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Folklore: favorite southern US expression

wilco 12 Feb 03 - 10:15 AM
Kim C 12 Feb 03 - 10:22 AM
Mrrzy 12 Feb 03 - 10:24 AM
Kim C 12 Feb 03 - 10:29 AM
catspaw49 12 Feb 03 - 11:07 AM
GUEST,maire-aine 12 Feb 03 - 11:18 AM
GUEST,bbc at work 12 Feb 03 - 11:37 AM
Bee-dubya-ell 12 Feb 03 - 12:01 PM
TIA 12 Feb 03 - 12:17 PM
gaber 12 Feb 03 - 12:26 PM
mack/misophist 12 Feb 03 - 12:31 PM
gaber 12 Feb 03 - 12:40 PM
GUEST,Q 12 Feb 03 - 12:46 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 12 Feb 03 - 02:23 PM
Dave Swan 12 Feb 03 - 03:04 PM
Beccy 12 Feb 03 - 03:11 PM
wysiwyg 12 Feb 03 - 03:17 PM
Beccy 12 Feb 03 - 03:21 PM
GUEST,TNDARLN at work 12 Feb 03 - 03:23 PM
harpgirl 12 Feb 03 - 03:25 PM
chip a 12 Feb 03 - 03:30 PM
Kim C 12 Feb 03 - 03:31 PM
chip a 12 Feb 03 - 03:33 PM
catspaw49 12 Feb 03 - 03:36 PM
Beccy 12 Feb 03 - 03:42 PM
Allan C. 12 Feb 03 - 03:49 PM
chip a 12 Feb 03 - 03:55 PM
Bill D 12 Feb 03 - 04:01 PM
Bobert 12 Feb 03 - 04:03 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 12 Feb 03 - 04:13 PM
TIA 12 Feb 03 - 04:29 PM
chip a 12 Feb 03 - 04:42 PM
Kim C 12 Feb 03 - 04:46 PM
chip a 12 Feb 03 - 04:52 PM
Bill D 12 Feb 03 - 05:10 PM
GUEST 12 Feb 03 - 05:15 PM
Rapparee 12 Feb 03 - 05:16 PM
Walking Eagle 12 Feb 03 - 05:27 PM
GUEST,Claymore 12 Feb 03 - 05:42 PM
Murray MacLeod 12 Feb 03 - 06:01 PM
Sam L 12 Feb 03 - 06:05 PM
GUEST,Puffenkinty 12 Feb 03 - 06:09 PM
mack/misophist 12 Feb 03 - 06:09 PM
GUEST, Dale 12 Feb 03 - 06:42 PM
Rapparee 12 Feb 03 - 07:29 PM
artbrooks 12 Feb 03 - 08:25 PM
Neighmond 12 Feb 03 - 08:51 PM
GUEST 12 Feb 03 - 08:53 PM
Mudlark 12 Feb 03 - 09:21 PM
Ferrara 12 Feb 03 - 09:30 PM
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Subject: favorite southern US expression
From: wilco
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 10:15 AM

Well, shut my mouth!!!
What's your favorite (or most peculiar) southern US expression?


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: Kim C
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 10:22 AM

Fixin to.

What in the sam hill.......

Bless his/her/your/its heart.

Lands sakes.

I swan. (my mother says this)


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: Mrrzy
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 10:24 AM

Might could, as in, I might could do that.


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: Kim C
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 10:29 AM

How about useta could? As in, useta could, you could buy soft drinks in little bottles from vending machines. :-)


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: catspaw49
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 11:07 AM

"carry/carried"----I think this one got me first as unusual to a yankee when I first went to college at Berea. I think it's most popular in the Carolinas and southern Virginia, but it's a popular usage other places as well. The other one is "fixin' to" .... far more popular in the South but has some rural usage everywhere. I had used it for years but found it relatively unknown in the cities, but very used in the South. To use both in a sentence......

I was just fixin' to ask my Daddy if he could carry me on down to the Piggly Wiggly."......Meaning "I am going to ask my Dad if he could drive me to the grocery store."

Seriously, the first time I heard "carry" the mental image of someone riding piggyback came immediately to mind!

Sometimes it's just the pronounciation.....as in the two different ways to say "queer." Now if someone is homosexual, he's queer (kweer). No problem. But if someone is acting oddly, he's actin' kinda' queer, but now it's pronounced "kwa-oir." Thats as close as I can get it phonetically. Almost, but not quite, two syllables and the "oir" is as it is in "choir." Thing is, you have to flow the "a" into the "oir" so they become one distinctive sound. Hard to explain, you have to hear it.

More mountain than southern is "holt." The real word is hold, but the usage is, "That stuff is okay I guess, but it ain't nothin' I holt with." Meaning you disagree and are trying to be polite about it. The finest secretary I ever had used it a lot and although most of her accent was pretty well "cityfied" her usage of holt still stuck, as did her ability to turn "hello" into a 5 syllable word. I always loved that sound when she answered the phone!

More later.....

Spaw


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: GUEST,maire-aine
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 11:18 AM

I don't know how "Southern" this is, probably southern Pennsylvania at best. My dad used to say "that makes the cheese more binding". He used that phrase in many different contexts, so I was never quite sure what it meant. Sort of in response to some information that explained something under discussion. Has anybody else heard this expression?


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: GUEST,bbc at work
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 11:37 AM

can't hardly

bbc (from her Missouri Mom)


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 12:01 PM

"Ah musta been holdin' ma mouth right."

An explanation for unexpected good fortune. A homey way of saying that you didn't do anything special, it just happened.

Bruce


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: TIA
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 12:17 PM

Make the cheese more binding! Of course I've heard it, I'm from.....(drumroll) Pennsylvania! I think it's got a Pennsylvania German origin, 'cause my grandparents (who spoke PA German as a first language) used it all the time. I believe I'll start a whole new thread on "Dutchified" expressions like "why don't you hold this awhile" and "the milk is all" and "once't" and "whatfer car are ya drivin?" and ...

Back to the south - I love the variations on y'all. Y'all is singular, the plural is often "y'alls", or in a very large group "alla y'all".

My other favorite is "hamawn" which is short for "I am going to..."


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: gaber
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 12:26 PM

"Tiny propellers" = Tiene Papeles = Do You have Papers?

It's what Border Patrol agents with a southern accent say to Mexicans near the US-Mexico Border.


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: mack/misophist
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 12:31 PM

'It's better than a jab in the eye with a sharp stick' is my all time favourite. I also use 'like a boar hog in a peach orchard'. When I was in grade school, the spelling book still had 'I'd as lief' but country people are more likely to say 'I'd liefer'.


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: gaber
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 12:40 PM

I really like "Holy bow legged Sara" I don'tknow if it is southern, but my football coach used to say it all the time. It denoted shock, either good or bad.

ex. Holy bow legged Sara!, I can't believe you caught the ball.


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 12:46 PM

In the big middle. To be in the middle of an argument or just to be in the "middle of nowhere."
Wal, Ah de-clahr! Wal, Ah do declahr!

With reference to "make the cheese more binding," common folklore is that too much cheese causes constipation, but I have heard that in all parts of the country.


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 02:23 PM

I've only noticed this one from Kentuckians:

Using "ideal" instead of "idea" - as in "That's a really good ideal!"

Bruce


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: Dave Swan
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 03:04 PM

My father-in-law who has lived all around the South all of his life explains a complete understanding of something as "how the hog eats the cabbage"

"I had to tell him how the hog eats the cabbage" He didn't understand the situation and required tuition.

"He knows how the hog eats the cabbage" You may trust his analysis of the situation.

D


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: Beccy
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 03:11 PM

Well, I don't know how common these expressions are, but my Grandmpa was from West Virginia and he said them frequently... so into the southern expressions category go:

"Well, shave my legs and call me smoothy."

"Well, flap my gums and call me Peter Cottontail" (??????? Huh?)

"I'll be a monkey's uncle..."

"Slicker 'n cat snot"

... and my personal favorite...

"Redder 'n a gooses butt in pokeberry season" That never failed to elicit a bunch of "ewwwwwwwwwwwwwww"s from the grands.


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: wysiwyg
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 03:17 PM

You'll find some serious hilarity in some older threads, too. But in the time since I posted my faves there, I learned a new one:

"Sicker than a boiled owl."

(Actually, "Sicker'n'a boiled owl."

~S~


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: Beccy
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 03:21 PM

Oh- and a couple other of Grandpa's illustrious sayings:

"I'm sweatin' like a stuck pig."

"Slicker 'n a greased hog."

(coincidentally, Grandpa's favorite food was bacon...)

"Looks like a sow in a dress..." (Gramp's version of "you can dress her up but you cain't take her out..."


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: GUEST,TNDARLN at work
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 03:23 PM

"The driveway don't go all the way to the house" courtesy of some of my Sand Mtn. sangin' buddies. Equivalent to being "one brick shy of a load".

My Mama uses the term "light wad" [He's a light wad- meaning that there's not much there of substance]. Which I know goes back to the days of muzzleloaders, but could [and probably does] have a totally different meaning in other contexts...and I'm sure someone here will point it out to us if that's the case...

thanks for startin' this Wilco: we're doing an Appalachian unit at school, and collecting sayins' is a part of it...


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: harpgirl
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 03:25 PM

" I showed my behind!"

as in, "I got mad or I made a dang fool of myself!'


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: chip a
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 03:30 PM

slicker'n owl shit
slicker'n a moles' ass
he/she's everwho's dog'll hunt with him/her
punkin as in "How are you doin'? well, I ain't much punkin"
"It ort ta crank, it crunk yesterday"
"stay all night"
"You got your music with you?"


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: Kim C
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 03:31 PM

Spaw, "carry" is a very old expression. I've seen it used in 18th & 19th century diaries & letters & such. Along with, of course, "yonder" & "reckon."


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: chip a
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 03:33 PM

"his bread ain't quite riz"
dead as a hammer
dead as four o clock
cold as a wedge
sharp as a frogs' tooth
fish belly white (Huck Finn)


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: catspaw49
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 03:36 PM

Thanks Kim.......Which would go a long way towards explaining why it is still used in some parts where much of the language is either a throwback or some throwback variant.

Beccy, I'd submit that maybe Gramps said slicker than a greased pig and bleedin' like a stuck hog. Maybe not, but the slick pig comes from the contests and bleedin' hog generally refers to castration.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: Beccy
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 03:42 PM

Spaw- I don't doubt that's what Gramps SHOULD have said, but he was awfully well known for messing up common sayings. To wit:

"You can lead a horse to drink but you can't make him water." (That one was delivered from the pulpit where Gramps was a UM pastor...)


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: Allan C.
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 03:49 PM

That dog won't hunt - meaning your suggestion isn't feasible

Finer than frog's hair - refers to something especially pleasing

...at - one of those prepositions we were always warned about in school. This is often unnecessarily added to a question such as: "Where's JoeBob's house at?"


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: chip a
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 03:55 PM

When I first got to Ga. in the early seventies, old people still said ere for when.
.


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: Bill D
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 04:01 PM

I have always been bemused by the way (as Catspaw mentions) of getting 4 or 5 syllables from a 1 or 2 syllable word..

well - "way-ul"

(and I remember my mother in 1946 bewildered by her neighbors offer to "carry her somewhere"...perhaps "back to old Virginny"


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: Bobert
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 04:03 PM

Now don't ask me the context but this is something out of western North Caolina: "Hairlip to the Salvation Army". Hey, like I said. Don't ask me but the P-Vine says it now and then without thinking and then when I ask her about it she nuts up. If anyone knows tha origins of this phrase, please let me know.

But that "fixin'" is *fixin'* to drive me nuts. Can't do nuthin with out something else having to be fixed first. The P-Vine says, "Looks like it's fixin' to rain..."

"Why's that, PVine?" I ask, "Are the clouds broke?"

Now Spaw brought up one from Virginia. You don't take anything or anyone anywhere. You "carry" them. Thats fir real.

I call this stuff Bubba-onics. Kind of my take off on Ebonics.

Well, gotta carry my sorry butt home 'cause its fixin' to snow some more...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 04:13 PM

"Deader'n a by-god"
"Crookeder'n a snake with a cramp"
"He died the death of a red-headed woodpecker"
"Ya ain't from 'round here, are ya?"

And "Ah'm own teh yu wutt", which is "I'm going to tell you what", in English.

Bruce


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: TIA
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 04:29 PM

Shakin' like a dog shittin' peach pits....

(ewwwww)


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: chip a
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 04:42 PM

crooked as a dogs' hind leg
he could make money on a flat rock!
I ain't got no dog in this race.... meaning, I have no stake in what's going on.
"I ain't goin' up there. It's too fur an' snakey!"


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: Kim C
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 04:46 PM

Well, if it ain't broke..... I guess there ain't no fixin it!!!!

I don't know where that comes from, but my guess is this:

Fixin = gettin ready = preparing to do something.


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: chip a
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 04:52 PM

When he got hungry out on the job, my old boss used to say "if we had some bread, we'd make us a sandwich, if we had some jelly"
He also said, if we got in a bind: "we can do anything that can be done by us"
Or for a hard job: "we'll do it by mean strength and awkwardness"


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: Bill D
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 05:10 PM

"I ain't goin' up there. It's too fur an' snakey!"
oh, I like that one!


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 05:15 PM

"You can stick a cat in the oven but that don't make it a biscuit."

Here's another usage for the word 'fix'. "How are you fixed for bread?" Meaning do you have enough bread.

-Kaleb


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: Rapparee
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 05:16 PM

Dad gum, iffen y'all don't talk funny! Why, here I am, fuller'n a tick an' feelin' lower'n a snake's belly in a wagon rut, an' y'all start this here stuff! Iffen I had my mind, I'd think that y'all were a couple sannwiches shy of a picnic, er maybe yer elevators don't go all the way up! 'Course, I know better'n that, 'cause y'all are purty good folks, mostly.

(As we say here in Kentucky....)


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: Walking Eagle
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 05:27 PM

Redd up. As in 'clean up.' "well, I guess I'd better redd up the kitchen."


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: GUEST,Claymore
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 05:42 PM

A couple of my favorites:

"Felt like a duck at a cock fight"
"I have no dog in that fight" (variation of one above)
"Pretty as a deer, but dumber than owl shit"
"One wheel in the dirt" (meaning about to go out of control)
"Smelled like a fart in a gym sock"
"Shitting in tall cotton" (meaning doing well in life)
"Ugly as a stump"
"I want to date outside the family"
"Too much sugar for the dime" (meaning overwhelming or false praise)
"Herding cats" or "Pushing string" (meaning doing something difficult)


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 06:01 PM

Fascinating thread.

"Redd up" (clean up) is actually a very old Scots expression. Haven't heard it in years, and it is interesting that it should have migrated to the Southern States.

Murray


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: Sam L
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 06:05 PM

My favorite mountain preposition of all time was my grandmother telling us to "come on out from back down up in under there".

Steepr'n a cow's face.

Bins. This took me a while, my wife's family said it and didn't remember saying it a second later so you could ask them about it. B
But from use it seems to be "being as". Bins you're going there I'll go with you.

   Ruirnt. That corn's ruirnt.

   It may not be southern, but my wife loves things going to hell in a handbasket. It's not simply that things are going to hell, but somewhat daintily, in a handbasket.

Kindly, for kind of. I kindly thought so.

Twicet. Once or twicet. Sometimes onest or twicest.


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: GUEST,Puffenkinty
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 06:09 PM

My two favorites:

He was "knee-walkin' drunk".

And when you don't want somebody to mess with something
you say, "Just leave it where Jesus flung it."


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: mack/misophist
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 06:09 PM

Cautious as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs. Some of these I didn't know were southern. It's just the way I talk.


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: GUEST, Dale
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 06:42 PM

The thing to remember about all this is that these are expressions to treasure. Listen while you can because the influence of TV, etc. is fast homogenizing the language. Listening to the old tapes from the 70s and 80s that I am privileged to hear and work with, I can detect a difference from what usta be, and what you would hear now.

That is not to say that the colorful local language is completely gone. I did hear the ultimate fixin' a couple of weeks ago.   A young lady I know (about 21)who was home from college said she was fixin' to fix a particular thing.

Students (most anyway) still speak with a certain amount of respect to, for example, school secretaries.   Now in the North you'd hear them say Mrs. Jones or Miss Smith, or possibly use their first names. But here in the South, while you will hear those titles used, you are far more likely to hear them referred to as Miz Julie, Miz Barbara, whatever. In the North, that would not have been an option.

An excellent source of Ozark humor and language is by Mitch Jayne. (former Dillard and of course, former Darlin' boy!)
Home Grown Stories & Home Fried Lies (subtitled Words With The Bark On Them And Other Ozark Oddments)   Ten sample pages are available for viewing at Amazon.

More about the book here.

Mitch is also a regular contributor for the Missouri Conservationist Magazine. Use the Missouri Conservationist search engine to find Mitch Jayne storys.

Here's an excerpt from one ~~~~

Zeke: Well onct you get past 65 it evens out purty smooth, but 65, that's the rough one.

Mitch: Why 65?

Zeke: That's when everbody figures if you ain't dead yit yer missin' a good chaince. They all fly in to sell you yer box or a plot to plant ye or burial insurance, or they set in to put ye in a home som'ers.

Mitch: They all came at you at once?

Zeke: Hit was a sight on earth. Had to nail up a barrel fer a mail box to catch all the dodgers fer rockin' cheers and wheel cheers and funerals and old folks magazines and nostrums fer regularity and perpetchural keer fer yer plot and rest homes and nursin' homes and a whole outlandish bunch of other plunder I cain't remember.

Mitch: Weren't interested, huh?

Zeke: Well sir, I bottled up a batch of my cold remedy jist fer us old folks. I call it "Ol Quiet Owl."

Mitch: "Ol Quiet Owl"?

Zeke: Take reg'lar doses of it, you keep gettin' old but you won't give a hoot.

_______________________________________________

The expression used by Zeke, "Hit was a sight on earth." was commonly used by my old Uncle Walter, gone from us for many years, but his language lingers on for me.


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: Rapparee
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 07:29 PM

It got cold here last night. It was so cold that the thermometer went and said it was five feet below zero. Snow's purtier'n a newborn pup, though. Lotsa younguns got the flu, sicker'n shit and don't smell nowhere near as nice, either. Feller t'other day told me I couldn't walk cross his paster, so I told him to go piss up a rope, I wasn't harmin' nothing. He wanted to light into me, but I lit a shuck outa there -- there's a time an place fer fightin' and that weren't it.


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: artbrooks
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 08:25 PM

Wa'ul, all ah kin say is "Sheee-it!"


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: Neighmond
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 08:51 PM

Well-here goes:

Slower 'n the angel o'death
sail to and do her (git going on it)
ain't worth the shot to shoot 'em
aggrevates my soul
agitates my bein'


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Subject: RE: favorite southern US expression
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 08:53 PM

"spank mah britches and shet mah mouth!" - Cousin Bill
"Kiss mah ass in th' red!" - Uncle Rob
"Hope ya s**t an' fall back innit!" - Joe(a friend of mine)
"Way-ell, it's fer shur them gals aint a gonna starve to death." - Friend referring to a couple of upper middle class women we saw 'uptown' one time.
"Go cut me a switch!" - Grandma(whenever I'd misbehave)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
From: Mudlark
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 09:21 PM

Windah lights = panes of glass
Bedfast = ill in bed
Haint..."Why I haint see'd you since....Hec was a pup" /said sooo slowly you could feel yourself age as you listened in
You'ns, us'ns
Fight? Why, it was like Daddy 'n the bear...
Leetle, as in leetle ole redbird
Y'all come = invitation
Y'all come go with me...said as someone was leaving
Y'all come back ... said whenever one left a store, or any place else
Feist dog = small, terrier yard dog good for getting snakes and other
        vermin
"Why, I wouldn't take 500 dollars fer that dawg." Usually said of a
        useless hound dog someone was wanting to trade...
The mispronunciation of words: despite the 5 foot high letters in the
        Walmart sign, everybody in Huntsville pronounced it Walmark.

All from the 1970's Ozarks. With the advent of a TV in every house this wonderful vernacular was dying out however, by the time we left in the 80's.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
From: Ferrara
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 09:30 PM

ROFLMAO!

Here's a few from my mom:

"He hasn't got a pot to pee in!" (shiftless and improvident...)
"He hopped on that like a chicken on a June bug."
"I've been running around like a chicken with its head cut off." (very busy, disorganized)
"He called her everything but a lady." (insults)
... and my favorite, "Uglier than home made sin."

Rita


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