Haints and Hags — is a term I first learned watching a show about South Carolina on one of those fancy cable television channels about flipping houses.
“Haints and Hags” — as I understand it — means “Ghosts and Witches” and the episode that taught me that was an exploration of a guided tour in Charleston pointing out all the “Haints and Hags” haunts.
I was fascinated by the phrase “Haints and Hags” and when I looked it up on the internet I found only one search return — the website for the Charleston tour in South Carolina!
That discovery led me to wonder if “Haints and Hags” had a historical etymological importance — it doesn’t appear in Merriam-Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary (though “hain’t” is defined as) —
partly contraction of have not, has not; partly alteration of ain’t
— so I began to stew on the idea if “Haints and Hags” was really a common phrase in South Carolina or if the phrase was made up just to sell tour tickets.
Are there any “specialty phrases” you used growing up as part of your cultural experience that had great meaning and resonance in your community — but not beyond — in your life away from your hometown?
I can only think of “Big Bohunk” — usually used as an insult to call someone uneducated and culturally boring — but in the farmland of Nebraska, “Bohunk” is a term of endearment for a Eastern/Southeastern European immigrant, usually from Hungary or Bohemia or Czechoslovakia, who came to the land specifically to till it and raise it up into crops so people around the world could be fed.