HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The conversations of Southerners are peppered with southern idioms. Most of these expressions have endured over a century, being passed down like cherished family heirlooms.
Some speculate that recent decades have failed to produce uniquely southern idioms because of the increasing influence of modern media. People now draw comparisons from television and movies instead of a common experience shared by people living in a certain geographic area.
"The crowning one and the one everybody knows is 'Bless your heart,'" said Chester "Bo" Morgan, professor and historian at the University of Southern Mississippi. "You might think it's a religious blessing, but it's not. It's in reference to being naive or usually a negative attribute."
Many southern idioms make it possible to say something unkind in a much more acceptable manner.
"When you don't have anything nice to say, you say, 'Bless your heart!'" said Kim Anderson, a Mississippi native.