7 Phrases & Sayings to Sound Like a Local in Charleston

Photo courtesy of Charleston Regional Development Alliance

Charleston and the state of South Carolina, much like its southern neighbors, have many colloquial phrases. From the founding families to the Geechee and Gullah communities, Charleston has many unique sayings. But there is one constant: the twang of the famous South Carolina accent.

My husband and I recently PCS’d to Charleston. If and when you find yourself in the Palmetto State, here is some vocabularly to familarize yourself with:

Pluff Mud: It smells. It’s gross. And it’s a boater’s worst nightmare. Think southern quick sand.

Palmetto Bug: AKA American cockroaches. Yes, they fly and are much bigger than their Northern counterparts. If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a Palmetto bug.

Cadet: A student at the Citadel. You might catch them Downtown in uniform on liberty or perhaps escorting their parents around town for a tour. You can’t miss them: they often wear a bright orange belt, especially if they are exercising.

Skiff: A small boat. Great for navigating the shallow waters of the swamps and creeks of the Low Country. They are usually moved via a long pole which is pushed against the ground to help move them along.

Bless Your Heart: A condescending phrase. If this is said to you, watch the mouth from which it came.

Happier Than a Pig in Mud: On a scale of 1-10, this means you’re about at an 8 for happiness.

Holy City: Quick history lesson. The earliest settlers came to Charleston from England but were later followed by immigrants from Scotland, France, Germany, Ireland, and other countries. These immigrants brought with them numerous Protestant denominations as well as Judaism and Roman Catholicism. For this reason, Charleston earned the nickname of “Holy City” as it was known for its tolerance for all religions and it numerous historic churches. There are many legends surrounding the moniker “Holy City”, but many come to visit the churches and cemeteries to learn about the history.

Sources: Search for Charleston Real Estate, Roots Rated

What other words should we add to the list?

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