Meme’s Southern Sayings

In The South we have our own language. A dying language at that. Consider it “Backwoods Latin”. This is something that you will find down the dirt roads to the tiny towns where all the “there and then” still presides. You will probably hear this speech resound at any family function, especially when country grandmothers can be found. Grandmothers like my Meme.

You’ll be trying your darnedest to follow along one of Meme’s stories: “Well, it was hotter than a six shooter when I got there. I was dressed to the nines while Bobby looked like the cat that ate the canary and Jene’s mad was sticking out. Anyways, I was on cloud nine because for the first time was able to cut a Rusty! Well afterwards I looked like the last rose of summer but I was as happy as a Lark!“. Did you catch that? Ha! I don’t blame you if you didn’t. For those who would prefer a translation: “It was so hot when I got there all dressed up, Bobby was smiling like she had a secret and Jene was upset about something and was showing it. I was so happy because I danced for the first time. Even though I looked like Hell afterwards I was so happy!” Like I said….Backwoods Latin.

So! with that being said, I finally sat down with my Meme and started working on a list of all the idioms/sayings she uses so I could finally translate them. And this is what we have so far:

More than one way to skin a cat

Hotter than a six shooter / Hotter than blue blazes

Dressed to the nines

Two hollow legs

On cloud nine

happy as a Lark

Upset her apple cart

Uglier than sin or uglier than homemade soap

Cute as a bug in a rug or Cute as a speckled pup

A little of that goes a long way

Cutting a Rusty

Tighter than Dick’s Hatband

Poorer than Job’s turkey

Colder than a well diggers butt

Milking it for all its worth

Cant get blood out of a turnip

Easy as falling off a log

Nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof

Lost as Cooter Brown

She split her britches with me

Looks like something the cat drug up

She has a bee in her bonnet

She has ants in her pants

so poor she dont have a pot to pee in or a window to throw it out of

Snug as a bug in a rug

Looks like the cat that swallowed the canary

I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck

I guess she told us how the cow ate the cabbage

Will be sitting here till the cows come home.

So skinny he could hide in the shadow of a clothes line

he couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn

he couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket

Wild as a March Hare

That’s just fine and dandy

She’s as crazy as a Bessie Bug

She’s higher than a kite

He’s 3 sheets in the wind

He’s drunk as a skunk

Lost as a goose

Come hell or high water

She’s hell bent and determined

What do you know good?

Some people will take with anybody wearing britches

Ill be there if the good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise

That takes the cake

Straw that broke the camels back

That’s the icing on the cake

You cant have your cake and eat it too

Slept like a log

Gotta get rolling on the river

Pot calling the kettle black

Six of one half a dozen of the other

Between a rock and a hard place

That just about sums it up in a nutshell

Still wet behind the ears

Thats the bottom line

Once in a blue moon

Having a hissy fit

Get her pants in a wad

Put on your big girl britches and deal with it

Her mad is sticking out

Busy as a cranberry merchant

Being a wise acre

Mind your P’s and Q’s

Dont get caught flat footed

Well thats a fine Howdy Do

All your ducks in a row

I look like the last rose of summer (meaning you look like Hell)

Are there any southern grandmothers out there that have a few sayings of their own to add? I’d love to hear them!


Ginger Foxwood


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