The Southern dialect is a VERY interesting thing. Words have meaning. The meaning is usually much more deep than people understand. I think it’s because most folks outside the South think Southerners are just not as smart as the average bear.

Well… joke’s on you.

Let’s discuss two simple words, “oh honey.”

Those two simple words take on very different meanings depending on the context. There are two generally accepted connotations. One of them is meant to comfort. The other… not so much.

“Oh honey” spoken with the words drawn out more than normal usually precedes some sort of condolence. They can even be condolences themselves. In this context they are meant to comfort.

For example, let’s say that a young woman just had her heart broken by a beau. Someone, usually an older person, offering the woman comfort would start the condolences with “oh honey.”

“Oh honey, that boy wasn’t good enough for you anyway,” can be offered usually followed by a hug to the bosom like a parent would comfort a child.

In this case, it is acceptable for a man or a woman to offer condolences to females and for a female to offer condolences to a male. However, it is never acceptable for a man to offer condolences in this way to a male, no matter the age. Social structure is important.

The other way “oh honey” is used is usually condescending in nature. The words carry negative connotations when spoken to someone who though confident in their choices looked the fool. They are usually followed by a retort or are a retort themselves.

Social structure is also important when “oh honey” is used condescendingly. Sometimes, age is given less consideration than when the words are offered in condolences. Social structure with respect to sexes is always observed.

Both phrases are anchored on the word honey, but can be altered. Here’s an example of how an altered version of the phrase is used in condescending retort to “if you’re trying to belittle me, you’re just looking like an ass.”

“Trust me honey, I don’t need to belittle you.”

I’ll just let you dig through the layers of indignity for yourself.