Your southern-born friend's habit of saying "y'all" when she's talking to her family could be described as locution — it's a word she habitually uses in particular situations.

A person's style of speech — certain words or phrases she tends to use — is her locution, especially if it's specific to a particular place or group of people, like teenagers or French Canadians. You can also use the noun locution when you're talking about the way a person pronounces words. If someone tends to "beat around the bush," or tell a story in a roundabout way, you can call that circumlocution.

Definitions of locution

n a word or phrase that particular people use in particular situations

expression, saying
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one of the eight sayings of Jesus at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount; in Latin each saying begins with `beatus' (blessed)
a saying of Jesus that is regarded as authentic although it is not recorded in the Gospels
calque, calque formation, loan translation
an expression introduced into one language by translating it from another language
advice and consent
a legal expression in the United States Constitution that allows the Senate to constrain the President's powers of appointment and treaty-making
an expression whose meaning cannot be determined from its context
an inoffensive or indirect expression that is substituted for one that is considered offensive or too harsh
an offensive or disparaging expression that is substituted for an inoffensive one
an expression of disappointment or irritation
tongue twister
an expression that is difficult to articulate clearly
anatomical, anatomical reference
an expression that relates to anatomy
a locution or pronunciation peculiar to the southern United States
catchword, motto, shibboleth, slogan
a favorite saying of a sect or political group
axiom, maxim
a saying that is widely accepted on its own merits
epigram, quip
a witty saying
adage, byword, proverb, saw
a condensed but memorable saying embodying some important fact of experience that is taken as true by many people
idiom, idiomatic expression, phrasal idiom, phrase, set phrase
an expression whose meanings cannot be inferred from the meanings of the words that make it up
sayings of Jesus not recorded in the canonical Gospels
a correct expression that takes the place of a popular but incorrect expression
bus, heap, jalopy
a car that is old and unreliable
an ambiguity (especially one in the text of a law or contract) that makes it possible to evade a difficulty or obligation
amphibology, amphiboly
an ambiguous grammatical construction; e.g., `they are flying planes' can mean either that someone is flying planes or that something is flying planes
the use of ambiguous words
double entendre
an ambiguity with one interpretation that is indelicate
catch phrase, catchphrase
a phrase that has become a catchword
a commonly repeated word or phrase
battle cry, cry, rallying cry, war cry, watchword
a slogan used to rally support for a cause
aphorism, apophthegm, apothegm
a short pithy instructive saying
a short pithy saying expressing a general truth
a moral maxim
ruralism, rusticism
a rural idiom or expression
old man
an informal term for your father
Type of:
language, oral communication, speech, speech communication, spoken communication, spoken language, voice communication
(language) communication by word of mouth

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