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Folklore: favorite southern US expression

Lonesome EJ 23 Dec 10 - 12:49 PM
GUEST,The South 23 Dec 10 - 10:27 AM
Mike in Brunswick 07 May 10 - 11:45 PM
GUEST,cockalo 07 May 10 - 11:09 PM
GUEST,seth in Olympia 07 Jan 09 - 05:35 AM
Lonesome EJ 07 Jan 09 - 01:31 AM
Janie 07 Jan 09 - 12:29 AM
GUEST,GUEST 06 Jan 09 - 10:45 PM
Bush-man 04 Jan 09 - 03:40 PM
GUEST,Debbie C 04 Jan 09 - 03:02 PM
GUEST,Debbie C 04 Jan 09 - 02:59 PM
GUEST,Debbie C 04 Jan 09 - 02:50 PM
VirginiaTam 04 Jan 09 - 05:21 AM
kendall 19 Dec 08 - 09:44 PM
Barbara 19 Dec 08 - 05:05 PM
VirginiaTam 19 Dec 08 - 04:27 PM
GUEST 19 Dec 08 - 02:41 PM
DannyC 15 Aug 08 - 08:01 PM
DannyC 15 Aug 08 - 07:55 PM
PoppaGator 15 Aug 08 - 01:25 PM
GUEST,Larry 15 Aug 08 - 03:50 AM
Amos 13 Aug 08 - 10:04 PM
PoppaGator 06 Aug 08 - 03:04 PM
GUEST,JT 06 Aug 08 - 02:34 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 06 Aug 08 - 11:51 AM
GUEST,RRS in Alabama 06 Aug 08 - 11:18 AM
GUEST,JT 05 Aug 08 - 08:04 PM
Amos 05 Aug 08 - 06:43 PM
Arkie 05 Aug 08 - 06:15 PM
GUEST,RRS in Alabama 05 Aug 08 - 05:42 PM
GUEST,RRS in Alabama 05 Aug 08 - 05:07 PM
Becca72 05 Aug 08 - 05:02 PM
dwditty 05 Aug 08 - 04:38 PM
Arkie 05 Aug 08 - 04:33 PM
Amos 05 Aug 08 - 03:12 PM
Art Thieme 05 Aug 08 - 02:43 PM
Art Thieme 05 Aug 08 - 02:39 PM
Art Thieme 05 Aug 08 - 02:37 PM
Art Thieme 05 Aug 08 - 02:33 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 05 Aug 08 - 01:37 PM
fat B****rd 04 Aug 08 - 03:53 PM
PoppaGator 04 Aug 08 - 02:33 PM
GUEST,goodnight gracie 04 Aug 08 - 10:16 AM
GUEST,Amy 04 Aug 08 - 02:43 AM
GUEST,BevT 01 Mar 08 - 08:22 PM
SouthernCelt 10 Apr 07 - 07:49 PM
Stringsinger 10 Apr 07 - 06:28 PM
GUEST,Guest 10 Apr 07 - 05:22 PM
Lonesome EJ 10 Apr 07 - 12:46 AM
GUEST,Jim 09 Apr 07 - 11:14 PM
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Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 23 Dec 10 - 12:49 PM

Well now, Guest the South, I reckon you are probably correct. I heard my Grandparents, who were rural Kentuckians born before 1900, use lots of colorful expressions. These expressions were less common with my parents, and I suppose I hardly hear or use them nowadays. So, yeah, the old rural folks used more of this language than Southerners do today. I reckon you could say it's due to education and higher breeding, but I think it's got more to do with the pervasive force of television and other mass popular culture, which has given us all a more uniform and far less interesting way of speaking, in my opinion.

You may see such a change as a positive trend. I however think we are losing something of our heritage, and I think this thread is a small attempt to preserve the way these folks spoke, and not an attempt to picture them as ignorant or backwards.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
From: GUEST,The South
Date: 23 Dec 10 - 10:27 AM

Grew up in the south. I have heard some of the things listed here, but for the most part it seems like you guys just thought up the most illiterate things you could think of, spelled it weird, and encourage people to say it slow. Only the oldest and most rural of people talk like that.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
From: Mike in Brunswick
Date: 07 May 10 - 11:45 PM

Said disapprovingly of someone who has adopted a superior air.
"He's walkin' around like his poop don't stink."

I don't know how widespread it is. I heard it from a woman from North Carolina.

Mike


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Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
From: GUEST,cockalo
Date: 07 May 10 - 11:09 PM

My grandmother was a wealth of southern expressions. She would use the word "chunkin" which means to throw something. For example "Them boys are chunkin apples again."

This next one is a two for one: working medicine" and "yesdiddy". When the nurse asked what medicine she had taken, my grandmother replied "I took some workin' medicine yes'diddy." Translation: I took a laxative yesterday.

And when we were moving too slowly for her, my grandmother would say, "Y'all make haste!"


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Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
From: GUEST,seth in Olympia
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 05:35 AM

My grandmother never knew of a place called Ha-y-e. She said " I never been to Ha-woy-a, and I sure hopin' to get there before I pass on" Thanks to her, I still say "icebox". The only other time I heard that pronunciation of "Hawaii" is in an old Jimmy Rodgers song.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 01:31 AM

His eyes looked like two pee-holes in the snow.

Had eyes like two bubbles in a pisspot.

Couldn't pour piss out of a boot with the directions on the heel.

Useless as the tits on a boar hog.

Don't know shit from apple butter.

Don't know shit from Shinola.

My Mom always used the word "onery". Usually it meant lowdown, nasty. "Don't use such onery language!" I suppose it was some form of "ornery".


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Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
From: Janie
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 12:29 AM

To a fidgety child, What's wrong, you got a worm caught sideways?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
From: GUEST,GUEST
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 10:45 PM

Here are two my grandmother (Northern Neck of Virginia) would say:

"Smells like something crawled up inside you and died" (if someone let loose with a real stinker)

"Fidgeting like you got an ant up your rear with a bed bug chasing it." (said of a hyperactive child, especially in church!)

She also used an expression which sounded like "Jummin," as in "Jummin knows, I've tried to talk to him but he won't listen." As best I can tell it's short for "The gentleman knows" or maybe "God knows" but I've never heard it outside of the Tidewater area.

    Please remember to use a consistent name when you post. Messages with the "from" space blank, risk being deleted. "GUEST,guest" is not an acceptable user name.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
From: Bush-man
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 03:40 PM

I always liked...... "shinier n' a pewter dollar in a mudhole"


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Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
From: GUEST,Debbie C
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 03:02 PM

It's so cold, it would freeze the balls off a brass monkey!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
From: GUEST,Debbie C
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 02:59 PM

Well now, if that don't beat a hen a rootin'!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
From: GUEST,Debbie C
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 02:50 PM

I think I've lost my rabbit (or rabid) ass mind!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 05:21 AM

grab a sit down
or
have a sit down

(Take a seat)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
From: kendall
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 09:44 PM

Well, he like to have shit a well rope.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
From: Barbara
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 05:05 PM

Ain't worth sickum (not important enough to sic your dog on)
Don't that just rot your socks? (incredulity)
Just spittin' (light rain)

Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 04:27 PM

Shit fire and save matches
Don't know jackshit from applebutter


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Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 02:41 PM

Dull as a froe (really dull)
Fine as frog hair, split four ways and sanded (very fine)
sharp as a tack (very smart)
Uglier 'n sin (extremely ugly)
Nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs (very nervous)
Pant'n like a road lizard (breathing really fast)
Barkin up the wrong tree (asking the wrong questions, or accusing the wrong person)
Cute as a button (very cute, usually a baby)
running around like a chicken with its head cut off (going from thing to thing without getting anything done)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
From: DannyC
Date: 15 Aug 08 - 08:01 PM

Transplanted Somerset England musician - John Skelton - tells me of a neighbor in his Kentucky hollar proclaiming (about a 'wealthy' relation), "That woman has so much cash money, she could dry a wet mule over a wood fire."


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Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
From: DannyC
Date: 15 Aug 08 - 07:55 PM

'ere's a couple of 'em here


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Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
From: PoppaGator
Date: 15 Aug 08 - 01:25 PM

"Ain't got room enough to change your mind."

Nothing that remarkable about what the Texas sherriff told the DA ~ some folks needs killin'!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
From: GUEST,Larry
Date: 15 Aug 08 - 03:50 AM

"Cuter'n a speckled pup in a little red wagon."

"Slicker'n greased owl shit."

"He needed killin'." (Said by Texas sheriffs to prosecutors who needed background to detemine whether to file murder charges."

"California Quickstep" term used by expatriate Southerners and Easterners in California for what in the South would be called "a case o' th' runs".

"You kin have my gun when you pry it outa my cold, dead fingers."

"Confabulation" Talk-fest.

"Dimbulb" Someone who's not too smart.

"Dimbulbs (R)" An informal writers' group in Texas.

"Ain't th' brightest bulb in th' chandelier."

"You'll think a ton of brick done fell on ya." John Wayne as "Rooster Cogburn".

"Th' Shurf got me for drivin' one a them ol' drunk cars."

"We done broke his plate and sawed his corner off the table." said of a late teenager whose parents decided it was time for him to be on his own.

"Her watermelons hang low to the ground." Said of a very obese woman, walking away.

"Like two pigs in the same sack." Same definition as 'watermelons'.

"I'm about thought out, here." Gettin' close to bedtime.

Larry


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Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
From: Amos
Date: 13 Aug 08 - 10:04 PM

A mess of phrases from Nawth Carolina:

"Will you ride to to town with me in the morning?"
Answer: If I'm not too give out."

No rest for the wicked.
Answer: "And the righteous don't need none."

"Hey!"

"For a fact, ...." (meaning, "In fact")

"We hightailed it up...."

"I was bad to drink, myself"

I rode the hair off that horse.

God don't make junk.

I don't know what all.

I want to wear these shoes. They was give to me.

He studied whether to keep it.

.... whenever the notion struck.

It was a treat better than....

They wasn't nothin' in it to speak of.

I'll be et for a tater

That drawin' you do, hits mortal. Hit's from the lord.

I can learn myself to read and write.

He'd never given Joe a dadjing thing before.

Hain't room enough t' cuss a cat without gittin' fur in y'r teeth.

Feelin' rough as a cob

washed into the neighbor's ha-ha

[agitated; excited] He looked like he was sent for and couldn't go.

If i wasn't one thing, it was two

Lord he'p a monkey!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
From: PoppaGator
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 03:04 PM

A co-worker from Oklahoma once told me a great expression from back home:

"Uglier than* a tree full of owls."

Oklahoma may or may not be "southern" ~ it can be classifeid as "southwestern" or "great plains" ~ but it sure is rural, which I believe qualifies it for this discussion.

If I posted this already, a year or more ago, please excuse me. I haven't re-read through the entire thread this time...

*actually pronounced "Uglier'n," not really "than"...

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    Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
    From: GUEST,JT
    Date: 06 Aug 08 - 02:34 PM

    Shade tree mechanics oooh yeah. If you are looking for a deal and are brave that's who you use. Shade tree refers to someone that works on cars in thier spare time. They may be employed as a mechanic or not but it is only part time for them.
    a butt bustin is a spanking
    butt whoopin is getting beat up in a fight or "scrap"
    I declare means you are telling the truth or your surprised
    I suwanee mean I swear
    I don't mind to means you will do it no problem.
    I worked in a Lab for a company that moved into Western Kentucky from Utah. That was a big misunderstanding for those people that moved in here from there. Someone would ask "Would someone get me a sample?" and the auditor (who collected samples) would respond " I don't mind to." It would register to the guys from Utah as I don't want to. lol
    Hoggin is catching a catfish with your hands called noodling some places
    Haint is a ghost
    hog heaven is being very happy " I got a new truck and a pocket full of cash I'm in hog heaven."
    a box is a guitar "I'll tell you what that boy can thump that box."
    Thump in that last sentence means pick or play the guitar
    Thump also means beat up "That dude got to sassing him and he straight up thumped him."
    Sass or sassing means smart talking


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    Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
    From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
    Date: 06 Aug 08 - 11:51 AM

    Colder'n - a whore's heart (or well digger's ass)(or a cast iron
              toilet seat)
    Hotter'n - Kelsie's nuts (or a two dollar pistol)

    Bad aim or eyesight: He couldn't hit water if he fell out of a boat!

    If brains wuz dynamite, you couldn't blow yer nose!

    Meaning indeterminate: "Fixin" - as in, "I'm fixin to do (blank)."
    Does it mean planning to do it, thinking about planning to do it, just thinking it over generally or....?

    My dad used to refer to "shade tree mechanics," like the fellow a friend ran into in rural Georgia when his Mazda rotary engine gave up the ghost. He was towed into a little crossroads town by a local mechanic. When he looked under the hood, he threw up his hands and said, "Hell's fire, mister; I cain't fix this thang - it ain't got no pistons in it!"


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    Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
    From: GUEST,RRS in Alabama
    Date: 06 Aug 08 - 11:18 AM

    Here are some more:
    My uncle Laurence ran a movie house in rural Walker and Jefferson Counties, coal mining country in west Alabama He put up "one sheets" advertising with a staple gun. One of the locals saw that thing in action, and said: "I love I had one of them things."

    If he had brains he'd be dangerous.    If you put his brains in a peanut shell, they'd rattle around like a coconut in a boxcar.   If his brains wuz red paint, they wouldn't be enough to cover a gnat's ass.

    Nervous as a bastard at a family reunion.


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    Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
    From: GUEST,JT
    Date: 05 Aug 08 - 08:04 PM

    I live in a very rural small town in Kentucky. The phrases are very colorful. They are also adaptive I think linguists call it productive speech. Most of the phrases like "Colder than a well diggers ass." or one of my favorites "Sweating like a whore in church." are embedded deeply and change very little. On the other hand they other phrases are improvised on the spot to fit the implied situation. These phrases are funny but no doubt about it these people are very witty and observant. They have a flair for colorful speech.
    Hidy (instead of howdy) when they answer the phone
    fair to middlin meaning something or you are ok not real good not real bad. This phrase came from cotton sales that was a mid grade cotton. "How ya doin taday" response "fair to middlin."
    "Tolerable" also means ok
    "Kickin chicken" means strutting hard cocky
    "High steppin" means goin fast or "haulin ass"
    "3 sheets to the wind" means very drunk
    "drunker than Cooty Brown(or Coooter Brown)" This saying means very drunk as well. Cooter Brown was a man that had kin on both sides fighting in the Civil War. He stayed drunk the entire war so he wouldn't have to fight in it. So this phrase comes straight from "The War of Northern Aggression" no joke it is referred to by this name by some folks.


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    Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
    From: Amos
    Date: 05 Aug 08 - 06:43 PM

    Now, that's a real stem-winder, in't it?


    A


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    Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
    From: Arkie
    Date: 05 Aug 08 - 06:15 PM

    RRS, you reminded me of another phrase I have heard all my life no matter where I have lived.

    Slap Dab. "Slap dab in the middle".


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    Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
    From: GUEST,RRS in Alabama
    Date: 05 Aug 08 - 05:42 PM

    A village in Alabama is named "Slapout", for a grocery store there which was often slap out of whatever you wanted.
    "As cold as a nun's nook in Nome."
    After getting reamed out by your mother for some infraction, my uncle would say: "and besides that, your feet don't match". Or "Guess you heard that, didn't you?".
    Going to beat 3: (going to get some bootleg whiskey.)
    Uncle also said: "Your nose is a-running and your feets is a-smelling."
    "A cup and saucer short of a full set."
    He's so ugly he'd back a buzzard out of a meat wagon.
    I don't know whether to wind my watch or go blind.


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    Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
    From: GUEST,RRS in Alabama
    Date: 05 Aug 08 - 05:07 PM


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    Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
    From: Becca72
    Date: 05 Aug 08 - 05:02 PM

    I once heard my friend's Georgian husband say "I'ma fixin' to get ready to carry the dog to the vet". I wasn't sure what was gonna happen or how long it would take! :-)


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    Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
    From: dwditty
    Date: 05 Aug 08 - 04:38 PM

    All y'all


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    Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
    From: Arkie
    Date: 05 Aug 08 - 04:33 PM

    I like the informal approach to measurements:
    a bit
    a wee bit
    a brave wee bit
    a tad
    a spate
    a bait (bate)
    a fur piece


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    Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
    From: Amos
    Date: 05 Aug 08 - 03:12 PM

    IN her wonderful books about North Carolina called "The Mitford Series", Jan Karpok cites a number of local expressions, my favorite of which is "Well, I'll be et fer a tater!".


    A


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    Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
    From: Art Thieme
    Date: 05 Aug 08 - 02:43 PM

    "Pigs ate my roses!"

    Sorry about the multiple posts. No sooner than I post one, and I think of another one.

    Art


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    Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
    From: Art Thieme
    Date: 05 Aug 08 - 02:39 PM

    Keep on the sunny side!---Carter Family

    Art


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    Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
    From: Art Thieme
    Date: 05 Aug 08 - 02:37 PM

    "It's colder than a teacher's wit!!"

    ART THIEME


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    Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
    From: Art Thieme
    Date: 05 Aug 08 - 02:33 PM

    How about, "The rag on the bush better be a red bandanna!!"

    It's about camouflage garments.   ;-)
    Art


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    Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
    From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
    Date: 05 Aug 08 - 01:37 PM

    I grew up in the San Joaquin Valley of California. John Steinbeck wrote about the parents of a lot of the kids with whom I grew up in the forties and fifties. I heard a lot of southern and southwestern expressions daily. Some of my favorites:

    An affirmative answer - "Jes lak that fly; I speck so."
    Describing a miscreant - "Lower than a snake's belly in a wagon track."
    Describing an imbecile - "He don't know shit from Shinola."
    Bad aim - "He couldn't hit a bull in the butt with a bass fiddle."
    Catastrophe - "Lightning struck the shithouse!"
    Mock regret - "Don't that take the rag off the bush, though?"
    (That one, apparently, has actual roots in cross country travel. One way of marking a trail was to tie a bit of cloth to a limb or twig. If someone wanted to throw you off the trail, they removed the marker).


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    Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
    From: fat B****rd
    Date: 04 Aug 08 - 03:53 PM

    Apparently from the late Slim Pickens "Good Bourbon, tight pussy and a warm place to shit"
    What do I know, I'm from Cleethorpes.


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    Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
    From: PoppaGator
    Date: 04 Aug 08 - 02:33 PM

    It had never occurred to me that the very common expression "colder than a witch's tit" might be "southern." I do not believe it is regional at all, but pretty universal once you get outside of "polite society."

    I heard it plenty growing up in New Jersey, and as a college student in Indiana, as well as throughout my 35+-year residency in New Orleans, which is geographically "southern" but culturally quite a bit more cosmopolitan than that.

    I think you'll hear that phrase in every region of the United States, used by just about anyone who is not reluctant to use language that some might consider crude or vulgar.


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    Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
    From: GUEST,goodnight gracie
    Date: 04 Aug 08 - 10:16 AM

    It is encouraging to know that regional accents and expressions live on. My husband and I, a couple of Connecticut yankees, love the fact that our Maryland-born son regularly employs the expression "dang."

    Gracie


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    Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
    From: GUEST,Amy
    Date: 04 Aug 08 - 02:43 AM

    My mom (from Cecil County, Maryland) uses a couple and I'm not sure if they've been posted yet.
    "Bless your pea-pickin' heart!"
    "It's colder'n a witch's tit outside!"


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    Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
    From: GUEST,BevT
    Date: 01 Mar 08 - 08:22 PM

    Heard more than once in north central NC...."My nose is running like a branch" referring to a runny nose being as bad as a creek(branch) running.


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    Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
    From: SouthernCelt
    Date: 10 Apr 07 - 07:49 PM

    My father had a phrase he'd use when describing a hunting trip. He'd say something like, "I went down that holler over behind so-and-so's house and found a good seat on a harrikin, but I didn't see nothing."

    I never knew what a "harrikin" was (not even sure how you spell it) until I got old enough to go with my father hunting, then I found out it's a tree that's been blown over by the wind and has a big ball of roots and dirt sticking up that you can hide behind. If the tree's not too big in diameter, you can usually find a nice place to sit that's just about the same height as a chair seat. Some of the older locals in the area where I grew up still use the term.
    SC


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    Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
    From: Stringsinger
    Date: 10 Apr 07 - 06:28 PM

    Here's a real Southern one.   "Anjie".   Yep "anjie".

    Yore mama "anjie" daddy.

    Frank Hamilton


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    Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
    From: GUEST,Guest
    Date: 10 Apr 07 - 05:22 PM

    Anybody ever tattled on somebody..."Mama, Jim's not bein' haive!" (behaving). Serious accusation in my neck of the woods.


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    Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
    From: Lonesome EJ
    Date: 10 Apr 07 - 12:46 AM

    Watch it Jim. Get the dog sicked on ya for that kinda comment.


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    Subject: RE: Folklore: favorite southern US expression
    From: GUEST,Jim
    Date: 09 Apr 07 - 11:14 PM

    Has anyone mentioned,"Hey, what d'ya want for that fridge on your porch?"


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