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Plucky's avatar

Did your parents/guardians ever say certain phrases throughout your childhood? If so, what were they?

Asked by Plucky (10316points) April 27th, 2012

I’m just going to stick with the nice/funny phrases.

My dad used to say a few phrases at any given time:

“Quit piddlin’ around…”

“Back in Nam….. (insert whatever subject here).” He meant the Vietnam War, even though he’d never been there – wasn’t in the army either.

“When I was your age….” – he loved to say that he had to walk to school in snow storms, up hill (both ways), with no boots.

The only phrase I remember my mom saying often (usually to my siblings) was, “Just wait until you have kids of your own!”

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74 Answers

Blackberry's avatar

My grandfather called the cordless phone a “walkabout phone”.

ilvorangeiceblocks's avatar

Whenever my mum thought I was muddling around she’d say “Come on, bugalugs!”

augustlan's avatar

Some of my mom’s favorites:

Whenever someone turned on a light, she’d say, “Let there be light, and there was light!”

“I see, said the blind man, as he picked up his hammer and saw.”

I know there were others, but I can’t think of them at the moment. Tired brain.

Plucky's avatar

@Blackberry That’s awesome :)

@ilvorangeiceblocks Neat, I’ve never heard of bugalugs before. I looked it up and got this and this.

@augustlan Lol, what was happening that she’d say the second one?

augustlan's avatar

@Plucky She used it whenever you were explaining something to her. Where a normal person would just say, “I see.” or “Ah, I understand.” She was a tad… odd. :p

Plucky's avatar

@augustlan Ohh…I see. :P

Rheto_Ric's avatar

My grandad used to say “My mistake, you’re wrong”

ragingloli's avatar

“I am going to file for divorce!” about every other month.

zadeem's avatar

My Mum always said, “if your bored I can give you something to do”

My Grandmother had a habit of saying “drekly’ meaning soon, I guess it meant ‘directly’. ‘Slow as a wet week’ was another one Grandma used a lot.

Bellatrix's avatar

“There will be tears before bedtime!” whenever we were all getting over excited.

“Elbows off the table!”

My dad liked to quote Dickens too. ‘Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.’

ucme's avatar

Whenever it was raining & i’d be staring out the windows desperately wanting to go out & play football, my mother would say something like, “come away, a watched pot never boils”
Not only was I frustrated at the great british weather, I was now thoroughly bemused at this apparent kitchen based analogy…..“shut up woman!”

zenvelo's avatar

My mother’s continual acclamation suitable for any occasion: “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.”

CWOTUS's avatar

“Wait until your father hears about this.”

“Roll over and go back to sleep,” when we wanted to get up at dawn on summer mornings. “Smacko backo to bed,” was another variant.

“We’ll see.” Doesn’t every parent use this?

Bellatrix's avatar

“We’ll see” was definitely one of my father’s favourites.


“When I win the pools”. In response to “Can I have a pony?” type questions.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Mom would sing, “Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho; It’s off to bed you go!” at night.

Dad switched from “Damn!” to “Beans!” when he was frustrated or angry. Mom hates the use of curse words, and he loved her.

Grammy’s catch-phrase: “I love you a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck.”

There was a really funny story posted on Reddit regarding a parental phrase. It has gone slightly viral. Let me see if I can find it.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

“Jesus, Mary and Joseph!” (when they were pissed off about something).

mowens's avatar

“You’re grounded.”

Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

“Clear the mail.”
“You are so hard ears.”

Tropical_Willie's avatar

“That will be healed by the time you get married”, When you skinned your knee or got a small cut/scrap.

Charles's avatar

“Don’t touch buttons that you don’t know what they do” – My dad to me whenever I was in a place like a store or something or at home exposed to a new gadget.
“Close the god damn closet doors” – My mom for 40 years.
“Clean up your mess” My mom for for years and now my wife for 12 years.
“Dad, why are you so cheap?” My kids.

Trillian's avatar

My Mom used to say; “You’ll think ____ out the other side of your face!”
“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
“How old are you?”
My friend’s mom said more incomprehensible things like; ‘Reach up a hog’s ass for a ham sandwich.” and “Went to shit and the hogs ate him.”
I still don’t know what either of those mean.

Hain_roo's avatar

My mom would say “Quick like a bunny!” “Snug as a bug in a rug” “I bought you a little s (surprise)” “That’s not lady-like”

My dad called my brother and me “Numbnuts” (thanks dad) “You two numbnuts get off of that counter!”

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Here is the post from a person whose father used a catch-phrase.

SomeoneElse's avatar

‘Don’t come running to me if you break a leg!’

gailcalled's avatar

My father said (in very bad Yiddish), “There lies the dead dog.” It meant that we children were ignoring something obvious, like the dead dog lying at our feet.

It translated, I think, into, “Aha.”

My mother said, “They say not to wear (choose any fashion dictum here) white shoes after Labor day. Our lives were run by “they.”

My maternal grandmother said, also in very bad Yiddish, “Don’t put the evil eye on that,” when something good happened. That meant to stop bragging; someone might hear you.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

My parents also used the phrase “piddlin’ around” and also “wallerin’”, as in “stop wallerin’ on the bed.” Now I use those phrases, and my granddaughter thinks I’m weird.

@augustian They used the phrase you mentioned, only different “oh, I see, said the blind man to the deaf lady over a broken telephone.”

The phrase I heard the most from Dad was “You guys shut up or I’m coming in there!” This would be after bedtime when my sister and I were talking and laughing when we were supposed to be sleeping.

keobooks's avatar

Any time I’d say something was unfair, my mom would say “That’s life in the big city.”

She’d also whine “I’m the worst mother in the world!” frequently.

I was really grouchy in the morning and my dad would sing a little cheerfully sarcastic song to me “Good morning, merry sunshine! How did you wake so soon? You scared the little stars away and frightened away the moon!”

He’d also add ”.. and a boot to the head” whenever he talked about giving something to someone (yes, he was a Monty Python geek when I was little)

CWOTUS's avatar

“Don’t make me stop this car and come back there!”

Oh, man. How many times I caused that to be said.

marinelife's avatar

My father would say “What’s that got to do with the price of tea in China?”
“Don’t make me come in there.”

My mother would say “In or out” when we kept going back and forth into the house. She called us “Shug” (for sugar meaning sweetie). “You’ll put someone’s eye out.”

Sunny2's avatar

Ishimay! was my mother’s response to something yucky.
When complimented on a dish she cooked, she said, “Of course it’s good. It’s got all good stuff in it.”
My grandmother would say, “A cat can look at a queen” whenever we shopped in a store with prices we couldn’t afford.
I think I’ll ask my daughter what she remembers about what I said.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

@sunny2 My dad used to tell me that I have a beer budget and a champagne appetite.

Plucky's avatar

Lol, these are all just awesome. I’ll reply more when I get home (waiting at the doctors lab).

CWOTUS's avatar

“You should have gone before we left the house.”
“If your friends all thought it was a good idea to jump off a bridge, would you do it too?”
“I don’t care what so-and-so’s parents say; they’re not your parents.”

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Oh my gosh! That saying is actually a song. My gran used to sing it to me “I love you a bushel and a peck, a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck.”

augustlan's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer “France is Bacon”... hahahaha.

Another from my mother, “You make a better door than a window”, said when I’d stand in front of something she was trying to see, like the TV.

SomeoneElse's avatar

@Skaggfacemutt and @Pied_Pfeffer I didn’t realise, but that is from ‘Guys and Dolls’ – I don’t know when it was written or first performed, apart from by your Grandmothers of course!

gailcalled's avatar

Guys and Dolls

It opened on Broadway in 1950 and ran forever. I saw the original cast while I was still in high school…before June, 1954.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@Skaggfacemutt Well…And I thought only Grammy said it.

@SomeoneElse Here is the history on the song. Unfortunately, Frank Loesser does not site credit to Gram for coining the phrase.

SomeoneElse's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer I am appalled at his over-sight in this matter!

flutherother's avatar

‘You’ll put somebody’s eye out with that’
‘As daft as a make watch’
‘Auld age doesn’t come alane’
‘What’s for you’ll no go by you!’
‘Black as the Earl of Hell’s Waistcoat!’
‘We’re a’ Jock Tamson’s bairns!’
‘If ifs and ands were pots and pans then beggars would ride on horseback’

Bellatrix's avatar

“Were you born in a barn?” When we left a door open.

“Come on. Up the apples and pears…”. Meaning time to go up the stairs to bed.

“Sweet dreams”.

AmWiser's avatar

Since I spent any money that I received, my Pop’s would always say ”money just burns a hole in your pocket”. :o)

gondwanalon's avatar

“Pull yourself up by your bootstraps”

“Make me some coffee”

bkcunningham's avatar

Make me some coffee. heehee We may be related.

Bellatrix's avatar

It was ‘put the kettle on’ in our house.

linguaphile's avatar

My mom had many… a quick foray down memory lane brings these:

“If you don’t like it, there’s a boarding house down the street.”
“Get over yourself!”
“Stop being so dra—maa—tic!!”
“Do I look like a fucking maid?”
“Does it look like money grows on trees?” (She didn’t like it when I realized money was paper, and paper was from trees, then said, “Actually…”)
“Good morning sunshine!”

These three were handed down from my grandma to my mom to me
“You can find sympathy between shit and syphilis in the dictionary.”
“It’s colder than a witch’s tit.”
“The wind’s coming over the plains like a horse with its tail over the dashboard.”

CWOTUS's avatar

I had tried to put out of my mind:

“If you don’t finish everything on your plate I’m going to give you more.” The implied threat was that we would have to eat the ‘more’ as well as what was already there. I don’t recall the threat ever being carried out; the words alone were enough.

ShanEnri's avatar

My mom’s favorite was…“Ten starving children could live off what you waste for five days just from one plate!”

CWOTUS's avatar

I can imagine someone coming back to this thread in twenty years (or memorializing “today’s parents” in general). I suppose at the top of the list will be:


Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

All of the food ones listed above was a reminder of two that Dad always used:
“You need to join The Clean Plate Club”, meaning eat everything on the plate.
“Eat your salad. It will make your hair curly.”

@CWOTUS A list of txt-speak and the definitions would be a very interesting item to put in a time capsule.

Plucky's avatar

Thank you so much for sharing everyone! There are quite a few I’ve never heard of before. Neat that we still remember the phrases our parents said so often :)

Does any of you use those phrases now?

I use “piddlin” often. I don’t have kids so I’m not sure if I’d use any of the others my parents used to say.

Bellatrix's avatar

Salad makes your hair curly @Pied_Pfeffer? I was told it was crusts! Just shows you can’t trust your parents to tell you the truth.

Dutchess_III's avatar

My dad used to say, “I’m going to beat you s’verely ‘bout the head and shoulders!” He’d say it in his Texas accent. : )

augustlan's avatar

I don’t think I use any of my mom’s phrases, but I’m sure I annoy my kids with my own repetitive ones!

@Dutchess_III I laughingly tell my kids that if they keep doing <whatever annoying thing they’re doing>, I’m going to have to beat them severely. (Note: I don’t hit my kids.)

marinelife's avatar

I have heard some of my mom’s phrases come out of my mouth to my dogs. I always cringe afterward.

laineybug's avatar

@augustlan “I’ll kick them in the shin!”

bkcunningham's avatar

I just thought about something my Mom said a lot. I hadn’t thought about it in a long time. If you told her you wanted to do something or wanted something, she would say, “You’re big enough that your wants don’t hurt you.”

Dutchess_III's avatar

Dad said his mom used to say “If at first you don’t succeed, keep on a-suckin till you do suck-a-seed!”

Also, to break him of saying “Fer” instead of “For,” she’d say, “Cat fur for to make kitten britches out of.”

My Dutch immigrent grandfather used to tell the girls he was gonna “lop them on their dunderloppins,” or something like that..

tranquilsea's avatar

My dad used to say, “No, I got my ears lowered” after we inquired about a potential hair cut. He’d also say, “You should see what it looks like when it hits your stomach” if we complained about broken food.

“You make a better door than a window!” if we were in the way of complete tv viewing.
“Were you born in a barn?” if the door was left open.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

My mother-in-law used to say (when the kids would sit on the coffee table) “tables are for glasses, not asses.”

flutherother's avatar

Here’s another one ‘Do you think I’m made of money?’

bkcunningham's avatar

@tranquilsea, if you ask by father-in-law if he got a haircut, he says, “Nope, got them all cut.”

Bellatrix's avatar

When I asked him how his day at work was, he would sometimes sigh as if he was very tired and say “I walked from Manchester to Blackpool today!” He worked for British Rail as a railway guard. Rolls eyes… which is what I used to do to him at his silly joke. Still makes me giggle inside a little when I think about it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@bkcunningham I gotta give that one to my husband and his dad. That’s the kind of stuff they stay ALL the time.

tranquilsea's avatar

@bkcunningham My dad said that one too lol.

CWOTUS's avatar

“I hope you have kids that are just like you.”

flutherother's avatar

And there was this “Do you think this is a hotel you’re in?”

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

@flutherother Or better yet, “do you think this is Mom’s Bar and Grill” or “Mom’s Taxi Service.”

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

And, of course, the First National Bank of Mom.

flutherother's avatar

Or how about “it’s not outside you’re in”

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

I have never heard that one.

bkcunningham's avatar

“Don’t make me stop this car.”

Plucky's avatar

My mom’s dad used to say “I’ll knock your block off” when the kids were acting up.

Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

“I’m in the red.” My dad would say that. He’d call us over to see his balance book and see the money so we could see why he couldn’t buy us something that month.

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