238 comments

    1. That lids screwed on tighter than Dick’s Hat Band.

    2. Southern Sayings

      Scarcer than hen’s teeth

      So mad she had forty-leven duck fits

    3. My Daddy, a Southern story-teller, b. 1917, who grew up in Midway, Ala. [Bullock Co.] quoted: “Every tub must sit on its own bottom.”
      [That was a line Count Basie picked up from one of his musicians and it became a business principle for him. He used it to mean that everyone earns their own way/was responsible for his choices.]

      He told us that a south Alabama expression is: “My name is Jimmie and I’ll take all that you can gimme!”

      “That businessman has a mercenary smile.” (Is not sincere.).

      Dad also recalled: “We will just have hold the potato and wait.”
      [I looked this last expression up online:
      Question: “Would you be kind enough to tell me whether I am right with my interpretation of the expression in bold in the following sentence?: ‘Now let me beg of the gentlemen to hold his potato.’ ”
      Answer: Hold one’s potato = take it easy, be patient
      We would probably say “hold his horses” with that meaning.

      He learned this on the family plantation:
      “As the little pollywog cautiously approached the edge of a lily pad in the pond, he asked: “How deep is it? “How deep is it? “How deep is it? – in a shrill voice.
      An older frog replied: “Knee deep and deeper, knee deep and deeper, knee deep and deeper.” – in a deeper voice.
      .And the big old bull frog cautioned: “You better go back, you better go back, you better go back, Ba-ac- cah!” – in a very deep voice.

      His grandfather said “It takes money to make the mare go.”

      1. My great grandmother, Mary Eugenia Turman Alston [1858-1948], of Midway, Alabama, [Bullock Co.] used these expressions:

        “There is so much good in the worst of us and so much bad in the best of us, that it ill behooves any of us to talk about the rest of us.”

        She would also say; “Enough is enough and too much is a dog’s bait.”
        Although we could understand the meaning of this in context, we have always puzzled over the meaning of ‘dog’s bait’. I have located an explanation in The concise new Partridge dictionary of slang and unconventional English by Eric Partridge, Tom Dalzell, Terry Victor : “It is a noun, meaning a huge amount, excessive. US, dating back to 1933.”

        Has anyone else ever heard this expression used?

  1. If the Lord’s willing and the creek don’t rise

    1. This is my favorite! I’ve been out of Dixie (sadly) a long time, but I always use it! We actually do have a creek on our farm, which makes it all the more enjoyable to say!

    2. The comment about the Creek is not meant for the water literally it was the Creek Nation as in the Native Indians.

  2. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth

  3. ” Get outta here”

  4. I thought it was “rode hard and put up wet”. Not dry. Guess im not as southern as I thought. May be a good thing after reading some of these Ive never heard before

    1. I always heard it the way you did, Barbara Hall. “…put up wet.” As a horse that wasn’t cooled down first.

    2. Yankees must have came up with this, cause y’all got it right.

    3. Yes, I’ve always heard it as ” rode hard and put away wet”.

      Another one is a response to the question “How are you?” My reply is, “Finer than snuff, and not half as dusty.”

      1. How are you??? I’m finer than frog hair and it split.

    4. It is rode hard and put up wet

  5. You’re right Barbara it is “Rode Hard & Put Up Wet”. Maybe whoever wrote this isn’t Southern after all 🙂

  6. Happier than a dead pig in the sunshine

    1. My mom used to say that, and it never did make any sense.

  7. Even a blind pig will find an acorn every once in a while.

  8. “I’m fixin’ to” and “I’ll carry you over there in my car.”

  9. Lower than a snake’s belly

  10. Good night in the morning….

  11. “That went over like a pregnant pole vaulter.”

  12. Colder than a well diggers ass in Utah

  13. Grinning like a mule eating briars.

  14. Madder than a wet setting hen.

  15. These are all great! I never knew we had so many unique sayings. Keep them coming.

  16. Busier than a one legged man in a butt kicking contest.Busier than a one armed paper hanger.

  17. Snow been there 3 days it’s laying for more

  18. Chicken today and feathers tomorrow! Finer than frogs hair and I’m going to beat you naked and hide your clothes!

  19. Make hay while the sun shines

  20. We are not Spring Chicken’s anymore !!!!!!

  21. Finer than frog’s hair split in the middle

  22. If The Good Lords willing and the creek dont rise.

  23. That’s screwed up like a soup sandwich.
    I’m broker than a hen’s tooth.
    It’s untelling.

  24. As nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs.

  25. Watch pot never boils.

  26. Can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear

  27. He’s so skinny, he has to jump around in the shower just to get wet.

  28. He’s so ugly, his mamma had to tie a pork chop around his neck just to get the dogs to play with him. (That one is ugly, Debra Wallace.)

  29. From my father in law-Im so nervous I could thread a sewing machine with it running wide open. I’m so hungry I could eat the north end of a southbound mule. My husband when asked how he’s doing will reply fair to middlin.

  30. She’s grinnin’ like a Cheshire Cat!

  31. Moma would say you will be eatin of the mantel when your daddy get home.

  32. That scared my mule! – meaning you were scared enough to run off.
    I don’t hold no cotton to him! – meaning I don’t like him.
    He ain’t no count – meaning he isn’t trustworthy
    Well, shut my mouth! – meaning you are speechless.

  33. That dog won’t hunt. Finer than frog’s hair. Git on outta hear.

  34. Hotter than a firecracker on 4th of July.

  35. Grinning like a possum!

  36. Bless her heart. Help em lord.

  37. cant unscramble, scrambled eggs. / cant make chicken salad out of chicken shit/ slicker than greased owl shit…

  38. I’m fixin’ to. Over yonder. And my favorite, references to Cooter Brown, such as “drunker than Cooter Brown,” “tireder than Cooter Brown,” etc. I never have found out who Cooter Brown was, but he must have been quite a character.

    1. Cooter Brown was an individual who lived during the War Between The States. The phrase came about because both the Confederate Army and the Union Army would not allow you to enlist and they would not draft you either, if you were drunk. So Cooter Brown stayed drunk between 1861 and 1865.

  39. He’s so skinny he had to tie a knot in his,legs to make knees

    1. She’s so skinny she can turn sideways and stick out her tongue and she’ll look like a zipper! She’s so skinny she can stand underneath a clothesline and never get wet! His legs are so skinny I hope he has insurance that covers stepping in Coke bottles!

  40. He’s (She’s) so buck-toothed, he (she) could eat corn on the cob through a picket fence.

  41. You can lead a horse to water, but you cant make him drink.

  42. A bird in hand is worth two in the bush.

  43. Too many cooks spoil the pot.

  44. Dizzier than a termite in a yo-yo.

    1. Betty, my East Texas grandmother and great aunts used to say this all the time. They have been gone for years but I can still hear the sound of their voices saying it.

    2. My granma born in KS said that. I have wondered for years what it actually meant.

  45. Happier than a hog in mud!

  46. Scarcer than hens teeth.
    Like a a blind dog in a meat house.
    Lawd have mercy.
    Somebody musta beat you with and ugly stick.
    Wee doggy.
    Drunker than Cooter Brown.
    As the crow flies, bout two miles.
    Stinks like a pole-cat.
    Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
    Giddy up little pony.
    Lookie over yonder.

    Yonder is still one of my favorite words! I say it all the time. Drives Jerry crazy!

  47. Useless as tits on a boar hog

  48. Crazier than a hound dog in heat

  49. Meaner than a two headed snake

  50. Dumber than a box of rocks

  51. Uglier than homemade sin

  52. Cuter than a speckled pup! Meaning they are adorable !

  53. John brownit shoot a monkey

  54. John brownit shoot a monkey

  55. Dumb as a bag of hammers

  56. Colder than a well digger’s toes

  57. Finer than frog hair. Finer than snuff but not half as dusty.

  58. Scoot over!

    I gotta pee like a Tennessee Strutter!

    My brother from another mother!

    I swanee!

    Mercy me!

  59. It’s coming up a cloud!

  60. I’m gonna jerk a knot in your tail.

    I’m oughta box your ears.

  61. “It’s a coming up a cloud”. There is bad weather forecast.

  62. I’m “dry as a chip”. (I’m thirsty).

  63. Sweating like a whore in church. Is a frogs a$$ water tight? Does a bear $h!+ in the woods?

  64. Well I’ll be Sam Hill.

    1. What in the Sam Hill is wrong with him?

  65. Another one is a response to the question “How are you?” My reply is, “Finer than snuff, and not half as dusty.”

  66. And my Granny’s favorite, ” I’m gonna commence to doin’ . . .(something)”

  67. Well I’ll be John Brown!!

  68. My Dad use to say the only difference between a Yankee and a D— Yankee was the D— Yankee never went home.

  69. “Come give me some sugar, Darlin’!”

  70. If I had knowed you was a comin’, I’d have baked a cake.
    Y’all come !
    Come here and hug my neck.
    I’m fixin’ to do it.

  71. Dumber than a sack of rocks, nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rockin’ chairs, grinning like a Cheshire Cat, happy as pig in slop, meaner than the devil himself, ugly as homemade sin. That’ s just a few I remember the “old folks” sayin’.

  72. pretty as a speckled pup under a red wagon. ugly as a mud fence. cold as a well diggers

  73. Don’t make me have a come apart!

    Bottom side upperds

  74. So bow-legged, he couldn’t stop a pig in a ditch.

  75. If wishes were horses beggars could ride.

  76. At this rate, it’ll take us 40-11(forty-eleven) Forevers to Git there!

  77. When observing someone else working diligently on a project, my now deceased East Texas neighbor would always yell out on her morning walks, “Now don’t you go n be startin’ no good habits!”

  78. yes and others like it in lamar county texas cause my folks moved there from lauderdale alabama

    1. I’m from Lamar county Alabama.

    2. Winston co. “The free state of Winston”

  79. “She would argue with a fence post”. “Shut the door, your letting the flies out.” “You kiss your mama with that filthy mouth?”
    “That nut didn’t fall far from the family tree”.
    “Pretty is as pretty does”.
    ….and on and on there are hundreds of them. LOL

  80. i like this one…”if i felt any better, i’d have to take a pill”

  81. Hush your mouth…it’s gonna only hurt…for a minute!

  82. Beauty is a beauty does…..I’ve had worse than that on my eye……He was raised tired and born lazy. I know lots more too! It’s great being born, raised, and growing old in the South!

  83. Boy! I will beat you all the way to sunday! Put that out and come eat your dinner! It’s gettin’ cold!…I didn’t cook all day so you could just hang outand smoke that shit all day! “But mama,this is the real deal right here,man!

  84. Close that door! We can’t air condition Alabama!

  85. She’s so ugly we have to tie a pork chop around her neck to get the dog to play with her.

  86. “You kids”…”go play in the hiway!”

  87. Prettier than a speckled pup lying in the sunshine

  88. You always have to come back up the road you went down.

  89. Goodness Gracious, Sakes Alive.

  90. Getin there and take a bath,we’re goin’ to the foot washin’

  91. Someone said “Wait for me”. Me and someone else said at the same time “Come on!”

  92. You have done smoked yourself “retarded”…”now give me that and get yourwhite ass in the house, before your daddy gets home,boy”

  93. ” I’m going to tie a knot in your tail.”

    1. I like that, except we say jerk a knot in your tail

    2. We sat “jerk a knot” too.

  94. You can’t see any further than the end of your nose.

  95. You ain’t got the sense God gave a goose.

    1. You ain’t got sense God gave a jackass

    2. If you had brains you’d be dangerous

  96. I can do this allday…..”now look @chee, you’re as high as a giraffe’s ass!”

  97. That child doesn’t believe water is wet or lard is greasy !

  98. He was born ugly and relapsed !

  99. That child is so ugly they made him National poster child for birth control ! LOL

  100. Ron sez;: My grandma’s sister was fond of observing that So-and-So was “all hat and no cattle.”

    1. Always wanted to know who was Cooter Brown…. Lol…

  101. What goes around comes around! So ugly ..she would stop an eight day clock! Hotter than 400! Colder than a witches t**tie in a tin brasiere. Down in the mouth. Was you raised in a barn?

    1. Yeah, and it makes me homesick to hear a jackass bray,

  102. Did your Mama drop you on your head when you were a baby?

  103. Some would get deleted! Ha!

  104. Always remember the people in your life you pass while going up the ladder of success because you will have to come down the ladder and meet these same people! My grandmother always said ,”There has never been a bird that flew so high that didn’t have to come down to earth and eat some gravel (in his craw) to be able to live !

  105. I just didn’t fall off a turnip truck,you reap what you sow,eats like a goat

  106. If you are waiting on me you are backing up

  107. I’m gonna jerk a knot in your tail.

  108. Naked as a jay bird. (Never quite understood it!)

  109. You ain’t got the sense God gave a goat.

  110. Colder than a well digger’s butt in January.

  111. Busier than a one armed paper hanger. Nervous as a cat in a room full of rockin chairs. You kids don’t have the sense God gave a billy goat.

  112. Ugly as homemade soap (interchangeable with sin, which never made any sense to me).

    1. Aw Shaw was the worst word I ever heard my granddad use! Never anything any stronger than that for him. I fell far from the tree! lol

  113. Well Bless all y’all ‘s hearts, you’re coming up with all the ones I remember. Plus – I smell peaches, someone’s coming with a hole in their britches. Never did get that one.

    1. Don’t think you really want to maybe either!

    2. My Daddy born in 1912 said “My nose iteches I smell peaches, i see a man coming with a hole in his britches” I never got it either but I loved hearing him say it.

    3. “Feeling lower than a snake’s belly in a wagon rut” “He has a grin on his face like a wave on a slop bucket”

    4. They fell off the turnip truck, they got beat by an ugly stick. Do you have a brain between your ears, or just air. Sweating like a who- – in church, Goinna wash that mouth out with soap,

    5. The hole to keep nats away from face

    6. His voice sounds like a hawg chewing Rock’s

    7. I’d just as well go to set Skunks wrestle

    8. Does so cross- eyed when she cries tears roll down her back

      1. She’s so cross-eyed she can sit on the front porch and count the chickens in the backyard!

    9. He is so bucktoothed he has to eat corn thru a barb wire fence

    10. I got a million of them.. We went swimming in the crick I guess the Bream was beddin cuz they shore would bite

  114. As we were leaving, a friend’s mother would say
    ” Don’t kill any dead snakes or wade in any dry branches!”

    1. Or take any wooden nickels!

  115. That boy ain’t had no raisins!

  116. That boy ain’t right bright!
    Sho nuff?

  117. …..”yo’ mouth.”

  118. My people always used the word “kyerse “? Maybe from the word curious, used to describe someone odd , difficult, contrary. Anyone else know this one?

  119. That dog won’t hunt. He won’t even tree.
    The house is anagogging from us. Not sure of the spelling but it means at an angle from.

  120. He’s so lazy he wouldn’t work in a pie factory sampling pies!

  121. Put his brain in a bird & it’ll fly backards!!

  122. I’m fixin to crack a winder, it’s hot in here!

  123. “She’s always late; she’ll be late to her own funeral!”

  124. A few of my favorites….
    Crazier than a run over dog.
    A little bubble off plumb.
    Lackin a few bricks of having a full load.
    Useless as tits on a boar hog.

  125. He ain’t ugly, he just don’t favor anybody.

  126. He could talk a dog off a meat wagon. That there cow went yonder way. If Ida knowed yall were comin Ida put out the dog. We best make a pallet if yall are country stayin

  127. It just goes to show you, there’s always something! No matter where you go, there you are. She’s so ugly she’d stop a charging elephant at 10 paces. She’d scare a haint up a thorn bush. She’d make a freight train take a dirt road. She’d have to sneak up on a glass of water to get a drink. I could go on……

  128. Bless yall’s heart; don’t let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya…., there are so many!

  129. He’s drunk as a skunk

  130. A whistling woman and a crowing hen..never comes to no good end. Anything worth doing. .is worth doing right. He has more money than he has sense.

  131. better than it needs to be!!

  132. Chicken one day, feathers the next.
    That’s the way the cookie crumbles.
    So poor, you can’t even pay attention.

  133. Nanny said, ” you have to pass and repass with folks.”

  134. She’s sweeter than a Georgia peach!

  135. If I were any better you’d need two of me.

  136. It’s “Living high ON the hog” not “Living high OFF the hog.”

  137. I always heard “high ON the hog” instead of “high OFF the hog”.

  138. dad and mom those mentioned as well as many others like “Y’all come back now, ya hear”?

  139. the best part of you run down yo mommas leg

  140. They were behind the door when the brains were passed out.

  141. My nanny would say “skin a rabbit” when undressing us. “Lord willing the crick don’t rise”

  142. Yall come go with us….Well I,ll be John Brown

  143. Actually I am from excel Alabama where Cooter Brown , everyone knows him and he stays drunk , lol . Always though they where talking about him till I moved out of town

  144. She had a HISSIE fit! Or is it hissy fit?

    1. She had a hissy fit with a rubber tail! I guess that was a lot worse than your regular hissy fit! lol

  145. “How’s your mama ‘n’ them?”
    “I’m fixin’ to make groceries” (go grocery shopping)
    “He/she made ____ (insert number for age here) today!”

  146. Shut the door! Was you raised in a barn?

  147. Dad use to say “he ran faster than a Scalded Ape”

  148. Dagnabbit maw that’s almost to Slapout

  149. I’m gonna have to cut all hole in the assend of my d drawers to keep the nats out of my face

  150. Yeah bless your heart really means she’s ugly as 40 miles of Alabama dirt road

  151. I’m going to the store y’all want a coke “Yeah” what kind

  152. Paw asks his mentally challenged son howcome you didn’t come to go today Son says a Beaver bit my nipple off. True

  153. A woman getting to missing 2 kids that belonged to someone else she hollard out where are you youngens at we are under the house she ssays y’all ain’t smoking are you nom wes just screwin OK you better not be smoking

  154. You better not kill ifen your not gonna clean it and eat it

  155. Yes I have. My grandmother all ways said my stars and garters. Do tell. You don’t say.

  156. I’m ‘finer than frog hair’. ‘ poorer than Job’s turkey’ ‘enough to feed Cox’s army’

  157. He’s so stubborn he would argue with a sign post and throw rocks at it for not arguing back

  158. But she’s sweet as she can be. Meaning she’s a little slow witted

  159. Come what may, Taint nothin,Easycome easy go.

  160. All these would drive a code talker nutz, make one heck of a code.

  161. Tougher than a 2 dollar steak! you got that all cattywompus! His biscuits ain’t quite done. His elevator don’t go all the way up to the top floor. Even a blind hog roots an acorn every now & then. Pretty as a speckled pup in a little red wagon sitting under the Christmas tree. If you ain’t the lead dog, the scenery never changes! My granny would say ” I got to go make a branch”. (you know what that meant) and she’d say, “why are you lookly so poorly, is your granny time on you?” (you know what that means too) She was a great one for the Golden Rule too! Do unto others as you would have them do unto you! Shut the door, was you raised in a barn? Take off your hat in the house! She’s nosier than a bloodhound on a trail. Sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite!

  162. All of these sayings are great, my grandma used to say “Early to bed, early to rise. Makes a man healhty, weathly and wise.” Have a Happy Thanksgiving Everyone. SMB

  163. Dead ‘ern pork!
    his face’d stop an eight day clock
    he’s so black his momma had ta roll ‘im in flour’n make ‘im toot t’know which end t’put th’diaper on.
    she had pimples all o’er more than anyplace else
    when he’uz born th’midwife throwed out th’baby and kept th’afterbirth

  164. Yankee Dime (meaning a “kiss”)

  165. He is dumb as a rock
    He is as worthless as a sack of switches
    Laziness will kill you (grandmother’s favorite)
    He was running aroumd like chicken with his head cut off
    She was a nervous wreck
    Won’t you just just listen to those ladies, its like a group of cackling hens!
    If I’d a knowed then what I know now (often used to express a sign of regret)
    It’s hotter than three hells in here
    He’s got a nose like a bloodhound!
    I’d swanny (I would swear)
    I ain’t never (who would have imagined)
    The road to heaven was paid with good intentions
    He ain’t worth nuthin
    She would’nt know the truth if she fell in it.
    Her tongue wags 90 miles an hour (a gossip)
    That’s about all I could recollect my grandmother saying. Audrey Mae Davis-Ham was born 1901 and grew up in Livingston, Alabama with family from around Bailey, Mississippi. She taught me true southern manners and the definition of a Southern Lady and that men should aspire to be Southern Gentlemen. She passed away when I was 12 but her memory of catch phrases and storytelling remain. I’ve known to share a “tall-tell” or two myself.

  166. He is so dumb he don’t know big wood from brush. What goes over the devil’s back slides right back under his belly. Every old dog has his day. That boy may be smart but he ain’t got a lick of horse sense. We can’t pour dishwater out the back door without pouring it on that boys head.(Guess you can tellmy family had a bunch of girls).Lord give me patience.

  167. My mama used to ask us if we were raised in a barn when we came in and left the door standing open. One day my brother told her she should know because she raised us. Boy did he get his rear torn up. Lived in Nama my whole life,southern born. What a place to grow up. ROLL TIDE

  168. Her face could stop a ten day clock.

    Uglier than a mud fence

    I’ve forgotten more than you’ll ever know

    Crooked as a dog’s hind leg

    He’s so crooked, they’ll have to screw him in the ground

    Haven’t seen you in a coon’s age

    Dumber than a brick

    1. None of your beeswax

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