My favorite Southern Slang
What in the tarnation - The act of damning or the condition of being damned. Used to express anger or annoyance. WHAT! I can't believe my eyes, I have heard this all of my life and it is a cuss word. My mother was cussing. My granddad was cussing. And I just thought that it was a silly word. They may have well all been saying that H-E-double hockey sticks word.
Holy moly - Is your moly, holy?
Don’t get your tail feathers ruffled - What are we, a bunch of roosters? I have yet to find my tail feathers, but I know that I too have been guilty of saying this one.
For Pete’s sake - Another minced oath! Think of the omnipresent medieval church and think of hitting your thumb with a hammer. You can't swear, else the local priests will have you up before the Bishop and the Lord alone knows what the outcome of that will be, so you exclaim, in appropriate tone of voice, "For Saint Peter's sake" and carry on erecting the shelves. This phrase was amended to "For Pete's Sake" in later, less religiously oppressive, times.
Happy as a June bug - There are many different species of June bugs, most of which look very much alike, but their life cycles are not exactly the same. Most spend 2 or 3 years in larval and pupa stages, transform into adults in the fall, over winter underground, and emerge to fly and mate in the spring. A few species complete their life cycle in one year; some may go as long as 4. I have not been able to find out how long each adult lives once it is flying, my guess is there is considerable variation between species. J. Elliott So there you go, more than you would ever want to know about a June bug. I have no idea why we assume that they are happy.
Preachin’ to the choir - You see, here in the south, we nearly all go to church (or will at least say that we do). Now as a church of christ girl this is still a bit hard to comprehend. I can only assume that the choir needs no preachin' thus telling someone this is like saying "been there", "done that", or you don't need to explain because I get it.
I’ll be jiggered - AGAIN, more obscenity. This saying is a British informal expletive meaning surprised. Which is how I feel knowing that I have surrounded by all of these dirty mouthed southerners all of my life.
Elbow grease - This is really sort of disgusting. No, we don't really have it, but it sometimes takes it to get the job done. Here is the history lesson.....Elbow grease is an old term for working hard at manual labor or trades, as in "put some elbow grease into that". It is also used as a practical joke by master tradesperson on apprentices - e.g. "Go fetch some elbow grease from him". Each tradesperson will say someone else has the elbow grease and send the unwitting apprentice on to another master tradesperson. The snipe hunt will continue until the apprentice gives up, catches on or runs out of people/places to search.
Deader than a doornail - What exactly IS a DOORNAIL? And why is the doornail DEAD? When did it DIE? What was the CAUSE of DEATH? Should I suspect FOUL PLAY? Or was it NATURAL CAUSES? Perhaps doing an AUTOPSY on the doornail will tell us.
Bless her heart - This is a southern woman's warning that she is about to gossip. EX: "Well bless her heart; you know it is tough considering her husband runs around with his secretary."