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Here are 20 Slang Terms You’ll Only Understand if you’re from Arkansas




Welcome to the heart of the Ozarks, where the twang of accents is matched only by the colorful expressions that define the Arkansan spirit. From “Hillbilly Hot Tubs” to “Grubbing” adventures, the Natural State boasts a lexicon as rich and diverse as its landscapes. In this journey through the charming idioms of Arkansas, we’re unraveling 20 side-splitting slang terms that’ll have you grinning like a possum in a persimmon tree.


A term used to refer to a person from Arkansas, similar to “Arkansan.”

My Old Stompin Grounds

This phrase usually refers to your hometown or the place you spent most of your “young” years. Whether it was a movie theater, the local diner, or the high school football field, all Arkansans have a “stomping ground” they remember with nostalgia.

Hillbilly Hot Tub

A humorous way to describe a makeshift swimming pool, often a large container or trough filled with water.

Bowed Up

Term used for running out of patience. I am getting all bowed up on this guy and his political views. It is also a term for someone getting ready to fight.

Act Like You’ve Been Out of the Barn Before

This is an Arkansas saying often heard in the grocery store or the mall, usually yelled by someone’s mother. You’ll know this woman by her harried facial expression and children whooping down the aisles. I’ve always assumed this was in reference to brand-new calves, frolicking out of the barn for the first time. In short, this is what you say to someone who simply isn’t “acting right.”


To tip or overturn. “Be careful, don’t tump over that bucket.”

Madder Than a Wet Hen

I have heard this from more than one person. It is definitely a sign of them being very mad about something.


The mascot of the University of Arkansas, often used colloquially to refer to someone from Arkansas.

Bless Your Heart

A Southern phrase that can convey sympathy, understanding, or sometimes a touch of sarcasm.


A way to describe a location that is a bit farther away, often used instead of “over there.” “It’s just yonder down the road.”

Arkansas Toothpick

A humorous term for a toothpick, playing on the state’s name.

Stick a Fork in Me

I am done. I’m full. I’m so tired of this. There are actually, many different uses for this phrase.


Searching for or gathering food, often used in the context of foraging or hunting for wild edibles.

Whistle Pig

Another term for a groundhog or woodchuck, often used in rural Arkansas.


A heavy rainstorm or downpour that causes water to rush through gullies and washes.


In Arkansas, a shopping cart used in grocery stores. “Grab a buggy for the groceries.”

Fixin’ To

Similar to other Southern states, “fixin’ to” means getting ready to do something. “I’m fixin’ to head into town.”


A term sometimes used to refer to people from flatter areas, often in a light-hearted or teasing manner.

Bear State

Arkansas is sometimes humorously referred to as the “Bear State” due to the presence of black bears in the region.

Spaghetti and Gravy

In some parts of Arkansas, this term is used to describe chili or a hearty meat sauce served over pasta.

Currently residing in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife and Pomeranian, Mochi. Leo is a lover of all things travel related outside and inside the United States. Leo has been to every continent and continues to push to reach his goals of visiting every country someday. Learn more about Leo on MuckRack.

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