From Oxford Learner's Dictionaries:

He had assumed a stage Southern accent.

What does 'a stage Southern accent' mean, especially 'stage' in this case? Is it an adjective?

  • 3
    You can hear some (funny, to some) 'stage' or assumed Southern US accents in the voices of the characters of the Deputy Dawg cartoons Commented Sep 16, 2022 at 11:29
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    Some stage accents have their very own names. A poor London accent is often known as Mockney [after mock [fake] & Cockney]. Northern UK accents these days can be given a 'GoT score' [based on the vastly differing abilities of the actors who played the various Starks & other Northern families] Commented Sep 16, 2022 at 15:03
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    Beware that "Southern accent" is very context-dependent, because "Southern" is a relative term. It will be understood very differently in Britain, Ireland and USA, for instance. Commented Sep 17, 2022 at 9:36
  • @MichaelHarvey Yup! Also Hee Haw. A “stage” accent is a heavily cliched accent. An accent so thick and exaggerated it is pretty much an insult or could even be considered bigoted. Commented Sep 18, 2022 at 17:00

2 Answers 2


It's not a real southern accent. Either the speaker isn't good at mimicking the accent or perhaps the speaker has adopted a generalized unspecific accent (perhaps deliberately, as an actor might, so as to avoid implying too specific a place).

Stage is an attributive noun here, denoting a theatrical context.


The world of a play (or film) is not the same as the actual world. Hence the notion of stage dialects. We use slightly artificial accents because the real thing would be distracting or incomprehensible. If we Americans watched a production of The Importance of Being Earnest with Ms. Woolf’s accent, it would drive us toward the exits in about fifteen minutes. Source

Basically it's a modified southern accent. "Stage" refers to the "world" of film, movies etc.

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    Originally to the (live) theatre, of course. Commented Sep 16, 2022 at 10:43
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    When used to describe speech, "stage" generally means an exaggerated manner of speaking meant to project the voice more effectively to the large room.
    – barbecue
    Commented Sep 16, 2022 at 23:28
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    In a play, if an actor says something in a stage whisper, the idea is that it is heard by the audience, and the other actors on the stage pretend not to hear it. Outside the theatre, If you say something in a stage whisper, you mean it to be heard by people other than the ones you are talking to. Commented Sep 17, 2022 at 13:09

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