Kentucky-isms | Southern-isms

Thanks to Grandson, Jonathan, for providing many of these words and sayings

"Appalachia" is pronounced “App-uh-latch-uh”- or I'll throw an Apple at cha!
"It's App-uh-la-cha. I don't care what your professor says."


"Fill San" - My wife's name, "Phyllis Ann"
"Roshunear" - Roasting ear (I can't wait until the corn ripens and we have yummy roshunears.)
"Pert Neer" - Fairly near or darn close to (I'm pert neer done shuckin' these roshunears.)
"Flares" - Flowers (My wife loves purdy flares from the garden.)
"Node" - Past tense of to know (I node about that since I was a little whippersnapper.)
"Reckon" - Think/intend/believe/calculate/assume (I reckon I'll go to church for prayer meeting tonight.)
"Muchablige" - Another way to thank someone. Much obliged - (Muchablige for the flares.)
"Arshes" - Iris (Blue or purple flares.)
"Vittles" - Victuals (food) "Billie Bob, we're gonna rustle up some good road-kill vittles."
"Darn tootin'" - I agree. "Phyllis Ann, you make the best soup beans with bacon." "Darn tootin'."
"Clean as a whistle" - Very clean.
"Put upon" - Taken advantage of, exploited. (I don't mind helping them, but I feel a little put upon.)
"Feeling your oats"- High energy, assertive, enthusiasm, excitement.

Clean as a whistle

"Spitting snow" - Snow is lightly falling.
"Snow is sticking" - The snow is laying on the ground and not melting.
"Flatter than a flitter"- Something very flat (link a automobile/truck tire.)
"Arsh Taters" - Irish potatoes (Pass me the ash taters and gravy, please.)
"Arn" - Iron (Go git them sheets off the clothes line so I can arn 'em)
"Bout" - About/almost/nearly
"Lick of" - Hardly any or very little. (He ain't got a lick of sense.)
"Youngins" - Young ones (children). Some people's youngins don't have a lick of sense!
"Rurnt" - Ruined (I bout rurnt my gig when I hit them rocks innstead of that frog.)
"Put through the wringer" - having been through some difficult or unpleasant experiences
"I'm gettin' eat up" - (Let's go in, the mosquitoes are terrible)
"Gettin' my ears lowered" - Getting a hair cut.
"I've told you forty leven times!"
"How d'ya like them apples?"
"They couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket."
"Down the little red lane" - a child's throat, primarily used to encourage swallowing medicine.
"Come set for a spell."
"Not sense enough to come in from a rain storm."
"Duck on a June bug."
"Don’t care how thin you slice it, it’s still boloney."
"The lights are on but nobody’s home." (Not very smart.)
"Fair to middlin." (How're you feeling? Fair to middlin.) Not bad but not good either.
"Out of the fryin pan and into the fire."
"Few bricks shy of the load."
"If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it."
"What’s that got to do with the price of eggs in China."
"He doesn’t know sh*t from shinola."
"You’re as handy as a pocket on a shirt!"
"Pee or get off the pot."
"Need that like I need a hole in my head."
"Well I be dadburned!"
"Ain't got the sense God gave a goose."
"Fixin to have a come to Jesus meetin."
“Close the door, you’re letting the flies out”
"Pawn my Word."
"Y’all come back!"
"Oh my stars and garters!"
"Busier than a one armed paper-hanger."
"If I was any happier, there'd be two of me."
“Shut that door…you’re heating up the whole neighborhood!”
"Crooked as a dog's hind leg."
"Can't put lipstick on a pig."
“Oh, horse feathers!”
"I'll holler atcha!"
"Meanness don’t jes’ happen overnight."
"Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got."
"Always drink upstream from the herd."
"Mind your p's and q's."
"Get off your high horse."

Idioms below express complete surprise, disgust, amazement or disbelief

"Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle"
"Well, for heaven's sake"
"Well, forevermore"
"Well, I'll be damned darned" (We were never allowed to say that word!)
"Well, cut my legs off and call me shorty"
"Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit"
"Well, for pity's sake"
"Well, for Hell's heck's sake"
"Well, for crying out loud"
"Well, I've been cornswaggled"
"Well, shoot fire"


"Plumb" - Entirely, wholly (I fish plumb around the pond.)
"Tuckered Out" - Tired or worn out. (After rakin' all them leaves, I'm plumb tuckered out.)
"Vyeenies" - Vienna sausages (I love vyeenie sausages. Open the can and slurp 'em down.)
"Weenies" - Hot dogs
"Hankerin'" - Desire or craving. "I've got a hankerin' to go to the picture show."
"Puttering"- Doing insignificant things. "I'm just puttering around the house."


"Play like" - To pretend (I'll play like I'm the doctor and I'll examine you.)
"Boonies" - Short for boondocks, a rural area. (The electric goes out in the boonies everytime it rains.)
"Wallered out" - Make a hole bigger by reaming (The hole in my lifting leaver was all wallered out.)
"In cahoots" - In partnership (Jethro is in cahoots with the law about my bootleggin')
"Youn-to" - You want to (Billy Bob, I'm going to town to buy more beer. You can go with me if youn-to.)
"Cut a shine" - A childlike tantrum (That kid really cut a shine in Walmart)
"Craw" - Neck or gut. (That cop stopping me last week has really stuck in my craw)


1. A possum is a flat animal that sleeps in the middle of the road.
2. There are 5,000 types of snakes and 4,998 of them live in the South.
3. There are 10,000 types of spiders. All 10,000 of them live in the South, plus a couple no one's seen before.
4. If it grows, it'll stick ya. If it crawls, it'll bite cha.
5. Onced and Twiced are words.
6. It is not a shopping cart, it is a buggy!
7. Jawl-P? means: Did you all go to the bathroom?
8. People actually grow, eat, and like okra.
9. Fixinto is one word. It means I'm going to do something.
10. There is no such thing as lunch. There is only dinner and then there's supper.
11. Iced tea is appropriate for all meals and you start drinking it when you're two. We do like a little tea with our sugar. It is referred to as the Wine of the South.
12. Backwards and forwards means I know everything about you.
13. The word jeet is actually a question meaning, 'Did you eat?'
14. You don't have to wear a watch, because it doesn't matter what time it is, you work until you're done or it's too dark to see.
15. You don't PUSH buttons, you MASH em.
16. Y'all is singular. All Y'all is plural.
17. All the festivals across the state are named after a fruit, vegetable, grain, insect, or animal.
18. You carry jumper cables in your car for your OWN car.
19. You only own five spices: salt, pepper, mustard, Tabasco, and ketchup.
20. The local papers cover national and international news on one page, but require 6 pages for local high school sports, motorsports, and gossip.
21. Everyone you meet is a Honey, Sugar, Miss (first name), or Mr (first name)
22. You think that the first day of deer season is a national holiday.
23. You know what a hissy fit is..
24. Fried catfish is the other white meat.
25. We don't need no dang Driver's Ed. If our mama says we can drive, we can drive!!!
26. You understand these jokes and forward them to your Appalachian friends and those who just wish they were from the Appalachians.
AND one more:
27. Why did the chicken cross the road? To show that stupid possum that it CAN be done.

Strange Married Names of People We Have Known
Doris Hogge married Jack Baer = [A hog married a bear!]
Eileen Skinner married Bill Back = [I lean back!]

Hold My Beer

"Tore up" - Broken or destroyed. - My knee is all tore up since I slipped on the ice.
"Soup beans" - Pinto beans cooked in a lot of liquid.
"Smidgen" - A tiny amount.
"Smithereens" - Tiny bits - I put a smidgen of gunpowder in my rocket. It blew to smithereens!
"Pot liquor" - Another term for stock. (Pot likker is usually sopped up with cornbread.)
"Spittin'" - Lightly snowing. Its spittin' snow until noon.
"Make it snappy" - Be quick about it. (You kids git into bed and make it snappy.)
"Yank" - Pull with a jerk (Hep me - yank the end of that rope)
"Spizzerinctum" - Energy
"Lick" (verb) - To beat up, as in, "I licked him good that time."
"Lick" (noun) - Any amount at all. "I didn't get a lick of work done today."

"Chifferobe" - A closet-like piece of furniture (Hang up your clothes in the chifferobe.)
"Co-Cola" - Coca-Cola. "Yall want some co-cola or RC?"
"Cut that out" - Stop what you are doing.
"Bent out of shape" - Angry, upset
"Tars" - Tires (My car must need new tars 'cause this un is leakin'.)
"Rubber-neck" - to drive slowly to look at a wreck or disabled vehicle on the side of the road.
"Peckerwood" - Rural, poor, undereducated. A derogetory term for a redneck, ignorant, bigoted person.
"Polecat" - Skunk (That polecat stinks to high heaven!)


"Backer" or "backey" - Tobacco (When you chew backer, where do you spit? In a coke can?)
"Wacky backy" - Marijuana, cannabis (Do y'all raise waky backy around here?)
"Liked to" - Almost (I liked to pee my pants when that car almost hit me.)
"Gaum" - Dirty, smudge (My ears are so gaumed up I can't hear it thunder.)
"Scared to death" - Frightened (I was scared to death the Univ. of Ky. might get beat by Univ. of Tenn.)
"Nearly jumped out of my skin" - Frightened, startled.
"Ain't" - Isn't (If it ain't broke, don't fix it.)

Too Big For Your Britches

"Gumption" - Resourceful, initiativel (He ain't got the gumption to make that work.)
"Fiddle" - Deal with (I don't want to fiddle with that.)
"Sigoglin" - Crooked, skewed (That barn is so sigoglin it might fall down and ruin the backer)
"Sweetie pie" - Someone dear- girlfriend, sweetheart (Come here sweetie pie and gimme some sugar)
"Stick to your ribs" - The food is good for you.
"Roastin'" - I'm really hot, I'm just roastin' (over heated!)
"Saar" - Not sweet - "I call Bill Ramsey Saar Note, cause he don't make sweet music."
"Sick to my stomach" - Ill, OR when something is so disturbing that is makes you feel ill.
"Tarnation" - Damnation (What in tarnation!!!)


Re-In Tar Nation

"Chewy" - Tough or difficult to chew (That chicken fried steak last night was really chewy.)
"Let one" - To pass gas, flatulence (Because I let one in class I got sent to the principal's office)
"Died laughing" - Really funny (I almost died laughing.)
"Yoost-uh-cud" - This word is often used by elderly men. (I used to could touch my toes.)
"Might could" - Possibly - (I might could still touch my toes iffin I didn't weigh 420 pounds!)

Porkchop bones

"Let on" - Reveal or divulge (Don't let on like you know about her run-in with the law.)
"Shitepoke" - A type of bird OR a worthless person (He is just a shitepoke.)
"Hit" - It (Hit is so hot outdoors today I need to lay down and take a nap in the shade.)
"Drecklee" - Soon or directly (I'll be home drecklee after the game.)
"Chester drawers" - Chest of drawers (After you fold them clothes, put 'um in the chester drawers.)
"Jeet jet?" "No jew?" "Skweet!" - Did you eat yet?, No, did you?. Let's go eat!


"Done" - Already (We done finished hit.)
"Right smart" - Many, much (We got a right smart mess of beans)
"Maders" - Tomatoes (My favorite vegetables are nice, ripe, red 'maders.)
"Tard" - Tired (I'm so tard after pickin' all them maders.)
"Git shed of" - Rid oneself of. "I'm gonna git shed of all these whiskers."
"Davenport" - Another name for a sofa. davenport
"Puny" - Inferior in power, size or importance, or sick. (I'm feeling puny today.)
"Sure 'nuff" - Sure enough (is that right?)
"Cheer" - Chair

Mother Taught Me

"Share" - Shower
"Blackbury" - Blackberry
"Pre-Shaded" - I appreciate it (a common way to say, "thank you")
"Piller" - Pillow
"War-Nut" and "Shoe-Make" - 2 kinds of trees: Walnut and Sumac
"Garntee"- Guarantee (I garntee that aint no Shoe-Make tree, that is War-Nuts)
"Fur-piece" - A long distance (It's a fur-piece down the road)
"Mush mellon" - Cantelope (musk mellon)
"Wore out" - Tired (I'm plumb wore out after mowin' all day.)


"Hind end" - Buttocks - (also sometimes called "hiney")
"Slop Jar" "Thunder bucket" - Chamber pot toilet used if there is no indoor plumbing.
"Mess" - A big ol' dish of something. (I’m gonna make a mess of soup beans fer dinner tonight)
"Wastepaper basket" - trash container (Wad that up and throw it in the wastepaper basket)
"Kindly" - Sort of. "When Ed's line broke and he lost that big bass, he just looked kindly sick."
"Sorry" - Worthless, lazy (He's a sorry excuse for a husband.)
"Poke" - Paper bag (Do you want me to put that stuff in a paper poke for you?)
"Goodness Gracious" - surprise, dismay, alarm
"I feel like I've been run over by a freight train" - very tired, exhausted
"Keep your nose to the grindstone" do difficult, continuous work

Tank Top

"Holler" - A small valley - hollow (We live up the holler, past the creek.)
"Spittin' image" - Nearly identical. Derived from Spirit and Image (He's the spittin' image of his dad.)
"Favor"- To look like another person. (Bubba favors his grandpa by the way is nose curves.)
"Icebox" - Refrigerator (Put the milk in the icebox.)
"Piddlin'" - Killing time (I'm just piddlin' around the house, looking for something to do.)
"Fix" - Prepare, as in (if you will hush your mouth, I will fix dinner in a few minuets.)
"Fixin' to" - Preparing to - CLICK HERE TO SEE HOW PHYLLIS REACTS


"Hainted" - Haunted (That old house is hainted.)
"Pickin' and uh sangin'" - Plucking a stringed instrument (banjo/guitar, etc.) and singing
"Far" - Fire (Don't fergit to put out the far.)


Far Wood

"Worsh" and "Rinch" - Wash and rinse (After you worsh the dishes, don't fergit to rinch 'em real good.)


"Zink" - Sink (The kitchen zink)
"Snake Doctor" - Dragonfly
"Curly-Cue" writin' - Cursive writing
"You all" or "y'all" is singular. "All y'all" is plural.
"Orta" - Ought to or should (I orta go buy some grub.)
"Skeeter" - Mosquito, Pesky flying bug. (Skeeters am a humming on the honeysuckle vine.)
"Lightning bug" - Firefly (Winged beetle with their own lanterns.)
"Jar Fly" - Cicadas (Big flying bug that make loud humming noises.)
"Play purties" - Children's toys

Warsh Rag

"Possum" - Opossum - Small- to medium-sized marsupial. (We're gonna have possom for breakfast.)
"Stickin'" - What snow will do if it's cold enough. (Is the snow stickin' or meltin'?)
"The Trots" or "The Runs" - A Kentucky euphemism for diarrhea.
"Flustrated" - A combination of flustered and frustrated.
"Wheel bar" - Wheel barrow (Put that dirt in the wheel bar and dump it over yonder.)
"Hisn" "Hern" and "Your'n" - His, Hers, Yours (Possessives)
"Mush" - Corn meal cooked in milk or water. (Where's my mush for supper?)
"Gallopin' Consumption" - Tuberculosis. (His gallopin' consumption went on for years.)


"Kissin' kin" - A family relation familiar enough to be greeted with a kiss (I know we're kissin kin.)
"Wretched" - The first name of a male, 'Richard' (as in Wretched Nixon.)
"Barking up the wrong tree" - Being mistaken or misguided.
"Pawn my honor" - Upon my honor (Well, 'pawn my honor, I haven't seen you in a coon's age.)
"Aren’t you precious?" - Most always said sarcastically in response to someone being offensive.
"Actin' ugly" - This has nothing do with either appearance or theater — it means misbehaving.


"Bread basket" - Belly or stomach. Example - (The softball hit him in his bread basket.)
"Chief Cook and Bottle Washer" - A person in charge who is capable of doing many things.
"Egg on" - To urge to do something. Example: (He only did it because the crowd egged him on.)
"Heap" - A large quantity. Example: (Billy got into a heap of trouble when he "bard" his daddy's car.)
"Hear tell" - Information was passed second hand. (I hear tell that new mini-mall is going in soon.)
"Hunkey Dorey" - Everything is great.
"Hightailing" - To go as fast as possible (Let's hightail it out of here before we get caught)
"Hot to trot" - Ready and eager (I'm hot to trot to go to the Renfro Valley barn dance.)


"Right" - Very. Example: (You're right near the street you want to be on) or (He's a right smart feller.)
"Rile" - To make agitated and angry: Upset. Example: (He's all riled up.)
"Hep" - Help. Example - (Welcome to Wal-marts. Kin I hep yuh?)
"Scarce As Hen's Teeth" - Rare or unusual. Hen don't have teeth!
"Whup or whoop" - Variant of "to whip." To hit or spank.
"Not about to" - To have no intention."I
"He's so stupid he couldn't pour piss out of a boot if the instructions were written on the heel!"
"Sunday go to meetin' clothes" - One's best clothing.
"The good Lord willin' and the creeks don't rise" - Probable, unless there are unforeseen circumstances.
"I don't mean maybe" - do what I'm asking without protest. (Clean your room and I don't mean maybe.)
"He bit off more than he can chew" - Is not equipped to do the job at hand.
"Good night, sleep tight, and don't let the bedbugs bite." (Sleep well throughout the night.)



"He is too big for his britches" - He thinks much too highly of himself. Concieted.
"He is stuck-up" - Also thinks more of himself than he should. Thinks he is better than anyone.
"Well, I swanee" - A substitute swear word for "I swear" (which good folks didn't say.)
"I haven't seen you in a month of Sundays" - A very long time.
"Oh, my stars" - Oh, my goodness. OR - That is difficult to believe.
"You and I are going to have a Come to Jesus moment!" - A serious discussion (confrontation.)
"Billy, quit it!" - Said to a child as an order to stop.
"He was naked as a jaybird" - Someone is nude.
"See a man about a dog" - excusing oneself without saying the reason (perhaps to the toilet?)
"Chicken with its head cut off" - Excited and confused.
"Birds of a feather flock together" - People with common interests tend to congregate.
"I'll knock you into next week." Threatening punishment (to a child) spanking.

Redneck Church

"Easy as falling off a log backwards" - Something that requires little effort.
"He's just a fish out of water" - unprepared.
"He's in over his head" - Similar to the above statement - unprepared.
"Not worth a hill of beans" - a worthless person. Click here for a brief history of "soup beans."
"Shook up" - disturbed, shocked, annoyed, aggitated, upset, in love. Elvis sings "I'm all shook up."
"A pig in a poke" - Value of something which is much less than anticipated. See Appalachian Magazine.
"While you're at it" - While performing one action, requesting simultaneously perform another.
"Miz well" - Might as well. - (You miz well fix it while you're at it!)
"Nary" - Not any. Originally from a combination of Ne'er a.
"He bit the dust" - To fall face down, to die
"Tinkle" - Urinate
"ID" - Idea. Cop stops a driver: (Do you have an I.D.?) Driver responds: (Bout what?)


"Dub-Yuh" - The 23rd letter of the alphabet and the middle inital of George Dub-Yuh Bush - "W"
"He is so windy [or full of hot air] he could blow up an onion sack" - Talks too much or exaggerates.
"Deader than a doornail" - Quite dead. (That snake is deader than a doornail.)
"Mash taters" - Mashed potatoes
"Homely" - Unattractive
"Couldn't hit the side of a barn" - Poor aim
"She's squeaky as an old barn door" - Gossip
"Their cornbread ain't done in the middle"- They are stupid, defective, not right.


"Slick as a whistle" - Smooth, neat, easy
"Easy on the eyes" - Pretty
"Panties in a wad" - Upset over something trivial
"It's hotter than blue blazes" - Hot outside
"Drunk as a skunk" - Extremely drunk
"Cool as a cucumber" - Calm, composed,
"Mad as a hornet" - Extremely angry
"Don't carry on like that" - Stop behaving in a particular way
"Mighty" - Very (He was mighty good pickin' that banjo)
"If I had my druthers" - rather
"She's as pretty as a peach" - Very pretty
"He was funny as all get out" - To the utmost degree
"Heavens to Betsy" - Exclamation of shock
"Boogered up" - Messed up
"Tetched" (touched) - (Tetched in the head) - Mentally deficient
"Quare" (Queer) - Unusual, strange
"Tolerable" - Fairly good
"Whipswitch" - A simple crochet stitch (or, a small tree branch for spanking)
"Hogtied" - To make it difficult for someone to do something
"Crawdad" - A freshwater crayfish


"Hush your mouth" - Stop talking, be quiet
"Hair brained idea" - a stupid idea
"Can't never could" - If you say you can't you won't be able to
"Well, I S'wanee" - Swear (without being crude)
"Slower than Christmas" - Slow (Slower than molasses)
"I'm full as a tick" (had enough to eat)
"Not the sharpest tool in the shed" (dumb)
"I'm gonna tan your hide" (give you a spanking)
"Went through her like a hot knife through butter" - Quickly
"Scat there kitty, your tail's in the gravy" (often said when someone would sneeze.)
"She's got a bee in her bonnet" (angry)
"It's blowin' up a storm" - Windy OR playing a musical instrument
"More than Carter's got little liver pills" - a large amount
"Till the cows come home" - For an indefinitely long time
"Like water off a duck's back" - Without any effect; easily
"Preaching to the choir" - Making a point to someone who agrees with your position
"Pot calling the kettle black" - Guilty of the same thing you're accusing the other of
"Sweatin' like a sinner in church" - Sweating profusely
"Slow as molasses in December" - Moving painfully slow
"Mind your manners" - Be polite
"I declare" - An exclamation of surprise
"Hold your horses" - Be patient
"If it had been a snake it would have bit you" - When looking for something right it sight


"Fit to be tied" - Very angry, upset
"Cute as a button" - Adorable, charming (That baby's cute as a button)
"Don't get your feathers ruffled" - Don't let it bother you
"Pitching a fit" - Causing a commotion about something
"Stinks to high heaven" - Of poor quality; has a strong, unpleasant odor
"Madder than a wet hen" - Furious (Jethro's madder than a wet hen over the Ky/Tenn game)
"Stove up" - Muscles are sore/stiff (My neck is all stove up)
"Tan your hide" - Expressing discipline to come (You do that again and I'll tan your hide)
"A mind to" - Consider doing something (I have a mind to go huntin')
"PIcked up" - Gained weight. "You've picked up a little haven't you Bonnie Sue?"
"Bad-mouth" - Talking negative about (Now, you'd better stop bad-mouthing Darlene)
"Three sheets to the wind" - Drunk (Goerge is three sheets to the wind from moonshine)
"Happy as a pig in mud" - Blissfully content
"Hissy fit" - dramatic loss of one's temper (She pitched a hissy fit)
"Dickens" - Euphemism for devil (He scared the dickens out of me)
"Diddly Squat"- Anything. (He don't know diddly squat about nothin')

When you can't think of the correct word: Thingamajig, Thingy, Thingamabob, Whatchamacallit, Whatsit, Whateveritis, Doo-dad, Doo-hicky, Doo-jigger, Doo-lolly, Doo-dah, Doo-fer, Gizmo.


To see great explanations of Appalachian words and sayings,
visit Karen Nolan's wonderful blog:
Diamonds in my Coal Bucket

Things a True Southerner Knows

The difference between a hissie fit and a conniption fit.

Pretty much how many fish make up a mess.

What general direction cattywumpus is.

That "gimme sugar" don't mean pass the sugar.

When somebody's "fixin" to do something, it won't be long.

How good a cold grape Nehi and cheese crackers are at a country store.

Knows what, "Well I Suwannee !!" means.

Ain't nobody's biscuits like Grandma's biscuits !!

A good dog is worth its weight in gold.

Real gravy don't come from the store.

When "by and by" is.

How to handle their "pot likker".

The difference between "pert' near" and "a right far piece."

The differences between a redneck, a good ol' boy, and trailer trash.

Never to go snipe hunting twice.

At one point learned what happens when you swallow tobacco juice.

Never to assume that the other car with the flashing turn signal is actually going to make a turn.

You may wear long sleeves, but you should always roll 'em up past the elbows.

You should never loan your tools, pick-up, or gun to nobody.

A belt serves a greater purpose than holding Daddy's pants up.

Rocking chairs and swings are guaranteed stress relievers.

Rocking chairs and swings with an old person in them are history lessons.


Hillbilly 10 Commandments

Sayings Heard Near Somerset, Kentucky

* I'm hotter than a nanny goat in a pepper patch
* The only thing bad about you is your breath
* He's sneakier than a junkyard dog
* Let's make like a horse turd and hit the trail
* Useless as a two-pound pig
* That's scarcer than hen's teeth
* People has more fun than anybody
* Nobody has more fun than chickens because they eat with their peckers
* He's as stout as a young bulldozer
* It's darker than a bag of Kingsford charcoal
* He ain't bigger than a fried fart
* You’ll have to poop in the creek in the morning to keep the woods from catching on fire
* There it was hanging upstairs in the basement
* You had to boil this soup twice to get it this hot
* I’m so thirsty I could suck Buck Creek dry
* If a frog had wings, he wouldn’t bump his ass every time he jumped
* He’s as ugly as a mud fence
* He fell out of an ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down
* They could sit on a dead horse and eat a hamburger
* He’s as crooked as a barrel of snakes
* I’m more pissed off than a Democrat at a George Bush speech
* I've got a toothache behind my kneecap (often said by Charley Robinette - Phyllis' Dad)
* She's as jumpy as a woman giving birth to a roll of barbed wire (my Grandfather's expression)
* I guaran-told ya
* He's tighter than Dick's hatband (my Dad used this expression to mean stingy, cheap, miserly)
* I ain't fur it, I'm again' it (I am not for it, I am against it - as often said by our friend, Joe Sawyer)
* He's as useless as the balls on a brass monkey.


Southerners know the difference between swig and swaller: swig=sip, swaller=gulp
If someone is "madder than a wet hen," they are: angry.
"Hold your horses" means... be patient.
If your mamaw says she'll "tan your hide" that means... she's gonna spank you.
If you "got your feathers ruffled" you... let it bother you.
A "mosquito hawk" is a... dragonfly.
What do you do to an elevator button? mash.
If someone says "Oh, foot!" they are probably: frustrated or annoyed.
If something is "catty-corner" or "kitty-corner" or "catty-wampus" it's... diagonal.
If someone won't stop "piddling" they won't stop... wasting time.
If you're going to "bad-mouth" someone, you're going to... say mean things about them.
If something is "yonder" it's... in the distance.
A "blinker?" is a car's turn signal.
If someone says you are "being ugly" in the south, they are saying you're... rude.
"Good Lord willing and the creek don't rise." What does this mean? It'll go well, hopefully.
What's a "hissy fit?" dramatic loss of temper - similar to a "conniption fit."
If someone is "too big for his britches" he is... taking himself too seriously.
What is a "po'boy"? a baguette sandwich of meat or seafood.
What's the situation if you have "six of one, a half-dozen of the other"? both options are equally good.
Your mama probably carried a "pocketbook." What's that? a purse.
Most men carry a "billfold" - What's that? a wallet
Finish this phrase: "I'm as happy as a pig..." in mud.
If someone is "fat as a tick" that means... they have eaten too much.
What does "the devil is beating his wife" mean in parts of the South? it's raining but the sun is out.
Finish this phrase: "slow as..." molasses.
"Papaw's tater wagon" Thunder (It must be goin' to rain 'cause I hear Papaw's tater wagon.)
If someone is "fit to be tied" they are... very angry.
If someone is "tickled pink" they are... delighted.
A "clicker" is a TV remote control (also called a flipper.)
What is an "alligator pear"? an avocado.
Finish this phrase: "That stinks to..." high heaven.
"I don't have a dog in that fight." means? The person doesn't care about the situation or outcome.
If your Aunt Lettie asks you for some "sugar" she probably wants... kisses.
Finish this phrase: "It doesn't amount to a..." hill of beans.
If you've been "sneetered," what has happened to you? You've been scammed.
Finish this phrase: "Cute as a..." button.
A "sweeper" is a vacuum cleaner.
Liable (pronounce lible)- He's "liable" to tell your mama on you. Might or likely to.
Your daddy tells you to go and get a "switch." He is asking for? a twig with which to spank you.
"That dog won't hunt!" What does this phrase mean? That idea won't work out.
When you order a "coke" what will you get? A question about what kind of "coke" you want.
If you are "gussied up" you took the time to make yourself look really good.
What phrase means "for a long time"? 'Til the cows come home.
If something really "gets your goose" it... makes you mad.
If you're not feeling well! You're as sick as a... dog.
If you take a big ol' truck through some mud puddles for fun, you're... Muddin'
What kind of fit are you likely to have if you're angry? A conniption fit.
Big boots are called... Clodhoppers.
Complimenting the hostess on the meal is a thoughtful. Asking them the souce of roadkill is not.
Hospitality is making your guests feel at home even if you wish they were.


Those places you used to hang out at in high school? Those are your... stompin' grounds.
When is supper? In the evening. Dinner is in the middle of the day. Breakfast, dinner, supper.
If someone is feeling a mite "peckish" they are... hungry.
A toilet is also known as a... commode or John.
Someone is wasting a lot of time doing nothing important. They are... Lollygagging or piddlin'.
If you go to a real redneck bar, what kind of music will be playing? Honky-Tonk.
"He's more ornery than a cat!" What does ornery mean? Stubborn.
If someone is nervous, you'd say they were "like a long-tailed cat in a room full of..." Rocking chairs.
If you have "a mind to" do something, you are: considering doing it.
When Southerners say "bless your heart," they really mean: "You're an idiot."
Finish the phrase: "Well saw my legs off and call me..." shorty.


When you want to say someone is urbanized and not country at all, you say they are: citified.
When you want to say someone is flat broke, you say they: "don't have a pot to piss in."
When you really need to use the bathroom quite badly, you say My eyeballs are "floatin'."
What are especially country Southern men often called? Good ol' boys.
A small depression in the side of a mountain, not big enough to be called a valley, is called a: holler.
When you want to indicate something isn't off to a great start, you say it's: "off like a herd of turtles."
If something or someone is pretending to be deceased, they are: playin' possum.
When someone is unbelievably exhausted, you say they're "rode hard and put away wet."
"I've known you since you were knee-high to a grasshopper."
"Raisin' Cain" - To make a commotion, disturbance, to make trouble.
"Never get off the ground" - never be successful.
"Diddly-squat" - anything, or nothing whatsoever. "He ain't doin' diddly-squat."


Susbtitute curse words - "Doggone it" "dang" "shoot fire" "gol darn it" "hello Molly" "fudge" "friggin" "heck" "gosh"

Alternative CUSS words






Old Hillbilly Wisdom

Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.
Keep skunks, bankers, and politicians at a distance.
Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.
A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.
Words that soak into your ears are whispered, not yelled.
The best sermons are lived, not preached.
If you don't take the time to do it right, you'll find the time to do it twice.
Don't corner something that is meaner than you.
Don’t pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he’ll just kill you.
It don’t take a very big person to carry a grudge.
You cannot unsay a cruel word.
Every path has a few puddles.
When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.
Don't be banging your shin on a stool that's not in the way.
Borrowing trouble from the future doesn't deplete the supply.
Most of the stuff people worry about ain’t never gonna happen anyway.
Don’t judge folks by their relatives.
Silence is sometimes the best answer.
Don‘t interfere with somethin’ that ain’t botherin' you none.
Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.
If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin’.
Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.
The biggest troublemaker you’ll ever have to deal with watches you from the mirror every mornin’.
Always drink upstream from the herd.
Good judgment comes from experience, and most of that comes from bad judgment.
Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin’ it back in.
If you get to thinkin’ you’re a person of some influence, try orderin’ somebody else’s dog around.
Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you’ll enjoy it a second time.
Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.
Most times, it just gets down to common sense.

Your Guide to Speaking Like a True Appalachian Pioneer:
Bald – A treeless area on a mountain.
Blackberry Winter – Time where there is cool weather at the same time as the blooming of wild blackberry shrubs in May.
Blind House – Windowless cabin
Blockading – Making illegal whiskey or moonshine.
Booger – Ghost
Boomer – Red squirrel
Branch – Small stream
Cove – Small valley surrounded by mountains.
Dogwood Winter – Time of cold weather at the same time as the blooming of dogwood trees in mid-April.
Dome – A mountain with a rounded top.
Foxfire – Something that glows in the dark, like certain mushrooms.
Gaum – A mess
Gap – Low spot along a ridge or mountain range.
Granny Woman – Midwife
He-balsam – Spruce tree
Hollow – Small sheltered valley (holler)
Jag – Small amount
Leather Britches – Green beans dried in the pod by threading on a string and hanging.
Lick – To hit with a hammer or axe
Long Sweetening – Maple syrup
Painter – Mountain lion
Poke – Small bag
Poor Do – Boiled cornmeal
Ramp – Wild garlic
Shamp – To cut hair
She-balsam – Fir tree
Short Sweetening – Sugar or honey
Simples – Medicinal herbs
Slaunchwise – Crooked, sideways, slanting diagonally.
Slick-faced – Without a beard
Sorry – Something of little or no value
‘Tater Hole – cold cellar under the cabin floor where foods are stored.
Wish Book – Mail-order catalog
Varmint – Wild animal



It was easy to get Charles McCartney’s goat.

This man, his family, and his goats came through our town on multiple occasions.

Born in Iowa in 1901, McCartney got hurt working for the New Deal WPA in 1935. A religious awakening led him to hitch a team of goats to a wagon and travel the country with his wife and son, dressed in goatskins, preaching the Gospel. Thus was born – again — the legendary “Goat Man.” He claimed his life-long wanderings took him and his caravan through all the lower 48 states plus Alaska and Canada. He cited the Bible – and Robinson Crusoe – as his inspirations.

McCartney eventually settled in Jeffersonville, Georgia, where he started the Free Thinking Christian Mission, and traveled the countryside preaching salvation. His religious fervor inspired writer Flannery O’Connor, who mentioned him in her letters and apparently based some of her characters on him. He spent his final years as a local celebrity in a Macon nursing home and died at 97.
One of Georgia’s great folk characters was born in Iowa on July 6, 1901, Today in Georgia History.

Goat Man

Appalachian Diction

See Appalachian Facebook Page

A Wonderful Video of Changing Speaking Styles
Is the Southern Accent Disappearing | Otherwords

Southern Moms


Stories We Heard in Kentucky

Announcement Heard at Wal-mart (the spelling reflects how it sounded - we actually heard this.)
"Would the womern what wanted these bloons blowed up, please come to the counter."

Alcohol Consumption
The local preacher at the First Baptist Church when I was a young boy was "Brother Hunter" who was fiercely opposed to the use of alcohol. One day he ran into the local drunk who, obviously, had too much to drink. When Brother Hunter saw him he said:
Brother Hunter: "Drunk again, Mr. Jones."
Mr. Jones: "Me too, Brother Hunter."

My Father frequently told this story at the conclusion of a meal
Old man and old woman (who is "hard of hearing") after dinner:
Old Man: I've had a sufficiency.
Old Woman: You've been fishing?
Old Man: I've had plenty.
Old Woman: You caught twenty?
Old Man: You darned old soull!
Old Woman: You broke your pole? Well, that's the luck of a fisherman!

Mrs. Cooper was my 5th-grade teacher. Her son, John Sherman Cooper, was a U.S. Senator, and Ambassador to India, East Germany, a USA delegate to the United Nations Assembly as well as a special assistant to Secretary of State Dean Acheson during the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and served on the Warren Commission. His first job was working for my grandfather.

John Sherman Cooper and Mother
John Sherman Cooper with his mother (my 5th-grade teacher)

At campaign rallies he often told the story of an elderly couple celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary.

Old man (feeling profound love and appreciation): I'm proud of you!
Old Woman (who is hard of hearing): What?
Old Man: I'M PROUD OF YOU!!!
Old Woman: WHAT???
Old Man: I SAID, I'M PROUD OF YOU!!!!!!!
Old Woman: I'M TIRED OF YOU, TOO!!!!!

How to spell Bumblebee With His Tail Cut Off (often recited by my maternal grandfather)
B-u-m, bum, and there's your bum.
B-l-e, ble, and there's your ble, and there's your bumble.
B double e, bee, and there's your bee, and there's your bumble-bee.
W-i-t-h, with, and there's your with, and there's your bumblebee with.
H-i-s, his, and there's your his, and there's your bumblebee with his.
T-a-i-l, tail, and there's your tail, and there's your bumblebee with his tail.
C-u-t, cut, and there's your cut, and there's your bumblebee with his tail cut.
O double f, off, and there's your off, and there's your bumblebee with his tail cut off.

How to spell Tennessee
One I see
Two I see
Three I see
Four I see
Five I see
Six I see
Seven I see
Eight I see
Nine I see
Ten I see

Redneck Fire


Hurricanes, Tornadoes, and Storms - Oh MY!


Fixin to

Wind Chimes

Hillbilly Talk

Jonathan Ramsey - senior photo, 2020
Thanks to Jonathan Ramsey

To read about Phyllis questioning pronunciations, click here
To listen to Appalachian folks talk, click here
To read more about How to Speak Southern click here

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