244 comments

  1. More comments from my forebears from Alabama:

    He has no more courage than a snake has hips.
    Only fools’ names and faces are seen in public places.
    A woman throws out by the spoonful what her husband earns by the shovelful.

  2. There wasn’t anything funny about “God Willing and the Creek don’t rise” in the original the thought was: if the circumstances favor us we will do thus and so, but if God wasn’t willing and the Indians (creek) staged an uprising then the summer would be long and hot and we might suffer before it’s over.
    Creek was the proper way of referring to the Creek tribe, it wasn’t necessary to add an S to Creek since Creek was the whole tribe. This saying then, comes from the area where the Creek were to be found. They were not a large tribe, but they were fierce. I have a good friend and cousin who is part Creek, they lived in and around the southeast, with the Sauk, Fox, Cherokee and hundreds of other small tribes they participated in the “Long Walk” to Oklahoma.

  3. I heard livin’ high on the hog all of the time growing up 🙂

  4. I read that ‘the crick don’t rise’ was actually ‘if the Creek’ don’t rise, referring to the Creek Indian Wars.

    1. Cathy you are correct. Creeks don’t rise refers to rising up in misbehavior by the Indians who first inhabited the area.

  5. My mom used to say I know its a grunt when she didn’t believe or agree with something. Ever heard of that one?

  6. Love these sayings; have heard them all my life. Picture makes me homesick for the mountains back when…..

  7. I always heard it as “a whistling GIRL and a crowing hen…..” My granddaddy also used to say that this or that person was “grinnin’ like a jackass eatin’ briars”……and complained of people with large appetites that they could “eat up hell and drink Jordan dry.”

    1. Whistling girls and crowing hens will always come to a no good end !!! That’s what my grand parents would say !!

    2. Mama used to say “You ain’t just a whistling Dixie” meaning that it you were telling the truth

    3. My grandmother always said, ” a whistling woman and a crowing hen are fit for the devil, but not for men”.

  8. “Finer’n frog hair.”
    “Fine as snuff and not half as dusty.”

  9. Granny used to say, He/she’s “as nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rockers.”

  10. Good- old sayings- My grandpa would say when ready to go home, “Better head back over to needmore.” He had a bunch of good ones. I found this interesting-

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooter_Brown

  11. One of my favorites is “fixing” as in “I’m fixing to carry y’all to town to get some cokes!”

    1. Another way to be “fixin'” us … “I’ fixin’ to get ready to go to town”. (or whatever).

  12. My pawpaw used to say, “grinning like a jackass chewing briers” meaning someone was smiling real hard or maybe looking as delightful as a mule chewing briers could be. LOL

  13. I still hear and say some of these!

  14. You know the saying Lord will and creek don’t rise dates back to Indian uprising against the settlers. Meaning if the good Lord let’s me get back and the Creek Indians aren’t rising up. Thought you would like to know!

    1. Thanks for posting. Never knew that.

  15. “from the stump out” Usually said of something that was ” made from scratch”.

  16. I say “useless as teats on a bull” in reference to someone who “wouldn’t hit a lick at a snake”

    1. My dad used to say “useless as teats on a boar hog” meaning something wouldn’t work in a certain situation

  17. My grandma still says “he was like 40 going north” and “just cause the cat gave birth in the oven don’t make her kittens biscuits”

  18. I am not dumb did not fall off a turnip truck!!

    1. I always heard, “he’s dumber somebody that just fell off a turnip truck.” Or, “did you just fall off the turnip truck?”

  19. The way I heard it is “The Good Lord willing & The Creeks don’t rise” referring to the Creek Indians and The massacre at Ft. Mims.

    1. That’s interesting. The phrase…”The good Lord willin’ and the crick don’t rise…means I’ll do the thing mentioned unless unforseen circumstances keep me from it. The old saying is much more colorful!

    2. Lived in Alabama most all my life and have never heard anyone pronounce Creek, “crick”. I’m 56 years old, my grandmother (still living) is 97. We say Creek.

    3. The only time that I have heard the word crick used is when someone from the north is trying to make fun of someone from the south.

    4. I’m with Carolyn Koeneke: It means I’ll do the aforementioned thing unless unforseen circumstances prevents it. Always heard it used in that context and never any other. As for hearing people say “crick” instead of “creek”, I’m almost 68 and only heard it a few times. When I was really young, some of the real old-timers would say it.

    5. @ Greg Creech; I heard some old timers say crick for creek; my paternal grand parents…both born and reared from Flint, Michigan..they lived in Edgewater, Fla. for 70 years and had stopped saying crick probably after they were almost 90…I’m getting there with a little luck; and never ever would say crick except if I got a catch in my neck…

    6. Yes. Creek Indians. Uprising

    7. Finally! Someone got it right. It refers to the Creek Indians & how a bit dangerous it could be with them in the area, always uncertain.

      Thanks folks. Andy Cooper, Sagle, Idaho

  20. Still use some of these sayings.

  21. Wish it was still like that.

  22. They’re not sayings, rather words, but my grandfather used “hope” for help and “kiver” for cover. As in, I’ll hope kiver you up.

    1. My understanding was that “holp” was the past tense of “help.” It can be found in some of Chaucer’s writings and The Bible, so was valid at one time.

  23. Can’t bear that with a heifer stick. Heifer sticks were used to swat the cow up the loading ramp, made for hitting.

  24. You might get the ham but I will he a pork chop, you will know I was in the contest, fight.

  25. Sure do remember. Do not believe they were referring to Creek Indians, as I lived in the southern part of Ohio, and heard the same.

  26. Heard a good one just this morning.” It is as hot as a rooster in a chicken house with fresh hens.”

  27. Tight as Dicks hat band

  28. Poor as Jobs turkey

  29. “Turn that light on off.”

    “Happy as a possum in a persimmon tree.”

    “Dumb as a 2 dollar mule.”

    “That boy’s so cock eyed he could look out the front door and count the chickens in the backyard.”

  30. Hard as a ten penny nail

  31. I got one: My mom use to say ” ypur ass is grass and I’m a riding lawnmower!”

  32. ” … she is the most lonesome girl I saw ! “

  33. Thats funny!
    I got one: my Mom use to say “your ass is grass and I’m a riding lawnmower!”

  34. I heard one the other day He don’t know if he’s hanging the wash or getting it in

  35. Looking for a hidden nest of eggs! Maybe a settin’ hen.

  36. I always heard ‘you look lower than a worm’s belly in a wagon rut,’ meaning a person was sad.

    Another was ‘knee high to a grasshopper,’ meaning short person usually a child.

    ‘I ain’t seen you in a month of Sundays,’ meaning it’s been a long time or ‘Since Buck was a calf,’ meaning a long time too.

    1. or “…since Hector was a pup.”

  37. A lot of them sayings what and just southern people it was all the people back in the old days

  38. It will all come out in the wash my granny was always saying .

  39. He would not work in a pie factory .

  40. Useless as tits on a boar hog……

  41. I am more inclined to think that the phrase “the creeks don’t rise” refer to those things with water in them that tend to over run their banks and wash out roads and bridges in rural areas. When I was in elementary school in Alabama, (early 60’s) the buses that ran the routes back into areas with gravel roads (which I lived on) would be dismissed early when it began to rain heavily. However, I do admit that although I often heard the phrase, I never even thought to question it’s origin!

  42. If I tell you a chicken dips snuff you can look under its wings and find a can . Means you don’t lie. Hard headed as a lighter knot.

  43. Useless as tits on a bore hog

  44. “Crazy as a Bessie bug” …Not sure what a Bessie bug is..but it sounds pretty crazy.

  45. Now this speaks volumns to me. I was born too late.

  46. “Sittin’ in high cotton” most of the time had an “h” added to the first word. Sort of self-explanatory.

  47. “He can’t pour water out of a boot with the directions on the heel”. (He is not very intelligent)
    “Fair to middling” (How a person is feeling. That saying came from how they used to grade cotton at the cotton mill).
    “Her lips were redder than a fox’s butt in poke berry picking time.”
    “Sweating more than a drunk (or whore) in church”.

    1. I heard two of yours as well.

      Fox’s rump and fair to middlin.

  48. I could eat the south end of a north bound mule!

  49. A retired Salvation Army from NC used to say, “Let’s get to the wagon boys, these boots are killin’ me.”
    when it was time for employees to go home.

  50. Amazing how I still use some of these phrases.

  51. A wink is as good as a nod to a blind horse.

  52. Dumb as a stump. Or – Dumb as a fencepost.

  53. About as useful as a screen door on a submarine.

  54. My Dad had a great many old sayings and I wish I could remember them all but one that really sticks in my head was once, when asked if he liked chitlins, he replied, “I could eat a chitlin from here to Andalusia with an intersection every mile.” We lived 25 miles from Andalusia so that would have been quite a chitlin.

  55. In referring to how far a distance someplace was, I remember hearing, “it’s just a hoot and a holler.”

  56. Referring to how lazy someone was, “He wouldn’t hit a lick at a snake.”

  57. I’m so hungry I could eat the south end of a north bound mule.

  58. Its raining hard as a double cock cow pissing on a flat rock.

    1. I’ve always heard one similar to that but it’s not decent enough to post here.

  59. Ain’t no sense beatin’ a dead horse.

  60. Ain’t no fish in that pond or ain’t no honey in that hive.

  61. I used to manage a restaurant and when a old timer came in wanting a steak cooked…how you want it cooked… Rare…just knock its horns off wipe its but n turn it over twice. Lol

  62. In warning a child of the discipline they might receive: You won’t sit down for a month of Sundays. Or, I’ll wear them britches out for you.

    1. or Don’t make me dust you off in front of company!

  63. Those people think there rich…there eating high on the hog.

  64. These brought back memories but some I still say.Mama also said things like “If that ain’t the truth then grits ain’t groceries”

  65. When asked how much money you got….I’ve heard people say …we are standing in high cotton.Meaning we are about to have a big pay day

  66. Ain’t no sense in wastin’ yore breath or, you’re just wastin’ yore breath.

  67. No need to cry over spilt milk.

  68. I wouldn’t trust him no farther than you can throw him.

    1. Good one. I always heard it, “Don’t trust him any further than I can throw a mule.”

  69. Might as well be as blind as a bat.

  70. If it was a snake, it would have bit you. Or – you couldn’t see it if was right under your nose.

  71. Like lettin’ a fox guard the hen house.

  72. Hard as hickory or hard as a rock.

  73. In referring to a given amount of time, “they’ll be there till the cows come home.”

  74. Well, if that don’t beat the band.

  75. Chickens (will) always come home to roost.

  76. Never ever heard a real southener say “crick” other than to describe a painful “catch” in the neck…but I only been a totally unreconstructed southenener for just over 81 year…I’ll keep listening ’cause you seem determined – I ‘d wager you to like sweet cornbread and as well as sugar on your grits…?

  77. I’ll just take an old cold tater and wait.

    1. Which came first? The saying or the song by Little Jimmy Dickens ?

    2. Not sure but my Dad used to say that often. When he was really upset he’d say, “Hell, I’ll just take an old cold tater and crawl under the house.”

  78. My great grandmother would use the phrase, “prettier than a speckled pup under a yellar wagon” which was a compliment for someone who was all decked out in a new outfit.

  79. A ‘crick’ is what you get in your neck….

  80. Never look a gift horse in the mouth.

  81. *My Dad had a great many sayings and I wish I could remember them all but one that really sticks out in my head is, once when asked if he liked chitlins, he replied, “I could eat a chitlin from here to Andalusia with an intersection every mile.’ We lived 25 miles from Andalusia so that would have been quite a chitlin.
    *No need to cry over split milk.
    *Ain’t no sense in wasting yore breath, or – you’re just wastin’ yore breath.
    *In warning a child of the discipline they might receive, “you won’t sit down for a month of Sundays” or – “I’ll wear yore britches out.”
    *Aint no fish in that pond or -ain’t no honey in that hive.
    *Ain’t no sense beatin’ a dead horse.
    *Referring to how lazy someone was, “He wouldn’t hit a lick at a snake.”
    *In referring to how far a distance someplace was, “It’s just a hoot and a holler.”
    *About as useful as a screen door on a submarine.
    *Dumb as a stump, or – dumb as a fencepost.
    *A wink is as good as a nod to a blind horse.
    *He’s dumber somebody that just fell off the turnip truck, or – did you just fall off the turnip truck?

  82. Maybe my favorite words of wisdom ” Never slap a man chewin tobacco”

  83. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

  84. That mule won’t plow.

    1. That old dog won’t hunt.

  85. Grinnin’ like a cheshire cat.

  86. Experience is always the best teacher if the lessons don’t cost too much

  87. Don’t get the cart ahead of the horse.

  88. Built like a brick outhouse.

  89. If you lie down with dogs, you’ll get up with fleas.

  90. Referring to how drunk someone was – He was 7 sheets in the wind!

  91. Play with fire and you’re gonna get burned.

  92. “iam goin over yonder” or ” up or down yonder “

  93. Extreme South Alabama ( Bon Secour / Bayou LaBatre ) .
    When wanting to know whether a small child was wary of strangers they would say , ” Does the baby make strange ?”,
    Never heard that anywhere else .
    Also agree that we don’t say crick … It’s creek or perhaps branch .

    1. While both Bon Secour and Bayou La Batre are both in “Extreme South Alabama”, what made you name them? They aren’t neighbors. Bon Secour is NW of Gulf Shores and Bayou La Batre is S of Mobile. Just curious.

  94. I’m so hungry, my stomach thinks my throat’s been cut.

  95. Your barking up the wrong tree.

  96. I sure have and still use today myself

  97. Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit …(when someone does something unexpected)

  98. I don’t chew my meat twice, meaning I don’t repeat myself.

  99. We’re just chewin’ the fat, or – we’re just shootin’ the breeze.

  100. Happy as a cow chewin’ on cud.

  101. Said as an expression of surprise, “Well, I’ll just be damned and be dast.”

  102. My grandfather in moments of frustration would say, “Well, shoot fire and save matches.”

  103. Look out “Red” the roads gettin boggy.

  104. Our granddaughter wanted me to hurry up the other day and said “Dollar waiting on a dime”

  105. Every old crow thinks hers is the blackest.

  106. She don’t know if she’s washing or hanging out

  107. he/she ain’t got the sense God gave a billy goat.

  108. Yes I do and John Wayne said it in one of his movies

  109. I always thought it meant if everything goes ok ,etc. Interesting Creek twist as have relatives who are of the Creek nation, poarch tribe.

  110. Dad used to say, ” ain’t got a pot to piss in nor a window to throw it out of.

  111. Piss in one hand and want in the other. See which one fills up.

  112. When describing how much you wanted more of food or something to drink, you would hear “just a tad”

  113. How bout picking a “mess” of okra!

  114. I still say some of them.

  115. “Drunk as Cooter Brown” whoever he was. “Well, I’ll be John Brown”. I don’t know if Cooter and John were related.

  116. “I’ll goin’ to get shut of that (name some possession)” meaning I am going to get rid of it.

  117. “That man has enough money to burn a wet mule.”

  118. “How are you doing?” Reply – “Fair to middling” which was an old phrase for an average grade of cotton.

  119. My grandmother’s swear expression was, ” Well, I’ll swanny”. I don’t know how one would ‘swanny, nor do I know what a swanny is.

    1. I don’t know what a swanny is either, but it sounds serious!

    2. I think “swanny” was short for “swear and be damned.”

  120. “crick” is a term used by people in western New York and into the Ohio valley. I’ve only heard it in Alabama by people trying to be folksy and coming off hokey.

  121. its “Whistling women, & crowing hens” not chikens. Who ever heard a chicken whistle?

  122. Ant nerry a one no better!

  123. Slap you naked & hide ur clothes!

  124. He ain’t rite all his dogs ain’t barkin!!

  125. I remember the 1st. one. I’ve actully used the 1st. one! I’m getting old!

  126. There is a town just north of Montgomery called Slapout. The name comes from the phrase being slap out of something which just means you don’t have any of the thing in question. There was a single store in that town that always was out of whatever people came into the store to buy. The store employees, when questioned about the availability of something would say “we’re slap out of that”. I remember by grandparents using that phrase.

  127. “He could eat sawbriars through a picket fence”

  128. My Mama said, “I ain’t hit a lick at a snake all day”, which meant she didn’t do much that day.

  129. Sure do, my papa, missing him!

  130. What goes over the ole devil’s back…is bound to come under his belly. Meaning, you reap what you sow.

  131. I know a guy that’s says of a morning I’ll get er dun

  132. The saying about the “creek don’t rise,” actually referred to the Creek Indians and not to a creek waterway, meaning if the Indians didn’t attack. At least that is what Paul Harvey said several years ago.

  133. i agree with some of the other comments…..this saying before and during the redstick indian war…..to me it meant good lord willing i can have another day if the creeks don’t rise

  134. visites ft.mims last year….not alot there but walking around you can just feel the history

  135. My ggrandmother said of some of her relatives: “The buzzards laid them and the sun hatched them”

    Don’t think she cared much for them !!!!!!!!!!!

  136. Straight as a Crow flies I use it all the time

  137. When I was out of work my Mamaw would ask me “Have ye found airy job of work yet?” Also if someone was poor she would say “They are broke as flat as the back of my hand.”

  138. Yes heard them all my life and i love them

  139. Heard’em all I reckon. 🙂

  140. I’m so hungry I could eat a horse and chase the rider !!!

  141. that’s the truth and Truth will stand when the worlds on fire.

  142. You’re as jumpy as a frog on a freeway.

  143. He doesn’t know whether to cry or wind his watch.

  144. My all-time favorite was “Grinnin’ like a ‘possum eatin’ persimmons on a fine cool mornin'”.

  145. ” I be John Brown” ” A whisling woman and a crowing hen come to no good end” “Only ni****s are free”

    1. LOL We say “I be John Brown!” I’ve always wondered who John Brown was.

    2. He was a violent murdering abolishtionist from New York that was hung for leading an assault on Harper’s Ferry, Virginia to acquire more arms.Robert E. Lee led the unit that overcame and arrested Brown and his men at Harper’s Ferry.They were all either killed at Harper’s Ferry or hung later.Brown must have been quite a heavy in the South to have inspired that saying.

  146. The phrase is ” Good Lord willing and the Creeks don’t rise” from a telegram sent to Andrew Jackson about an invitation to his inaugural ball from the man left to keep peace here in Alabama.

  147. “Good Lord willing and the crick creek don’t rise.” I say this a lot. I picked it up from my granddaddy. We say “creek”.

  148. Grinning like a mule eating briars.

    1. I’ve always heard this one as “grinning like a jackass eating sawbriars.”

  149. “Rougher than eatin a sack full of s*** with a knittin needle”

  150. “If a frog had wings he wouldn’t bump his ass everytime he hopped”. This would be in reference to not getting your way when you wanted too.

    1. Watch it, pal. We may not need wings!

  151. “Up crap creek without a paddle”

  152. “Uglier than a poot in church”
    “Ain’t got a pot to pee in or a window to throw it out of”
    “Worked like a borrowed mule”
    “Wish in one hand, spit in the other and see whichun fills up faster”

    1. My Mama used to tell me to “try wishing in one hand and shucking corn in the other.” Same sentiment.

    2. Yep lol i’ve heard it several ways.

  153. You’d have to set pegs to see him move —- said about a slow moving person.
    Slicker than owl snot —- my dad always says this
    He’s got about as much business being here as a one legged man at an ass-kicking
    She’d lie when the truth would do
    That’s so good it would make you slap yore grandma

  154. Thanks for this article. The comments on the website are great! We use so many of these expressions even today in the South.

  155. Sara McFerrin, Author — I’m sure you have plenty to add. Click on the link above to get to the website and read the comments there.

  156. You’d have to set pegs to see him move —- said about a slow moving person.
    Slicker than owl snot —- my dad always says this
    He’s got about as much business being here as a one legged man at an ass-kicking
    She’d lie when the truth would do
    That’s so good it would make you slap yore grandma

  157. Lord willing and the Creeks don’t rise makes me think of my dad. He talked about how Hank Williams always signed off his radio show with this saying in the early 50’s making it quite popular. But some believe that the Creek was actually referring to the Creek Indians sometime in the mid 1800’s.

  158. He lives in Plum-Nearly! My folks used this one to mean out of the city and nearly out of the country!

  159. “He/She could talk the horns off a billy goat.”

  160. “aint got the brains God gave a goat”

  161. “Well, I’ll swannee.” (???)

    1. This is one my grandmother used to say. She kinda used it in place of a swear word when frustrated about something.

  162. another one was {he,or she, can really pick em up,and set em down} meaning that person could really run fast….usually at or while watching a sporting event { football,,,foot races etc….i heard my parent’s aunt’s and uncle’s say it often.}

  163. the comments here referring to the creek indians is correct. And letter was written and in this letter the phrase was used good lord willing and the creek don’t rise. the creek uprising began around 1812 and the creek nation lost 23 million acres which is now most of the state of Alabama.

  164. I don’t know -any- Alabama native who says “crick” when they mean to say “creek”

  165. Sheila Hill Colston, I know you know these!

  166. or my personal favorite — Full as a tick!

  167. “About as useful as a saddle without a horse!”

  168. My great aunt said this about her nursing home room “They ain’t enough room in hear to cuss a cat without gettin hair in your mouth”

  169. Slower than molasses in winter.

  170. “I’m a hanging in there like a rusted fish hook”. “Keep ya forked end down”.

  171. Tight as Dicks hat band! What goes around, comes around! Lots more! Someone should write a book!

  172. My dad says “just hold your tater tooters!” when he wants me to slow down.

  173. Busier than a one-armed paper hanger.

  174. You had rather shave a wild bears ass with a dull razor than to mess with that old dog thats one of my favorite ol sayings it still crackes me up

  175. How about “Hanging in there like a hair in a biscuit”

  176. Drunker than a cooter brown! I’m so busy, I ain’t got time to cuss a cat! My favorite “lord bless us and bind us. Tie our hands behind us and throw us in the ditch where the work can’t find us!”

  177. Has anyone else ever heard this: cotton picking hands off my stuff

  178. She looks like a popped can of biscuits in that dress. I love that one!

  179. It don’t make no difference nohow, don’t it?

  180. Well, I’ll Swanee!
    I’ll cloud up and rain on you!
    She’s ugly all over more’n any place else!
    That lil baby was so black his momma had to dust him in flour and make him toot to know which end to put the diaper on!

  181. Here is a few …

    … he lit out like a scalded dog.

    … if we had some eggs, we could have some ham and eggs, if we had some ham.

    … woulda, shoulda, coulda.

    … ain’t got sense to come in outa the rain.

    … T’aint or T’isnt

  182. “The Lord willing and the creek don’t rise” came from when settlers were fighting the Creek Indians. FYI

    1. It was written by Indian Agent Benjamin Hawkins with an upper case “C” in Creek.

  183. “It don’t make no difference, no how, don’t it now!” Not sure what that meant as I can’t keep track of all the negatives And if you misbehaved, “swat your bottom till it looks like a beet crying.” ….never happened.

  184. Dark as midnight under a skillet.

  185. Might as well. I can’t dance and it’s too wet to plow.

  186. Well… The Choctaws are Rising – call is Creek if you like but fraud has no statute of limitations and the Supreme Court knows the difference…

  187. He or she is about useless as a screen door in a barn.

  188. And there he stood — like a calf staring at a new gate…(in shock)

    Well, you better lick your calf all over again! (You screwed up)

    The devil owed him a debt and paid him in sons-in-law. (My uncle Lawson with four daughters)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.