The Meaning of Dixie: What It Is and How To Use It

What is the meaning of dixie? Where did the word dixie come from? This article will show you how to use dixie as a common noun and a proper noun.

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If you have heard about the controversy surrounding The Dixie Chicks changing their name to The Chicks, you might be familiar with the word dixie. But what does it mean? Keep reading to learn more. 

What Does Dixie Mean?

According to Dictionary, Dixie refers to the southern states of the United States. In particular, the terms Dixie, Dixie Land, and Dixieland refer to states that were a part of the Confederacy during the American Civil War. 

During the Civil War, states were divided into the Union in the North, and the Confederacy in the South. The Southern states advocated for slavery and were against the liberation of enslaved people. Therefore, the southern states of the US that were a part of the Confederacy are sometimes known as “slave states.” The old South states include:

  • Florida
  • Texas
  • South Carolina
  • Virginia 
  • Louisiana
  • Arkansas
  • Alabama
  • Georgia
  • North Carolina 
  • Mississippi
  • Tennessee

The states in the Union were anti-slavery and did not want to secede from the country. The states in the Union during the Civil War were:

  • New Jersey
  • Illinois
  • New York
  • Connecticut
  • Ohio
  • Wisconsin
  • Pennsylvania
  • Minnesota
  • Michigan
  • Indiana
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Maine
  • Vermont
  • Oregon
  • Kansas
  • Iowa
  • Nevada
  • California
  • Massachusetts

West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Kentucky, and Missouri were known as the border states.

Additionally, Dixie can refer to the Confederate war song and minstrel song Dixie written by Daniel Decatur Emmett in 1859.

Less frequently, the word dixie can refer to a large iron pot. Specifically, this refers to a 12-gallon camp kettle that the British Army once used.

Controversy Surrounding The Term Dixie

According to The Atlantic, the term Dixie has become controversial in recent years due to its association with the Civil War. Similar to the band Lady Antebellum changing their name to Lady A, The Dixie Chicks have changed their name to The Chicks.

These bands want to eliminate their association with pro-slavery Confederate states during the Civil War and do not want to offend anyone.

How Can Dixie Be Used in a Sentence?

Dixie has a few meanings, so you might see this word in several contexts. By studying the example sentences below containing the word dixie, see if you can determine which definition each sentence uses. Then, try using the word dixie in a sentence yourself! 

Be careful: this word can be considered offensive to some people, so it might be best to avoid it. 

Example #1: Headed Down to Dixie

We chose to take a road trip across Dixie for our family vacation. We started in Florida and went through several states on our way to Texas. We saw many amazing sights, and it was a truly unforgettable trip.

Question: Which definition of Dixie does example one use?

Answer: Example one uses Dixie to refer to the Southern United States.

Example #2: Cooking in the Dixie

We made a large stew in the dixie using all of the vegetables that were in our fridge. The gigantic pot would last us for weeks. After we made the soup, we divided it into plastic containers and froze it so we could eat it for a long time.

Question: Which definition of dixie does example two use?

Answer: Example two uses dixie to refer to a large pot.

Example #3: Listening to Dixie

Our teacher put on “Dixie” in my American history class while we learned about the Civil War to get a sense of what Confederate soldiers might listen to during the war. Then, we dissected every battle in the Civil War. I can’t imagine what it was like to live during the Civil War.

Question: Which definition of dixie does example three use?

Answer: Example three uses dixie to refer to the song “Dixie” by Daniel Decatur Emmett, a Confederate war anthem.

What Is the Etymology of Dixie?

When referring to a pot, the word dixie comes from the Hindi dēgcī, which is a diminutive form of dēgcā, the Hindi word for pot. This word has been used since the late 1800s. 

When people use Dixie to refer to the Southern United States, this terminology comes from a nickname for New Orleans, Louisiana, which called their ten-dollar bill a dixie. This comes from the French dix, meaning ten. 

There is one other possible origin of the word Dixie, the Mason and Dixon Line. In 1767, Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon created this geographical boundary to settle a border dispute between Pennsylvania and Maryland. 

However, at the beginning of the Civil War, it became the border between the free states and the confederate states. Therefore, “Dixie” emerged as a slang term for those states south of the Mason-Dixon. 

What Are Synonyms of Dixie?

Dixie has two meanings. As a proper noun, Dixie refers to the Southern United States. As a common noun, it refers to a large iron pot. The word Dixie can be offensive to some people. 

To avoid confusion and offense, it can be best to use a synonym of dixie no matter the context. The below list of synonyms of the word dixie includes synonyms for both the South and a pot. Which one of these synonyms of dixie from Power Thesaurus will you use?

  • allied
  • antebellum
  • bag
  • basin
  • beaker
  • billy
  • bottle
  • bowl
  • bucket
  • camping stove
  • can
  • canister
  • case
  • cask
  • casserole
  • confederacy
  • confederate states
  • confederate states of america
  • confederation
  • crock
  • cup
  • deep South
  • dixieland
  • flask
  • goblet
  • hollow
  • jar
  • jug
  • kettle
  • pan
  • pitcher
  • pocket
  • pot
  • receptacle
  • sack
  • saucepan
  • south
  • southern
  • southward
  • stewpot
  • stockpot
  • teatcup
  • urn
  • vase
  • vat
  • vessel
  • westland


Dixie is a place name for the Southern United States. Less often, the word dixie refers to a large metal pot. Dixie comes from the French word dix, meaning ten. The word dixie can be considered offensive to certain people, so make sure that you think carefully before using it so that you do not offend anyone. 


  1. Dixie Definition & Meaning | 
  2. Dixie | History, Definition, Meaning, & Facts | Britannica
  3. Mason-Dixon Line | Definition, Significance, & Facts | Britannica 
  4. Dixie synonyms – 25 Words and Phrases for Dixie | Power Thesaurus
  5. What ‘Dixie’ Really Means | The Atlantic