Monday, April 24, 2006


As I was ruminating about what to post today, my thoughts kept returning to something Boomama said in one of her comments on here. She said that some of my Mama's expressions crack her up, and that I should do a post on those. So, without further ado, here are just a few of my Mama's Southern expressions. I like to call them, Mama-isms.

1. Toexpress shock or surprise:
Heavens to Murgatroyd!
Land O'Goshen!
Heavenly Days!
Glory Be!
Good Gracious Alive!
I'll Be Dad-Blamed!
Well, I Swan! (or, Swanney) To Goodness!

3. When one of us kids had pushed her beyond all toleration: Stop that, or I'm gonna slap the snot outta you, then slap you for snottin'! Or, I'm gonna knock the whey outta you! Or, I'm gonna paste you up against the wall! To dogs, cats, or kids: If you don't get out from under my feet I'm gonna kick a slat outta you! (Mama just used these expressions, she never acted on them in a violent way, LOL. :-)

4. Something spoiled or ruined: Rurnt. Milk starting to go bad: Blinky. If it's too far gone, it's rurnt.

Drunker than Ol' Cooter Brown. So drunk he couldn't hit the ground with his ol' hat. Drunk: He was three sheets in the wind. If someone had dark circles under their eyes: His eyes looked like 2 holes burnt in a white sheet.

6. Dumb: He's light under the hat. He ain't got the sense God give a goose. That there was for want of sense. He's crazy as a bessie bug. He's dumb as a stump. Dumb as a box of rocks. He's drunk on ignernce (ignorance) and staggerin' on stupidity.

7. So good it'll make you hip up and pop your Thomas.
Anything particularly good, especially food: It's gooder'n snuff and better'n taters.
So skinny she had to turn sideways to cast a shadow.
So ugly the dog wouldn't play with him.
So ugly they had to tie a pork chop around his neck to get the dog to play with him.
So lazy you had to light a (corn) shuck under him to get him to move.
So lazy you had to draw a line in front of him to see if he moved.
Coffee so strong the spoon'll stand up in it.

8. Tighter than Dick's hatband.
Colder than a well digger's behind. (censored)
Tighter than a jug.
Slow as Christmas.
Slow as molasses.
Ugly as a mud fence.
Ugly as homemade soap.
Rare as hen's teeth.
Flat as a flitter.
Colder than a brass monkey.
Cold as kraut.
Lost as a goose.
Lost as a ball in high weeds.
Mean as a snake.
Old as the hills.
Limp as a dishrag. (Usually referring to a handshake, or someone's hair.)
Dead as a mackerel.
Dead as a hammer.
Dead as a doornail.
Straight as a string. Straight as a board. (Usually referring to hair.)
Wild as a March hare.
Clumsy as a bull in a china shop.
Black as the ace of spades. (When something is dirty.)
Mad as an old wet hen.
Staggering around like a burnt-toed chicken. (One of my personal favorites! LOL.)
Thicker than hair on a dog's back.
Raining like pouring pee out of a boot. (Censored version.)
Dry as a powder house. (As in, gun powder, which has to be kept super dry.)
When thirsty: I'm so dry I could spit cotton.
He was so henpecked he didn't know whether to lay down or throw back the mattress and roost on the slats.
When tired: I've got the blind staggers.

9. I need to go see a man about a dog. (Need to visit the restroom.)
The whole bunch ain't worth the powder and lead it'd take to blow 'em to Kingdom Come.
Backslidden people in church: You couldn't blow a holy grunt out of them with a stick of dynamite.
When someone would insert a comment on a new subject in the middle of a conversation: What's that got to
do with the price of tea in China?
Anything she didn't like: That's for the birds!
When someone's clothes were too tight: She looks like a sack of meal with a string tied around it.
When you're sick or don't feel well: I feel like I was called fer and couldn't go. (Referring to Death.)
He's got a gut on him like a traveling rat.
For annoying people: Like trying to get rid of a bad case of the itch.
A big rain: A real trash mover. A toad-strangler.
If someone is trying to encourage someone else to hurry up: Here's your hat, what's your hurry?
When someone lived some distance away: They live a fer (fair) piece off. Or, they live clear to Hades and
gone. (censored)
Haven't seen them in a coon's age. Or, a month of Sundays.
They lived so fer back in the woods they had to pipe in daylight.
When someone couldn't hit a target, usually with a gun: He couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. Or, He
couldn't hit a bull in the, um, rear, with a bass fiddle. (censored)
He's got a smile on him like the wave on a slop jar. (Referring to a pot for nighttime bathroom needs.)
We ain't had this much excitement since Granny got her, um, boob, in the wringer. (censored)

I've got more, folks, but I'll save them for another day. I think of new ones all the time, and one of the sisters says something every once in a while and reminds me of one of Mama's sayings. Keep in mind, too, that Mama wasn't saved till she was in her 30's, and then she was backslid and out of church for a good while. A lot of the things she used to say were a little raunchy, and I censored them. She censored them herself when she got back in church and rededicated her life to Christ.

If you have any you'd like to offer, leave them in my comments. I'd be interested in hearing them. Here's hoping everyone is having a great Tuesday! :-)


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your post. My mom is half Japanese. Her English is almost perfect, but every so often she would slip.
She was the "lecturer" of the family. She could do it for 2 hours, sometimes. Sometimes we would respond with something, and she would say, "Don't give me that crab." (crap) We couldn't help but laugh each time, and that made the lecture even longer. :-) We still joke about it with her to this day.

BTW, I do love your mom's expressions. Good job.

Diane@Diane's Place said...

"Crab...."!! Oh, that's hilarious, Mike! I'm laughing out loud...honestly, I am. :-)

Thanks, Mike, glad you liked this one.

Anonymous said...

Drunker than Ol' Cooter Brown

That was the one my father always used to say and then my mother picked it up. My father is 93 and was raise in Tennessee.

Your post was so much fun that I am going to print it out and take it over to my mom and dad's and read it to them. I know they are going to have fun with seeing if they recognize those phrases. If they didn't use them I bet their parents did.

Thanks for making me smile so early in the morning.

Diane@Diane's Place said...

I'm glad you got a kick out of them, and I hope your Mom and Dad have fun with them, and that it takes y'alls' minds off things for a while. Laughter IS the best medicine, indeed. ;)

"The Glenifer" said...

That was a nice laugh to start the morning with!

Here's another one for ya:

"The price of gas is higher than a cat's back."

Have a great day!-Jenn

Diane@Diane's Place said...

You're not gonna believe it, but I have that on the list for another post that I mentioned, almost word for word: Right now gas is higher than a cat's back. LOL :)

Hope y'all have a good day, too. :)

Susie said...

Loved reading these. Really made me think of my KY grandparents for a while. One she used to say was "My dogs are barking!" (when her feet were tired!)
Thanks for sharing!

Dick said...

That is a great list. I suppose we have all heard some of them but you have gathered more than I realized there were, together into one list. That is neat.

My Annie would have agreed with the iron skillit in the post before this one. She always said they were the best for cooking as the heat was so even.

Thanks for your visits to my blog and the nice comments. I probably overdo the photos sometimes but they sure brighten it up. When I just post text it looks so plain to me.

momteacherfriend said...

Oh my that is funny. I had to scroll down to see your family picture. For a moment I thought you could be a sister to a dear friend. One of 12, she currently is living in Arkansas. (lol) She says funny stuff like that all the time and esp. when thinking about her mama.

Glad you joined the John study. Be blessed.

boomama said...


Well, that didn't disappoint. I have laughed my head off.

So funny.

My favorites are the one about the henpecked man and the one about something being gooder'n snuff and better'n taters.

And seriously, in this homogenized world, where the Southern vernacular is disappearing by the day, you have done a really neat thing by writing down these expressions. I know I'll be bookmarking this post so that Alex can read it one day. Seriously.

Anonymous said...

funny post. i got to you through amanda's blog and the john bible study. hope you are doing well.

Nashe^ said...

Whoo! That was a really long list as it is. Haha....
D, your Mama wsn't just a funny woman- she's definitely creative as well.

I get a kick outta reading the funnier ones. (who duznt)
Erm, thatz just part of the package of being a Southerner, isn't it? The accent, quirks and stuff... huhu. I don't get half of them but oh well... live and learn, yes?

if i post up Singaporean slang, you prolly won't get head or tail of it! Lolxx..

Diane@Diane's Place said...

You're right, I probably wouldn't understand most of it at all! LOL ;)

And, Yes, a lot if not most of these expressions are Southern in origin, and even other parts of the U.S. doesn't use them or know what some of them mean.
I definitely have the accent, although I can speak proper English if pressed. ;) I do know the difference. :)

Diane@Diane's Place said...

Sue, Dick, Momteacherfriend, and Kristina,
Welcome, and thanks for your comments, too! I am glad that this gave you a little laughter for your day, and maybe sparked a memory or 2. :-)

Diane@Diane's Place said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the Mama-isms. I enjoyed thumbing through the memories in search of these, and I do have some more to post sometime in the near future.
I agree about us losing more of our identity as Southerners every day. People are trying to get away from the stereotype of inbred, ignorant, moonshine-making, barefooted hicks with the Southern accent, and a lot of our Southern culture and ideoms are becoming extinct. It's sad, and a true loss of our individuality among the generic masses.
Blogger being the demon he is, you might want to print these out if your really want them. You never know when he might spontaneously ingest the whole blog, heaven forbid. LOL :-)

Anonymous said...

Just wandered over here from another blog and have enjoyed so much these sayings. We currently live in NC...but mostly have lived in the WEST. But my mama, California born said more than half of what you posted...guess it might have been the influence of her Texas born daddy and his folks maybe! SO some of these are in my vocabulary too.

And it is fun to "talk southern" ya know...heehee...have great fun on the phone with my Western relatives!!

Thanks for the laughs! Good way to start the day!!

Diane@Diane's Place said...

Glad you enjoyed this. Welcome, and be sure visit again soon. :-)

Anonymous said...

oh this is so great!! my favorite:
Backslidden people in church: You couldn't blow a holy grunt out of them with a stick of dynamite.


Diane@Diane's Place said...

Glad you liked them. That's one of my favorites, too, and our pastor uses that one in his sermons every once in a while....Honestly! LOL :-)

C. H. Green said...

Loved, absolutely lovvvvved this post. Stop by and see me sometime.

Diane@Diane's Place said...

Glad you liked it, and Welcome. :)
Come back and visit again soon. ;-)

Meow (aka Connie) said...

Hi Diane ... great post, your mum's quite a character !!
Hope all is well.
Take care, Meow

Diane@Diane's Place said...

Hi, Meow,
Yes, my Mama WAS quite a character, LOL. :) I have more of her expressions to post sometime soon. :)

And all is well here. Hope you and yours are doing well, too. Have a great Thursday Down Under. ;)

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm Jenn, I was referred by BooMama...I just wanted to tell you how much I laughed at this and to thank you as well, for it was a much needed laugh. What struck me most is that my mother uses a lot of these as well, but she's not from the south. She is almost sixty though, I wonder if that has anything to do with it. My husband, however IS from the south and uses a lot of these quite often. Particularly: Slow as Molasses, I need to see a man about a dog (What on earth?) Colder than a brass monkey (Or a witches' teet in a brass bra). He also uses "Thicker than human beings," in reference to there being a lot of something around. He got that one from his mama :)

Anonymous said...

How about these. . .

"Poor as Job's turkey."

"She can just go butt a stump." (if someone doesn't like something)

"You need to come back and lick your calf." (if someone didn't complete a job the first time)

"Like a bat out of a stump on fire." (the already censored version for someone who was in a hurry)

"I'll be on you like white on rice." (You're gonna be in big trouble)

"What in the cat hair???" (there is not meaning--just general suprise)

Loved your list. . .we come from the same people. :)

Anonymous said...

Referred back to this post by BooMama today.

Dumber than a bag of hammers or a sack of hair.

I'll snatch you bald-headed.

and I think I made this one up: If you don't stop that I'll strip you naked, paint you blue, and throw you in the front yard!

ShabbyInTheCity said...

Yep. These are familiar with me too.
"More nervous than a nurse with a full bedpan"
"Gah-lee Moses!"

julie said...

Although I am (mostly) a Yankee, I have had the privilege (well, most of the time) of being raised by a Southern mother. My mom's from Mississippi, and when she's feeling bad she likes to say she feels like she's been "shot at and hit" or "rode hard and put away wet".

When someone else is injured, she'll say, "Hurt ya much or didn't ya mind it?"

I have around nineteen seconds 'til I leave for work, so I'll quit now.

Chrissy said...

Please forgive me if these have been mentioned elsewhere...

Busier than a one-armed paper hanger

Ugly enough to scare a dog off a meat wagon

I wouldn't wear that (garment) to a rat killin'

I come from a long line of Southerners and reading this post brought back fond rememberances of Grandparents and others who've gone to Glory...

Anonymous said...

I came by way of BooMama - My mama always tells me (if I'm teasing her too much) she's gonna kick me in the slats. It never occurred to me to ask what the heck's a slat. I noticed you used it in a different way. Do you know what it is? (I don't even think my mama knows!)

Diane@Diane's Place said...

JeniW, you didn't have a link to get back to you, so I'll answer you here.

Slats are bed slats - boards that go from side to side, from bedrail to bedrail under the foundation or boxsprings.

In the old days, bed springs were metal and not all beds and springs were standard measurements. Sometimes you got a set of springs that were too small for the bed frame and had to be supported to keep them from falling through. You then cut 3 or 4 boards the right length to put under the springs and support them and the mattress.

That's what bed slats are.

I hope you get back here to read this because I have no way to contact you.

Thanks for visiting and commenting. :-)

Janean said...

Arkansas grandparents so my mother had lots of good ones, too.
Unfortunately, some of them I can't explain...
like if you aren't satisfied with what you have, she's say "Well, waddaya want? Egg in yer beer?"
I don't know! Is that good? :D
And "Knock that off or I'll kick yer butt so high it'll take you a week to poop!"
Great Gobs O' Goose grease!
and Heavens to Murgatroyd! were some of my favorites.
THanks for the trip down memory lane. That was FUN!