Arkansas slang words and phrases offer a unique insight into the culture of the state. If you find yourself in Arkansas, try using some of the local slang.
This can be a great opportunity for you to create meaningful connections with locals, as well as astonish your Arkansas friends using familiar words and expressions!
16 Arkansas Slang Words And Phrases!
Arkansas has its unique dialect, and a host of slang words and phrases passed down from generation to generation.
Locals often use terms like “yammering” to talk endlessly about nothing or “tar snorting,” which means drying tobacco leaves to preserve them.
Then there’s “hollerin’”, which Arkansans use when referring to the sound of loud voices carrying over long distances while they call out another person’s name.
Other words people use in Arkansas have different meanings than what they usually mean.
For example, “slick arm” means being slippery or sly, and “wall-eyed” means someone who is staring off into space after something strange has happened.
It’s important to become familiar with Arkansas slang as it reflects the state’s rich cultural heritage – learning Arkansas slang is a fun way to appreciate this wonderful state. So, let’s start;
1. Lawd A Mercy! – Oh My Goodness:
Oh my goodness – have you ever used the Arkansas slang expression ‘lawd a mercy’? This phrase is used to express surprise, and disbelief or to simply punctuate an exciting storytelling moment.
It is also sometimes paired with a more common phrase like “good gracious” for added emphasis. Because these terms are part of the culture, everyone understands them.
People use them in both casual and formal conversations. They are a must-know for anyone from Arkansas!
2. Tarbaby – A Sticky Situation:
Did you know that “Tarbaby” is a widely used phrase in Arkansas? This Arkansas slang term is derived from a folktale of Brer Rabbit getting stuck to a tar-covered dummy.
It’s essentially used as an expression when someone finds themselves in a complicated and seemingly difficult situation.
Despite its particular origin, the phrase is still widely known and understood among Arkansans, serving as an important part of Arkansan culture.
So if you find yourself stuck in a sticky situation, just remember – welcome to the world of Tarbaby!
3. Peckerwood – An Uncultivated Perso:
Peckerwood is a term of endearment used in Arkansas for a person considered uncultivated or unsophisticated, like a redneck or hillbilly.
This term has roots in the old Arkansan vernacular and often appears paired with other Arkansas slang words and phrases like “fixin” and “yonder.”
Usually, peckerwood is used as an affectionate insult between friends or family members to joke about being uncouth or unsophisticated.
It indicates the Arkansan culture that celebrates its connections to the land and down-home sayings.
4. Cattywampus – Crooked; Off-Kilter:
Cattywampus, or cattywampus, is an Arkansas slang term that describes something as crooked or off-kilter. Adding ‘Cattywampus’ to your conversations and tales is an amazing way to inject fun, personality, and interest.
To provide an example of its usage, you could describe the lopsided roof of a run-down shack or the wild vine snaking across an arched doorway with it!
5. Got A Hankerin’ – Wanting Or Craving Something:
Got a hankerin’ for something in Arkansas? You may just be hearing some of the locals’ Arkansas slang!
Every region in Arkansas has its own slang and dialects — hankerin’ is just one of the words you might come across.
From phrases like “gumption” for determination or “tarnal” for pretty, folks in Arkansas love to spice up their language.
So if you want something, why not ask if you can have it with some Arkansas charm? Your cravings will serenade your ears better than anywhere else!
6. Right Nice – Very Pleasant; Great:
The phrase ‘right nice’ is one of many slang words and phrases that originated in Arkansas.
“Nice” typically describes something pleasant and great. If someone says they attended a “real nice party,” they mean it was enjoyable.
Additionally, if an Arkansan describes the weather outside as nice, they likely refer to mild temperatures and sunny skies.
All in all, ‘right nice’ is one-way people from Arkansas express their gratitude for something good.
7. Yonder – Over There:
If you ever find yourself in Arkansas, you’re sure to hear locals refer to any place not present but elsewhere as “yonder.”
Yonder is an Arkansas term that says something is over there – like a place or an object. It is specific and local. It is interesting to learn about the culture of places like Arkansas.
The word likely originated from old English terms such as ground, guaranteeing that Arkansas-born colloquialisms will remain popular for years.
8. Hootenanny – A Party With Music And Dancing:
A hootenanny is an Arkansas phrase for a big, fun party with music and dancing. Participants often break out their best moves on the dance floor as live performers provide upbeat tunes to fill the room with energy.
A hootenanny always brings people together and provides hours of merriment, as Arkansas folk slang words like “hipin”, “skippin’”, and “leadin’” are heard throughout the night!
9. Fit To Be Tied – Very Angry Or Excited About Something:
The term “fit to be tied” is a slang phrase that originated in Arkansas. It means that someone is feeling extremely angry or excited.
For example, if your team won their championship game, you might use this phrase to describe your emotions – “I am fit to be tied!”
In Arkansas, this term is used ubiquitously by all sorts of people. Those native to Arkansas know that one expression can often be enough to express their sentiment!
Over time, it has become part and parcel of living in the Natural State.
10. Jacked-Up – Messed Up; Not Working Properly:
Sometimes things don’t quite work out how they should, especially in Arkansas. We have a few colloquial terms to describe these moments.
One of the most popular is “jacked-up – messed up”. It’s shorthand for something that’s not functioning properly, whether it’s an engine, a computer program, or anything else.
If you find yourself stuck with broken machinery, equipment, or other items in Arkansas, don’t worry. Others may use this Arkansas slang term to tell you what’s going on!
11. Arkansas Toothpick – A Long, Thin Knife Used For Fighting:
The Arkansas toothpick is a long, thin knife often used for fighting. It gets its name from Arkansas slang, where locals referred to the weapon as an Arkansas toothpick.
Legend has it that the Arkansas toothpick was most prolific during lawless times in Arkansas when vigilante justice and duels were commonplace.
Through time, this lethal weapon has been carried with pride by many Arkansans and other southerners who enjoyed showing off their craftsmanship and blade ability.
Today, the Arkansas toothpick still stands as one of the oldest knife designs still in use.
12. Ipecac – An Arkansas Term For Beer Or Whiskey:
Ipecac is an Arkansas slang word that generally refers to either beer or whiskey, depending on the context.
This term dates back many years and is a good example of Arkansas’s rich culture. People from Arkansas have their way of speaking.
This term can be used instead of more modern terms and will show that you know how Arkansans speak.
Furthermore, there are many Arkansas slang words and phrases to discover and explore that further showcase the state’s unique culture.
14. Paid The Piper – To Suffer Consequences Of One’s Actions:
It’s an old Arkansas saying: “paid the piper, now you suffer the consequences”. This catchy phrase is a reminder that the choices we make and the actions we take have a price, and it’s one we eventually have to pay.
The things we do, whether they are good or bad, have an impact on our lives now and in the future.
In Arkansas culture, this phrase references another piece of Arkansas slang – “to carry the load”. This means that every action has a weight or burden attached to it.
This phrase intends to remind Arkansans that, in life, there are always repercussions for your actions and that you must ultimately pay for what happens as a result.
15. Now, Then, And Forever – Always:
The phrase “Now, then, and forever – always; forever” is an Arkansas-born expression that expresses loyalty and devotion lasting beyond expectation.
Similar phrases like “till the day I die” or “until the end of time” express similar sentiments but none quite as sweetly or uniquely as this particular Arkansas slang term.
Although the abundance of Arkansas slang can be perplexing even to locals, this specific phrase is worded so profoundly that its sincerity doesn’t need clarification.
A phrase like this speaks for itself, leaving no doubt about life-long commitment and dedication to a cause in its wake.
16. Arkansas Twister – A Tornado (Or Waterspout):
When mentioning disasters, many people forget about tornadoes and waterspouts.
While these extreme weather events rarely cause major damage, unlike earthquakes or hurricanes, an Arkansas twister is a phrase that may draw more attention to them.
This term originated from the 1996 movie “Twister” starring Helen Hunt, which popularized the phrase.
The phrase is now commonly used as an Arkansas slang word to describe tornadoes and waterspouts. Thus, Arkansas twisters are an interesting conversation topic for those in Arkansas regions.
Arkansas slang words and phrases are interesting and unique and help set Arkansans apart from other cultures.
Arkansas slang is a type of language that people speak in Arkansas. It is a way of speaking that has changed and will continue to change.
Now you will know more about how people from Arkansas express themselves. First, they have their language, which is interesting and different from other places.
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