~~Sent in by USADEEPSOUTH readers~~
Even more Southern expressions are winging their way to us from readers! Many thanks.
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There's no "language" more colorful.
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ENJOY . . . AND CELEBRATE SOUTH MOUTH!
"My family hails from North Carolina and Georgia, though I live here in Occupied Virginia now," says Kurt H. "I stumbled across an expression I haven't heard before, and there's not many of them. It's in Jan Karon's book At Home in Mitford. One of the characters, a 12-year-old North Carolina boy, threatens to meller the head of another 12-year old. Heard that before? Keep collecting the sayings. I enjoy them thoroughly."
Marianna L writes:
"My mother was born and reared in southeast Georgia. Here are some of her expressions."
~~ "I was happy as a sissy out to sea." - Expresses great joy. Mama later told me that she realized she couldn't use this one any more after the day her youngest child (ME) asked, "Mama, what's a sissy, and why would he be happy out to sea?" (smile)
~~ "He/She just makes my A$$ itch!" - Expresses great dislike for someone.
~~ "You little cotton-picker!" - Expresses anger or surprise.
~~ "You're gonna have old and new-monia dressed like that!" - Description of inappropriate attire.
~~ "By hook or by crook!" - Determination to accomplish something.
~~ "You must not be holdin' your mouth right." - Explanation for unexpected outcome.
Robbin C. sent this great list of expressions:
"Born and raised in Sweet Home Alabama," she says, "I'm sending a few my grandparents repeated often."
~~ "Won't hit a lick at a snake" = Lazy
~~ "Burr in your saddle" = Angry
~~ "You better give your heart to Jesus, 'cause your butt is mine." = The fight is on!
~~ "Hotter than blue blazes" = one step below "hotter than hell"
~~ "Duck Fit" = one step above a "hissy fit"
~~ "Dying Duck Fit" = one step above a "duck fit"
~~ "Knickers in a knot" = Ticked off and on the edge of a "hissy fit"
And a few more:
~~ "Country as a turnip green"
~~ "Drunk as a farmer"
~~ "Sober as a judge"
~~ "Yankees are like hemorrhoids -- pain in the butt when they come down and always a relief when they go back up."
Robbin says she's from Muscadine, Alabama. (Yes, it is a real place -- just above Goats Bluff.)
Thanks to Matthew S. for these funnies:
"I come from Arkansas, deep in the Ozarks," he says. "I believe I've heard every one of these colloquialisms at some point. I have a few that I did not see [on your pages]. I'm sure I could think of more in time, but for now . . . "
~ "I'm hotter than a four-peckered billy goat."
~ "I'm so hungry I could eat the a** end out of a rag doll."
~ "I'm so hungry I could eat the north end of a south-bound goat."
~ "I'm sweatin' like a pregnant nun."
~ "I feel like 10 pounds of sh*t in a five pound sack."
~ "It's ball-frost cold out here."
~ "It's colder than a penguin's balls."
After pushing away from the table, stuffed from a nice meal you say, "like the monkey making love to the skunk -- didn't get all he wanted, but got all he could stand."
When around a moody woman: "That's what you get when you put a sh*tter that close to a playground."
I'll think of more later . . . love the site.
Here are some clever submissions from Sonya Miller:
A group of women were standing around talking about good lookin' men and whether or not chest hair was attractive on a man. One girl from West Virginia responded: "Honey, grass don't grow on a playground."
And two more:
I was so proud of a new perm I had put in my hair. When I showed my Granddaddy and asked him what he thought, he said, "Well, it's about as pretty as a stump full of granddaddy long legs," then he laughed. A few weeks later I showed him a new pair of jeans I bought that had holes and frayed edges and asked him what he thought; he said, "Well, I could'a saved ya some money and poured batr'y (battery) acid on em' for ya."
Cindy from Texas sends this one:
Greedy/Gluttonous: "Pigs get fed and hogs get eaten!" And the meaning? "My husband first uttered that phrase to me to make a point that when one is greedy, the greed sometimes comes back to haunt them. Thus, (just) being 'piggy' is safer than being a complete hog."
Transplanted from Mississippi to North Carolina, Jeanine C. shares:
"My Daddy told me once when I was in high school that my jeans were so tight if I had a nickel in my back pocket, he could tell if it was heads or tails."
Craig writes: My father from Texas would always say:
~~He' got more money than a monkey on a train.
~~It's colder than a well digger's ass in Wichita Falls.
~~It's raining harder than a cow pissing on a flat rock.
~~She would complain if she were hung with a new rope.
~~Red on the head like a dick on a dog.
Expressions from East Texas were sent to us by Charles W.:
~~“Happy as a dead pig in the sunshine” – content and peaceful
~~“Took off like a ruptured duck” – left in a hurry
~~“Full as a tick” – satiated with food and drink
~~Something smells bad enough to “knock a dog off a gut wagon” – a very unpleasant odor
~~“Ain’t no flies on him” – cognizant of his circumstances
From Valerie in New Orleans we received these gems:
I spent some time tonight laughing out loud at some of the "Southern Speak," and I'll contribute a few from my childhood with proper credit to the sources.
From New Orleans, mostly my daddy:
When you went out partying you went "Juking." (Probably from Juke Joints)
When you stayed too long, and your friends left you, you were "Shell Roaded."
When you were threatening your kids you promised them that if they didn't behave you would "Be all over them like white on rice."
The refrigerator was the "Ice Box."
The closet was the "Locker."
The living room was the "Front Room." (Probably because we all lived in "Shotgun" houses)
People who pumped your gas or provided other services were warmly addressed as "Cap."
Your godfather was your "Paran"; Your grandmother "Mamere."
Our front steps were called "The Stoop."
The area of grass between the two corridors of a two way street was and still is the "Neutral Ground."
The sidewalk was the "Banquet."
We called French toast "Lost Bread."
If something was expensive and you didn't buy it, you said it was "too dear."
Grocery Shopping was "Making Groceries."
When you vacuumed, you "Hoovered."
Your suitcase was your "Valise" or "Grip."
From Granny Shaw in rural Louisiana:
Your underwear was referred to as "Step-Ins."
The police were called "The Law."
If something was abundant, it was "Plum et up with it."
Children were "Chaps."
When her "Beauty Operator" didn't do her hair right, Granny Shaw claimed the woman made her look like "Betty Boop."
When she was organizing something, she was "getting it together," as in "I'm fixin to get my Christmas together."
Someone who had expensive taste had "Champagne taste and a beer pocketbook."
My all-time favorite 'Granny Shawism': "Barking dogs and Whistling Women come to no good end!"
Here's a funny note from Beverly in Arkansas:
This was a quote in the NYT from a Florida resident who had to take shelter [from the hurricane].
From the NYT:
A retiree who lives in a mobile home park said he had never been in a shelter, and he complained about sleeping on the concrete floor. "Ain't no reason in the world they don't have bunk beds," he said. "I know the government's got better money than that."
(I love "got better money than that," wrote Beverly.)
"When something was messed up, my folks would say it was mawmucked up," wrote Donna from Georgia. She continued: "They were from Folkston and Waycross, Georgia. I've never heard the expression used anywhere else. It may have originated around the swamp. My grandfather owned a sawmill and the people living near the swamp areas had their own vernacular. I really enjoy your website. I love good grammar, but some of the richness of the Old South has been lost."
Denise on the West Coast sent this note:
Hi - Saw your site and was reminded of my Mississippi grandparents and other relatives. We were born on the west coast and often wondered, "What in the world do they mean?" Sometimes, at great risk, we would ask what [the expressions] meant. Here are several doozies:
When Grandpa got upset at us (though he never ever spanked us) still he would always threaten: "Ah'm gonna whup y'all till ya rope like okri (okra)!" (Did we ever laugh -- under our breath, of course.)
Or: "Ah'm gonna stomp a mudhole in y'alls behind!" (I had to ask.)
And "Ah'm gonna whup y'all till ya bleed!"
My auntie used to say of people she didn't think highly of: "They're crazy as a piss ant!"
My uncle would say of people he thought unattractive: "That's a critical looking man/woman!" And he'd describe an uneducated person: "That's an 'iglant' man/woman!"
But the most original statement that has had our family laughing for generations was this:
Seems a country cousin was trying to join in an "ed-chu-ma-ca-ted" conversation about encroaching technology and how it was a benefit for some, especially those in the country.
As an airplane flew overhead someone said, "Looks like people flyin who ain't never flied befo." A train whistle hollered and someone said, "Looks like people ridin' who ain't never rode befo." And just then someone came up and informed them of the death of a relative, and the following comment was quickly made by the cousin: "Looks like people dying who ain't never died befo!"
Still brings tears to our eyes to quote this statement!
Avi in New York e-mailed these comments:
I am a Southerner and even though I live in New York I will never relinquish my Southern roots.
My mom used to say:
~~~ "I'm as busy as a one-legged man at an ass-kickin' contest."
~~~ "I'm as nervous as a whore in church."
~~~ When we acted up as kids, my grandma would say: "I'll slap you to sleep, then slap you for sleepin."
Got this from Wendy in Hammond, Louisiana after she visited another USADEEPSOUTH Southern Expressions page.
Southernjoy said "The Smiths are in high cotton." Around here we say, "The Smiths have been walkin' in tall cotton since Napoleon was in knee pants."---- Meaning that the family has had money for a respectable amount of years.
Chris C. said, ". . . if it hair-lips the world." I met a woman named Boo at the flea market last week. She said she was going to Mexico this year "even if it hair-lips the Pope."
Later, Wendy wrote again with this:
First, readers not from the South have to understand that in this part of the country, near the source, Popeye's Fried Chicken is not only an acceptable fast food, but for many it is fundamental. And fried chicken always comes with biscuits.
I was in WinnDixie (supermarket) yesterday, standing in aisle 4 studying the cooking oils, when two ladies met in the aisle beside me. They exchanged greetings and briefly discused the weather and the health of their families. Then one said, "How old is your youngest now?"
The other replied,"Not old enough to eat Popeyes yet, but he can suck on a biscuit."
Sandy from Tennessee wrote:
~~~ He could make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. (He can find the positive even in the most negative of situations.)
~~~ The squeaky wheel gets the grease. (The more outspoken people will usually get the job done.)
~~~ Like the gift of a white elephant. (Nobody wants one.)
~~~ Like a white elephant sitting in someone's lap. (Hard to ignore)
~~~ Why, bless your heart. (You're clueless.)
From Donna in California we received this note:
I am now in southern California but grew up in S.E. Virginia. Here are a few of my Mom's expressions:
~~~ my hair: "That part's as crooked as a dog's hind leg."
~~~ anger: "That would make a bishop mad enough to kick in stained-glass windows."
~~~ my short skirt: "Lawd, Donna, people will be able to see to Christmas!"
~~~ stupid: (This was my brother's saying, NOT Mom's.) "He don't know s**t from shinola."
~~~ being busy: "I been running all over hell's half acre."
~~~ trust: "He's a snake in the grass."
~~~ threat: "I'll knock you into the middle of next week."
~~~ looks: "She's as ugly as homemade soap" -- or "She's as ugly as a bowling shoe."
~~~ someone with an attitude: "He's got his a** on his shoulders." (Again, my brother's.)
~~~ nerves: "He was as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs."
~~~ small: "There wasn't enough room to swing a cat by its tail."
~~~ on odor: "He smelled bad enough to gag a maggot."
~~~ wealth: "He's richer'n Croesus."
~~~ thin: "She's so skinny, if she stood sideways and stuck out her tongue she'd look like a zipper."
~~~ lack of character: "He's lower than a snake's belly." ~~~ about a rambunctious youth: "She's as wild as a March hare."
Des Moore in the Lone Star State shared his favorites:
I grew up in Southern Arkansas, and then spent 30 years in Memphis. I wonder if any of your readers have ever heard these:
~~~ tump.... "Be careful, it's going to tump (fall) over." Best I can tell, tump was referring to something that would fall while being carried. Anytime I have used that in the past 20 years people look at me like I'm crazy.
~~~ dawned... "Finally it dawned on me." A realization?
~~~ chester drawers... chest of drawers. I finally figured this out on my own as I got older.
~~~ fixing..."I'm fixing to go to the store" I'm sure this is on your site somewhere.
~~~ little bit... I never figured out just how much time was measured in a "little bit." It could be endless -- "We'll be there in a little bit" -- or could be instantaneous -- "If you don't do what I tell you, I'm gonna be all over you in a little bit."
~~~ directly... Same as above, an inexact measure of time, but soon... "He'll be here directly," one of my Papa's most used expressions.
~~~ kiss my go-to-hell... A former co-worker from southeast Missouri would utter this version of cursing. He said everyone he grew up with said that.
I could do this all day, but thanks for your time.
Send us your Southern expressions to help us fill out this page!
And read more USADS Southern expression submissions from readers.
Hey, don't miss this page of great expressions ~
NEW! Kendall's Favorites!
Here are several more:
Southern Speak by Beth Boswell Jacks
Jessica's Southern Talk Page
Writing Southren by Carl Wayne
And another great list of Southern expressions from readers: CLICK HERE
More to come! Send your favorites to Ye Editor.
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