Social Question

ubersiren's avatar

What are some old fashioned or Southern sayings, expressions, or phrases that you like?

Asked by ubersiren (15180points) February 5th, 2010

Something perhaps your parents or grandparents say/said. Some of my family faves-

Slicker than cat poop
Colder than a witch’s boobie in a brass bra
She’s so skinny she has to run around in the shower to get wet.
Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.
It’s the only shade they offer! (for when you’re behind a driver who hasn’t figured out the light has turned green yet)

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86 Answers

Blackberry's avatar


jbfletcherfan's avatar

Lord love a duck!!

IBERnineD's avatar

“She’s so skinny she has to run around in the shower to get wet” just made me spit out my drink, so I would have to say that saying is my favorite!

SeventhSense's avatar

Well I’ll be dipped in shit and rolled in cracker crumbs!

rangerr's avatar

“You ‘aint from around here, are ya?”
“You look about as happy as a tick on a fat dog.”
“That girl could make a preacher cuss.”
“Well, slap my head and call me silly!”
“I think that boy’s about two sandwiches shy of a picnic”
“Well, bless your little heart.”
“Well, shut my mouth!”
“Shoot… I dunno.”
“I reckon so.”
“You’re as stubborn as a mule.”
“I’ll be darned.”
“All ya’ll get out here!”
“That girl is fit as a fiddle.”
“Now, you just got them all riled up, shame on you!”

^ And this is my family.

ucme's avatar

She’s so fat she broke her foot on her shadow
When your mama dropped you off at school she got fined for littering

oreo45's avatar

Ill give it a lick and a promis. _

Harp's avatar

“Nervous as a long-tailed cat in a roomful of rocking chairs”

Ansible1's avatar

I’m yer huckleberry

SeventhSense's avatar

Don’t let the tail wag the dog.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

S/He fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down.

faye's avatar

Some of these are north american, I’ve heard some of the up here in the frozen north. Pah, I just read it again, old-fashioned, of course. okay, okay don’t have a conniption!

marinelife's avatar

She had a pur-n-tee hole in her head.

Well, we got back the same day we left.

SeventhSense's avatar

A lot of common sayings originated down south

Blackberry's avatar

@YoKoolAid I’d like it more if it was actual english, but the notion I like.

faye's avatar

I don’t understand ‘pur-n-tee?

filmfann's avatar

Having a “boarding house reach”
Well, bend me over and call me Sally!
He was on her like stink on shit!

aprilsimnel's avatar

Waaaal, Momma got the switch and was on him like white on rice. I saw ‘m runnin’ ‘round the front yard like a chicken with his haid cut off!, I’m tellin’ ya’! When she ‘uz done givin’ him a whoopin’, she look rode hard ‘n’’ put back wet, sho’ ‘nuff! Thrashed him good. Lor’ ha’ mercy!

I’m Yankee-born-and-bred, myself, but I’ve got Southern rellies. Sho’ ‘nuff.

rangerr's avatar

@aprilsimnel Lor’ ha’ mercy!

chyna's avatar

Jus’ hide and watch.

kevbo's avatar

It’s so good, you’ll slap your mamma!

Kayak8's avatar

The funny thing is that I talk like this ALL the time . . . LOL

I mention something being like white on rice and got the strangest look just today. Hmmm

I am a belt and suspenders person.

She looked rode hard and put away wet (similar to what April mentioned above)

Well, I’ll swan (like I’ll be darned)

Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit

The War of Northern Aggression . . .

People looked at me funny when I called 200x two thousand aught one, two, three etc.
(thank goodness that’s over)

There are also the words you use as specific names to call things, like frying pan vs skillet etc.

Marble orchard (graveyard)
Polecat (skunk)
Crawdad (crawfish)
Cane pole (bamboo fishing rod)
Whiffle tree cock-eye (too hard to explain)

Chikipi's avatar

Of course “y’all”
and second place is “ov’er yonder”

@Kayak8 I am a firm believer crawfish should be crawdads. I hate when I order from a Louisiana kitchen outside of Louisiana and they look at me funny when I say crawdads. They try to correct me and say so you want the crawfish. I respond back with I want the crawdads. :)

Kayak8's avatar

And when you pull into someone’s driveway to turn around you say, “Don’t put on coffee, we won’t be stayin long.”

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Slick as deer guts on a door knob!

Fred931's avatar


Kayak8's avatar

@Chikipi Lord, I know what you mean! Around where I live now, crawdads is the most common way to call em, so I do ok, but if I leave my immediate area I have to remember the other name.

Also, happy as a pig in sh*t

ubersiren's avatar

@IBERnineD My dad used to say that about my skinny ass sister.

@Harp Nervous as a long-tailed cat in a roomful of rocking chairs
First time I’ve heard that one- love it!

chyna's avatar

Don’t get your panties in a wad.

Fred931's avatar

Mother trucker

DominicX's avatar

A fox in a chicken coop is better than half a turnip on a dung sandwich.

marinelife's avatar

@faye I don’t know either. I asked my mother and she didn’t know. The best I have been able to determine is that it might have been the name of a detergent.

filmfann's avatar

That boy is all hat and no cattle.

Merriment's avatar

Worthless as teats on a boar hog.

Comes in very handy during political discussions.

Hold ‘er Newt, she’s a headin’ fer the pea patch.

Comes in handy when someone is going off half-cocked at a dead run.

Chikipi's avatar

Son of a biscuit

Merriment's avatar

@SeventhSense thanks! I’ll thank my mama :)

njnyjobs's avatar

Thank you much…Y’all come back now ya hir!

SeventhSense's avatar

i fondly recall converstions with the ex- where “headin’ for the pea patch” would have fit the bill…

Supacase's avatar

@Kayak8 already mentioned my favorite, “Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit!”

Just sittin’ there like a bump on a log.
Well, shut my mouth!
They ain’t got a pot to piss in.

janbb's avatar

“Well, bless your heart.” My Southern friend tells me this is a euphemism for “Go to hell.”

chyna's avatar

@janbb Your southern friends are correct. :)

aprilsimnel's avatar

@Supacase, my maternal family used every single one of those.

Supacase's avatar

@janbb It also negates any insult.

Seek's avatar


I’m so over Southern idioms it’s not even funny.

I do rather like “I’m your Huckleberry”, though. Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday reference.

mass_pike4's avatar

i like when my aunt says “worsh” the laundry

Silhouette's avatar

Et yet? Yont to?
Scarce as hen’s teeth.
Sight for sore eyes.
Sun don’t shine on the same dog’s tail all the time.
Too big for your britches.
Hug my neck.
Either fish or cut bait.
You done f**ked that dead dog long nuff.

lfino's avatar

Shit or get off the pot

Arisztid's avatar

That boy’s about as sharp as a pile of wet leather.

Ok, that was from Foghorn Leghorn but it is close.

Dammit I lived in the South for a couple of years and cannot remember any that have not been brought up already.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Dumber than owl shit on a fence post in the hot sun.
That dog won’t hunt.
All his chairs aren’t under the table.
The elevator’s not running to the top floor.
Ugly in the cradle, lovely at the table.
That really chaps my butt.

DominicX's avatar


haha…my grandfather definitely said that. My grandmother said all kinds of goofy things back in the day.

She was really sarcastic. My mom would be cooking something on the stove as a kid and touch something hot and react strongly and my grandmother would be like “well, you’d be hot too if you were sitting on a stove”. lol. She also said things like “we’re off like a herd of turtles” and “call me anything but late for dinner”. There are tons more, but those are all I can think of at the moment.

Keep in mind I never really heard her say any of these things. She got Alzheimer’s when I was pretty young.

lfino's avatar

@DominicX sounds like your grandma was a funny lady! I love the ‘herd of turtles’ one.

gemiwing's avatar

That girl’s only as good as she has to be.
Not a phrase but a word I haven’t heard since I left home many years ago- ‘writ’ as in I writ it down. I think this hearkens back to the old country, but I’m not sure.
There’s a phrase I don’t hear except for back home- The Old Country. Don’t know as it’s Southern per se, but that’s where I’ve always heard it.
Found a Quibble, did ya? (do you disagree with me?)
That’s between me and Jesus (this is just between you and me)

Then again- I’m from the mountains and not the valley so our sayings are a bit different.

Seek's avatar


My favourite Foghorn Leghorn is “I say, now I say he’s a nice boy, but about as sharp as a sack of wet mice.”

janbb's avatar

@gemiwing “The Old Country” is also referred to by Jews. The Yiddish writer Sholom Aleichem wrote a book of short stories called that, too.

filmfann's avatar

“As ugly as a bag of crushed assholes”

ubersiren's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Lol… if you’re so over them, then why click on the link?

@DominicX A fox in a chicken coop is better than half a turnip on a dung sandwich. That’s a good one!

Arisztid's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Foghorn Leghorn, ah say, Foghorn Leghorn is a legend. Nobody can lay the verbal smackdown on someone who needs it like him.

“The Old Country” is Southern? I grew up in California and heard it all the time… my parents were from Romania, having escaped it in 1960 so this was not a recent immigration. I say it as in “my father was as Old Country as they come.”

janbb's avatar

@Arisztid I agree, as stated above. I guess most immigrant groups refer to the old country.

gemiwing's avatar

@Arisztid Like I said, I wasn’t sure. It’s just something I heard a lot back home and not here. I suppose anywhere there is a high immigrant population that is proud of their heritage and keeps it alive would use it. It would make sense. It gives me a warm fuzzy to think of all the people across America using the phrase. It’s important to keep certain things alive and acknowledge the journey our families have made.

@janbb Thank you for the book recommendation, coming from you I’ll definitely check it out.

UScitizen's avatar

Shit Fire….. immediate reply: saves matches

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I have nothing to add, I love some of these – I came to give out lurve.

Arisztid's avatar

Err I hate typos. What I meant is: ”my parents were from Romania, having escaped it in 1960 so this was a recent immigration.

It is not a Southern phrase but how this northerner was first met by a proud confederate Southern family (I am not white so the “all Southerners are racist” stuff is wrong). Here is the first thing said to me when I met an exes’ family, me painfully nervous, hat would have been in hand if I had a hat on at the time:

The patriarch of the family shook my hand, looked me up and down, said “don’t they got no barbershops in California, you’d not look half bad if you had a haircut. Well, make yourself a plate and pull up a chair.”

One time I did it… I finally did it… I had swore I never would.

I said “y’all” in front of my ex and her grandmother.

My exes grandmother squinted at me and said: “I knew you got yourself a strong streak of redneck in you, boy, keep talking like that and you’ll make something of yourself.”

She winked at me and later told the whole family what I had said and I never lived it down. My ex did not even try to suppress her laughter.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

@Arisztid, I’m having a hard time suppressing my laughter.

janbb's avatar

Why, @Arisztid, who knew you were a cracker at heart!

Arisztid's avatar

It gets worse. I lived there for a couple of years and developed an appreciation of country music. To this day (I live in Michigan now) country music is amongst my favorite genres. I am currently listening to my country/Rromani Gypsy playlist in fact… the playlist is a combination of the two types of music. Yes, somehow it works.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

@Arisztid, I can understand how those work together…

aprilsimnel's avatar

Oh, I remember one! Every time you end a declarative sentence, use “Itellyouwhut!”

“If’n I tell Momma you done gone and et a slice o’ that cake she done just baked? She gon’ tear yo’ hide up, Itellyouwhut!”

Arisztid's avatar

Ok I remember a couple that I do not remember being mentioned yet…

Loaded fit to split
Son of a preacher man
Take the weight off
The dogs are barkin’ (Southernese for “my feet hurt”)

… and, whenever I did something stupid, “he’s from California” explained it all. That was always met with a sympathetic nod that said that it explained everything.

Seek's avatar

Does anyone other than my family use the expression “Down the holler” to infer “the clearing in the woods downhill from our current location”.

faye's avatar

I wonder if ‘dog’s are barkin’ ’ is now hospitalese?

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Giving directions with landmarks that aren’t there anymore, as “you go down the road a piece, past where Jimmy White’s still used to be, then turn where the old oak tree caught fire when lightning hit it in ‘73…”

Arisztid's avatar

@PandoraBoxx… and when you point out that you do not know these landmarks asking, please, for street names, they direct you to look for something like “the gnarled oak in front of the white house.” Upon you looking at them with your best “I’m not from here!” confused look, they repeat it slowly and it is obvious that they think you are really dense. Also, distance is subjective. “Down yonder aways” could mean a mile or 20. I cannot count the times I have gotten lost because I could not get a street sign instruction or, in the back roads, there are no street signs so I have to try.

I tried “I’m from California, not here” a number of times and that just got me sympathetic looks and no change in the directions.

lfino's avatar

@Arisztid I love the visual of you telling them that you’re from California, and they all tip their head to the side a little with the “I am SO sorry” look.

Arisztid's avatar

@lfino It is the truth too. It is like being from California is a mental defect. As I said in a previous post, if I did something stupid, it was almost always met with “he’s from California” which elicited sympathy and explained everything. Usually it was a slow nod or shake of the head and the sympathetic look.

lfino's avatar

@Arisztid I’m still laughing. I’m sure they knew that it drove you crazy. My whole family does that to each other. We find the one thing that drives each other crazy, and then drive it home. Of course, if we didn’t love each other, we wouldn’t even bother, and we all know that.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

@Arisztid, it’s not even just a country thing. If you want to find the “good” Target store in Louisville, you turn right “where the old Sears used to be”, cross the railroad tracks, and it’s on your right. Never mind that you’re heading away from town, and the right is really a left, and what they meant by right was “right there”. Of course if you get to where the old Hawley-Cooke used to be, you’ve gone to far.

Arisztid's avatar

@lfino It did not bother me… it was funny. I got it from strangers too.
@PandoraBoxx Now that is so true.

SeventhSense's avatar

LOL- tell me how ya’ll made out

Irishmar's avatar

This is not a southern expression, but I still laugh when I think of my dad saying“put that in your pipe and smoke it!” Ahhh…not one i used on my kids, believe me!

gemiwing's avatar

@PandoraBoxx Don’t forget ‘by the old White Castle’. You know, the one that was torn down five years ago.

Jude's avatar

“Ain’t nothing cuter than a fat, country baby eating peaches off of a hardwood floor”

monocle's avatar

I can only think of

What in tarnation and
That’s a knee slapper

jmarlin18's avatar

whered________ go? “he went to shit and the hogs ate him”

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