Green’s Dictionary of Slang

Dixie n.

also Dixey
[20C+ use is SE. The song ‘Dixie’s Land’ was written and first performed by the ‘blackface minstrel’ Daniel D Emmett (1815–1904) on 4 April 1859. The term ‘Dixie Land’ had appeared two months earlier in another Emmett song, ‘Jonny Roach’. Of the various poss. etys. the preferred choice is an abbr. of the Mason–Dixon line (which divided the North and South in 1763–7). ‘Dixie’s land’ was also a common term in 19C children’s games of tag; note Asbury, Sucker’s Progress (1938): ‘A few years after the Louisiana Purchase one of the New Orleans banks issued ten dollar notes, on one side of which was the French word for ten, dix. To the flatboatmen one of the notes was a dix, and collectively they were dixies, while New Orleans was known as “the town of the dixies,” and, later, simply as Dixie. The word does not appear to have been used to designate the entire South until after 1859, when D. D. Emmett wrote his famous song.’ Schele de Vere, who opts for Mason-Dixon, adds another ref. to a supposed slaveholder, one Dixey, who had allegedly treated his slaves very well, thus leading to the ‘minstrel’ song]

(US) the American South, esp. those states that formed the Confederacy in the Civil War (1861–5).

[US]D.D. Emmett ‘Dixie’s Land’ 🎵 Away! away! away down South in Dixie.
sheet music title at Amer. Memory 🌐 The Original / DIXON’S LINE / or / DIXEY LAND.
[US]‘Artemus Ward’ Artemus Ward, His Book 198: [heading] Thrilling Scenes in Dixie.
[US]C.G. Leland ‘Breitmann in Battle’ in Hans Breitmann’s Party 5: Away down Sout’ in Tixey dey’ll split you like a clam.
[US]Schele De Vere Americanisms 255: The Southern States [are known] as Dixie; a popular term most probably derived from the geographical line drawn by Messrs. Mason and Dixon, which formerly separated the free from the slave-holding States.

In compounds

Dixie mafia (n.)

a loose network of Southern criminals, typically involved in clubs, prostitution and drug-running.

(ref. to 1974) D.C. Smith Mafia Mystique 349: Wayne King thus described the ‘Dixie Mafia’ for New York Times readers in April 1974: Not to be confused with the traditional Mafia.
[US]D. Woodrell Muscle for the Wing 10: Auguste Beaurain [...] had run the upriver dagos, the downriver riffraff [...] and the out-of-state Dixie Mafia from town.
A.V. Casey Casey’s Law 129: A key state police investigator was convinced it was a contract killing carried out by the Dixie Mafia.
T.A. Kevlin Headless Man in Topless Bar 424: Some strip clubs are owned by what might be decribed as ‘non-organized criminals’ [...] A loose network of such people exists in the [...] southeast, and is referred to as the ‘Dixie Mafia’.
[US]T. Pluck Boy from County Hell 24: [O]nly muscle for the goombahs or the Dixie Mafia would have the stones to treat a man that way.

In phrases

do dixie (v.) [Dixieland jazz and the energetic dancing it inspired]

(W.I.) to make an exciting, successful show (of what is being done); to make events work out as one wishes.

[WI]Allsopp Dict. Carib. Eng. Usage.
from Dixie (adj.)

(US) second-rate, e.g. of a performer or performance, a piece of writing, etc.

[US]H.M. Anderson Strip Tease 61: A guy’s from Dixie — Performer who’s no good.
E. Wilson I Am Gazing Into My 8-Ball 36: Edwin Seaver, the writer [...] said, ‘I think this part stinks,’ or ‘I think this part is strictly from Dixie’.
whistle Dixie (v.) (US)

1. to engage in wishful fantasies.

M. Wellman Annie Salem 87: You wear the hat and whistle dixie, as the old saying goes, when you should be watching out.
N.K. Henderson Eng. Summer in Scotland 139: Fill the test tubes at the trot, perform a brief tracheotomy and whistle Dixie.
[US](con. 1991-94) W. Boyle City of Margins 195: ‘I called work and told them to whistle Dixie for a couple of weeks’.

2. to pursue without hope of success.

[US]M. Braly On the Yard (2002) 292: I’m going. They can whistle ‘Dixie’ for me.
[Aus]C. Hammer Scrublands [ebook] ‘If I need your help [I will tell you]. If I don’t you can whistle Dixie’ .

3. to boast, to brag without substance .

[US]P. Conroy Great Santini (1977) 313: One thing led to another and before you knew it my big, hairy banana was whistlin’ Dixie when it struck gold in them thar hills.
you ain’t just whistling (Dixie)

see under whistle v.