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Deep South Expressions and Colloquialisms
by Shane Hill

    Note from Ye Editor: Quite often we receive e-mail messages from our readers and we’re always pleased to get the comments, suggestions, and story/poem submissions. This makes editing USADEEPSOUTH a real pleasure – keep ‘em coming, readers!

    Quite often the messages contain southern expressions for the SouthMouth pages. The following e-mail from Shane Hill was lengthy enough to have article status. So, thanks to Shane and the Hill family wit, here’s something special! Enjoy . . .


    I'm originally from Delight, Arkansas. Your usadeepsouth site is great! Reading all those Southern Expressions made me think of some I've heard from my family all my life.

      1) He's crazier than a road-runnin' lizard.
      2) He doesn't have enough sense to pour piss out of a boot.
      3) He'd gripe with a ham under each arm. (That’s one of my grandmother's favorites for someone who was never satisfied.)
      4) I’m hungrier than a bitch hounddog suckin' pups.
      5) She's uglier than a mud fence.
      6) It'd be a dark night at the well before she'd get a drink. (In other words, she's so ugly she'd only get her water from the well at night to avoid being seen.)
      7) I'm hotter than a popcorn fart.
      8) I'm sweatin' like a whore in church on Sunday.
      9) I'm too pooped to pop. (very tired)
      10) I'm a stuck duck in a dry pond. (meaning a very difficult situation to get out of)
      11) It's so noisy in here, I can't hear myself think.
      12) It's about as useless as a sore thumb.
      13) It's colder than a well digger's butt in Idaho.
      14) "If y'all don't quit that fightin', I'm gonna whip you so hard you won't be able to sit down for a week." (This was one of my mother's favorites when my sister and I were kids)
      15) I'm worn to a frazzle. (very tired)
      16) It came a real gully-washer last night. (lots of rain)
      17) Whew, I'm hot as a bear!
      18) There were so many people, you couldn't stir 'em with a stick.
      19) She’s pretty as a speckled pup.
      20) He’s drunker than Old Cooter Brown.
      21) He came in 3 sheets in the wind. (to describe someone drunk)
      22) Why are you smilin' like a goat in a briarpatch? (Our high school coach liked to use this one when one of us was up to something we shouldn't be and were trying to hide it.)
      23) He's tighter than a fiddle string. (very conservative with money)
      24) My wife uses this one occasionally. I say, "I would really like to have that" -- to which she responds, "I'm sure a man in hell would like a drink of water too." In other words, I ain't a gettin' it.
      25) He doesn't know his butt from a hole in the ground.
      26) My mom used to say when it rains and the sun is shining that the devil is whippin' his wife.
      27) Concerning thunder she would say, "It's thundering in the thicket by blue goose the moose."
      28) And from my mother when we were getting smart with her: "You’re gettin' just a little bit too big for your britches -- I may have to take you down a notch or two."
      29) When you ask my grandmother to go anywhere of any distance, she would respond with "Oh, it's too far and snakey."
      30) Don't just sit there like a frog on a log.
      31) I'm so thirsty I could drink the well dry. (My grandmother used this one a lot.)
      32) My granddad would describe someone in a bad mood as "being out of snuff."
      33) My granddad would also refer to toys as "pretties." For example, "You'd better pick up your pretties, son." (That's pronounced "purties.")

      And I’ve thought of one more I have to add. Growing up, I never understood what it meant when my granddad said, “It smells like two cats a’fightin’” (when something smelled really bad). One day I used that expression in front of a friend and she died laughing. She asked me, “Do you know what that means?” I said, “No. I just always heard my granddad say it.” She then explained that when two Tom cats fight over a female, they spray each other among other odorous things they do to one another. All those years I’d never understood the reference. Now I do!

    I can probably think of more as I sit here, but doing this "ain't payin' the bills . . ."


    Shane Hill is a computer programmer for a small consulting company in Little Rock, Arkansas. He has a wonderful wife and twin 18-month-old sons, Tanner and Kevin, who keep him on his toes. In his "limited" spare time he enjoys reading, genealogy, history, movies and music.

    Write Shane at jshaneh@yahoo.com.

    For more Southern Expressions and Colloquialisms at USADEEPSOUTH

    And read many more great stories listed on our USADS Articles pages.


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