Another Southernism ~ to be “Slap Happy”

| March 27, 2013

America is a big country with many different dialects and meanings of slang …

southern_canopy_roadIntelligence is not
based upon dialects.


dialect reveals culture.


“Their words are lush like
the land they come from …
These southerners know the names
of what shrubs hang over what creek, what dogwood flowers bloom what color, what kind of soil
is under their feet.”

– Natalie Goldberg on Southerners
( Writer and native New Yorker )


three_stooges_slap_happy_sleuths_posterI believe that …

language is part of culture just as much as any other aspect that makes up cultural traits.

There are many words and phrases
( Southernisms ) that make up
Southern Culture.

Here is one example –

“Slap happy”

I know that the dictionary defines the term
“slap happy” as a single phrase with a meaning.

But that is NOT what it means in the South.


Here is what the dictionary says: ( Courtesy of )

slaphappy – ADJ / Slang

1. Dazed, silly, or incoherent from or as if from blows to the head; punch-drunk.

100x4002. Happy-go-lucky.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language,
Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
All rights reserved.

Another dictionary defines it similar, but slightly different:

slap•hap•py adj. -pi•er, -pi•est.

1. punch-drunk.
2. agreeably giddy or foolish.
3. cheerfully irresponsible.

Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary,
© 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991
by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

southern_dialect_quick_guideHere is what “slap happy” means in the South:

It is not a single phrase. It is pronounced, “slap (pause) happy” …

“SLAP” is the word in question.

“HAPPY” means exactly that: Happy

“Slap” in the South means “completely” or “totally”

So to be “slap happy” in the South means you are “completely happy”. Slap = 100% to put it mathematically.

southern_comfort_foodIt is always better to understand a word when it is used in a sentence. Then again … maybe not ? Let’s try anyway:

southern-comfort-food-2Uses and examples of the term
“slap” in the south would be:

“Don’t believe anything that girl says, she’s slap crazy!”

… or after a good meal – “Man, I’m slap full!”

people-who-do-not-hold-the-door-mapSouthernisms are not secluded to the commonly attributed phrases as defined by those outside The South.

Phrases and terms can also vary across The South.

Southernisms are additive to the dialect as well as regionally secluded.

Saying that all Southern People speak the same and use the same languages is like a European believing that all Americans are the same. Or believing that all Europeans are the same.

The uniqueness of language in The South is just as unique as our food.


Category: Tony Rollo Blog

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