What are some of your favorite southern sayings, colloquialisms or words of wisdom?

Tags: colloquialisms, southernsayings, wisdom

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I'm fixin' to go to the store."  (about to do something)

"I'm hankering for some sweet tea." (craving or desiring something)

"That dog won't hunt"  (idea that will not work)

"He's about as sharp as a marble." (not smart, rather slow)

"Younguns" (children, young ones)

"Usta" (something you used to do)

"Ill as a hornet" (a bad mood, ornery)

"Tell the truth and shame the Devil." (tell the truth)

"You can't hold water." (not telling the truth)

My mother's favorites she passed along to me are "pretty is as pretty does" and 'if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all!"

"He needed killin" -- expression I heard in Georgia referring to a person who needed to be reprimanded or corrected on something .

"Running around like a chicken with it's head cut off."

"He's playing me like a fiddle."

At my daughter's school in Charleston (Pre-K4 & Kindergarten)-"You get, what ya get, and you don't pitch a fit"!

Love that one, Julie!  I use that quite often in my house and now my children say it to each other! It really does seem to settle things down when they hear it.

Some more good ones from Kate Spears www.southernbellesimple.com

Others offer a word of advice:

  • If you're going to hoot with the owls, you've got to soar with the eagles
  • Hoe your own row
  • Many hands make light work
  • When cows start flying, you've just gotta shoot 'em (referring to a cow that constantly gets over or through a fence....also a new fave of mine!)
  • You'll lose a crop that way 
  • If you sleep with dogs, you'll wake up with fleas
  • Tell the truth and shame the devil
  • If you run with trash, you're gonna smell like it
  • Don’t mess and gom (as in “I’ve just cleaned the whole house so you better not mess and gom in there”)
  • No matter how thin you slice it, there’s two sides to everything
  • The best way to go fast is to go slow
  • Don’t sell your mule to buy a plow
  • If you don’t straighten up, I’ll jerk a knot in your tail

More from Southern Coterie contributor Kate Spears of www.southernbellesimple.com

  • Crazier than a sh** house rat
  • Busier than a one-legged man at an a** kicking contest
  • He's only got one oar in the water (crazy?)
  • He could thread a sewing machine and it a runnin' (my personal favorite....don't we all know somebody this nervous and high strung?)
  • His bread ain't buttered on both sides
  • Useless as teats on the boar hog
  • Busy as stink
  • Old as Cooter Brown (variation Cootie Brown)
  • Pretty as a speckled pup
  • He’s as tight as Dick’s hatband (means he is cheap)
  • They was in high cotton, but they got moved to the hind teat (things were going well, but now they aren’t anymore)
  • He ain’t got a pot to pee in (very poor)
  • As slow as molasses in January
  • As cold as kraut
  • Brown as toast, brown as a biscuit, or brown as a hoecake (the few times in my life I’ve ever had a tan, I loved receiving this compliment)
  • As full as a tick, about to pop (when you’ve eaten too much)
  • Grinning like a possum eating a sweet tater
  • She looks like death warmed over (she isn’t looking well)
  • That girl’s just a fart in the wind

I asked around and got some more!

He (or she) is drunk as Cooter Brown.

There's more than one way to skin a cat.

You are barking up the wrong tree.

As tight as Dick’s hatband.

Don't go off with your pistol half cocked.

Crazier than a run over dog.

Done gone and got Yankee rich.

Don't bite off more than you can chew.

Sorry as a two dollar watch.

The bit dog always hollars (meaning the one who was offended is the one who complains)

Going at it like they were killing snakes (meaning working really hard)

Love them all but my favorite (which I'm gonna start using on my twin boys): "If you don’t straighten up, I’ll (I'm gonna) jerk a knot in your tail". I think the confusion will stop them temporarily. :)

Never do I feel more Southern than when I say something along the lines of “He was drunk as Cooter Brown” and someone responds with 1. A confused look or 2. “Who is Cooter Brown?”

Well, hell, I don’t know who Cooter Brown is. My guess would be someone who was frequently inebriated or “three sheets to the wind,” as we say.

As a Mississippi girl, I’ve been using colorful expressions since I was knee high to a grasshopper. This ain’t my first rodeo. I didn’t just fall off a turnip truck.

While I have sometimes been accused of acting too big for my britches, y’all best not say I’ve gotten above my raisings. Whoever thinks that doesn’t know shit from shinola. (No, I don’t actually know what shinola is, but if the two items were displayed before me, I’m sure I could make an educated guess.)

I hear y’all saying, “You kiss your mama with that mouth?”

All right then, moving on.

Some Southern expressions might lead one to believe that we are a violent people. For example: “I’ll knock you into the middle of next week,” “I’ll snatch you baldheaded,” or “I’ll slap you nekkid and hide your clothes.” The horror!!

Even some of our compliments sound threatening, such as when we encounter something “so good it makes you want to slap your mama.” Why?? Can’t we all just get along?

Southerners have countless expressions to describe a person’s shortcomings: “Useless as tits on a bull,” “Dumb as a box of rocks,” and “Ugly as homemade sin.” (I’m not sure how it compares to the store-bought kind.)

My favorite is used to describe someone (usually female) who’s not exactly aging gracefully: “Rode hard and put away wet.”

Of course, any rude comments can be negated with the addition of a sincere-sounding “bless her heart.”

If the array of casseroles and cakes at the family reunion makes you happier than a pig in slop, don’t go overboard or you’re liable to end up full as a tick on a hound dog. Oh, I know you want just one more slice of red velvet cake, but people in hell want ice water. (Unless they’re Southerners; they want sweet tea.)

When it’s hotter than blue blazes, let’s hope you have air conditioning (“Good lord willing and the creek don’t rise”) or you’ll be sweating like a whore in church.

All right, y’all, it’s audience participation time. What are your favorite expressions?

Don’t just sit there like a bump on a log! It’s on like a chicken bone!!

Find more of my posts on all manner of Dixie delicacies and doo dads at Stuff Southern People Like.


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