Do you ever say children? It sounds too formal to my ear. When I’m talking about those younger than me, I say young’uns. Most Southerners do.
They don’t have to be all that much younger, either. Five years my junior qualifies. Kodecker is in her mid-twenties, but she’s still a young’un to me. I imagine she always will be – even at 70.
I feel like I used that word a lot a week ago. Belle had friends from out of town come for a visit. Every other sentence I said for three days straight included young’uns. It made me wonder where the word comes from.
After a little research, I discovered young’un is British. It’s a contraction of “young one.” The term can be traced back to the 1300s.
I love that it lives on in everyday speech here in North Carolina! Both my Appalachian relatives and coastal ones use it regularly. Of course, it’s not the only way we refer to kids. We have plenty of other ways too. I’ve dropped a few below for you. 😉
Other Ways to Say Young’un in the South
- knee high to a grasshopper
- little thing
- wet behind the ears
- little woman/man