May 13, 2010

Talk southern to me…

creeping vine edit Words are an amazing thing. I am drawn to people who use them in vivid, expressive ways and here in the sweet south, there is no shortage of wordsmiths...folks who weave words together to paint a picture so clear that it jumps to life. Sometimes one word is all it takes to convey a particular message...other times you need a whole string of them. I have tapped into some deeply rich resources to compile for you this list of southern sayin's. Some, I've heard all my life. Some, I've said all my life. Others, I've never heard or said, but I can't wait for the perfect opportunity to arise so I can give them a whirl! {Disclaimer: some of these aren't particularly child or Me-me friendly, so be warned!} Also, I’ll try to explain the ones that aren’t really obvious…unless I don’t understand them either.

barn edit Some are simply expressions to describe a particular person or situation:

  • Crazier than a $h!+ 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 teets on the boar hog
  • Busy as stink
  • Old as Cooter Brown (variation Cootie Brown)
  • Pretty as a speckled pup
  • Tight as Dick’s hatband (means you’re cheap)
  • He found himself on the hind teat (things aren’t going too well)

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
  • 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

Still others just offer a random sentiment

  • In for a dime, in for a dollar
  • It’s never cost what it’s worth (referring to alcoholic beverages…cracks me up!)
  • Some drive a Cadillac, some drive a Ford, some ride a donkey and swat it with a board, but they all get where they’re going eventually

This list is by no means complete, so feel free to add your favorite southern sayin’ as a comment!


  1. Love it! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Well, that's your tale...I sit on mine;P

    That's one that my sister in..."Mary said Sissy did it, but, you know...that's her tale,I sit on mine."

    What a fun post!

  3. 'that burns my biscuits!'

    a personal fav of mine :]

  4. I have a good Yankee friend down here (she's from Lawng Islaaand, to use her dialect) and she loves my southernisms. Some I've had to explain:

    That dog won't hunt.

    You can't polish a turd. (a little crass for a Southern Belle, I know)

    I've about had a belly full of you.

    I've about foundered on it. (Props to anyone who knows what this means, you are a true Southerner!)

    Sweatin' like a whore in church.

    And of course, you can't miss the addition of "Bless her heart!" to any gossipy statement, thereby rendering it not gossipy at all. Example: "Well, that Misty May, you know she's 3 months pregnant AGAIN, with that no-count fella of hers Bobby Ray in jail for 6 months, I don't know how she's gonna explain that one, but she's in my prayers, bless her sweet heart!"

  5. Now I've heard "Drunk as Cooter Brown"...but never "old as...". I love Southern sayins' too!!

  6. I love... stove eyes, tin foil, hose pipes, "I don't care a bit to" and she's as crazy as a bessie bug.

  7. He/ She doesn't know $&^! from shinola!(They ain't got a lick of sense,never figured out what shinola was)

    She/he ain't just whistling Dixie.
    (What they say is true)

    You better go see the doc...that looks like it has turned into a risen. (Sorthern medical term meaning infection)

    He/she is three sheets in the wind. (drunk but have no idea what the sheets have to do with it)

    purt near. (almost)

    I am gonna slap you sideways.(all I can say is when your mamma says that, just take off a runnin...)

  8. I had a friend who use to say, "You can't make chicken salad out of chicken sh*t."

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Lay it on me y'all!