Home... Index... Articles... Links... From the Press... Snippets... Message Board... Editor's Bio... Bulletin Board... Submissions... Free Update... Writers... E-mail

Even More Southern Expressions
~~Sent in by USADEEPSOUTH readers~~

Some of the most popular pages at USADEEPSOUTH.COM are those containing long lists of southern expressions. As Mark Twain once wrote: "Southerners talk music!" Yes, indeed, there's no "language" more musical. Send us your best. We'll post here so everyone can enjoy.

Be sure to read Ann Ipock's funny column here on the Deep South pages titled Salute to South Mouth. This lady is funny! And send your contributions to Ye Editor at bethjacks@hotmail.com

Here we go . . .

Cristina from California sent this:
"My southern ex-husband walked up to me at a club/bar and said: Girl, You look so good I'm gonna take you home and sop you up with a biscuit. -- Now, why didn't I run? Oh, and his family used to call their trucks 'outfits'. They didn't change the oil; they changed the o'l, pronounced 'old' without the D. Another of my southern favorites is: 'Well, is a frog's ass water-tight?' (meaning 'DUH') Fantastic site! I'm just dyin'!"

Gene (who didnít divulge exactly where he's from, but who's obviously southern through and through) wrote: "These are just a few southern expressions I've picked up that I haven't seen on your site yet. Hope you like 'em."

To compliment a gal on her fine looks you might say, "Darlin, you're fine fine fine -- finer than a frog's hair split three times."

If you're sweating a lot from the heat you might say, "Well, I'm sweating like a prostitute in church."

And here are more:

----"I'm sober as a Mormon preacher on Sunday morning."
----"He traveled a minute in thirty seconds."
----"You're so ugly that when you were born the doctor slapped your momma."
----"He's country as a bowl of grits."
----"You're just a sittin' duck on the water."
----"He's dumber than a bag of hammers."
----"Rigor Mortis set in before he hit the water." (Killed a duck so dead)
----"I've got a beep." (Someone's on call waiting.)


Derek N. from Florida sends these great expressions to enhance our abundant lists of Southernisms.

My grandfather used to always come up with the craziest sayings like:

----"It stank so bad it'd knock a buzzard off a gut wagon."
----"I'll hit you in the Adam's apple so hard you'll be spitting cider for a week."
----"That table's so heavy it'd take three men and a midget to lift it."
----"What yer tellin me don't amount to a 'blivit' . . ." (a blivit is 10 pounds of manure in a 5 pound bag)
----(In reference to a large group) "You couldn't swing a dead cat without hittin' one of 'em."
----and finally my favorite: "That boy makes about as much sense as tits on a (insert completely unrelated inanimate object here)" . . . such as: tree, lawnmower, brass monkey, etc.

From reader Betty T. comes a friendly e-mail message with these contributions to SouthMouth:
--"He's only got one oar in the water." (not all there)
--"If she were an inch taller she'd be round." (overweight)
--"He's busier than a one-legged man in a butt kickin' contest." (Ye Editor thinks this one is also on page 1 of SouthMouth, but it's so good she posted it again.

Stacey C sends these funny expressions:

* "Swingin' my legs from a dime" -- meaning that I said or did something that I was ashamed of; or to feel little.

* "That youngin is as wild as a junebug on a string."

* "It's colder than a well digger's butt in the winter."

* "It's hotter than a billy goat in a pepper patch."

* "She's got them summer teeth" -- meaning "some are" here, "some are" there.

From South Carolina comes this missive from Miss Amanda.
"In South Carolina, just south of the North Carolina border, you hear:
Cut da light on/off, y'all.
He's doin' like you. (behaving)
I'm gonna cut your tail. (discipline)
Where you stay? (live)
A principal to the student body - 'The purses are gettin' gone, jewrey is gettin' gone, a person's sweater is gettin' gone. Now we got to do somethin about all this stuff gettin' gone.' (disappearing)"

Miss Amanda adds: "I'm doing a scrapbook page about all the expressions I came across while 'staying' there."

Jennie in Smyrna, GA, writes to us: "I loved this site. But I don't recall seeing a couple of sayings my mother always said to us -- 'I'll wear you out till your hide won't hold shucks' and 'I'm gonna wear you to a frazzle!' That was said when we were in big trouble."

Paula T. has these contributions for our More Southmouth page:
"My Alabama grandmother used to tell us girls that we looked 'poor as a killdee' -- in other words we were too skinny!"

"My dear Aunt Ruby," Paula continues, "used to say she was 'limber tickled'. Another of her favorite sayings meaning someone was two-faced was: 'Ain't nobody gonna mess on me and call it apple butter!'"

A favorite from her sister is this one: "He can get glad the same way he got mad, or else he's gon' die unhappy."

And more: "She's been rode hard and put up wet!" (describing somebody who looks as if they been whupped)

Another: "He's so ugly, he didn't get hit with the ugly stick, he got whopped with the whole forest!" (He's really uglyyyyyy!)

And finally, Paula's mother, when mad at her kids, would say: "I'll knock you into the middle of next week lookin' both ways for Sunday!"

From Adam O comes this submission to our list:
"I was picking a hot bluegrass tune with a fellow from Louisiana. When we finished he said, 'That possum's on the stump!' meaning that's about as good as it gets."

Roger W. from Georgia hollers at us:
"I happened across your web site yesterday and enjoyed it completely. Your contributors provided me with a couple of well deserved belly laughs. Sometimes I think we Southerners forget the vitality, wit, and charm of our language. Your site helped remind me of that.

"That being said, let me join the fray. There are a couple of words and phrases I would like to submit.

"The first word is jubus. It conveys extreme anxiety. The next word is sybeanus. It defines a very strong thunderstorm. I'll use them in a sentence: 'Uncle Augustus turned jubus when the sybeanus tore the front porch clean off his house.'

"One phrase is thumping gizzard which conveys someone who is uncaring and cruel. For example: Jo Jo didn't tell Mama Jean he enjoyed her banana puddin'. That boy's got a thumpin' gizzard for a heart.

"And have you ever heard with a tail on it? This indicates severity of degree, as in: She had a hissy fit with a tail on it."

Jimmy Green writes, "My grandmother used this phrase frequently: 'Caint (can't) never could do nothing.' In other, less poetic words, negativity is pointless."

Ye Editor answered that this was a common utterance in her family too, but was said like this: "Can't never could." Good one!

And this came to us from Sara in St. Louis:
"This morning I got a few stares when I exclaimed: 'Dern, it's as cold as all git out!'"

Floridian Don McL sends these Southernisms:
*) It's been hotter'n a goat's butt in a pepper patch.
*) He fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down.
*) Have a cup of coffee--it's already been saucered and blowed.
*) She's so stuck up, she'd drown in a rainstorm.
*) It's so dry the trees are bribing the dogs.
*) My cow died last night so I don't need your bull.
*) He's as country as cornflakes.
*) This is gooder'n grits.
*) Busier than a cat covering crap on a marble floor.
*) Busier than a moth in a mitten!

A reader named Mark e-mailed us:
"As a mere Englishman," he said, "I picked these up over the years and was surprised not to see them listed on your site. Perhaps this is simply because they're just too commonplace?"

Happy as a clam at high tide
Nervous as a longtailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs
Nervous as a hound pissing peach pits
Cold as a well-digger's ass in January

"Similes in current usage in England," Mark added, "include these."
A face like a bulldog licking catpiss off a stinging nettle.
(Expressing extreme distaste)

A face like a robber's dog. (Expressing aggression)

As much use as a catflap in a submarine

"And," he said, "much less widely known is this one."
Getting a straight answer out of [insert name of politician of your choice] is like trying to plait (braid) live eels in a bucket. (A poor thing, but mine own. )

Visit Mark's rockin' web site: Growing Old Disgracefully.


Kathy in California shares this one:
An expression my grandmother from Graford, Texas, used to say when she was feeling poorly: "I feel like I've been chewed up and spit out."


Ray Pardue shares these expressions:

Growing up in Horse Creek, Tennessee, I heard many an expression that continues to tickle the funnybone today:

My father described anything that happened fast, "Like a dose of salts through a widow woman." Presumably, a good shot of Epsom Salts made its way quickly though the digestive system of any lady who had lost a husband?

Another one treated a hasty exit: "He run outta there like a turpentined cat." I do recall a cruel trick in east Tennessee (we were easily amused) involved rubbing turpentine on a cat's behind to see how fast the cat would run and scrape its bottom on the ground.

Tennessee Ernie Ford, from my same part of Tennessee, used to describe a terrified person as having eyes that "looked like two buckeyes in a barrel of buttermilk."

The other expression that comes to mind treats any situation that went bad because somebody did something wrong: "Somebody throwed a clod in the churn."


Marie W. from Mississippi writes to Ye Editor at USADEEPSOUTH: "My grandma and mother have drilled these southern expressions into my mind."

She's a tall drink of water. (tall and skinny)

He's as crooked as a barrel of snakes.

You're like a bad penny -- always turning up.

She could ruin a two-car funeral.

He's my wingman. (back-up/partner)

Don't judge them until you've walked a mile in their moccasins.

Lie down with dogs and you'll get up with fleas. (Bad pals will rub off on you.)

You're diggin your own grave. (You're messing up.)

You're lower than a snake's belly in a wagon rut.

That dog don't hunt. (That story doesn't add up.)

Don't look a gift horse in the mouth. (Don't criticize a gift or the giver.)

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink.

He hadn't got much going on upstairs. (mentally vacant)

I'm dry as dirt. (Sober)

If there's one rat you can see, there's gonna be 50 you can't. (If he's caught in one lie, there's gonna be a lot more you haven't caught.)


Larry P. from Cordova, Tennessee, sends these good 'uns:
"It was so hot we had to CUT on the fan."

"Can you CARRY me up to the PICTURE SHOW?"

"A BODY can't get a minute's peace in this house."

"I thought she was looking KINDLY sick and UNDER THE WEATHER."

"It's hot as hades 'round here, IDINIT?"

"When 'em guys was fightin', who passed the first LICK?"

"I believe SUMPN funny's goin' on around this place."


Posey B. from Meridian, Mississippi, sends these:
"Home again, home again, jiggity jig!"
(We would say this when we first saw the carport after a long trip.)

"What does that have to do with the price of tea in China?"
(You are getting off the subject.)

Read more USADS southern expression submissions from readers.

And here's more: Even More SouthMouth

Hey, don't miss this page of great expressions!

And here's another good one: Southern Speak by Beth Boswell Jacks

Whew! And more -- NEW!
Even More South Mouth II
Even More South Mouth III

More to come! Send your favorites to Ye Editor.

Back to USADEEPSOUTH - I index page

Back to USADEEPSOUTH - II index page