What Does Actin Ugly Mean? Talk Southern to Me Episode 5

Welcome back to Episode 5 of Talk Southern to me! This week we will answer the question : “What does actin ugly mean”?

This is one of those phrases that for some reason I never realized was Southern-specific! I guess I just thought everyone everywhere in America knew what “Actin Ugly” or “Ugly-acting” meant and used it in everyday conversation just like we as Southerners do. It’s such a vital phrase that I didn’t even realize it wasn’t universally understood, as I readily realize others are not. My children are told to stop actin ugly at least once a day, and they use the phrase to describe the bad behavior of other kids (or adults, as the case may be).
What does Actin Ugly mean

That toddler you saw throwing a fit in Target because he couldn’t have a toy he wanted? He’s actin ugly. A woman losing her ever-loving-mind on a saleswoman for not being fast enough? She’s actin ugly, bless her heart. See, in the South we describe the behavior and inward personality of a person just as we would describe their physical appearance. If someone acts ugly it has a way of making them look less pretty on the outside, no matter how stunning gorgeous their hair, features, or figure might be. Ugly is as ugly does!

Come back next week for another edition of Talk Southern to Me, and be sure to check out past episodes of our helpful lessons that will teach you to understand Southernisms!

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