Saturday, November 17, 2012

Hillbilly Sayings

You know, we all have our favorite sayings and expressions. The ones My Hillbilly uses are slightly more . . . descriptive than the ones I'm used to.

The other day, I got to thinking, (no wise cracks please), about different sayings I have heard in my lifetime.  Of course, many of these were while I was back in Hillbilly Land.  At any rate, I got to wondering what they really meant and or where they came from.  Here are some of examples:

Dumber than a brick! 

 Hmm!  I have used this saying most of my life!  I like it!  But what is dumb about a brick?  I have used them for many things.  I like them on houses.  A friend of mine was once telling me about his younger and dumber days in Kansas City.  He said they went out and picked fights and fought on the street almost every night.  His brother walked up to some guy and tried to pick a fight . Much to his brother’s surprise, the guy pulled out a card that said something to the effect, I am trained in martial arts and my hands are registered as lethal weapons.

I said, “Really? Wow! What did your brother do?"
“He hit him with a brick."
So as we see, bricks aren't dumb. They are versatile but unthinking and inanimate objects.
Brick Pile

Crookeder than a dog’s hind leg! 

 I realize that this is not great English.  However, that was the way it was said.  At any rate, a dog’s hind leg is fairly crooked but I could probably think of other things more crooked.  Usually this was used to describe a road but also was used to refer to people who were considered to be quite dishonest.   Can you think of a few people for whom this term might apply? No politicians; that would be too easy.

Goofier than a mashed cat!  


I have used this for years.  It is the equivalent of running around like a chicken with its head cut off.  This is another saying that I have used for years.  These are sayings that compare how someone is reacting to the actual reactions of animals due to quite traumatic events.  Usually it is used much more lightheartedly than the actual event with the animals.
Lightheartedly??? Who's lighthearted? C'mere, Hillbilly, and I'll show you lighthearted! 

Smoother than a schoolmarm’s leg!  

Hmm!  Let me check!  Cynthia, come here for a moment!  Hold still!  Yep!  Pretty smooth!  Mmmm!  Mmmm!  Oh yeah, I got to finish this blog post.  So where was I anyway?  I don’t know exactly where this saying came from, but I like it.  I suspect that back years ago, when more uptown girls became teachers and got jobs in the country, that perhaps they shaved their legs more often than country women.  Hey!  I don’t know! But you have to admit, it is plausible and apparently someone checked!  Thus the saying!

Wise as an owl!  

I don’t know why an owl is considered wise.  It might do with the fact that they are watchful.  Their eyes are wide open!  Being watchful would be considered wise.

Fatter than a hog, quicker that a cat!  These are self- explanatory!

Deader than a door nail or deader than a hammer!  I don’t know, these objects were never alive.  They are just inanimate objects.

She eats like a bird!  

Hmm!  What kind of bird?  Have you ever seen an eagle eat a fish or a buzzard eat road kill?  I think the saying is supposed to have do with being dainty and not eating very much.

They have heads shaped like an ax!  

This was generally used to describe features of some inbred hillbilly families and to warn off others of the problems that come from inbreeding.  Unfortunately, we do know that traits, features, health problems, etc generally do increase from such practices.

If you could buy them by the pound and sell them for what they think they are worth!  

Very fitting for various people I have known over the years!  It just refers to people who are stuck up and think they are better than anyone else.  Of course, as per this saying, their opinion is not usually shared by others.

He could tear up a crowbar!  

This just refers to someone who is so careless that he tears or breaks about everything.  In other words, the kind of person, that you prefer not to lend your tools!

Slicker than snot on a glass door knob.  


This one has been changed to slicker than snot on a door knob(Cynthia's note: this is not better). Actually it has been shortened even more to just slicker than snot.  The original saying probably came from someone who had glass door knobs and snotty nosed kids.  In my humble opinion, all these sayings are more endearing when spoken in a southern or hillbilly accent.  For instance, slicker than snot would come out more like --- slickernsnot! (Cynthia's note: Nope. Not a lot more endearing. . . Okay, maybe a little.)

I am sweating like a dog.  

I changed that to sweating like a big hairy dog.  Okay!  I know dogs perspire through the end of their nose.  But the visual is of a big furry dog suffering in the heat.  Yes, and if my nose is that wet, I might refer it back to the slickernsnot saying.

Not the brightest bulb on the tree or the sharpest tool in the shed.  

Of course, these terms are usually used to as a derogatory term towards someone who is not thought to be bright.  Yes, I have used them when I have seen people continue to make stupid mistakes.  However, I have been known to get in a hurry and mix the two and come up with something like this.  He is not the sharpest bulb on the tree.  To my defense, a bright bulb could give off a sharp light --- or something like that.  Whatever!

 As you can see by this, I sometimes just get tired and confused.  Fooey on this!  I think I need to go back and do some more checking on the saying smooth as a schoolmarm's leg.  Hey Cynthia!

From the Hillbilly’s corner!

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Let's Talk Turkey: The Stories Behind America's Favorite Expressions