April 30, 2008

*Ask Jen: Bless Your Heart Edition

Jim writes: "Iím having difficulty nailing down this particular southern idiom. I hear 'bless her (or rarely his) heart' in conversations that sound nothing like a blessing. Can you dig into this one?"

As you well know, Southern Ladies would never speak rudely of another. So tacking "bless her/his heart" onto the end of an insult is just a way of making it seem nicer: "That boy is dumber than a box of rocks, bless his heart." Which in the North might be said something like, "I don't want to be mean, but that boy is not the sharpest pencil in the drawer."

Do you have a question for me? You can e-mail it. If I know the answer, I'll answer it. If I don't know the answer, I might make something up.

Posted by Jennifer at April 30, 2008 09:00 AM | TrackBack


In Texas, it's not just the women. My preacher used to do that. "He really didn't know what he was talking about, bless his heart."

Posted by: sarahk at April 30, 2008 06:33 AM

Jen, I offered up a similar missive about that phrase and its southern twin, "Help me to understand ..." here.

Posted by: Rev. Mike at April 30, 2008 11:52 AM

See now in NY we never felt the need to sugar coat things. If you were dumb as a box of rocks you hear it

Posted by: Pete at April 30, 2008 07:11 PM