Thursday, February 18, 2010

Favorite Carolina saying?

We were visiting with my grandparents in Clinton a couple weekends ago, and it reminded me of how much I love hearing some of their Southern colloquialisms. It also made me realize that, at least to these ears, a lot of those sayings are dying out.

Some of their sayings I've incorporated -- though, honestly, the times I say them are more to embarrass my wife than to honor my heritage. A good example is after a meal I'll say, "I'm fuller than a tick." She loves that one.

Another one I hear my grandfather say often is "it's raining to beat the band." Not sure what it means, but I love it.

I went to the Encyclopedia of Southern Expressions to see of any others I may have forgotten. (Yes, "full as a tick" is there.) A number of these I have heard growing up in North Carolina and, admittedly, some of these can't be proprietary to just the South. Among the more common ones are:

-Like water off a duck's back
-Livin' high on the hawg
-Faster than a scalded dog
-Skinny as a rail
-Nervous as a cat in a room full of rockers
-Deader than a door nail
-Slower than molasses
-I’ll be there if the Lord’s willing and the creeks don’t rise
-Well, shut my mouth

What are some great phrases and sayings that you've heard growing up in North Carolina or the South?


Kelly said...

Haha, these are great, Matt! Some that I regularly heard/hear from my NC and SC family...

"Well, I declare."
"Bless her heart."
"Hotter than the 4th of July."
"Well, great granny!" (which my South Carolina native Papaw always said, meaning "Oh my gosh" or "I don't believe it!"

Oh, and am I allowed to post on here, "Sweatin' like a whore in church?" ;)

M. Lail said...

Great ones, Kelly. My grandmother's name is Ida, but we kids have always pronounced it "I-dee," so I always wanted to have a daughter named 'Ida Claire.' One can dream, right?

And how did I miss the "whore in church" one?

I heard a good friend of mine just the other day say, "Good gravy!" It was fantastic.

Kelly said...

My Dad's side (all from the Darlington, SC area) pronounces the word "idea" like you pronounce your grandmother's name. "Well, I swear that's the best i-dee I ever heard." (They kinda have their own language down there and sometimes when my Dad "gets to" talking fast and laughing, Kenny still can't understand him.)

Kevin Brewer said...

The Devils is beating his wife -- when it's raining.

Nocturnal Queen said...

My maternal grandma used to say "I swanny!" and "Oh foot!" all the time.

Other sayings and words:

Dumber than a bag of hammers.
Catty wampus
Ustacould (Used to could)
Ustabe (Used to be)

That makes me so ill! (That's angry, not sick.)
Chunk it. (Instead of saying "throw it".)
Ugly as sin.
Pooch (belly bulge)
Catty wonkered

M. Lail said...

I can't believe I forgot my favorite one of all: 50-11. As in, "they must be rich. They got fifty 'leven cars."

James C. said...

One that my band director in high school was famous for was "See can you," which meant "See if you can," as in, "See can you play this passage here."

Kevin Brewer said...

Dumber than a box of rocks.

TSnow said...

My dad still says "I swanny." A quick google search got this: swan·ny intr.v. Chiefly Southern U.S.
To declare; swear. Used in the phrase 'I swanny' as an interjection.

My maternal grandmother used to say, "I be blessed"

And Matt, one from your area: "To be sure..."

M. Lail said...

"I swanny" is great.

And, Tommy, to take that last one you noted one step further, the negative version of "to be sure not!"