Funny Southern Sayings, Expressions, and Slang

Updated on February 23, 2020
Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie shows off her quirky sense of humor by taking a new slant on various current topics.

Whatcha gonna do when the crick runs dry?
Whatcha gonna do when the crick runs dry? | Source

Translating Southern Sayings

As a transplanted Yankee living in the South, I am often surprised and amazed by the colorful Southern expressions I hear. Of course, there are the good old standbys we all know and love, like "y'all" and "down yonder." But the richness of Southern speech goes far beyond one or two-word expressions. There's a Southern expression for every occasion.

While their images and colloquialisms tickle the funny bone, Southern expressions usually convey exactly what the speaker intended. No one can mistake the intent and meaning of "I'm going to jerk a knot in your tail!" On the other hand, there are some Southernisms that it might take a Yankee like me years to figure out without a translator.

For example, here is an expression I've never ever heard above the Mason-Dixon line: "That possum's on the stump!" (Translation: That's as good as it gets!)

Or this one: "His heart is a thumpin' gizzard." (Translation: He's cold-hearted and cruel.)

Whether you are from another part of the country or from another country altogether, I hope you enjoy this collection of Southern sayings.

Pitching a hissy fit.
Pitching a hissy fit. | Source

When a Southerner Gets Angry:

  • He's got a burr in his saddle.
  • His knickers are in a knot.
  • She's pitching a hissy fit.
  • She's pitching a hissy fit with a tail on it. (When she’s more pissed off.)
  • He has a duck fit. (One step above a hissy fit.)
  • She has a dying duck fit. (Translation: Run and hide!)

Southern Sayings About Bad Character:

  • You're lower than a snake's belly in a wagon rut.
  • He's slicker'n owl sh*t.
  • She’s meaner than a wet panther.
  • He's a snake in the grass.
  • Why, that egg-suckin' dawg!
  • Worthless as gum on a boot heel!

When Southerners Are Busy:

  • I been running all over hell's half acre.
  • She's busier than a cat covering crap on a marble floor.
  • I'm as busy as a one-legged cat in a sandbox.
  • Busier than a moth in a mitten!

Running like a headless chicken.
Running like a headless chicken. | Source

Southern Sayings About Conceit and Vanity:

  • She's so stuck up, she'd drown in a rainstorm.
  • She’s stuck up higher than a light-pole.
  • She has her nose so high in the air she could drown in a rainstorm.
  • He thinks the sun comes up just to hear him crow.

(Most of these comments are made about women. Apparently, Southern men are not stuck up.)

Southern Expressions About Being Cheap:

  • He squeezes a quarter so tight the eagle screams.
  • He's tighter than a bull’s ass at fly time.
  • Tighter than a flea’s ass over a rain barrel.
  • He’s so cheap he wouldn’t give a nickel to see Jesus ridin’ a bicycle.

Southern Phrases About Being Broke or Poor:

  • Too poor to paint, too proud to whitewash.
  • I'm as poor as a church mouse.
  • I'm so poor I can't afford to pay attention.
  • He was so poor, he had a tumbleweed as a pet.
  • I couldn’t buy a hummingbird on a string for a nickel.
  • I’m so poor I couldn’t jump over a nickel to save a dime.
  • He doesn't have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of.

Too poor to paint, too proud to whitewash.
Too poor to paint, too proud to whitewash.

Dressed Too Scantily? They Will Say:

  • Those pants were so tight I could see her religion.
  • Her pants are so tight that if she farts it'll blow her boots off
  • You're gonna have old and new-monia dressed like that!
  • Lawd, people will be able to see to Christmas!
  • Law, pull that down! We kin see clear to the promised land!

Southerners Experiencing a Drought Might Say:

  • It's so dry the trees are bribing the dogs.
  • I swan, you all musta pissed God off somehow. It’s drier than a popcorn fart ‘round these parts. (Translation: Ya got me... I don't know what a popcorn fart is!)

Confused? In the South, They Might Say:

  • He doesn't know whether to check his ass or scratch his watch.
  • He couldn't find his ass with both hands in his back pockets.
  • He's about as confused as a fart in a fan factory.
  • She's lost as last year's Easter egg.

(As we Yankees say, "These people don't know which way is up.")

Well, that just DILLS my PICKLE!
Well, that just DILLS my PICKLE!

Southerners Know Happiness When They See It:

  • He's as happy as if he had good sense.
  • Happier than ol' Blue layin' on the porch chewin' on a big ol' catfish head.
  • Happy as a dead pig in the sunshine. (Translation: Apparently pretty happy.)
  • Grinnin' like a possum eatin' a sweet tater.
  • Well that just dills my pickle.

Expressions About Laziness:

  • Won't hit a lick at a snake. (Translation: So lazy he wouldn’t chase a snake away.)
  • He's about as useful as a steering wheel on a mule.

Colloquialisms for Unmentionables:

"Over-the-shoulder boulder holders." (Translation: A very large bra.)

Over-the-shoulder boulder holder?
Over-the-shoulder boulder holder?

Irritation Brings Out Some Creative Southern Expressions:

  • She gets my goose.
  • He just makes my ass itch!
  • Yankees are like hemorrhoids: Pain in the butt when they come down and always a relief when they go back up.
  • That would make a bishop mad enough to kick in stained glass windows.
  • She could make a preacher cuss!
  • She could piss off the pope.
  • If you don't stop that crying, I'll give you something to cry about!
  • Who licked the red off your candy?
  • She could start an argument in an empty house.
  • He's about as useless as a screen door on a submarine/a trapdoor on a canoe.
  • That makes about as much sense as tits on a bull.
  • Quit goin' around your ass to get to your elbow.

Colorful Southern Expressions About Liars:

  • Don't piss on my leg and tell me it's rainin'!
  • Don't pee down my back and tell me it's raining.
  • That dog won't hunt.
  • You're lyin' like a no-legged dog!
  • If his lips's movin', he's lyin'.
  • You’d call an alligator a lizard.
  • That man is talking with his tongue out of his shoe.
  • He's as windy as a sack full of farts.

(The most creative expression about liars I've heard in the North is "Lying like a rug." Southerners have much more colorful ways of accusing a liar.)

Southernisms About Stupidity:

  • If that boy had an idea, it would die of loneliness.
  • The porch light's on, but no one's home.
  • He's only got one oar in the water.
  • If brains were leather, he wouldn't have enough to saddle a junebug.
  • He's so dumb, he could throw himself on the ground and miss.
  • He hasn't got the sense God gave a goose.
  • When the Lord was handin' out brains, that fool thought God said trains, and he passed 'cause he don't like to travel.
  • His brain rattles around like a BB in a boxcar.
  • There's a tree stump in a Louisiana swamp with a higher IQ.
  • So dumb he couldn't pour piss out of a boot with the instructions written on the heel.
  • He don't know s**t from shinola. (Now this one I've heard in New Jersey....)
  • If his brains were dynamite, he couldn’t blow his nose.
  • I was born at night, but not last night! (I'm not that stupid!)

He is so dumb, he could throw himself on the ground and miss.
He is so dumb, he could throw himself on the ground and miss.

Surprised Southerners Might Come Out With This:

These are probably some of my very favorites!

  • Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit.
  • Well, slap my head and call me silly!

When Something Smells Really Bad, a Southerner Says:

  • He smelled bad enough to gag a maggot.
  • Something smells bad enough to knock a dog off a gut wagon.

If You Hear These Southern Expressions, You Better Watch Out:

Either somebody's in real trouble, or there's a fight brewing if you hear...

  • I'm gonna cut your tail!
  • I’m gonna jerk her bald!
  • Keep it up and I'll cancel your birth certificate.
  • I am going to jerk a knot in your tail.
  • You don’t know dip sh** from apple butter!
  • Me-n-you are gonna mix.
  • You don't watch out, I'm gonna cream yo' corn.
  • You better give your heart to Jesus, 'cause your butt is mine.
  • I'll slap you to sleep, then slap you for sleeping.
  • I’m gonna tan your hide.
  • I'll knock you into the middle of next week looking both ways for Sunday!
  • I'll knock you so hard you'll see tomorrow today.

I'm going to jerk a knot in your tail.
I'm going to jerk a knot in your tail.

Southern Expressions for Speed (Fast or Slow):

  • Faster than a one-legged man in a butt-kicking competition.
  • Faster than green grass through a goose.
  • Faster than a hot knife through butter.
  • Slower than a Sunday afternoon.
  • You took as long as a month of Sundays.
  • We're off like a herd of turtles.
  • He ran like a scalded haint. (I don't know what a "haint" is, but apparently a scalded one can run really fast!)
  • It happened faster than a knife fight in a phone booth.

Ugly or Looking Bad?

Now these are really unkind, but funny as heck!

  • He's so ugly, he didn't get hit with the ugly stick, he got whopped with the whole forest!
  • He fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down.
  • So ugly she’d make a freight train take a dirt road.
  • So ugly he’d scare a buzzard off a gut pile.
  • She's so ugly I'd hire her to haunt a house!
  • If I had a dog as ugly as you, I'd shave his butt and make him walk backwards.
  • She is so ugly, her face would turn sweet milk to clabber.
  • She was so ugly when she was born that her momma used to borrow a baby to take to church on Sunday

When the ugliness is just temporary:

  • I feel like I've been chewed up and spit out.
  • I feel like I been 'et by a wolf and sh** over a cliff.
  • He looks like ten miles of bad road.
  • You look like you've been rode hard and put up wet!

Expressions About Being Well-Fed or Good Food

  • Full as a tick.
  • Put that on top of your head and your tongue would beat your brains out trying to get to it

If he were an inch taller, he'd be round.
If he were an inch taller, he'd be round.

Southern Observations About Weight:

  • He's so skinny, if he stood sideways and stuck out his tongue, he'd look like a zipper.
  • She's so skinny, you can't even see her shadow.
  • She's spread out like a cold supper.
  • If he were an inch taller, he'd be round.

Of the Wealthy:

  • Sh**tin’ in high cotton.
  • He's richer'n Croesus.
  • He's so rich he buys a new boat when he gets the other one wet.

Expressions About the Good Looking Guys and Gals

  • Fine as frog hair split four ways!
  • She's pretty as a pumpkin but half as smart"

A Hungry Southerner Says:

  • I'm so hungry my belly thinks my throat's been cut.
  • I could eat the north end of a south-bound polecat.
  • I'm so hungry I could eat the north end of a south-bound goat.

Colorful Expressions About the Weather:

Like some of the other Southern phrases, a few of these might not be appropriate in mixed company.

  • Colder than a well digger's butt in January.
  • It was colder than a witch's tit in a brass bra.
  • That rain was a real frogwash.
  • It rained like a cow pissin' on a flat rock.
  • Hotter than blue blazes.
  • It's colder than a penguin's balls.
  • It’s hotter than two rabbits screwin’ in a wool sock!
  • It's cold enough to freeze the balls off a pool table.
  • Colder than a banker's heart on foreclosure day at the widows' and orphans' home.
  • It's been hotter'n a goat's butt in a pepper patch.
  • It's cold enough to freeze the tit off a frog.
  • It is hotter than a jalapeño's coochie.

All-Purpose Southern Expressions We Couldn't Do Without:

  • Y'all.
  • All y'all.
  • Down yonder.
  • Bless your pea-pickin' little heart!
  • Kiss my go-to-hell.

  • I wouldn't walk across the street to piss on him if he was on fire.
  • If you can't run with the big dogs, stay under the porch.
  • Why so sad? Did Chevrolet stop makin’ trucks?
  • Deep in the South where sushi is still called bait.
  • He's about as useful as a screen door on a submarine.
  • That sticks in your throat like a hair in a biscuit.
  • You’re so fulla s**t your eyes are brown.
  • He was as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a roomful of rocking chairs.
  • He couldn't carry a tune if he had a bucket with a lid on it.

The Southern word for "sushi" is "bait."
The Southern word for "sushi" is "bait."

Southern Slang

Part of Speech
bread basket
His bread basket is bigger than a bread basket, if you know what I mean.
HIs britches are so tight they make his legs look like hot dogs.
askew or awry; cockeyed
The storm knocked the clothes on the clothesline all cattywampus!
go get/good looking
I'm gonna fetch me the most fetching filly I can find.
getting ready
I'm fixin' to fix the porch door after I finish this sweet tea.
gussied up
dressed up; fancy
She's so gussied up you'd think it was a beauty contest.
verb or noun
hunger or yearning
I have a hankerin' for biscuits and gravy.
fancy, pompous, or pretentious
He's so highfalutin' he thinks his sh*t tastes like sherbert.
a small amount
I can't hear a lick with all this hooplah.
adjective or verb
fiddling, puttering, or pottering around
Quit your piddlin' and get to work!
entirely, completely
She's plumb crazy.
a disturbance or commotion
He made such a ruckus he woke the possums.
run away; hurry
You better skedaddle before you get caught!
haughty, arrogant
He's so uppity he deserves a PhD in snobbery.
whip or beat
I'm gonna whup you where the sun don't shine!

Southern Expression Poll

How many of these southern sayings have you heard?

See results
Did she just fall off the turnip truck?
Did she just fall off the turnip truck?

That's All She Wrote...

Well, that's all she wrote, y'all. I've looked all over hell and half of Georgia to find the best and funniest Southern sayings for all y'all, and I sure hope they tickled you as much as they tickled me.

And if y'all have any more fine Southern sayings, well, bless yer pea pickin' hearts, just let 'er rip, tater chip, and jot them down in the comments section below. I'm just happier than a dead pig in sunshine to have all y'all visiting me here today and taking the time to sit awhile and share your thoughts.

If you enjoyed this, be sure to visit "More Funny Southern Sayings and Southernisms from Readers."

Copyright ©2015 Stephanie Henkel

Yankees just can't pass for Southerners!

Well, we try...
Well, we try... | Source

Questions & Answers

  • Do you have any insight on where the expression "I'm going to the house" comes from? Also, do you have any good comebacks when someone asks you, "What do you know?"

    "I'm going to the house" is such a common expression, I'm not sure it originated in any specific region.

    "What do you know?" It's always been a rhetorical question, but I imagine someone with a quick wit could come up with a funny, sarcastic answer. I haven't heard any particular witty comebacks lately, though, have you?

  • What does it mean when people start a sentence with “law?” I’ve enjoyed reading these. I lived in Alabama in the early fifties after living my first few years in Brazil, Ginny, I assumed everyone the US spoke like this back then.

    I think that "law" is actually a form of "Lord", possibly calling on the lord tor help or understanding.

  • Don't you think the "pants so tight you can tell his religion" refers to men and circumcision?

    No, I don't. Generally, I have not heard comments about men's pants at all.

  • I didn't grow up in the south, but I did grow up a country boy in Iowa. Almost all of these sayings were part of my growing up. The one saying which I truly don't understand is "Well, bless your heart". Some people say it's a derogatory statement, others have told me it's a good thing. What gives?

    "Bless your heart" is sort of an all-purpose expression. It can be used to mean anything from, "you sweet thing" to "you're an idiot".

    For example, "She takes such good care of her elderly momma and daddy, bless her heart." or

    "He doesn't have the sense to come in out of the rain, bless his heart."

    It is just one of those sayings that you have to hear in context to understand what meaning is intended.

  • Have you heard anyone say “Oh, my hind foot!”? My mother and aunts used to say this if they thought someone was telling a tall tale. I’ve said it so often to my grand nieces as they were growing up, this expression is now used by the girls. Any idea where this one originated?

    I don't know where this expression originated, but, yes, I have heard it. There is another similar expression that is commonly used, but is a little more vulgar. I think the "oh, my hind foot" expression is just a cleaned up version of, "oh, my a**."

© 2012 Stephanie Henkel


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    • profile image


      2 months ago

      Loved this article. Thank you.

      OMG - Order More Grits ... or "All that and a bowl of grits." (Yankees version: All that and a bag of chips.)

      ' ... from Hell to breakfast.' ... having way too many goin's-on at once. (or: to be scattered hither and yon).

      He's so dumb, he thinks Johnny Cash is a pay toilet!

      She's was so unsightly as a child, her mama had to feed her with a slingshot.

      And, finally, how about "Cain’t never could."

    • profile image


      2 months ago

      My great aunt always says "Well that's just the berries" when she likes something.

    • profile image


      5 months ago

      He is one from my grandmother. "Lord knows they can't help being ugly, but they sure could stay home."

    • KC3Lady profile image

      Kelly Ann Christensen 

      5 months ago from Overland Park, Johnson County, Kansas

      This is a cute, lighthearted article. I thought I had heard a lot of expressions like this, but you have quite a few in here I have not heard. Don't forget "knee high to a grasshopper," meaning when you were little. It is refreshing to read someone who still has their sense of humor.

    • profile image

      Danny kluver 

      5 months ago

      She’s lost as rat turd in a barrel of rice

    • Stephanie Henkel profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Henkel 

      5 months ago from USA

      Elaine - I had not heard the expression "low in the hole". Thanks for the new one! As I came across various sayings, I was pretty sure some of them were reserved for "guy talk" as most women I know would not consider talk of farting appropriate.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Henkel 

      5 months ago from USA

      Bre- You are right, this was written by a Yankee, and I admit that I'm a little clueless about the origin of some expressions. In my mind, I thought cotton picker referred to anyone who picks cotton, of any race. I certainly would not have included it if I knew that the term was offensive to anyone. My apologies! I have deleted it from my article.

    • profile image


      5 months ago

      From the South here... just wanted to share one from my childhood that's always been used by my family. "I will beat you like a redheaded step child." Basically was always a warning to us kids to stop causing a ruckus or misbehaving before we got our asses whooped for whatever we were doing.

      Another 2 word one you might like is "crazy heifer." Personally, I use this one quite often while driving because I moved up North for work and no one seems to know how to drive.

    • profile image

      Donna W. Smoak 

      5 months ago

      Younguns- children; She's crazy as a bat; He wuz driving like a bat outta hell; The phrase, " Bless her little pea-pickin' heart" is a positive comment, " Bless her little pea-picking heart, she was able to have that baby before the doctor got there"! ; but, when just 'bless her heart' is used, the speaker is usually gossipin' or deliberately insulting another in earshot of the conversation.Ex: " I heard that Mary Jane's no beau doesn't need a saddle to ride his horse cause he's so bow-legged, Bless her heart", " Bless her heart, Mary Jane's pound cake is flatter'n a pancake". (Said while Mary Jane or her mother are standing/sitting near by). " He's thin as a rake and 'needs meat on his bones'. (He needs to eat). When a Southerner says, " I'm fine or ok," they really aren't and are holding back emotion out of pride & privacy. If said to their significant other, there must have been a rift between the two. If to total might mean they really are ok. But to know if family & friends are doing/feeling happy & healthy is if they answer, " I'm fine as frog's hair!"

    • profile image

      Donna W. Smoak 

      5 months ago

      There's" happier than a pig in slop" (slop is all the saved up bits, scraps, & peelings that humans don't eat all mixed up that is then fed to the hogs, which gives rise to another expression " to go slop the pigs".

    • profile image

      E rok 

      5 months ago

      I was born at night but it wasnt last night...means im not that stupid

    • profile image


      6 months ago

      Low in the hole means you are broke ,no money , don't know where it comes from but I have heard it a million times! Also the expression is " full as a tick" when you have eaten too much ,lol ,that was pretty funny and I knew most of them but there were some I have never heard before ! The ones that surprised me the most are the ones that talk about farting and things like that, because that's not something southern women would say ,,well at least not around my neck of the woods ! Lol ,thank you

    • profile image


      6 months ago

      yall must not know what in tarnation a cottonpicker is, and we dont use it when we are surprised. we use it when we are madder than a wet hornet. think back to the mid 1800s and early 1900, what in your upright mind do you think a cottinpicker is. its a racial slur, imma leave that their, did a yankee create this cite or what?

    • profile image

      JL Schorgl 

      6 months ago

      Slower than molasses in the winter.

    • profile image


      6 months ago

      I use the phrase 'wothless as gum on a bootheel' to describe something absolutely worthess. I live in Oklahoma, but haven't heard anyone else say that

    • profile image

      Warren Myers 

      6 months ago

      I assuming you don’t know what a cotton picker is, and I’m telling you right now we don’t use it when we’re surprised.

    • profile image

      Angie Hale 

      6 months ago

      In response to one of the questions , wrong sudaddards, is wrong side outwards. As in putting on shirt inside out.

    • profile image

      Paul Collier 

      7 months ago

      Works like a $2 watch. Is the saying I was lookin for.

    • profile image

      Cindy Blankenship 

      7 months ago

      A "haint" is a ghost. Comes from the word "haunt". My grandmother used to say, "He's broke as a haint."

      Also, popular around my house. "Flat as a flounder." "Hotter than who laid the rail." (railroad reference)

    • profile image

      Riley Soles 

      7 months ago

      hey what are some if these for smelling bad

    • profile image

      Robert E. Hays 

      7 months ago

      Mama used to say, "Fine as frog hair split four ways!"

    • profile image


      7 months ago

      Awe... stop your jaw jackin’= shut up

    • Stephanie Henkel profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Henkel 

      7 months ago from USA

      Carl Van Hess - Haven't heard most of these before, they're great! Thanks for posting!

    • profile image


      7 months ago

      GRITS are made from corn, like corn meal is, but they are not corn meal. They are made from ground hominy, which is corn soaked in lye.

    • profile image

      Carl Van Hess 

      8 months ago

      Here's a few I really like......"He was raised so far back in the woods that until he was 16, he thought asphalt was something wrong with your butt"

      "It's raining so hard the animals are starting to pair up"

      "She's pretty as a pumpkin but half as smart"

      "Her pants are so tight that if she farts it'll blow her boots off"

      "It was so crowded, you couldn't cuss the cat without gettin' fur in your mouth"

      "She was so ugly when she was born that her momma used to borrow a baby to take to church on Sunday"

    • profile image

      John Sutton 

      8 months ago

      It’s so hot I saw a dog chasing a cat and they were both walking!

    • profile image


      8 months ago

      "Slower than molasses on a cold day"

      "I'm only half as dumb as I look"

    • profile image

      Buz Jones 

      8 months ago

      A tasty dessert: That was so good it will make you push your granny in the creek.

      A fat person: They are no stranger to the fridge.

      Obese person: They are about 2 biscuits shy of 300 pounds.

      Poor dresser: They are not a slave to fashion.

      Small town jokes:

      Our town is so small that the city limit signs are on the same post.

      Our town is so small that the all night cafe closes at 2 o'clock in the afternoon.

      Our town is so small that once we had a parade and there was nobody left to watch.

      He lives so far out in the country that they have to pump in sunshine.

      Dumb: He is a few fries short of a Happy Meal.

      Country songs?

      Get off the stove Granny, you are too old to ride the range.

      He rode tall in the saddle, till his blister burst.

      Don't milk your cow in a windstorm baby, or you will be holding the bag.

    • profile image

      Tussle 'bout 

      8 months ago

      We used to say "boy, girl, naked squirrel, dumber than a bean fart" thatd get the other kids all riled up.

    • profile image

      alexis goad 

      8 months ago

      In the saying "ran like a scalded haint" you said you dont know what a "haint" is. "Haint" is a southern variation of the word " haunt" and is referring to a ghost or evil spirit. Once upon a time in the deep South, many people painted their porch ceilings a specific shade of Haint Blue, a soft blue-green, to ward off evil spirits called “haints.”

    • profile image


      9 months ago

      Im from tha south an always been here an still live on a REAL ranch an just halfta say I saw quite a bit of stuff that’s a little off. Im not bein mean I jus thought I’d tell ya some real stuff we say. An instead of writing correctly like my phone tells me to i thought I’d write usin my authentic everyday speech so yall can get a feel for tha real thing. Anyway when we like your cookin we say, That food was so good make ya tongue slap back ya head. An when it’s real cold, it’s colder’na witches tit in a GLASS bra sometimes we add “in a ice storm” on the last part if it’s real cold out. An it’s useless as tits on a boar hog. Another is he’s holdin on so tight ya couldn’t drive a needle in is (his) ass with a ball peen hammer. He’s so sick they laid him on a beam. An barkin up tha wrong tree means you messin with tha wrong boy cause he’s way bigger’n you and fixina whoop yo ass easy like Sunday mornin. Somore (Some more) are, You know E (he) lyin cause he’s smilin like a possum eatin shit. Don’t be makin fun of eem, He own (dont) know what’s good for em. He ain’t got tha brains God give a menally (how we pronounce it) retarded masqueta ir how yall say (mosquito) ir whatever. I noticed that you got alot of tha sayings pretty close but they aint all tha way right. An we got lots more. But so far so good I guess. Pretty funny ta read too. Now that’s what I’m talkin bout!

    • profile image


      10 months ago

      I'm older than Noah's boat so I've heard one from my great grandmother's grandkids.

      I'm gonna go light a shuck and go to.... When I asked what it meant, they looked at me and said, back before the Depression, with no wood or candles, they would light a shuck to see at night to go someplace. I asked, "A dry corn shuck?" Yep. Apparently, they were also used for toilet hygiene.

      "He's shuckin' so-and-so's corn." A certain person was having relations with another person's spouse.

      South Carolina was one of the few places where it was 100% humidity, and it wasn't rainin'.

      I like you better'n boilt peanuts...or you're sweeter than boilt peanuts. (They are a delicious southern delicacy when not over salted. You can't use roasted nuts--must be green. I really miss them.)

      When I first went there as a kid, I got a bad rep as stuck-up.? Turned out, folks would yell, "hey!" I would turn around. Hunh? Turned out, "Hey" is how they say, "Hi!"--not as an attention getter.

      For those who do not get that people have cars and can drive anywhere now-a-days, the better colloquialisms travel and stick, or they fall from common useage (as with the corn cobs). I picked up the slang fast, having been exposed to foreign languages as a kid. It confuses people that meet me after hearing me on the phone... (I'm mixed Asian.) especially after hearing "southern" again. (I revert back to it from Californian.) Good work! (It's true, only northerners "have" hissies.)

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      10 months ago

      Here's a few I've said over the years (From Georgia) 1) I'm out like a fat kid playing dodgeball! 2) That'll go over bout' as well as a turd in a punch bowl!

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      Jess Sam Guyy 

      11 months ago

      I was once offered a snort of genuine Tennessee moonshine and all I did was smell it and it burned my nose so bad there was no way I was going to drink that crap. My host laughed and explained, "It's just right. Ain't so good as they'd keep it all for themselves and it ain't so bad so's it'd kill ya."

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      11 months ago

      Especially good hearing -

      Far, far south of the Mason-Dixon line here... A elderly neighbor said of his wife: "Millie can hear a mouse pissing on a ball of cotton."

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      11 months ago

      Do you know any Southern expressions for true love or falling in live?

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      Art Mills Texas 

      11 months ago

      Derogatory term for someone (one word)- sumbitch.

      Damn has two syllables- da-yum.

      There are a few more to learn in order to speak southern.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Henkel 

      11 months ago from USA

      OK, you got me, Bonnie. I have no idea what crossing your legs before eating boiled okra could possibly mean!

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      Bonnie. Hogsett 

      12 months ago

      My great-aunt would say:

      Don’t forget to cross your legs before eating boiled okra.

      Southerners know what that means.

      I better git home or my Mama’s gonna “skin me alive”

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      Charles Kersey 

      12 months ago

      I live in deep south and i loved seein these, ya got most of em but ya missed some the good ones like another phrase for useless that I personally say alot is "You're as uselfess as tits on a boar hog."

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      Nithya Venkat 

      12 months ago from Dubai

      If you did not translate each one of the sayings I would be totally in the dark! Enjoyed reading.

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      12 months ago

      I'm feeling puny.

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      Bob Ross 

      13 months ago

      I forgot a couple:

      “Thunder mug”. Bedside commode

      “A rising”. An abscess

      Just a further expansion of “bless his heart”. It seems as if you can say anything about someone as long as you end the statement with “bless his heart”. For example: “He ain’t got the brains God gave him - bless his heart”. “He shore is the ugliest boy from that litter - bless his heart”.

      “Cold enough to kill hogs”. Before good refrigeration, meat had to be stored such that it would not go bad. So, you might wait until the weather got real cold before you would butcher pigs.

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      13 months ago

      A “haint” is a ghost. Low country SC people paint the ceilings of their front porches “haint blue” to keep the spirits from entering the house.

      “Dinner” means lunch and “supper” means dinner — main meal is in the middle of the day esp on Sunday (pronounced “Sundee”)

      Other variant of y’all — plural possessive “all y’all’s” — used when one or more objects belongs to a group of people : “Is this all y’all’s picnic stuff?”

      “Bless your heart” can actually equal “poor baby “ said as an expression of true compassion — used all the time by my mother when one of us was feeling bad.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Henkel 

      13 months ago from USA

      That's a new one! Thans, C. Hooper!

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      C Hooper 

      13 months ago

      When food is really good.

      "Put that on top of your head and your tongue would beat your brains out trying to get to it"

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      C Hooper 

      13 months ago

      My grandmother used to describe a handsome man as

      "Finer than a Frog hair split four ways"

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      N Gray 

      14 months ago

      My Mom was quite colorful. She used to tell us “ You can want in one hand and sh*t in the other. See which one fills up the fastest”

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      14 months ago

      Not from the south but was raised out in the sticks.. Here a few for ya's

      * Slicker than dog snot on a door knob..

      * He/She is more Nuttier than a squirrels turd.

      * Sweatin like a pregnant nun in the front row of a Church meeting

      * More nuttier than a port a potty at a peanut festival

      * Its hotter than a mess of collard greens on the back burner of a $2 stove

      * He was bangin her like a screen door in a windstorm (having sex)

      *He's more confused than a blindman at a silent movie

      * Happier than a fat kid in a bakery

      * he/she is more fake than a set of Double D implants on a anorexic stripper

      * He/ she has a champaign taste with a flat beer pocketbook

      * He/ she is about as useless as a fart in a fan factory

      * He/She aint the brightest crayon in the box or sharpest tool in the shed

      * Your more shocking then a Junebug trapped in a bug zapper

      * If brains were gasoline He/she couldnt drive a piss-ants gokart around a Cheerio

      * He/she is about as nervous as a Fat bee in a fly swater convention

      Thats about all of them I used or heard Hope you enjoyed them..

      I sure did like reading all the others as well.. thanks for the good laughs

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      john youngblood 

      15 months ago

      So hot the fire needs water

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      15 months ago

      A friend from North sand mountain Alabama used to describe the rich as " have enough money to burn a wet dog".

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      15 months ago

      Grew up in the central valley CA. Here's a couple.

      (Slaunch ways) = Diagonal.

      (when your waiting in a long line)

      Im sitting here like a penny waitin fer change!


      "Im busier than a cat trying to cover it up on a tin roof.

      (When a drink taste bad)

      It taste like horse piss!

      (When family or kin treats you bad)

      The saying goes "horse piss is thicker than blood".

      (someone's body is shaking in the cold)

      He's shaking like a dog tryin to sh*t out prunes.

      ( a bad cook)

      Her bread can put a dent in my car!

      (when something happens fast or quick)

      That was quick! We need to get you in congress!

      (A signal light turns green)

      Aint gonna get no greener.

      (When your mad at someone)

      You takin inventory of those teeth of yer's?

      (And just a quick mens bathroom joke when standing at the urinals)

      (While standing at the urinals with other people)

      (Yell out somewhat loud) Anybody wanna play swords?

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      15 months ago


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      Southern gal 

      15 months ago

      Hotter than a fireball

      Meaner than a snake

      Hairs a mess

      Mess of collards

      Boot of the car

      Busy as a fart in a collander

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      15 months ago

      Here's some southern expressions for y'all:

      "Colder than a witch's tit in a brass bra."

      "Dumber than a box of rocks."

      "Crazier than a bag of frogs."

      "Crazier than a fly in a bass drum."

      "Busier than a one-armed paper hanger."


      "If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, you can be SURE it's a duck."

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      Joe Benton 

      15 months ago

      um. you need to pull the third one for "surprised".

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      15 months ago

      And someone asked about cat cutting being a name for a pot luck - calf cutting. When it’s calf cutting time it takes so many people to run the chutes, hold the calf, clip the horns, and on and on so normally you call everyone over to help and all of the wives bring and help make food so when the workers drag up at the end of the day tired and starving, there is plenty of food.

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      16 months ago

      Even with all the mayonnaise in the world, you can’t make chicken salad out of chicken sh**. Meaning just because you sugar coat it, doesn’t make it right or nice.

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      Michael Greehaw 

      16 months ago

      Law is short for lawd ( lord ) ol in da hole is another way of saying lo and behold . Cottonpicker Can be affectionate or derogatory.

      Muckeltydunn is an mustard or brown ugly color .

      Slicker than owl sh*t on a sycamore limb - it’s reall slick .

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      16 months ago

      I heard this in South Carolina last week: He's as country as a cornbread weddin' cake

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      17 months ago

      Don't know if these are Southern, but I first heard them when I was living in the Carolinas.

      When someone looks like they's had a rough day doing dirty work: "You look like you've been shot at and missed, sh!t at and hit."

      looked at someone dubiously: gave him the hairy eyeball.

      exceptionally uncommon: rare as hen's teeth

      too much stuff (clothes, knick-knacks, possessions in general): sh!t for days

      When you're tried of getting the run-around (from bureaucrats or customer service reps who keep directing to someone else rather than helping solve your problem,) or when you're tired of dealing with someone or a group of people who are goofing off and acting like idiots instead of getting a job done, you might say, "I've had just about enough of this happy horsesh!t"

      One who is eagerly enthusiastic about something, takes care of a task with uncommon promptness and and efficiency, or watches events with extreme attention to detail and possibly suspicion can be said to be 'all over that like white on rice' or like flies on sh!t.

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      Keith Blalock 

      17 months ago

      Happier'n a hog in a cool puddle of mud.

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      Linde Knighto 

      17 months ago

      Pants so tight you're showin your religion...Could be about circumcision, or Mormon Temple Garment, or a Native Person's medicine bag....

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      Amer Hooper 

      17 months ago

      I was taking care of snow elderly woman, who at the time was 100yrs young. She would tell me lots of stories, but her favorite was when she got her 1st real job at a department store she would tell her boss when asked what she did before working for him. She'd tell him that she "was shucking high gear" in the country. Hopefully I'm saying it correctly & someone knows what it means.

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      17 months ago

      The scantily clad one is for men not women.... It's a circumcision joke.

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      17 months ago

      What is it that people say in the south when referring to a kid who is hyper or acting crazy??? I used to hear a saying all the time when lived in North Carolina from Virginia people.

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      17 months ago

      Excellent collection of colloquialisms! I had never heard the brains were leather one!

      My mother always said “didn’t know whether to wind his a** or scratch his watch”. She was from east TN. I wonder if it’s a regional difference.

      FYI: A haint is a ghost

      A dead pig in the sunshine dries out and the skin pulls back from his mouth to look like a grin.

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      18 months ago

      My mother was from Oklahoma and I've heard nearly all of these. She used to say she was so hungry she could eat a horse and chase the rider. We also used to say someone "didn't know shit from Shinola" and I actually bought a bottle of Shinola at an antique store. It's a lovely reminder of my family heritage lol.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Henkel 

      19 months ago from USA

      I haven't heard the term, but perhaps some of our readers are familiar with it.

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      Sandy Weter 

      19 months ago

      Looking for a reference for a “cat cutting”. I heard this term frequently in the 50’s when people referred to a big group of people having a party with food, music and sometimes beer. Anybody else know this term?

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      20 months ago

      If you're born to hang, you ain't gonna choke on a chicken bone!

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      20 months ago

      I mean...I'm from Buffalo and we use damn near all of these...

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      20 months ago

      hey....... I’m from Louisiana and I’ve only heard a few of these sayings. however I’ve heard a lot of the stuff from the ‘southern slang’ section. so, I’ll put some of the sayings I’ve commonly heard:

      Cattywompus/cattyconkered - askew or scattered

      wait a cotton-picking minute - the equivalent of ‘hold on a second’

      coke - any kind of soda

      s/he couldn’t see the forest for the trees - said when someone overlooks the obvious

      yuppie - a northerner/city person

      city-slicker - yet another term for a northerner or a city person

      mudbugs - crawfish

      catch - a term for a person who seems like a good suitor

      kids who hunt and fish don’t steal and deal - a common bumper sticker saying. also used to imply that your children (especially ones who hunt and fish) are higher class/better behaved than drugheads

      it got me - what we say when we get hurt suddenly (for example, if we burn a hand on a stove, or get nipped by a lizard, or poked by a fish hook)

      if you put them in a room together you still wouldn’t have a full set of teeth - said when referring to a group of hillbillies or a group of people who don’t have a lot of teeth, such as those who live in poor neighborhoods

      this car can turn on a dime - used when referring to a vehicle that can make sharp turns

      mudriding - when you (sometimes with friends) go out in a side by side or on a four wheeler, and ride through large mud puddles in the woods

      crack shot - a sharpshooter

      hootenanny - a party or get together

      country yokel - used when fondly referring to one of your friends when they venture out into the city

      dollar store brand - used when referring to a crappy off brand product

      s/he won’t go swimming in the rain for fear of getting wet - used to refer to a pessimist and/or an idiot

      cow patties - what cows leave in the pasture (cow dung)

      put out to pasture - retiring something or throwing it away

      this makes you want to slap ya mama - said when something is spicy

    • Stephanie Henkel profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Henkel 

      21 months ago from USA

      Cadmus Cornfoot - Well, you sure gave us a good taste of southern culture! Thanks for writing in!

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      Cadmus Cornfoot 

      21 months ago

      I got a few from Florida, Georgia and Tennessee not on your list. You live any amount of time growing up between the swamp and the mountains and you're bound to hear a wide variety of accents and nonsense you just won't hear anywhere else. I appreciate many things about southern culture that are independent of race/gender/creed. Everyone contributes a little bit to it which is what makes it such a joy to meet folks from all walks and every neck of the woods.

      Sometimes 'show' means movie (like picture show) and 'stories' can refer to soap operas.

      Tractor-trailers are semi-trucks

      Yams are sweet-potatoes

      It's all "six and one-half dozen" when there ain't no difference.

      Grits are just corn meal similar in a way to cream of wheat. Add plenty of butter, maybe a little milk to thicken it, eat it as is or use it like a gravy that makes everything taste a bit better when you dip in it.

      G.R.I.T.S. are also girls raised in the south

      Slug burgers used to only cost a nickle (or slug, old slang), they don't put slimy slug worms in them. Tater logs are just jumbo sized french fries that are seasoned properly. Don't be afraid to try fried gator tail, if it's done in oil separate from the fish fry it's a really tasty white meat.

      P.E.T.A. stands for people eating tasty animals. Roadkill either ends up on the dinner plate or getting processed at the dog food plant.

      Stand up-wind of anyone who eats too much roadkill if you start to hear "barking spiders", you'd swear whatever it was they ate smelled rather like it crawled up inside them and died!

      If the moonshine tastes like water you'd best sit down and rest your dogs awhile before it lays you out cold. (!!SERIOUS ADVICE!!)

      When it's time to work there ain't nothin to it but to do it. I don't know how southern it's origins are but plenty will tell ya if it ain't broke, don't fix it, you best leave well enough alone. But by all means, if it is a complete waste of time

      you may have to remind someone that they "can't polish a turd."

      When pay day would come we would say it's "the day the eagle sh*ts"; or farts in the case of a slow week or a new hire that wasn't getting much on their check. "It's gonna sh*t in everyone's hand 'cept you. It's just gonna fart in yours."

      Lib'da (lie-b-duh) is a word I'm not certain I spelled right but it means 'likely to': Don't even think about sassin' momma, she's lib'da slap you stupid

      Also don't go around buttin' in on other people's gossip asking, "who?" They lib'da tell ya,"What'you mean 'WHO'? Your leg don't fit no tree!"

      This isn't a saying so much as a fact that anything and everything gets pickled in the south and you can usually find it in a big jar on the counter at the corner store. Many will eat anything "assh*le-to-snout."

      "Love, peace and chicken grease."

    • Stephanie Henkel profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Henkel 

      21 months ago from USA

      AUCADC - Thanks for your contribution to some funny Southern sayings!

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      Nate clemhoff 

      21 months ago

      Here's one...busy as a one eyed cat watching two ratholes. Another one....lazy as a hog in a mudhole in the sunshine. Another....bright as a burnt out lightbulb in a fifty foot hole at midnight.

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      22 months ago

      I use

      "my dauber be draggin"

      for "very tired"

      but when I ask people they have never heard of it. Does anyone else use it?

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      Deb Baker 

      22 months ago

      A haint is a ghost. The ceilings of porches are painted haint blue to ward off ghosts.

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      22 months ago

      Funny and useful! Also, some of the expressions are familiar here in Sacramento, Ca.

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      22 months ago

      My Mama used to say: who do you think you are; the Queen of Sheba?!

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      23 months ago

      when someone kids were bad granny would say:those children are bader than

      kerosene and a lit match

      And if a woman has a big butt: look at that big rump she has

      once u go country u will never go hungry:that means if u marry a country girl (she knows how to cook) an a country man( he knows how to hunt)

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      23 months ago

      The one i always heard was about Grandmas Cooking.

      *Grandma this (food item) is so good that if put it on the top of your head your tongue would beat your brains out trying to get to it.

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      23 months ago

      Hey i saw that question askin for good comebacks like what do you know and i have a few: You cant see the forest cause the trees are in the way, youre blind in one eye and cant see out the other, and youre full of it. Also, i have heard all of these, but i have a list of sayins for my friends gittin used to texas, and sometimes i need a reminder of ome of them, so this was helpful. It also gave me the idea that i should organize them like you did. I got most of my sayings from my parents, havings come from a long line of cowboys, southerners and country folk. So far i have 357 and countin. Im hopefully gonna put em on youtube with my friend for all to see. If youre lookin for southern sayins, well thatll fix your little red wagon!!

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      Lisa Pemberton 

      23 months ago

      Wait a cotton picking minute.

      I’m gonna knock you in the middle of next week!

      You can stick that where the sun don’t shine!

      You ain’t just whislin Dixie.

      Happy as a pig in slop

      She’s so ugly she’s a two bagger. A bag on her head and one on mine in case hers falls off.

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      23 months ago

      Ur not makin a lick-a-sense bc we say happier then-a pig in shit or happier then-a pig in slop.

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      Terri D.. 

      23 months ago

      I'm from as far south in georgia as you can 'git' before you hit florida...(and NO florida is not a southern state, because no one who lives there is FROM there...or so the saying goes);) So I have heard and said these or some version of them my entire life. Someone asked how to respond to "what do you know?" We have always said: EVERYTHING...Don't believe that? Just ask me!! Because as a true southerner even if we didn't know we'd spin ya a tale...

      Also the thing about cotton picking is true EVERYBODY picked cotton back in the day. I hate that slavery happened but it is part of the past and affects no one that is living today. Just as in that same time frame as a women I could not have owned land or voted and we too were household servants to the men. I can honestly say I am thankful I came to be now as opposed to then. But all of that is in the past can't we leave it there and just be thankful that slavery brought over the very people who made my husband an american citizen (yes we caught the interracial ship)and I own the home we live in. We have come too far to blame todays issues on things that nowadays are just pity parties for a party you weren't even at..(that means quit your belly achin over something that you didn't take part in.) Belly achin (whining)..

      Not asking for a fight. Just tired of every problem being about race and gender from years gone by... if we could light a fire under the ass of our youth we'd accomplish alot more than living back in the day. Im 46, spouse is 53 and I've never seen or heard of so many people our age or older raising their childrens children.. Won't be us as with the elation at being grandparents we reminded all our children "you brought em in, you bring em up". We have all shades in our family and obviously both genders so I'm not "slinging shit at anyone" another southern thing. cause who else would think much less do that? Just an awareness statements..Thanks for moving south and embracing the "learning curve".

      One last thing a true southerner knows 'believes' we'd have won the war had ya'll not gotten to Saltville, Va and interrupted the salt flow that cured the meat, without which hunger overtook the will "to show ya" we could beat ya... but alas that too is history... (teaching kids warps the mind)

      Good night to all!

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      23 months ago

      Born and raised in Georgia. Still in Georgia. Love my state.

      Common phrases i hear from family and friends down here are:

      (Angry phrases)

      "Boy/girl, imma slap you to next week!"

      "I'm 'bout to go to jail."

      "Boy/girl you better hush your mouth!"

      (A few other prahses)

      "Imma need some tea after this."

      "Go get me a coke."

      (When it is storming outside while it is sunny. Yes. This is normal down here.)

      "The devil's beatin' on his (own) wife!"

      That's all I got for now.

      And yes. I certainly do crave for some sweet tea!

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      chris c 

      23 months ago

      I don't know if these news or not but here's what I've gotten told a time or two from my kin.

      it can stop on a dime and give you 9 cents change

      Sleep tight don't let the bedbugs bite if they do bite their shoe till it turns black and blue.

      He Couldn't hit the broadside of a barn.

      More clever than a coon gittin at the chickens.

      gram always say you've made me so Cross at you, right now you go get a switch for yourself. or god! the wooden SPOON!!!! dern thing makes me cringe to this day. haha

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      23 months ago

      my grandma used to say....we were so poor we werent raised up....we wuz snatched up......another one.....he had a real come to jesus moment.....

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      24 months ago

      To indicate the affirmative:

      Does a bear shit in the woods?

      Does a cat have climbing gear?

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      Beth Grace 

      2 years ago

      Most of the southernisms with which I was raised were about driving:

      He's too slow to stop fast.

      He's slower than cream rising on buttermilk. (Cream never rises on buttermilk.)

      She's slower than molasses in January.

      Grandma was slow, but she was old.

      When the stoplight has changed:

      Whatcha waiting for -- another shade of green?

      Whatcha waiting for -- an act of Congress?

      It don't get any greener.

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      2 years ago

      All of these had me grinnin like a mule eatin' briers.

      Thanks for the list!

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      2 years ago

      My father in law always said," If I had that, and he had a feather up his butt, we'd both be tickled", if he saw something that he liked. And if someone had a real hot rod of a car, he'd say "I bet that thing would pass anything but a gas station".

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      2 years ago

      Ah love your article it was as good as a dead pig in the sun if you know what i mean.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Henkel 

      2 years ago from USA

      Queenie - Thanks a bunch for lots of new sayings to add to our list!

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      Queenie Hankinson 

      2 years ago

      My daddy was from the Deep South and we lived off an on in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida.

      Here are a few of his sayings:

      "One monkey don't stop no show" same as "git 'er done" or keep working.

      He could hear so well, he could hear a mouse pi $$ing on cotton.

      If we acted silly we were acting like BOO BOO the fool.

      If we were real excited we were "regular happy jacks "

      If he wanted us to work harder he said "All I want to see is a $$holes and elbows"

      If he was about to lay someone out he would say, "Imma beat your head 'til it rope like okry"

      Typical sayings "whatchoo know 'bout dat?" And "stay in your lane" which means you are an outsider and outside of your element

      "What's good"? Which usually means you ain't.

      Right as rain

      "Imma leave that alone" change the subject

      Stop pressing means to cease stressing someone

      "You ain't goin to worry me"

      You are slow as molasses

      'I don't truck with that" means don't mess with that.

      Hit dogs holler means the guilty always whine a lot.

      A woman could look so good, you could sop her up with a biscuit.

      A woman so skinny she looks like death eating a cracker

      If you lie down with dogs, you will wake up with fleas

      We have tons of stuff like this. So many, that if you ain't from around our way, ya just can't cotton. Lol

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      2 years ago

      Who licked the red off your candy?

      Colder than a well-digger in I-da-ho.

      Knock the pee-walling duck do out of you...

      Oh, she's got a corn cob stuck up her butt about something.

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      2 years ago

      If I say something surprising or she gets scared, my grandma says "oh, my goodness, great balls of fire!"

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      2 years ago

      Oh!!! And can't forget what a gravel flip is! It's a bra, they used to make good sling shots I take it. Lol


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