Expressions My Family and Friends From the Old Country (Kentucky) Used

I was reading a post in a friend’s blog tonight in which she made the ridiculous claim that she was not smart. If that is the case, then I am “dumber than a box of hammers.” Her post reminded me of something my mom used to say to me (her bookworm of a son) time and again, “You don’t have the sense that God gave a goose.” To me that meant that while I had a lot of book sense, I had very little or no common sense. The only real reference to that phrase I found on the web, claimed that it was just another way of calling someone dumb, but I prefer my definition of the term.

All of this got me to thinking about other expressions I remember from my childhood and youth in old Kaintuck, including:

He is “deader than a door nail.” (I guess this means “really, really dead.)

“I’m gonna smack you into the middle of next week.”

“I’m gonna smack a word/wart on your head.” (I once asked my mom what the word might be. Her response to my question showed me the wisdom of never asking it again. Also all three of these were expressions my mom said to me to get me to”behave.”

“You go out and cut me a switch and don’t make it a small one neither.”

“Don’t make me take off my 32” belt. (Similar to the three above, but used by my dad. The first was instructions to get ready for a whoopin’ and you get to find the instrument of punishment yourself. The other is self-explanatory.)

“My tongue covered up my eyeteeth so I couldn’t see what I was saying.”

“He’s too big for his britches.” (He’s acting smarter or better than he really is.)

“I’m goin’ to the library.” (One said this while cartin’ a Sears and Roebuck catalog – the poor man’s reading material and toilet paper – down to the outhouse – both sets of my grandparents had outhouses until I was well into my teens, so yes, I have used them when the need arose.)

“If ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ were candy and nuts, oh what a wonderful Christmas we’d all have.”

“Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes all the way down.”

“Lord willing, and if the creek don’t rise.” (Used to assure someone that you would do something unless it proved impossible to do – God didn’t will it, or the rising creek prevented you from getting somewhere. This actually did happen to my grandparents who lived across a creek one had to drive through to visit them or for them to leave home. Usually the creek was just a stream, but there were times when you couldn’t get through it for several days.”

“As happy as a clam at high tide.” (Really, really happy.)

“That’ll gag a maggot.” (Something really nasty.)

“What does that have to do with the price of tea in China?” (Something is totally irrelevant.)

“You make a better door than a window.” (Move out of the way, I can’t see through you.)

“Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.” (The sooner you leave, the better.)

How about you, gentle readers, have you any favorite expressions from days and places gone by?

One thought on “Expressions My Family and Friends From the Old Country (Kentucky) Used

  1. Half of those I hadn’t heard, but made me crack up!!!

    The only one I can think of is:

    Stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about.

    Which always made me cry more. And what a stupid thing to say to someone.

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