Southern Expressions and Humourous Ways to Express Joy or Anger

If you go to the south, you’ll hear surprising Southern expressions. Whether you’re looking for a humorous way to express joy, anger, disbelief, or annoyance, there are southern expressions to fix you right up. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up the favorite Southern sayings, as well as what they mean and where they came from.

Southern Expressions

When a Southerner Gets Angry:

  • He’s got a burr in his saddle.
  • His knickers are in a knot.
  • She’s pitching a hissy fit.
  • She’s pitching a hissy fit with a tail on it. (When she’s more pissed off.)
  • He has a duck fit. (One step above a hissy fit.)
  • She has a dying duck fit. (Translation: Run and hide!)

Southern Sayings About Bad Character:

  • You’re lower than a snake’s belly in a wagon rut.
  • He’s slicker’n owl sh*t.
  • She’s meaner than a wet panther.
  • He’s a snake in the grass.
  • Why, that egg-suckin’ dawg!
  • Worthless as gum on a boot heel!

When Southerners Are Busy:

  • I been running all over hell’s half acre.
  • She’s busier than a cat covering crap on a marble floor.
  • I’m as busy as a one-legged cat in a sandbox.
  • Busier than a moth in a mitten!

Southern Sayings About Conceit and Vanity:

  • She’s so stuck up, she’d drown in a rainstorm.
  • She’s stuck up higher than a light-pole.
  • She has her nose so high in the air she could drown in a rainstorm.
  • He thinks the sun comes up just to hear him crow.

(Most of these comments are made about women. Apparently, Southern men are not stuck up.)

Southern Expressions About Being Cheap:

  • He squeezes a quarter so tight the eagle screams.
  • He’s tighter than a bull’s ass at fly time.
  • Tighter than a flea’s ass over a rain barrel.
  • He’s so cheap he wouldn’t give a nickel to see Jesus ridin’ a bicycle.

Southern Phrases About Being Broke or Poor:

  • Too poor to paint, too proud to whitewash.
  • I’m as poor as a church mouse.
  • I’m so poor I can’t afford to pay attention.
  • He was so poor, he had a tumbleweed as a pet.
  • I couldn’t buy a hummingbird on a string for a nickel.
  • I’m so poor I couldn’t jump over a nickel to save a dime.
  • He doesn’t have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of.

Dressed Too Scantily? They Will Say:

Dressed Too Scantily
  • Those pants were so tight I could see her religion.
  • Her pants are so tight that if she farts it’ll blow her boots off
  • You’re gonna have old and new-monia dressed like that!
  • Lawd, people will be able to see to Christmas!
  • Law, pull that down! We kin see clear to the promised land!

Southerners Experiencing a Drought Might Say:

  • It’s so dry the trees are bribing the dogs.
  • I swan, you all musta pissed God off somehow. It’s drier than a popcorn fart ‘round these parts. (Translation: Ya got me… I don’t know what a popcorn fart is!)

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Confused? In the South, They Might Say:

  • He doesn’t know whether to check his ass or scratch his watch.
  • He couldn’t find his ass with both hands in his back pockets.
  • He’s about as confused as a fart in a fan factory.
  • She’s lost as last year’s Easter egg.

(As we Yankees say, “These people don’t know which way is up.”)

Southerners Know Happiness When They See It:

  • He’s as happy as if he had good sense.
  • Happier than ol’ Blue layin’ on the porch chewin’ on a big ol’ catfish head.
  • Happy as a dead pig in the sunshine. (Translation: Apparently pretty happy.)
  • Grinnin’ like a possum eatin’ a sweet tater.
  • Well that just dills my pickle.

Expressions About Laziness:

  • Won’t hit a lick at a snake. (Translation: So lazy he wouldn’t chase a snake away.)
  • He’s about as useful as a steering wheel on a mule.

Colloquialisms for Unmentionables:

“Over-the-shoulder boulder holders.” (Translation: A very large bra.)

Irritation Brings Out Some Creative Southern Expressions:

  • She gets my goose.
  • He just makes my ass itch!
  • Yankees are like hemorrhoids: Pain in the butt when they come down and always a relief when they go back up.
  • That would make a bishop mad enough to kick in stained glass windows.
  • She could make a preacher cuss!
  • She could piss off the pope.
  • If you don’t stop that crying, I’ll give you something to cry about!
  • Who licked the red off your candy?
  • She could start an argument in an empty house.
  • He’s about as useless as a screen door on a submarine/a trapdoor on a canoe.
  • That makes about as much sense as tits on a bull.
  • Quit goin’ around your ass to get to your elbow.

Colorful Southern Expressions About Liars:

Colorful Southern Expressions About Liars
  • Don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s rainin’!
  • Don’t pee down my back and tell me it’s raining.
  • That dog won’t hunt.
  • You’re lyin’ like a no-legged dog!
  • If his lips’s movin’, he’s lyin’.
  • You’d call an alligator a lizard.
  • That man is talking with his tongue out of his shoe.
  • He’s as windy as a sack full of farts.

(The most creative expression about liars I’ve heard in the North is “Lying like a rug.” Southerners have much more colorful ways of accusing a liar.)

Southernisms About Stupidity:

  • If that boy had an idea, it would die of loneliness.
  • The porch light’s on, but no one’s home.
  • He’s only got one oar in the water.
  • If brains were leather, he wouldn’t have enough to saddle a junebug.
  • He’s so dumb, he could throw himself on the ground and miss.
  • He hasn’t got the sense God gave a goose.
  • When the Lord was handin’ out brains, that fool thought God said trains, and he passed ’cause he don’t like to travel.
  • His brain rattles around like a BB in a boxcar.
  • There’s a tree stump in a Louisiana swamp with a higher IQ.
  • So dumb he couldn’t pour piss out of a boot with the instructions written on the heel.
  • He don’t know s**t from shinola. (Now this one I’ve heard in New Jersey….)
  • If his brains were dynamite, he couldn’t blow his nose.
  • I was born at night, but not last night! (I’m not that stupid!)

Surprised Southerners Might Come Out With This:

These are probably some of my very favorites!

  • Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit.
  • Well, slap my head and call me silly!

When Something Smells Really Bad, a Southerner Says:

  • He smelled bad enough to gag a maggot.
  • Something smells bad enough to knock a dog off a gut wagon.

If You Hear These Southern Expressions, You Better Watch Out:

Either somebody’s in real trouble, or there’s a fight brewing if you hear…

  • I’m gonna cut your tail!
  • I’m gonna jerk her bald!
  • Keep it up and I’ll cancel your birth certificate.
  • I am going to jerk a knot in your tail.
  • You don’t know dip sh** from apple butter!
  • Me-n-you are gonna mix.
  • You don’t watch out, I’m gonna cream yo’ corn.
  • You better give your heart to Jesus, ’cause your butt is mine.
  • I’ll slap you to sleep, then slap you for sleeping.
  • I’m gonna tan your hide.
  • I’ll knock you into the middle of next week looking both ways for Sunday!
  • I’ll knock you so hard you’ll see tomorrow today.

Southern Expressions for Speed (Fast or Slow):

  • Faster than a one-legged man in a butt-kicking competition.
  • Faster than green grass through a goose.
  • Slower than a Sunday afternoon.
  • You took as long as a month of Sundays.
  • Faster than a hot knife through butter.
  • We’re off like a herd of turtles.
  • He ran like a scalded haint. (I don’t know what a “haint” is, but apparently a scalded one can run really fast!)
  • It happened faster than a knife fight in a phone booth.

Ugly or Looking Bad?

Now these are really unkind, but funny as heck!

  • He’s so ugly, he didn’t get hit with the ugly stick, he got whopped with the whole forest!
  • He fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down.
  • So ugly she’d make a freight train take a dirt road.
  • So ugly he’d scare a buzzard off a gut pile.
  • She’s so ugly I’d hire her to haunt a house!
  • If I had a dog as ugly as you, I’d shave his butt and make him walk backwards.
  • She is so ugly, her face would turn sweet milk to clabber.
  • She was so ugly when she was born that her momma used to borrow a baby to take to church on Sunday

When the ugliness is just temporary:

  • I feel like I’ve been chewed up and spit out.
  • I feel like I been ‘et by a wolf and sh** over a cliff.
  • He looks like ten miles of bad road.
  • You look like you’ve been rode hard and put up wet!

Expressions About Being Well-Fed or Good Food

Being Well-Fed or Good Food
  • Full as a tick.
  • Put that on top of your head and your tongue would beat your brains out trying to get to it

Southern Observations About Weight:

  • He’s so skinny, if he stood sideways and stuck out his tongue, he’d look like a zipper.
  • She’s so skinny, you can’t even see her shadow.
  • She’s spread out like a cold supper.
  • If he were an inch taller, he’d be round.

Of the Wealthy:

  • Sh**tin’ in high cotton.
  • He’s richer’n Croesus.
  • He’s so rich he buys a new boat when he gets the other one wet.

Expressions About the Good Looking Guys and Gals

  • Fine as frog hair split four ways!
  • She’s pretty as a pumpkin but half as smart”

A Hungry Southerner Says:

  • I’m so hungry my belly thinks my throat’s been cut.
  • I could eat the north end of a south-bound polecat.
  • I’m so hungry I could eat the north end of a south-bound goat.

Colorful Expressions About the Weather:

Like some of the other Southern phrases, a few of these might not be appropriate in mixed company.

  • Colder than a well digger’s butt in January.
  • It was colder than a witch’s tit in a brass bra.
  • That rain was a real frogwash.
  • It rained like a cow pissin’ on a flat rock.
  • Hotter than blue blazes.
  • It’s colder than a penguin’s balls.
  • It’s hotter than two rabbits screwin’ in a wool sock!
  • It’s cold enough to freeze the balls off a pool table.
  • Colder than a banker’s heart on foreclosure day at the widows’ and orphans’ home.
  • It’s been hotter’n a goat’s butt in a pepper patch.
  • It’s cold enough to freeze the tit off a frog.
  • It is hotter than a jalapeño’s coochie.

All-Purpose Southern Expressions We Couldn’t Do Without:

  • Y’all.
  • All y’all.
  • Down yonder.
  • Bless your pea-pickin’ little heart!
  • Kiss my go-to-hell.
  • I wouldn’t walk across the street to piss on him if he was on fire.
  • If you can’t run with the big dogs, stay under the porch.
  • Why so sad? Did Chevrolet stop makin’ trucks?
  • Deep in the South where sushi is still called bait.
  • He’s about as useful as a screen door on a submarine.
  • That sticks in your throat like a hair in a biscuit.
  • You’re so fulla s**t your eyes are brown.
  • He was as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a roomful of rocking chairs.
  • He couldn’t carry a tune if he had a bucket with a lid on it.

Some Southern Expression in a Sentence

A little powder, a little paint, makes a girl look what she ain’t!

Meaning: Watch out for high maintenance later on.

A person to go to the well with.

“The trite saying that honesty is the best policy has met with the just criticism that honesty is not policy. The real honest man is honest from conviction of what is right, not from policy.” – Robert E. Lee

Big hat, no cattle.

Meaning: Full of big talk, and lacking action or substance, but pretentious all the same.

Call him an idiot and you’ll insult all the idiots in the world.

Note: 2 percent of the world’s population has an IQ under 70. I think I’ve worked for all of them.

Couldn’t find his own ass with both hands stuck in his back pockets.

“Never ascribe to malice that which can adequately be explained by incompetence.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

Couldn’t punch his way out of a wet paper bag.

“If at first you don’t succeed, you may be at your level of incompetence already.” – Dr. Laurence J. Peter

Drove her ducks to a poor puddle.

“Nobody ever did, or ever will, escape the consequences of his choices.” – Alfred A. Montapert

Everything she’s got is out on the showroom floor.

Meaning: She is wearing a revealing outfit.

Fish stinks from the head down.

Meaning: Organizations reflect their leaders. ”This proverb is of ancient origin, Greek and Chinese cultures lay claim to it.”

He got weaned from sucking eggs.

Meaning: To learn the hard way.

He’ll stand the hedge and take up the gap.

The term is from the Civil War and referees to “set piece: method of fighting – i.e. not using cover.

More Southern Expressions

He’s so low down he could crawl under a snake’s belly.

“He was distinguished for ignorance; for he had only one idea and that was wrong.” – Benjamin Disraeli

His family tree ain’t got branches.

His family tree ain’t got branches.

Rather than: Ever since I saw you in your family tree I’ve wanted to cut it down.

He’s so honest you could shoot craps with him over the phone.

“I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.” – George Washington

He was so deep in jail he’ll have to be fed beans with a sling­shot!

Note: It might be a good thing to leave him back there. Other foods that have “flatulence factors” are cabbage, eggs and beer.

He’d complain if you hung him with a new rope.

Fact: Execution by hanging is generally performed with a rope that has been prepared by boiling and drying under tension. New rope tends to coil, which causes it to act like a spring as it supports the weight of the body during hanging. This is at best undignified, and at worst likely to interfere with the effectiveness of the procedure.

He’d gripe with a ham under each arm.

Note: The only similarity between southern country ham and the stuff in the deli case is that they both require pig sacrifice. To southerners and pork devotees, country ham is exquisite dry-
cured rosy-­hued perfection itself.

He’d put a rattlesnake in your pocket and ask you for a light.

“Those are my principles If you don’t like them I have others.” – Groucho Marx

Some Offensive Southern Expressions

He’s the cream of the crap, and the crap of the cream.

Meaning: He is a real jerk.

He’s a hard dog to keep under the porch.

Note: Made famous by the song, “Ain’t Nothing But a Hound Dog.”

He’s gone back on his raisin’.

Meaning: That he has turned his back on his heritage or good upbringing.

Her hair looks like it caught on fire and somebody put it out with a brick.

“My photographs don’t do me justice ­ they just look like me.” – Phyllis Diller

Her jeans are so tight, you can see Washington grinning on the quarter in her pocket.

“Blue jeans are the most beautiful things since the gondola.” – Diana Vreeland

His pants were so tight that if he farted, he’d blow his boots off.

Note: A man is most likely to be flatulent first thing in the morning, AKA “morning thunder”.

I hate her stomach for carrying her guts.

“She’s afraid that if she leaves, she’ll become the life of the party.” – Grouch Marx

I wouldn’t pee in her ear if her brain was on fire.

Fact: Two to three drops of urine will cure an ear ache.

If she had one more wrinkle, she could screw her hat on.

Note: An old superstition says never lay your hat on a bed ­ it means someone will die.

It must be jelly because jam don’t shake like that.

“Here’s to our wives and girlfriends may they never meet!” – Groucho Marx

I can tell you a thing or two ’bout a thing or two.

Meaning: “I’ve got some juicy stuff for you to hear.”

I don’t think he has enough chlorine in his gene pool.

Rather than: He was the poster child for birth control.

Some Exaggerated Southern Expressions

I wouldn’t walk across the street to pee on him if he was on fire.

Note: One can put out a fire by urinating, but it depends on the size of the fire, and size of the hose.

Jesus loves him, but that’s about it.

Rather than: Time wounds all heels.

Just between you, me, and the fence post.

“Anyone who says he can see through women is missing a lot.” – Groucho Marx

Just wear beige and keep quiet.

Note: If all mother­s-in-­laws followed this advice there would be no need for mother-­in-­law jokes.

Lives like a fighting cock.

fighting cock

Meaning: He lives like there is no tomorrow.

Looks like two Buicks fighting for a parking place.

Note: Like middle aged woman in tight yoga pants at the yogurt bar.

No weevils in his wheat.

Meaning: A very honest person. “Honor lies in honest toil.”- Grover Cleveland

She always looks like she stepped out of a band box.

Note: The “Band Box” was a euphemistic slang expression for a notorious brothel frequented by Union soldiers on the grounds of the current IRS building in Washington, D.C.

She could depress the devil.

“I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening but this wasn’t it.” – Grouch Marx

She could make a preacher cuss.

Meaning: Someone who might also argue with a stop sign.

She looks like death sitting on tombstones hatching haints.

Note: “Haints” are a Southern expression for ghosts.

She wouldn’t go to a funeral unless it was hers.

Rather than: Everyone has an ego, mine is just bigger…and better.

She’s a caution.

“A woman scorned is a woman who quickly learns her way around a courtroom.” – Colette Mann

Other Southern Expressions and Quotes

She’s an iron hand in a velvet glove.

“Put your iron hand in a velvet glove.” – Napoléon Bonaparte

She’s got more nerve than Carter’s got Liver Pills.

Note: Carter’s Little Liver Pills were formulated as a patent medicine by Samuel J. Carter of Erie, Pennsylvania in 1868. The active ingredient is bisacodyl. The FDA forced “Liver” to be dropped in the name in 1959.

She’s so stuck up, she’d drown in a rainstorm.

“I’m not conceited. Conceit is a fault and I have no faults.” – David Lee Roth

She’s so sweet; sugar wouldn’t melt in her mouth.

“She looked as though butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth – or anywhere else.” – Elsa Lanchester

She’s wilder than a fifth ace.

“Women should be obscene and not heard.” – Groucho Marx

She’s as welcome as a skunk at a lawn party.

“If a woman likes another woman, she’s cordial; if she doesn’t like her, she’s very cordial.” – Irvin Cobb

She’s been storked.

Meaning: Storked = Pregnant. “To me life is tough enough without having someone kick you from the inside.” – Rita Rudner

She’s dancing in the hog trough.

“It takes a woman twenty years to make a man of her son, and another woman twenty minutes to make a fool of him.” – Helen Rowland

She’s sitting below the salt.

“Politics doesn’t make strange bedfellows, marriage does.” – Groucho Marx

Sorry as a two dollar watch.

Note: EBay has around 100K watches for $2.99 or less.

Straight as a string.

“Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools, that don’t have brains enough to be honest.” – Benjamin Franklin

Still wet behind your ears.

Note: “Wet behind the ears,” meaning inexperienced or naive. Behind the ears is the last part of a foal or calf to dry out after birth.

Southern Expressions & Quotes

That woman learned how to whisper in a saw mill.

“Old maids sweeten their tea with scandal.” – Josh Billings

The higher the hair, the closer to God.

“People always ask me how long it takes to do my hair. I don’t know, I’m never there.” – Dolly Parton

There might be all kinds, but I’m not sure it takes all kinds.

Meaning: I am not going to tolerate that person

They are as welcome as an outhouse breeze.

Rather than: The welcome mat said, “Oh no, not you again.”

Southern Expressions: They ate supper before they said grace.

Rather than: Sex is not the answer. Sex is the question. “Yes” is the answer.

They never could set horses.

Meaning: They could never get along.

Wasn’t nothin’ between him and the Lord but a smile.

“If I held you any tighter, I’d be on the other side of you.” – Groucho Marx

You can bet the farm on it.

”No such thing as a man willing to be honest ­ that would be like a blind man willing to see.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

You can hang your hat on it.

You can hang your hat on it.

“Dare to be honest and fear no labor.” – Robert Burns

You can take that to the bank.

“Honest conviction is my courage; the Constitution is my guide.” – Andrew Johnson

You can’t hold water.

Meaning: You can’t keep a secret.

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