Most times when I write a column about being from the south or crazy things we southerners do, I find myself searching the internet for some good ol’ southern phrases that can add a punch to my writing. Hopefully something not too cliché.
Sometimes I come up with my own, such as one that came after some tawdry bidness in 2017: “I’m sweatin’ like an Alabama governor in church.”
But sometimes I get stuck and I use old phrases to help create new ones. After many searches, I finally decided to make my own list so I’ll have a reference point. Feel free to submit your own to add to the list by commenting below or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s start with some general phrases, then move to sayings for ailments, weather, anger and more.
Exclamations and General Phrases
- Well, slap my head and call me silly.
- That really dills my pickle.
- That jars my preserves.
- That really creams my corn.
- I’m gonna jerk her bald.
- You better give your heart to Jesus, ’cause your butt is mine.
- I’m gonna tan your hide.
- As easy as sliding off a greasy log backward. (very easy)
- Barking up the wrong tree. (you are wrong)
- Fish or cut bait. (work or make way for those who will)
- Don’t fly off the handle (get angry; lash out).
- Grandma goes to bed with the chickens.
- Let’s go whole hog (go all out).
- He’s as happy as a dead pig in the sunshine (unconcerned).
- In a coon’s age (a long time).
- Scarce as hen’s teeth.
- He’s too big for his britches.
- Well, hush my mouth.
- He’s got a burr in his saddle.
- Her knickers are in a knot.
- She’s having a hissy fit.
- She has a hissy fit with a tail on it.
- She had a conniption.
- Mama’ll have a duck fit.
- You’re lower than a snake’s belly in a wagon rut.
- That dog won’t hunt.
- He didn’t take a cotton to the pastor.
- Cain’t never could.
- It’s all cattywampus (crooked, irregular)
- Well, I swan/swanny.
- She’s maddern’ a wet hen.
- I’ve been running all over hell’s half acre (busy).
- He makes my butt itch.
- She could make a preacher cuss.
- Don’t pee down my back and tell me it’s raining.
- If his lips is movin’, he’s lyin’.
- I’m full as a tick.
- They live down yonder.
- Bless your pea-pickin’ heart!
- He’s just eat up with poison ivy/other ailment.
- I’d have to feel better to die.
- She’s wore slap out.
- Grandma’s feeling poorly.
- She’s down with the bursitis/other ailment.
- He’s running off (has diarrhea).
- Grandpa’s stove up (suffering discomfort from injury, illness, exercise or overwork).
- It’s hotter’n Satan’s house cat.
- Hot as all get-out.
- The devil is beating his wife (a rain shower when the sun is shining)
- I’m burning slap up.
- It’s comin’ up a storm/comin’ up a cloud.
- It’s hotter’n the devil’s armpits.
- So cold I saw a politician with his hands in his own pockets.
- So humid it’s like getting punched in the face with a sauna.
- It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.
- It come up a gully washer (heavy rain).
- It come up a bad cloud (storm).
- It’s so dry the trees are bribing the dogs.
- It’s colder than a well digger’s butt in January.
- It rained like a cow pissin’ on a flat rock.
- It’s hotter than blue blazes.
- He squeezes a quarter so tight the eagle screams.
- He’s so cheap he wouldn’t give a nickel to see Jesus ridin’ a bicycle.
- Poor as a church mouse.
- He doesn’t have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of.
- We’re sittin’ in high cotton (comfortable; well-off, as in from a good harvest)
(Some of the phrases in the section above came from real life but most came from wanderwisdom.com)
- Those pants were so tight I could see his religion.
- Pull down that skirt! We can see clear to the promised land!
- 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.
- He looks like ten miles of bad road.
- If he were an inch taller, he’d be round.
- If that boy had an idea, it would die of loneliness.
- The porch light’s on, but nobody’s home.
- He’s only got one oar in the water.
- He’s so dumb, he could throw himself on the ground and miss.
- He hasn’t got the sense God gave a goose.
- His brain rattles around like a BB in a boxcar.
- If his brains were dynamite, he couldn’t blow his nose.
(Most of the phrases in this section came from wanderwisdom.com)