Whether you are new to the South or just want to brush up on your Southern vernacular, The Literary South is here to help you decipher some of the unique terms you may encounter while reading literature from or about the American South.
Kudzu – A fast-growing vine native to Southeast Asia that was introduced to the United States at the Philadelphia Continental Exposition in 1876. Used for forage and erosion control, kudzu has become widespread throughout the southeastern United States and can often be found covering trees and abandoned homes.
Lagniappe – Used predominately in Southern Louisiana, a lagniappe is a small gift or bonus given as a compliment or for good measure.
Mess – A large amount of something (e.g., a mess of greens); a dirty or untidy state or condition.
Po’boy – A sandwich popular in Louisiana typically consisting of roast beef or fried seafood served on French bread.
Potlikker – The nutrient-dense broth that remains in the bottom of the pot after cooking a mess of greens.
Scuppernog – A scuppernong (also known as a scuplin) is a large, bronze-green muscadine grape found throughout much of the southeastern United States, which was named after the Scuppernog River in North Carolina, where it was first discovered.