One example would be when we ask for tea- we either ask for sweet or unsweet. This is strange because unsweet (when you really think about it) means that the tea was sweet to begin with and then went through an unsweetening process that resulted in the tea no longer being sweet. This is something that doesn't sound odd until you start thinking about it!
A second commonly used phrase is "Oh! Bless your heart..." This expression is commonly used when Southerners need an excuse for speaking ill of someone. Example- "She's as ugly as a mud fence, bless her heart." Even though the line was an insult it is made better by showing that you, in a way, feel sorry for the person.
These are a few others that are our favorites:
"He could sell a ketchup Popsicle to a lady wearing white gloves." Meaning the individual is so good at persuasion that he or she could talk his or her way into anything.
"You can't get blood from a turnip." Meaning you can't get something from someone who doesn't have it.
"She's as crazy as a Betsy Bug." Meaning just plain crazy.
"Madder than a wet hen." Meaning just plain mad.
"He's like a bull in a china shop." Meaning that he destroys everything he touches/makes lots of noise.
"We were just sittin' around chewin' the fat." Meaning talking about nothing really in particular- just chatting.
"Don't count your chickens before they hatch." Meaning a risky act of assuming the outcome.
"She was all over him like white on rice." Traditional Southern saying about something that cannot be separated or that traditionally go together.
"You can't see the forest for the trees." Meaning you can't see the big picture because you're looking at all the wrong things.
So, next time you find yourself sittin' around chewin' the fat and sippin' on some sweet tea (or unsweet) try to use a few of these sayings!
Check out more sayings here: Southern Sayings or More Southern Sayings