Arguably the most iconic scene in Gone With the Wind, nay, all of cinema, is when Rhett Butler tells Scarlett O'Hara that her underwear is SO out. "I don't know a woman in Paris who wears pantalettes," he starts, and Scarlett starts to ask what is trendy to the European set before realizing how utterly creepy that is. The truth is, being unfashionable is something Scarlett doesn't want to be, which is awkward because the memorable language from the otherwise timeless classic is hideously outdated. I mean, "pantalettes," really?
To be fair, this problem will arise in many period films. With the drastic 150-year difference between the film's setting and now, the entire movie is filled with things that are distinctly of-its-time. Hoop skirts have become bodycon minis, horse drawn buggies have been replaced with Uber, and owning other people is a practice that is now both illegal and generally frowned upon.
But that Old South slang in particular is something that needs a dramatic makeover. And I'm here wielding a corset and getting my fingers ready to pinch some cheeks — FACE cheeks, sickos, only a tramp would use rouge.
So the next time you're lost in another heated Scarlett-and-Rhett exchange, consult this handy translator. As God as my witness, you'll never be confused again.
interjection; an expression of scorn, disgust, dismissal or disbelief.
Example: "Fiddle-dee-dee! War, war, war; this war talk's spoiling all the fun at every party this spring. I get so bored I could scream."
Modern Term: Whatevs, beotch, plz
Definition: verb; messing with one's emotions, particularly by putting on pretenses of courtship.
Example: "Has he been trifling you? Has he asked you to marry him?"
Modern Term: Playing
Definition: noun; a strapping young gentleman
Example: "You might have any of the bucks in the county."
Modern Term: hottie
Definition: noun; a significant other, particular a male
Example: "Look at Scarlett, she's never even noticed Charles before, now just because he's your beau, she's after him like a hornet."
Modern Term: BF, bae
Definition: noun; a type of shapeless undergarment, often either made of satin and/or trimmed with lace
Example: "He looks as if he knows what I look like without my shimmy."
Modern Term: Slip
Definition: verb; to defeat
Example: "One Southerner can lick 20 Yankees."
Modern Term: slay
Tweaking his nose
Definition: verb; to agitate someone in a mosquito-esque way
Example: "No, no, no, please, don't go tweaking his nose anymore."
Modern Term: Pissing him off
Definition: verb; to diminish into oblivion due to lack of resources
Example: "Don't stand there talking nonsense at me when it's us who are being winnowed out."
Modern Term: phased
Definition: noun; a tacky and often promiscuous woman
Example: "Get off these steps, you trashy wench!"
Modern Term: Thot, rachet ho
Definition: verb; to lose one's mind
Example: "I know your father's turned idiot."
Modern Term: Went cray
Drop the moonlight and magnolia
Definition: verb; stop putting on airs and give up the ruse
Example: "You can drop the moonlight and magnolia, Scarlett. Things have been going well at Tara, have they?"
Modern Term: cut that shit out, stop playing, quit stunting
Definition: adjective; I don't even know, man, given the context I'm guessing it's something to the affect of false, weak, and cowardly.
Example: "What a wheg-livered little coward you are."
Modern Term: chicken shit
Great balls of fire
Definition: interjection; an exclamation of exasperation, akin to fiddle-dee-dee but with a dash more venom.
Example: "Great balls of fire! Don't bother me anymore, and don't call me sugar."
Modern Term: I can't even
Definition: noun; a smarmy, dishonorable man
Example: "No woman would want a child of a cad like you."
Modern Term: Creep, scumbag
Definition: noun; an insipid and somewhat subservient person
Example: "She’s a pale-faced Mealy-mouth ninny and I hate her."
Modern Term: Basic bitch
Definition: noun; an adorable little lady
Example: "You still think you're the Belle of the county don't you? That you're the cutest little trick in shoe leather and that every man you meet is dying of love for you."
Modern Term: Babe
Bonus Phrase: "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn."
"Tbh, bae, IDGAF." Or hell, let's just get full-on sacrilegious and resort to "Bye, Felicia."
Images: MGM (1), Giphy (17)