Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Fair to Middlin'

We're an odd group here in the Ozarks. Many of our sayings come from Olde Country, for our family that is English/Irish/Scottish. We use the Queen's English and don't even know it when we are asked how we feel. "Fair to middlin" is the response, meaning not at my best. I've heard it since I was knee high to a grasshopper, said it before I knew what it meant and stored it to memory so that I can say it to my grandchildren. Along with down yonder, fixin' to and tump over, they are absorbing the lingo into their pores.  In time it will become a part of who they are, define them as the region to which they "belong." You may spend a few of your young adult years running in the opposite direction of who you are, but in time we all return! 
What are some of the funny expressions where you live?

15 comments:

  1. I totally understand the verbiage my dear.. residing in NC where 'English/Irish/Scottish' are the norm around here and it sounds like singing to me. But that's how things were communicated in the 20's - 60's .. in the mountains. And we'll come across folks while in Asheville that are elderly.. oh my what a voice and verbiage that they use. So yes, 'dat thar' book looks and sounds mighty familiar my dear.

    warm hugs,

    Cotton Peony

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    1. We lived in Wilkesboro, NC back in the early 1990's and I have to say... I could barely understand their lingo! That's saying something since we have such a twang to our speech!

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  2. The words "sale" and "sell". Here someone will say or type (in a classified), "I have this old fridge for SELL" or "I would like to SALE this broken record player".

    You've probably heard it as we're from 'round the same parts, but this drives me NUTS!

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    1. From poor spelling to incorrect pronunciation, we are guilty as charged!!!

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  3. Oh my, wish my grandmother were still around. She really had some good sayings. Hard to think of them without needing to say them but here's one I bet most people have never heard and surely won't know what it means. "Laying out with the dry cattle" when talking about staying out late.

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    1. Love it! I thought I'd heard them all, but I hadn't heard "Laying out with the dry cattle!"

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  4. When I say fair to middlin', people look at me like I'm speaking a foreign language. I always thought it meant average, I'll have to use it differently now.

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    1. I think average is really how I use it too! I DO speak a different language than most, grew up hearing all the colloquial sayings! Now that I'm older and comfortable being a hillbilly, I want my grands to hear the lingo so that they can pass it along to the next generation!

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  5. I have the same heritage as you Joy (no surprise there). I come from a long line of McCaffertys,McConnells, Gooches and Gideons.

    Here are some I remember : feelin' right pert (pronounced as peart), lawzy mercy,lawzy me,oh law!, drunker than a boiled owl, fit as a fiddle, sicker than a dog.

    My daughter used to correct me for saying far or warsh when I meant fire and wash. I finally convinced her that it was OK to talk that way.....it was who we were.

    I have finally figured out some of my Grandmother's sayings were based on old English phrases.

    Roland Netzer of Springfield has published a book on these Ozarks sayings. You can check him out on PBS TV 21 interview. http://video.optv.org/video/1393100294/

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    1. You are so right, it's who we ARE! It takes awhile to come to that conclusion, to be comfortable in our own skin. Since I'm from Missouri, I've heard all those sayings many times, Mama used to say "Lawzy me" when she was worn out. I've been "sick as a dog" and fit as a fiddle! Thanks for the link to These Ozark Sayings, will check it out!

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  6. I reckon, I'll swan, too fur and snaky, I'mafixin to, toad floater. My family was McCoy from NW Arkansas with the same heritage. I was raised in Oklahoma, and lived in Texas for 40 years. Outside my family, I haven't heard many others say "tump over." :-)

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    1. I'll swan was Mama's by word! And "tump over" is my oldest daughter's fav! Love, love these funny ways to say things!

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  7. I come from Western Pa and we would say we were reddin' up when we were cleaning. I get some strange looks when I say it. Cat fur to make kitten britches was another one.

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    1. Now those are some I haven't heard! I love it, so interesting to compare old sayings! They come from our ancestors and the things that made sense years ago I guess!

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  8. Hi my lineage is Joyce/Murphy/Peck/Hallum. My Grandpa Peck always said he was fair t middlin when asked how he was. He was born and raised in Upstate New York of Scottish decent. My dad is from Mississippi and can't understand him to save my life. I love the old language and my line on both sides date to before the Revolutionary War. I never feel more at home when I'm on the East side of the Mississippi.

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