PDA

View Full Version : Calling all Southerners; need southern "sayings"



Karen Duvall
10-11-2008, 11:18 PM
I have a character in my WIP from Kentucky and she often uses Southern says when she talks. I'm trying not to go overboard, but I'd really like some unique ones, some that aren't cliché. I think Southern sayings are so clever! I found this one online: Madder than a mule chewing on bumble bees. I'd like to find more like this.

Any Southerners here who can help me? Or can you direct me to a good resource online? Thanks!

Entropy Perk
10-11-2008, 11:27 PM
1) When a southern female insults someone, its always acceptable, as long as she also says, "Bless her heart."

2) A fav saying my grandmother used to use (from Georgia): "She's so stupid, she don't know if Jesus Christ was crucified, or hit on the head with a box of rocks. Bless her heart."

P.S. Bend is awesome. I have an old HS friends who lives there!

Phoebe H
10-11-2008, 11:27 PM
My father's favorite was "Even a blind hog gathers a few acorns." He would usually shorten that to "Even a blind hog."

Phoebe H
10-11-2008, 11:29 PM
1) When a southern female insults someone, its always acceptable, as long as she also says, "Bless her heart."

Or the even more extreme "Bless her little heart."

Karen Duvall
10-11-2008, 11:34 PM
Oh, yeah, I forgot about "Bless her heart." My character has a major attitude, so this one's good to remember. Thanks!


My father's favorite was "Even a blind hog gathers a few acorns." He would usually shorten that to "Even a blind hog."

Uh, okay, but Phoebe, what does this mean? *Please pardon my yankee ignorance.* :D

Keep 'em comin'! I'm making a file. :)

vixey
10-11-2008, 11:35 PM
Karen,

I'm going to think about this since you want longer sayings. While I don't have relatives from Kentucy, I have several from North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.

My father (a native Virginian - and I know people from the deep South don't consider Virginia southern - but, well, it is) doesn't swear. Here're his substitutes:

I swanny = I swear
Daggum (any spelling will work) = dammit

My grandfather (North Carolinian) had a few (but I can only remember one right now):
Every time your elbow bends your mouth flies open. (Teasing anyone about eating too much, particularly teenagers.)

I'll try to think of others.

Karen Duvall
10-11-2008, 11:35 PM
Or the even more extreme "Bless her little heart."

And isn't there also one that says "Bless her little pea-pickin' heart"? Never did understand that one.

Karen Duvall
10-11-2008, 11:39 PM
Karen,

I'm going to think about this since you want longer sayings. While I don't have relatives from Kentucy, I have several from North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.

My father (a native Virginian - and I know people from the deep South don't consider Virginia southern - but, well, it is) doesn't swear. Here're his substitutes:

I swanny = I swear
Daggum (any spelling will work) = dammit

My grandfather (North Carolinian) had a few (but I can only remember one right now):
Every time your elbow bends your mouth flies open. (Teasing anyone about eating too much, particularly teenagers.)

I'll try to think of others.

LOL, Vixey! I love it! This gal has no trouble swearing, though. Love the elbow bending one. Priceless. :D

Little Red Barn
10-11-2008, 11:44 PM
Oh, yeah, I forgot about "Bless her heart." My character has a major attitude, so this one's good to remember. Thanks!



Uh, okay, but Phoebe, what does this mean? *Please pardon my yankee ignorance.* :D

Keep 'em comin'! I'm making a file. :)
Well Karen, I know a ton :D however the BEST, the abolute BEST came right from a non-native, OFG, Jen, here when she :cough: told someone to ' you can just kiss my big red kentucky fried chicken a$$' !!! Course, that was back in the days before her modem and all. ; )
That's seared in my brain forever! :D

ETA: E's are pronounced as A's such as 'Break' my heart, would be 'brake' my heart...see? Loud a like did you see, did ya sa... lazy lanuguage :D

Ol' Fashioned Girl
10-11-2008, 11:46 PM
Or 'bless her/his l'il cotton socks!'

'Wild oats make a poor breakfast.'

If something isn't straight, it's 'antigogglin'.

'S/he don't know 'come'ere' from 'sic'em'.'

And about a zillion I can't think of 'cause you asked! :)

Ol' Fashioned Girl
10-11-2008, 11:49 PM
Well Karen, I know a ton :D however the BEST, the abolute BEST came right from a non-native, OFG, Jen, here when she :cough: told someone to ' you can just kiss my big red kentucky fried chicken a$$' !!! Course, that was back in the days before her modem and all. ; )
That's seared in my brain forever! :D

:roll:

I had no idea I had such an effect on you, kimmi! :)

Only it was 'you can kiss my ruby red Kentucky chicken-fried ass'. Just sayin'.

Little Red Barn
10-11-2008, 11:52 PM
:roll:

I had no idea I had such an effect on you, kimmi! :)

Only it was 'you can kiss my ruby red Kentucky chicken-fried ass'. Just sayin'.
Well, heck you taught me copy/paste and so much more. I ruined a keyboard that day... hahha, have to go look up again, won't be hard to find, I believe in was in 28 in font!! :D

Little Red Barn
10-11-2008, 11:56 PM
Here Karen, perhaps this will haalp! ; )


Appalachian Dialect of Eastern Kentucky (http://www.ih.k12.oh.us/msbellb/Dialect%20Page.htm)

American Dialect Links (http://www.evolpub.com/Americandialects/AmDialLnx.html)

Karen Duvall
10-12-2008, 12:02 AM
Thanks, everyone. I'm lovin' these!

Little Red Barn
10-12-2008, 12:14 AM
Well, hell's bells, very popular, Karen.

the whole sentence ie. "well, hells bells!? and used to express; frustration, surprise, happy, question, etc...

Seaclusion
10-12-2008, 12:16 AM
Uh, okay, but Phoebe, what does this mean? *Please pardon my yankee ignorance.* :D
:)


Actually the saying as I've heard it is:

Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn every once in a while.

It is said when someone foolishly or inadvertanly does the right thing even though they don't know they've done the right thing. Example: Throws a wrench at a malfunctioning car, hits something, and the car stops malfunctioning.

Richard (American by birth, Southern by the grace of god)

Karen Duvall
10-12-2008, 12:18 AM
Well, hell's bells, very popular, Karen.

I love hell's bells. ;) In fact, that's what the spawnster (Hellspawn) prostitutes are called in my story world. I'm writing a steampunk urban fantasy.

Phoebe H
10-12-2008, 12:29 AM
Oh, yeah, I forgot about "Bless her heart." My character has a major attitude, so this one's good to remember. Thanks!



Uh, okay, but Phoebe, what does this mean? *Please pardon my yankee ignorance.* :D

Keep 'em comin'! I'm making a file. :)

It's kind of like "Even a stopped clock is right twice a day." (Which is *not* a southern saying.) It means no matter how inept you are, you'll still get it right every once in awhile.

Karen Duvall
10-12-2008, 12:30 AM
OMG, I just stumbled on a bunch. I'm still wiping the tears from my eyes.

It's so dry the trees are whistling for the dogs.

Busier than a cat covering crap on a marble floor. (what an image!)

The wheel's still turning, but the hamster's dead.

There are a lot of nooses in his family tree.

Never kick a fresh turd on a hot day.

He's about as sharp as a mashed potato.

It'll last about as long as a fart in a whirlwind.

Phoebe H
10-12-2008, 12:38 AM
Hmmm.

I had one teacher who would tell us that we had "diarrhea of the lip" when we talked too much in class.

"What in the Sam Hill?" instead of "What the hell?"

One of the last southernism's I lost was 'fixin' which means 'about to' or 'getting ready to' as in "I'm fixin' to go to the store."

Phoebe H
10-12-2008, 12:39 AM
Actually the saying as I've heard it is:

Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn every once in a while.

Yeah, my dad may have just decided to make the saying his own. We had a lot of feral hogs on our farm.

joyce
10-12-2008, 12:40 AM
No need to get your drawers in a knot. (drawers are underwear)
Tough titty said the kitty but the milk's still good.
It's as worthless as cows peeing on a flat rock.
God's willing and the creek don't rise.
It's colder than a well diggers ass in Alaska.

Now I can't think of any because you need them.:)

Little Red Barn
10-12-2008, 12:40 AM
One last for you, Karen. Sweetie! An endearment, a hello, and as easily said as use for your name, although I know in other regions this may seem demeaning of it's usage. Not so, here... a term very much used for even a stranger.

Ol' Fashioned Girl
10-12-2008, 12:45 AM
It's as worthless as cows peeing on a flat rock.


You've got two of my sainted father's expressions tied up together: Worthless as tits on a boar shoat... and... (if it's raining hard) like a cow peein' on a flat rock.

Ol' Fashioned Girl
10-12-2008, 12:46 AM
Oh! I'm so dry, I'm fartin' dust. (O' course a lady would never say such a thing!)

Woodsie
10-12-2008, 12:51 AM
"That just flew all over me." = That made me mad.
"The higher the hair, the closer to Jesus."
"That smarts!" = That hurts.

joyce
10-12-2008, 12:55 AM
You've got two of my sainted father's expressions tied up together: Worthless as tits on a boar shoat... and... (if it's raining hard) like a cow peein' on a flat rock.

LOL I just realized that as I was fixing some fried chicken. I came in here to fix it. I'm glad you realized it. I thought about it and laughed....it made no sense. They were two of my father's favorite sayings too.:D

Fern
10-12-2008, 12:59 AM
He's too dumb to pour pi$$ out of a boot.

Y'all come on over to the poor farm. (Invitation to come visit)

You ain't whistlin' Dixie.

"We'll,I'll swan." Some saw swanee as already mentioned. Assuming it originated from something to do with Swanee River, but don't really know.

He's walkin' in tall cotton. (means he is doing good or feeling really good about something.)

Everything went to hell in a hand basket.

Karen Duvall
10-12-2008, 01:02 AM
Some more I found:

We were so poor I had a tumbleweed as a pet.

I'm so hungry I'm fartin' cobwebs.

:ROFL:

Ol' Fashioned Girl
10-12-2008, 01:04 AM
He's too dumb to pour pi$$ out of a boot.

... with the directions written on the heel. :D

RLB
10-12-2008, 01:07 AM
My dad (a TN native) uses the expletive "Garden seeds!" when he's surprised or awed and "Shoot fire!" when he's mad. I'm sure I'll think of more; my whole family is from TN. "Bless her heart" is a great one though.

Williebee
10-12-2008, 01:12 AM
It's gonna come up a cloud (rain)

joyce
10-12-2008, 01:13 AM
Madder than a rattlesnake with rabies.

StephanieFox
10-12-2008, 01:26 AM
"down the road a piece" (an indeterminant distance)

eliza1903
10-12-2008, 01:38 AM
They're not sayings so much as used in everyday speech:

MASH -- you don't press or push a button, you mash it.
CUT IT ON-- you know how you cut off lights and other electrical appliances? in the South, you can "cut it on", too.
COKE -- in the Southeast (save Florida, which is overrun by Yankees and most of it is not considered the South), every carbonated beverage is a Coke. If you're taking orders, it goes like this:

"You want a Coke?"
"Yeah, that'd be great."
"What kind?"
"I'll have a Mountain Dew."

Call it "pop" and get your throat slit...just by the look you'll receive.

I live in Ohio now, and the first time I was asked to "sweep the carpet" I looked at my husband like he was insane. You vacuum the carpet, you sweep the hard surfaces.

My mom was raised in rural Mississippi and Tennessee during the 50s and 60s, but she doesn't say any of those superlative phrases like "than a __ on a __." My dad was raised in Virginia and in Tennessee, and I don't know any of them, either. I don't find that sort of thing offensive, but I grew up almost exclusively in suburban South Carolina, and while the accent is strong, to be sure, I never heard any of that growing up. I think if you're concerned with being authentic, you should go for the more subtle, regional things, like have been mentioned.

"Bless her heart" is a huge one. :-D You can say anything if you add the blessing onto it.

Also, Southern hostesses have their own code. You ask your guest three times over the course of the evening if he wants something. If he says no the first time, a half-hour later he MAY POSSIBLY will have changed his mind, and you've saved some just in case, so you ask again. If he turns you down a second time, you wait another half-hour and ask him again. If he turns it down again, ask again, later, just before you're ready to start putting things away. It's not rude to say no, but it's bad hostessing if you don't offer as much as possible. HOWEVER, it's good to know that this is just how you're raised. No one ever tells you these things. You just pick them up. If you're born in the South, as a woman, it is inborn. You simply GET it.

eliza1903
10-12-2008, 01:39 AM
"down the road a piece" (an indeterminant distance)

Georgians and Carolinians say "a ways". :-D

joyce
10-12-2008, 02:35 AM
They're not sayings so much as used in everyday speech:

MASH -- you don't press or push a button, you mash it.
CUT IT ON-- you know how you cut off lights and other electrical appliances? in the South, you can "cut it on", too.
COKE -- in the Southeast (save Florida, which is overrun by Yankees and most of it is not considered the South), every carbonated beverage is a Coke. If you're taking orders, it goes like this:

"You want a Coke?"
"Yeah, that'd be great."
"What kind?"
"I'll have a Mountain Dew."

Call it "pop" and get your throat slit...just by the look you'll receive.

I live in Ohio now, and the first time I was asked to "sweep the carpet" I looked at my husband like he was insane. You vacuum the carpet, you sweep the hard surfaces.

My mom was raised in rural Mississippi and Tennessee during the 50s and 60s, but she doesn't say any of those superlative phrases like "than a __ on a __." My dad was raised in Virginia and in Tennessee, and I don't know any of them, either. I don't find that sort of thing offensive, but I grew up almost exclusively in suburban South Carolina, and while the accent is strong, to be sure, I never heard any of that growing up. I think if you're concerned with being authentic, you should go for the more subtle, regional things, like have been mentioned.

"Bless her heart" is a huge one. :-D You can say anything if you add the blessing onto it.

Also, Southern hostesses have their own code. You ask your guest three times over the course of the evening if he wants something. If he says no the first time, a half-hour later he MAY POSSIBLY will have changed his mind, and you've saved some just in case, so you ask again. If he turns you down a second time, you wait another half-hour and ask him again. If he turns it down again, ask again, later, just before you're ready to start putting things away. It's not rude to say no, but it's bad hostessing if you don't offer as much as possible. HOWEVER, it's good to know that this is just how you're raised. No one ever tells you these things. You just pick them up. If you're born in the South, as a woman, it is inborn. You simply GET it.

Hey....I'm from Florida and I ain't no Yankee carpetbagger! :D

You made me think of things I do on a normal day. Coke to me is everything from Mountain Dew to Pepsi. I do say "cut it on" and the mash thing made me crack up. The hostess thing, well I'm sooooo guilty of this one. Food is an important thing to a southern hostess. We may be poor, but we'll sure serve you some food. I must ask my husband at every dinner, and I mean every dinner, ten times can I get him anything else. It is inborn.

By the way, you are right about Florida, especially in the central and southern regions. My mom was from Georgia so I was raised in the true spirit of the south. So many people from the North have moved here, the place is a melting pot. Personally I'm a southern woman and I wouldn't trade it for all the corn pone in heaven! :)

bethany
10-12-2008, 02:44 AM
I live in Kentucky and consider the area where I live MUCH more influenced by midwestern culture than southern. You probably want to research what area your character is from at least a little. (Not saying you haven't, but as a Kentuckian I don't consider myself southern, or speak with a southern accent or know anyone who does, except people I know from Tennessee and Missisippi). Good luck with your project! :D

MelancholyMan
10-12-2008, 02:55 AM
1) When a southern female insults someone, its always acceptable, as long as she also says, "Bless her heart."

An alternative to this is "God luv 'em."

"He's as ugly as a shucked cob, God luv 'em."

My wife, from a small town in Alabama, has a few that we enjoy:

Covered over - meaning a place is full. As in, if a restaurant is full it is 'covered over.'

Fell out - Laughed real hard. As in fell out laughing.

Southern sayings are highly regional. Kentucky sayings are probably not the same ones used here in North Alabama.

Karen Duvall
10-12-2008, 03:21 AM
You guys are great! Thanks a heap. My story is set in an alternate history US, so I'm not holding my feet to the fire to make sure all nuances specific to the region are in place. A great earthquake in the mid 1800s slowed progress and by 2010, the world is still stuck in an industrial age. "Coal is king and steam is the dream." The entire state of Virginia is a coal mine and Kentucky is covered in patch towns. My Kentucky character is a fish-out-water in New York City and her upbringing colors her speech to make her stand out, bless her heart. :D

Saanen
10-12-2008, 03:33 AM
I think someone already mentioned this one, but I've often heard "he's as useless as tits on a boar hog."

"His head must have been on fire" = "what was he thinking?"

I went to school in Kentucky, and picked up some Kentucky sayings. A piss-ant is someone who's really annoying, you say "reach me that book" and "get a shower," and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are pronounced "reesey cups." Those are the ones I've kept. I'm from Tennessee.

Oh, and I think these are western phrases (my mom's family is from the west Texas/Oklahoma area), but you might like them: flat as a fritter (I think a fritter is a kind of pancake thing), and "all the way around Robin Hood's barn" meaning having to go the long way round to get somewhere.

mscelina
10-12-2008, 04:00 AM
Sweatin' like a whore in church.

My personal favorite.

"It's so hot out I'm sweatin' like a whore in church." can also be used interchangably to indicate nervousness or anxiety.

Ol' Fashioned Girl
10-12-2008, 04:41 AM
And no Southern woman worth her raisin' would allow people to come into her home without greeting them with, "Jeet?" Roughly translated, that's, "Did you eat? Want something now?"

kdnxdr
10-12-2008, 04:52 AM
This one took me forever to understand:

"You ain't got no business doing that like a hog does wearing a side saddle."

Others:

"I'll knock you into a month of Sundays!"

"Stand there like little rows of corn, ALL EARS!" ( spoken endearingly to children)

Smiling Ted
10-12-2008, 09:07 AM
Dumb as a bag of hair. (For a woman.)
Dumb as a box of hammers. (For a man.)

For a sense of Appalachian rhythms, there are two places you might try:

1. The fantasies of Manly Wade Wellman (check him out in Wikipedia).
2. The oral history project of the WPA - the Folklore Project.

SouthernFriedJulie
10-12-2008, 03:48 PM
Georgians and Carolinians say "a ways". :-D

Some of us say 'a piece' or 'a ways'.

I haven't read the whole thread, so fergive me if someone else done went and tolt ya this...


Nearly every southerner knows exactly where YONDER is. My New York husband was so confused when I took him back to NC. For years he'd ask me just where the hell yonder was. Here's a couple of examples.

"Where is the pond?"- A. "Over yonder a ways."
"Where did you put the cup?" -A. "Over yonder in the kitchen."

Over yonder can be 1 foot away or 1,000 miles. I've heard people say "over yonder in England."

OFG pointed out 'Jeet'. It can also be said 'Ya'll et?' or 'et yet?'

Older southerners might 'set a spell' when they visit.

One thing that would make your character stand out like a sore thumb in NY: Many southerners call a grocery cart a buggy. No Yankee younger than 50 says it in this part of NY.


I forgot to add in one. 'Lord knows'. It's kind of a way to show you're sincere.

"Lord knows I didn't mean to run over your prize rooster."
Or to be mean but not too mean...
"Lord knows the boy don't have a lick of sense."


Also, many of us add R's into our words. I don't WASH dishes, I WARSH them. I don't have windows, I have winders. There are a lot more, it's just hard to remember them all!

Ol' Fashioned Girl
10-12-2008, 04:07 PM
Oh, Julie! I forgot the 'r' thing! My mom and I used to laugh at ourselves over that one... as well as the pronunciation of 'wire', 'pliers', 'tire', and 'fire' - any 'i' and 'r' word - somehow, the 'i' transmorgrified into an 'a' and came out 'wawr', 'plawrs', 'tawr', and 'fawr'.

Unique
10-12-2008, 04:15 PM
' fair ta middlin ' - response to 'How're ya doin'?'

' could eat corn through a chain link fence ' - buckteeth

'innit?' = isn't it? as in 'Hot today, innit?'

MelancholyMan
10-12-2008, 06:47 PM
A minor point: Kentucky is NOT a southern state. It may be rural and agrarian, and connected to a southern state, but it is not and will never be considered a southern state by the majority of people who live in southern states. Not only is it north of the Mason-Dixon line, but it did not join the rebellion in the War of Northern Aggression.

Southern state are: VA, NC, SC, GA, FL, AL, MS, LA, TX, AR, TN

Ol' Fashioned Girl
10-12-2008, 06:56 PM
IT is south of the Mason-Dixon line, though, so... :)

Appalachian Writer
10-12-2008, 06:59 PM
If you're feeling particularly well, you'd say "I'm finer than a frog's hair."
If someone is attractive : "Pretty as a speckled pup."
Very busy: "Busy as a one-armed paper hanger."
Very crafty or sly or particularly icy: "Slicker than snot."

We mountain folk (and btw, you're asking for mountain dialect. That's certainly what you're getting here) love our similies.

Appalachian Writer
10-12-2008, 07:07 PM
A minor point: Kentucky is NOT a southern state. It may be rural and agrarian, and connected to a southern state, but it is not and will never be considered a southern state by the majority of people who live in southern states. Not only is it north of the Mason-Dixon line, but it did not join the rebellion in the War of Northern Aggression.

Southern state are: VA, NC, SC, GA, FL, AL, MS, LA, TX, AR, TN

Kentucky had individual volunteers who served either the Union or the Confederacy, but the state, as a whole, remained neutral. Kentucky may not be officially southern, but it is officially a part of the five state group considered as Appalachia. The expressions I've read here are certainly part of the Appalachian dialect. I think that's the confusion. Southern and Appalachian dialects are two very different things. :D

HeronW
10-12-2008, 07:27 PM
when wanting/noting a small amount: just a tad
a tinier amount: just a titch
amazement: well don't that just beat all?
surprise: Land 'o Goshen!
angry: get riled up
peeved: well shit fire and save matches

Elonna
10-12-2008, 07:33 PM
'useless as tits on a boar hog'

Williebee
10-12-2008, 08:24 PM
On "fell out"?

Here in Southern Illinois if someone "done fell out", it means they passed out.

I'd been working emergency dispatch for about a month when I heard that the first time.

Not being from here, my response was, "...of the car?"

WriteKnight
10-12-2008, 10:45 PM
Some slang from TEXAS - so its part southern, part western. These are examples used by friends and family over the years.

"Come in out of that weather." - A greeting regardless of the weather.

"Hells Bells" - Mild curse

"A LOT of people in Hell would like icewater, and they can't have it!" - You may as well ask for the moon, your request is not going to be fulfilled.

"That boy couldn't find his ass with both hands tied behind his back" - A favorite of my father's - rough translation - 'clueless'.

"Richer than nine feet up a bull's ass..." - Stay with me on this one, its a description of really, really rich food. Yeah, I know.

"Dumber than a box of rocks" - see hammer and hair references.

"Even a blind hog will find an acorn - Even a broken clock is right twice a day" - both variations used.

"All hat and no cattle." - All show, and no substance.

"He's a post turtle." - Yeah, we really used this to signify the someone who has been elevated to a position they cannot hold, are unable to execute, and victimized by the people who put them there.

"He's going around his elbow to get to his mouth" - Unreasonably long winded or obtuse explanation.

"Talk the hind leg off a donkey" - "Talk your ear off" - People you literally have to walk away from to end a conversation with.

"Hotter'n blazes" - yeah, hot.

"Colder than a witches tit." = I never figured that one out... how would you k now?

"A fart in the wind." "You're just farting in the wind" = Useless or unnoticed effort.

Richard White
10-12-2008, 10:47 PM
And don't forget "druther"

Quote: "Ifn I had my druthers, I'd druther not do that."

Beach Bunny
10-12-2008, 11:45 PM
One thing to keep in mind, that within the South there are regional differences not only in accent, but in sayings. My momma's family is from Northern Alabama and they do not say "warsh". My daddy's family is from Southern Georgia and they didn't do the "r" thing either. However, my Granddaddy said "maters" and "taters" instead of "tomatoes" and "potatoes" (And I done spelled them wrong, but taking the "e" out looks wrong.)

There is also the phrase "cotton-picking" which is used in the place of dirty or to emphasize a command .. "Get your cotton-picking hands out of the cookie jar!" instead of "Get your dirty hands out of the cookie jar!", but could be said even if the offenders hands aren't dirty. :)

We also "put things up" instead of putting things "away." (A friend of mine pointed this out to me a couple of years ago. But, putting things "away" doesn't guarantee safety, you must them "up" ;) )

"You all" and "all you all" ... Some Yankees mistakenly believe that "You all" is singular and "all you all" is plural. "You" is singular. "You all" is plural and means some of you or at least one of a group. "All you all" means everyone in the group or all of you. :)

"Where you at?" is the slurred form of "Where're you at?" which is the contraction of "Where are you at?" (A yankee friend of mine pointed this out to me a year ago, I never noticed.)

My granddaddy's favorite saying was "Close the door, you're letting the flies out."

And if you haven't recognized it by now, when referencing a specific person in your people, you preference it with "my" ... My momma, my mother, my father, my daddy, my cousin, etc. When talking to one of your children you call their father (your husband or ex-husband) "your father" as in "Go ask your father." This works in reverse ie, "Go ask your mother." Depending on how educated the family was, parents are referred to either as "Momma" and "Daddy" or "mother" and "father."

My mother and I disagree as to the proper spelling of 'momma'. She insists that it is properly spelled "mama", but I insist that it is "momma", because it is pronounced "mom-uh" not "mah-mah" :)

Yes, I was born and raised in Florida and there ain't a drop of yankee blood traveling in my veins. :tongue

Nowadays, in all parts of the South it is unusual to hear a deep, thick Southern accent. A year or so ago, I was driving through Georgia and stopped at a filling station. The young woman working the cash register had such a pronounced accent that I (very rudely) stared at her, I was so taken aback. It has been a long time since I had heard anyone speak like that.

mrockwell
10-13-2008, 12:28 AM
I had a roommate from Mississippi who, in addition to many of the things mentioned here, always used to say, "cool beans!" when she thought something was...well, cool. I don't know if that's a strictly southern saying, but I never heard it before I met her, so I always assumed it was.

-- Marcy

gophergrrrl
10-13-2008, 01:33 AM
Ok, first of all, let me just say that most of these are things I have never heard anyone from around here say. I was born and raised and still live in Eastern Kentucky. I mean, I live out in the boonies. Very few of these phrases are actually used around here. Very few. And we do have some good analogies in these parts.

I'm going to use profanity, just for the sake of the phrases. I hope I don't get modded or offend anyone. Apologies in advance. =o]

"Well hell's bells...." is used.
"I'm as busy as a cat coverin' shit on a tin roof."
"Hot damn"
"You're chewin' like a mule in a briar patch" (someone who is being very obnoxious with a piece of chewing gum, food, etc..)
"She could eat corn through a picket fence" (for those bucktoothed lads and lasses)
"You've got a face that could stop an eight day clock" (ugly folks, I guess)
"come hail or high water" - (determination)
"If it kills every cow in texas" (determination)
"Lordy Mercy" (Lord Have Mercy)
"Land o'goshen" Started off with something to do with Atlantic Ocean, and then it became a phrase frequently yelled/shouted in a time of excitement.
"Shit on a stick" In the situations when this phrase is used, they could technically just stop after the first word, but most of the time you'll hear the whole sentence. It's a phrase used if something goes wrong, ie; drop and break a glass, blow out a tire, break a nail, etc.
"She's got a hitch in her git-a-long" This can be used randomly. You can mean that someone is crazy, or someone is walking funny, or someone is acting sad, etc etc.
"Her mouth flops like a barndoor in a windstorm" Pretty self explanitory.

Gah, there are too many. Too many! If you need more, just message me or something.


I swanny = I swear
Daggum (any spelling will work) = dammit
Actually, it's "I swan" (don't ask me why-- doesn't make any sense to me either) and the other is more like "Dag gumit". I've never actually heard "daggum", but I have heard the other many times.

Siddow
10-13-2008, 01:42 AM
I had a roommate from Mississippi who, in addition to many of the things mentioned here, always used to say, "cool beans!" when she thought something was...well, cool. I don't know if that's a strictly southern saying, but I never heard it before I met her, so I always assumed it was.

-- Marcy

I first heard that one in CA, where it was also said Frijoles Freeos! lol.

III
10-13-2008, 01:49 AM
"Everyone gets their kiss at the pig"
- meaning everyone has a chance to share their opinion

"You can't get this wad of toothpaste back in the tube"
- meaning you can't undo something once it's done

Fern
10-13-2008, 01:52 AM
I live in Oklahoma and all those sayings are used here too gophergirl. Land o'goshen I've heard, but not very often. Come hail or high water makes more sense to me now - I've always thought it was "hell" or high
water. :D Around here it is "Dad gummit" or Dad gum" or Dad blast.


"Colder than a witches tit." = I never figured that one out... how would you k now?

The rest of that is "in a brass bra".

vixey
10-13-2008, 01:56 AM
LOL I just realized that as I was fixing some fried chicken. I came in here to fix it. I'm glad you realized it. I thought about it and laughed....it made no sense. They were two of my father's favorite sayings too.:D

Haven't finished reading through the thread so don't know if it's been mentioned, but your 'fix' comment reminded me of something.

"I'll just fix you a plate" means you're going to put food on a plate and serve it. (I actually say this.)

gophergrrrl
10-13-2008, 01:57 AM
Ok, I thought of a few more. This really is an endless subject because there are so many. I just can't think of them all at once.

"Gone off the deep end" Lost their mind, gone crazy
"Dumber in the head than a hog is in the ass"

Then, when you delve into the mispronouncing of words... Whew.. a lot of those...
"Yersty" Means Yersterday
"Over yonder" Over there
"Way over yander ways" Same as above
"Last hog to the trough" means Late to dinner or supper
"Runnin' around like a chicken with its head cut off" Someone who is expressing great excitement
"Livin' high on the hog" Living well
"Puttin' the big pot in the little one" Really going all out for a dinner/ showing off to impress
"Don't know big wood from kenneling" Self explanitory
"Puttin' on the dog" showing off
"Colder than blue whizzes" *Shrugs* It's weird but its used. I think "whiz" means pee in this particular instance.
"I ain't seen you in a coon's age". I guess racoons get really old?...
"Once in a blue moon" Blue moons don't happen too often?....
Here's one, but I think I made it up... As far as I know... "as fast as a hobo on a ham sandwich". Then my nephew improved on it and made it "like a cheetah on a hobo on a ham sandwich"
"Don't know your head from a hole in the ground"
"Dumber than a box of rocks"
Another original one by me "She ain't the skinniest cow to graze the pasture"
"Lets get over to the poor house" When someone is departing, they might say this. Or, "I'm gonna head on over yonder."


I'll be back when I think of some more....

gophergrrrl
10-13-2008, 02:07 AM
Ok, one more and I promise I'll quit for a while. ^_^

Eastern Kentucky has a lot of drug problems, so one that you, unfortunately, hear quite frequently is, "She's as high as a Georgia Pine".

redpbass
10-13-2008, 03:24 AM
I'm in north Alabama, here are a few I've heard around here:

Easy as falling off a log
It's a might airish (it's cold. This one seems to be very regional and was somehow transplanted here)
let's light a shuck (it's time to leave)
This is my tribe (when introducing your immediate family as one of the parents)
It's ruint (the "t" is necessary. When something's gone beyond just being broken, it is ruint.)
I'll fill your hide fulla rock salt! (I will shoot you using a shotgun shell filled with rock salt. I hear it's quite painful :P )
I'll tan your hide! (I'll spank you)
I hear tell that... (gossip)
I can whip you (I can beat you up)

MelancholyMan
10-13-2008, 04:38 AM
Haven't finished reading through the thread so don't know if it's been mentioned, but your 'fix' comment reminded me of something.

"I'll just fix you a plate" means you're going to put food on a plate and serve it. (I actually say this.)

Of course there is also the derivative of 'fix' as in "fixin' to," meaning getting read to. Or also "Fin' ta' " which also means fixin' to."

"I be fin 'ta do that." Translation: "I'm getting ready to do that."

joyce
10-13-2008, 06:07 AM
Wow, this thread has reminded me of just how bad my language really is. I'm guilty of more than a few of these.

hammerklavier
10-13-2008, 06:24 PM
To southerners it's not about bad language, it's about colorful fun language.

Kathie Freeman
10-13-2008, 07:42 PM
It's hotter today than two gerbils humping in a wool sock!
"Well knock me down and steal muh teeth!"
"Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit."
"I'll slap you so hard, your clothes will be outta style."
"This'll jar your preserves."
"Cute as a sack full of puppies."
"If things get any better, I may have to hire someone to help me enjoy it."
"Gooder than grits."
"It's been hotter'n a goat's butt in a pepper patch."
"She's uglier than homemade soap."
"She's so fat, when she got on the scales to be weighed, it said 'To be continued'."
"He fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down."
"Uglier than a lard bucket full of armpits."
"The wheels still turning, but the hamsters dead"
"I'm just about as welcome at my inlaws as a hair in a biscuit."
A bothersome person is "like a booger that you can't thump off."
When something is easy then you say, "that ain't no count."
If something is hard to do, it's "like trying to herd cats."
Wintery roads are said to be "slicker than otter snot."

Higgins
10-13-2008, 07:56 PM
Thanks, everyone. I'm lovin' these!

If you read Huckleberry Fin you will have a good idea what my father sounds like and he is very southern in a west of the Mississppi kind of way.

sissybaby
10-13-2008, 09:21 PM
My mother's favorites were: He don't know shit from shinola. I have no clue what shinola was.

My grandmother's: I trust him about as far as I can throw a mule.

My father's: He's as useless as tits on a bull.

My granddaddy's: Somebody beat her with an ugly stick.


Lordy, I miss those people!

Beach Bunny
10-13-2008, 09:54 PM
One that I love that I learned when I lived in Tennessee is "older than dirt" as in He's older than dirt. :)

dobiwon
10-13-2008, 10:01 PM
My mother's favorites were: He don't know shit from shinola. I have no clue what shinola was.
Shinola was a brand of paste shoe polish. This and the others you mentioned I heard from the time I was a kid, but in upstate New York, not in the south.

I've only lived in the south for 33 years, so I can't call myself a southerner, but I have heard a lot of southern sayings. One of my favorites is 'to carry' a person, as in "I need to take the afternoon off to carry my daughter to the doctor's."

Another quirk I find interesting is that 'cent' can be singular or plural:
"How much does this cost?" "One cent."
or
"How much does this cost?" "Fifty cent."

One more: the phrase "might could", as in
"I might could paint your fence Saturday, iff'n it don't rain."

crimsonlaw
10-13-2008, 11:05 PM
I've lived in central Alabama all my life. Here are a few of the more common ones you hear from day-to-day:

"Fair to middlin'" - When asked how your day has been, the response of "fair to middlin'" means you've had an average day. I believe it describes a grade of cotton.

"Reckon" - synonymous with "think." "Well, I reckon it's about time to head on home."

"That dog won't hunt." - Used to describe an idea that won't work.

Obviously "y'all" is a popular one, but don't forget that one can also use the term "all y'all" when speaking to every member of a group.

"Figure" - To decide or conclude. "I figure that fence will hold."

"Skedaddle" - Run away. "Them kids sure did skedaddle when he blew his horn!"

"Liked to" - I think it's mostly used as an adverb. Ex: "I liked to slap that boy when he yelled at me!" & "He liked to cry he was laughing so hard!"

"Ornery" - Aggressively agitated. "He always gets ornery if he don't eat."

A few folks will use the term "kin" or "kin folk" to describe non-immediate family (cousins and the like).

"Sho 'nuff" - Southern form of sure enough.

"Tore up" - Extremely upset. "She's been tore up since her kittie cat died."
NOTE: Can also mean very drunk or very high. "We sure did get tore up at that party last night!"

"Hankerin'" - A strong desire. "I have a hankerin' for some sweet tea."

Also note that every restaurant serves ice tea. Healthier folks with go with unsweetened tea. However, every place you can grab something to eat will have sweet and unsweet ice tea. And every cafeteria-style restaurant serves fried chicken every day as its safe food. Even on theme days, like seafood day or Italian day, you'll always find fried chicken!

I hope these aren't repeats and I hope they are useful!

DisenchantedDoc
10-13-2008, 11:29 PM
As another native Alabamian, here's a few I haven't seen listed that my husband (a native Washingtonian) finds odd when I say them:

"The devil's beatin' his wife on the head" -- a phrase used to decribe rain when the sun is shining

"My dogs are barkin'" -- aching feet

"nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rockers"

"the higher the hair, the closer to God"

vixey
10-14-2008, 01:07 AM
There're so many posts to read now, I haven't had a chance to catch up. I just used this expresion in another thread:

"too big for his/her britches" = acting pompous

Sorry if it's already been suggested.

Danalynn
10-14-2008, 01:39 AM
I have to say that I am LOVING! this thread!

:snoopy:

I have a character from central Alabama with a thick Southern accent, and I'm having a ball going through my MS and adding some of these neat phrases to Flory's dialogue. :roll: She's a fun character to begin with, but this is great stuff!


Keep 'em coming!
:ROFL:

vixey
10-14-2008, 01:48 AM
Also note that every restaurant serves ice tea. Healthier folks with go with unsweetened tea. However, every place you can grab something to eat will have sweet and unsweet ice tea. And every cafeteria-style restaurant serves fried chicken every day as its safe food. Even on theme days, like seafood day or Italian day, you'll always find fried chicken!

And if you ask for tea you'll get sweet tea. The ONLY way to get unsweetened tea is to ask for Unsweetened Tea. Not that long ago many restaurants only served sweet tea - so sweet you could stand a spoon up in it.

As for soft drinks, your hostess may ask you if you'd like a Coke. After you reply 'yes', they'll ask you what kind of Coke would you like (i.e., Sprite, Dr. Pepper, Ginger Ale or Coke). :D

Karen Duvall
10-14-2008, 01:55 AM
I have quite a file going now with all these great sayings and phrases. I've used some in the WIP and it really adds to Wanda's personality.

For those keeping track, I don't think any of these have been mentioned yet:

Never kick a fresh turd on a hot day.
Scared as a cat at the dog pound.
He's so ugly his cooties have to close their eyes.
He's about as sharp as a mashed potato.

Bayou Bill
10-14-2008, 04:42 AM
Karen, check out USADeepSouth http://www.usadeepsouth.com/. Type "sayings" or "expressions" into the search engine.

Just one piece of advice, don't forget that Kentucky isn't coastal South Carolina or Georgia, home of the, Gone With The Wind, southern drawl. The midwest is just across the river. Rural, country, even hill-billy might work, a magnolia-mouth will probably come off sounding contrived. Socio-economic differences aside, think Dolly Parton, not Scarlett O'Hara.

Bayou Bill :cool:

Here are a few southern "sayings" to keep you going.

Madder than a wet hen – very angry
Ain’t no hill for a stepper – no problem
Been beat with a ugly stick – very ugly
Busier than a one armed paper hanger – very busy
Busier than a legged Indian at a butt kicking – same
Hotter than a goat’s butt in a pepper patch – very hot
Hotter'n the hinges of hell “
Colder than a well-digger’s ass in Idaho – very cold
Colder than a witch’s tit in a brass brassier - “
Don’t care if syrup goes up to a dollar a sop – indifferent
Proud of being stupid – self explanatory
Well, I’ll be dipped – surprise
Pee’d in the whiskey – messed up too bad to fix
That dog don’t hunt – that’s not going to happen/I doubt it
Haven’t got a dog in that hunt – not my problem
Tore it/Tore the blanket – ended a situation/relationship
Handy as a pocket on a shirt – very handy
Low-life/no-account – worthless, beneath contempt
Showed his butt – looked foolish
Thinks his shit don’t stink – thinks he’s really something
Road hard & put up wet – very tired
Like to died – embarrassed
Call in the dogs and piss on the fire ‘cause the hunts over
- something is over/finished and can’t be re-started
Tarnation - combination of "eternal" and "damnation" –
"What in the tarnation you reckon he’s doing?"
Ugly as homemade sin – very bad w/incest overtones
Bigger’n a two-hole outhouse – very big
Piss cutter – ladies man
Noses up—panties down – sexual/class hypocrites
"I know those Country Club Women, noses up--panties down"

Fern
10-14-2008, 04:44 AM
Something you don't want to do is buy a "pig in a poke". It means getting the raw end of a deal or getting the short stick in a trade.

Chrisla
10-15-2008, 09:56 AM
It didn't amount to a hill of beans.

I'm so hungry, I could eat the south end of a northbound mule. (or skunk, which is often referred to as a polecat.)

My mother used to threaten, "I'm going to land right in the middle of you."

Chrisla
10-15-2008, 10:04 AM
Actually, it's "I swan" (don't ask me why-- doesn't make any sense to me either) and the other is more like "Dag gumit". I've never actually heard "daggum", but I have heard the other many times.

My mother used to say, "Well, I'll swan," with emphasis on the last word. I always wondered if it came from "I'll swoon."

Chrisla
10-15-2008, 10:09 AM
My mother's favorites were: He don't know shit from shinola. I have no clue what shinola was.



Shinola was a brand of shoe polish.

sheadakota
10-15-2008, 03:38 PM
Don't know if this is a truly southern saying, but what about;

As useless as teats on a tomcat