words and phrases they use in their part of Virginia.
And so here you have it… regional dialect. Compliments of Only in Virginia.
1. Make Groceries
This one is pretty impressive. Apparently folks from the Tidewater regions are more industrious than the rest of us. They "make" their groceries, they don't just buy them.
Or as other folks might say, "refrigerator." This one may be a throwback to an older generation, perhaps picked up from parents who remember when food was kept cool in a metal box using...you guessed it...blocks of ice. I don't know about you, but I kind of like "icebox."
Chesapeake Bay (Northern Neck):
3. Crick…and no, not the kind in your neck.
This one sparked some debate. "Crick" is another word for "creek." It's definitely not used all over the state. In fact, many people associate it with other states. But one reader described how "crick" is used in her neck of the woods - the Northern Neck to be exact. A "crick" is a stream you can jump over. A "creek" is a bigger than a crick because you can't jump over it, but smaller than a river. And a "river"…well, a river should be pretty obvious.
4. The Mixing Bowl
This is that lesser known level of hell, the one Dante forgot to mention in the Inferno, known as the Interstate 95/395/495 interchange. It is what nightmares are made of.
This does not refer to an urban area. Nor does it mean "a man in skinny jeans." Rather, the Metro is the transit system for Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. And it is not ever, under any circumstance to be confused with a "Subway," which is a fast food restaurant where they claim you can "Eat Fresh." If you find a sandwich on the Metro, I assure you, you will not be "eating fresh."
She of less-than-perfect reputation might be called a "Jezebel" in Central Virginia, as was kindly pointed out by a reader from Appomattox. It's like when Bette Davis' character wore a red dress, instead of a white one, to the ball in the 1938 film "Jezebel." Everyone knows good girls wear white dresses. What a trollop.
7. THE University
By which we mean "THE University of Virginia," of course. And granted, this one is really only used by UVA grads…and they use it all over the state…or anywhere they can..any chance they get. But with UVA being in Central Virginia, it only seems fair to include it here.
What others might call "Southern Virginia" is just plain ol' "Southside" to the locals. Southside includes anything east of the Blue Ridge, west of the fall line and south of the James River.
"Yonder" is a distance, not a location…as in "Over yonder in the holler." (And yes, it's popular in Southwest Virginia, too). The best part about "yonder," is that while it might get a bad rap for sounding country - it's actually an Olde English term meaning "within sight, but not near." Think Shakespeare…"What light through yonder window breaks?" So I say kudos. Way to keep it classy, Southside.
Anything that's carbonated. If you want something else, you ask for it by name. But Pepsi, Coke and all the rest? Well, that's just a "drink."
A.k.a., shopping cart, grocery cart, trolley. In Southern Virginia, you call it a buggy.
As opposed to the act of jabbing someone with your finger, a "poke" is actually a bag. As in "a pig in a poke." (And don't even get me started on what that phrase means - let's just say that, originally, it involved the risk of ending up eating a cat or a dog for dinner. I'll let you figure out the rest.)
While some of us might "holler" for kids to come inside, Virginians from the mountains head over to the "holler," a small valley, technically, called a hollow.
And these…well, these just made me laugh…
14. Hippie / Liberal / Yankee
Anyone from Northern Virginia to a Southern Virginian.
Everyone else to a Northern Virginian.
And now it’s your turn to chime in! Do you agree with what other readers have to say about their regional words and phrases? Let us know in the comments below!
OnlyInYourState may earn compensation through affiliate links in this article. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.