Ten Texas Phrases Explained

Texas is its own entity.

Sure, it’s a member of the contiguous United States, and you can drive to it from several states (many of which will fit INSIDE a corner or so of Texas), but while traveling to Texas, many will feel as if they’ve stepped into a different country…

And to be honest, you have —

Texas Country.

We have some phrases, sayins, and ways of sayin’ those phrases that might leave ya scratchin’ your noggin’.

One thing that we Texans are known for is our hospitality.

Seeing as I write a blog called “Southern Hospitality,” I thought I’d help y’all out by explaining/decoding a few of our turns of phrases.


  • Y’all 1 of 10
    Y'all is a contraction of the words You and All and is correctly written out as Y'all… Ya'll is not correct and will have your sign/flyer/email etc. snickered at and subjected to eye rollin' and "bless your hearts" all up and down the great state of Texas. When speaking or writing, Y'all is both singular and plural. Y'all is used to refer to a single person or a group of 2 to 4 people. For more than four people "..all y'all" is the proper tense.
  • Fixin’ To 2 of 10
    Fixin' to generally has little to do with fixing anything and more to do with announcing what you're about to do: "I'm fixin' to make some chicken fried steak and grits for breakfast, y'all wanna come over?"
  • Coke 3 of 10
    In Texas, the word Coke does not mean the drug, unless you consider caffeine a drug… In Texas, all sodas/pops/soda waters are referred to as Cokes. When you're in a restaurant and you say, "I want a Coke," if they're a true Texan, they'll ask what kind Sprite, Dr. Pepper, Coca Cola, Diet, Root Beer…
  • Sweet Tea 4 of 10
    This isn't a phrase, it's a way of life. Tea is sweetened before it reaches you and occasionally garnished with fresh mint and lemon. The End.
  • Big As A Minute 5 of 10
    It's a compliment and means you're teensy. Just say Thank You.
  • Ma’am 6 of 10
    This is NOT an insult… Ma'am is said as a sign of respect for you being female. It is said to females from babies on up; I say Ma'am to my 8 year old and her friends, I say it to my friends. It is a sign of respect, not an insult. It's also frequently pronounced "may-yum" or "Maa-yuuum."
  • Since Moby Dick Was a Minnow 7 of 10
    A really long time.
    Photo Credit: TheodoreScott
  • More nervous than a long tailed cat in a room full-a rockin chairs 8 of 10
    Pretty damn nervous
    Photo Credit: Snedry
  • Used-ta-could 9 of 10
    I've seen this one on multiple comedy shows and scoffed at it, until I heard it come out of my own mouth. FOR SHAME icon smile Ten Texas Phrases Explained I used ta could do that, but not anymore….
  • Bless your/her/their Heart(s) 10 of 10
    This is most often used genuinely as a sentiment blessing someone's heart, expressing sympathy, disbelief or in prayer for someone. It can also be used cattily to imply that someone's as dumb as a post, sharp as a bag of marbles or quick as drippin' molasses.
    Photo credit: Dad and Clint



Read more of Rachel Matthews’ writing about food, parenting, life and Texas at A Southern Fairytale

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