Twanglish Lesson: Slap Out

In the South, it seems there are a thousand ways to say completely. Many of them could be defined as onomatopoeia in their native context. Such is the case with today’s Twanglish Lesson. But the fun part of this one is that it’s not only a fairly common Southern phrase, but also a very uncommon place name.

Slap Outadverb 1. Completely exhausted, emptied or expended:

We run slap out of gas on the way to the Walmarts.

Slapoutnoun, place name 1. a small town in Alabama:

It was the Walmarts in Slapout.

Actually, we don’t know for sure if there’s a Walmart in Slapout, but it does apparently get its name from a local store. According to, locals claim that, during the 1920s, the town was home to a general store that was always “slap out” of everything. Another account tells a similar story, attributing the source of the name specifically to a shop known as The Boys’ Store.

The community, it seems, has a bit of an identity crisis, as evidenced by the name of the local fire department. Apparently the more official name of the area is Holtville, but the Slapout sobriquet is so popular the fire department took on both names: the Holtville/Slapout Fire Department. Poking around on the HSFD site, you find yet another variation on the origins of the name, this one dating it to the 1950s. (Also of note is the bit about the historic Holtville High School, which once had its own cannery, meat packing facility and fire department. And here I thought the magnet school in Mobile was fancy because they had a 3/4″ U-matic video camera.)

As it happens, there’s a Slapout in Oklahoma, too. The story there is the same – a general grocer who always reported that he was “slap out” of whatever anyone needed. I suppose we’re lucky the storekeepers in each case kept a civil tongue. Otherwise, these communities might have much more embarrassing names. (SOL, anyone?)


  1. Twanglish Lesson: Slap | Real Southern Men - July 21, 2011

    […] for describing when something is done to the full, as we covered in a previous Twanglish lesson on “slap out.” You can be slap full of beans or have had it slap up to there. When what ever it is can go no […]

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