Sayings from Appalachia

Appalachian Sayings – Finer than Snuff and not Near as Dusty

Appalachian sayings finer than snuff and not near as dusty


How you doing?

I’m finer than snuff and not near as dusty!


This old saying simply means the speaker is feeling good. I still hear this saying on occasion but not near as often as I used to. How about you have you ever heard it?



You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    Victoria shearer
    December 7, 2020 at 11:11 am

    My grandma (moms side from TN) tells me she loves me gooder than tadders and better than snuff.
    My grandpa (dads side from KY) used phrases like finer than frog hair

  • Reply
    Ricky Stonecypher
    November 16, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    Used to hear alot growing up from the old timers. I was lucky to have great grandfather, grandfather, several great uncle’s. Great Grandmother in Kentucky. This brought many old memories back . Love your site Tipper.

    • Reply
      Greg Lauderdale
      April 12, 2019 at 4:51 am

      We still use it occasionally in memorial of our pawpaw Tim. He’d say when we were kids and it stuck. Love it

  • Reply
    Susie Swanson
    September 13, 2016 at 8:34 pm

    Heard it all my life and still say it.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    August 23, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    My grandmother on my Fathers side dipped snuff…Yep, kept her little white and brown-stained “hankerchere”
    right there in her lap or apron pocket, with the can and beech stick..ewwwwww! Spit jar on the floor beside the rocker or “cheer”! ha ha She never used snuff in glasses until her later years…her snuff was in those little tin cans. By the way, hard to find with the labels on them nowadays. I collected snuff glasses for a while. I loved the little ads in the bottom of the glasses, clovers horseshoes etc.
    We always said when asked how we were and I still do…
    “Finer than frog hair, and gooder’n snuff, how’s that! Most just stop in mid-sentence and laugh!
    Good post tipper,
    Yep, Jim’s comment did open some rabbit holes…

    • Reply
      Thomas Adkins
      April 9, 2019 at 2:24 am

      A lot of the older women on my Moms side of the family dipped snuff. (in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, etc). Brewton Snuff is a name I remember. Unlike “dip” today, it was powder, not flaked. My Grandmother didn’t dip snuff , but it seems she was in the minority at the time.
      After my grandmother died in a car accident, my grandfather married her sister. “Ain’t Willie” dipped snuff with the best of them. She was never more than about 10 feet away from a spit can, or the edge of the porch. LOL.
      The phrase “Gooderd’n (Gooder than) snuff” is a large part of my childhood.
      Phrases like “I love you gooderd’n snuff” , or my grandfather saying “these biscuits are gooderd’n snuff”. The “D” was muted, but it was there, like saying “gooder dan…”.

  • Reply
    Pamela Danner
    August 21, 2015 at 8:55 pm

    I’ve heard my Mom (she was from Virginia) tell of family members saying “finer than snuff.

  • Reply
    Sam Ensley
    August 19, 2015 at 10:43 pm

    I’ve heard that snuff dipping became so popular in the south because mill workers’ teeth was in such poor condition, and the snuff was a pain killer. When I was a youngster, most of the older people in our community dipped snuff.

  • Reply
    August 19, 2015 at 8:27 pm

    Haven’t heard that one. I am tucking it away for when I find the proper circumstance to use it.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    August 19, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    Tipper–Bill B.’s comment about sneezing and messing up his Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes reminded me of the fact that in other countries it was once common to sniff snuff. Ladies’ snuff boxes are highly collectible items and on one of the occasions I had a bed-sitter (a room in an apartment with cooking privileges) in London while researching the man of the house sniffed. He carried a little box and would get a small bit between his thumb and index finger and inhale in first one nostril then the other. In other words, he took a pinch of snuff.
    See what a bunch of rabbit holes you’ve sent me and other readers down!
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    August 19, 2015 at 7:37 pm

    My Dad and his Mom both dipped One Sunday on our way home from church Dad got his regular dip and I begged for one too, well, he obliged and I tried to fill my lip but instead I inhaled sucking it up my nose, I sneezed and snorted blowing snuff all over my “Sunday go to meeting clothes”. I don’t remember if Mom ever got my shirt white again but I never dipped again. My Grandmother told me she started dipping at eight and she dipped until she went into a coma at 102 not long before she passed away. We still have several of their old snuff glasses. One of my favorite sayings is “That man is so level headed his snuff runs out both sides of his mouth” Another is “You can tell a man is married when there’s snuff down both sides of his truck.”

  • Reply
    George Pettie
    August 19, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    Wow, Tipper, your post sure brought out a ton of great comments!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    August 19, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    I’ve never seen a man actually dip snuff but I have seen men borry some to freshen up their cud after they had sucked all the good out it and didn’t have any more.
    For those who are not ‘baccer experts, a cud is the same thing as a chaw.
    When I was a kid I used to put cocoa powder in my lip to imitate snuff. I even went so far as to let a little dribble down my chin to make it look more authentic.
    “That youngin ain’t big enough to be dippin snuff.” “He’s outa diapers and he’s walking. How big does he need to be?”

  • Reply
    C. Ronald Perry, Sr.
    August 19, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    Both of my grandmothers dipped snuff. Their favorite way of using it was to take a stick or twig from black gum tree, chew the end up about 1/2 of an inch and use that for dipping the snuff. They would rub the stick around their gums. Sometimes they would put a small amount of the snuff in the lid of the snuff can and pull their bottom lip out and dump the snuff directly in between the lip and the gums. The gums and the inside of the mouth are very sensitive and the nicotine is absorbed directly into the blood stream. Much the same way cocaine hand herion users do for a quick fix without having to melt their drugs and inject them into the blood stream. That is not from personal experience but many years as a law enforcement officer gave me a great deal of experience into drug useage and methods.

  • Reply
    August 19, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    Donna Lynn of WKRK sure likes
    Chitter and Chatter alot, because
    I heard “He is Real” again today
    by The Pressley Girls at 1:30.
    They’re Harmony is so nice…Ken

  • Reply
    August 19, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    A few years ago I stopped in at my
    oldest brother’s house in Kernersville. I had been at Raleigh for about a week with my oldest girl.
    My brother’s name was Bud, and when I asked how he was, he answered “I’m Still above Ground.” I’m glad I ate supper with him because that was the last time I saw him alive…Ken

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    August 19, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    I still hear the phrase often. And the frog hair one too. The saying from my youth that sticks in my head is, “How you doing?” ”
    “Oh, bout the same I’d reckon. “How bout you?”
    “I guess I’ll have to do.”
    Sometimes it went the other way,
    “How you doing?”
    “I reckon I’ll do. How bout you?”
    “Oh, bout the same I guess.”

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    August 19, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    Tipper–I probably should have added two other expressions describing one’s status when asked: “How are you?”
    Both my grandfather and one of my uncles would often reply: “I’m so as to be about” (meaning they were up and moving around).
    Another one is “I’m able to sit up to the table and take nourishment.”
    A third, and I like it a lot, is:
    “I’m on the right side of dirt.”
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    August 19, 2015 at 11:52 am

    Some of the old ladies would spread it around their teeth with a twig brush. I don’t remember a single snuff-dipping man. Does anyone? I wonder why.

  • Reply
    Darlene Debty Kimsey
    August 19, 2015 at 11:44 am

    Just heard the Finer than snuff part. My Granny dipped snuff up until about 5 years before she passed away.
    I have most of her snuff glasses and think of her each time I see them.

  • Reply
    Crystal Richmond
    August 19, 2015 at 11:08 am

    Been so many years since I heard that but thank you for bringing back that memory! My Pepaw and My Father in Law both used this saying. But both have been gone for many years. I hadn’t even thought about it in many years. I truly enjoy your page everyday. Crys in Ark.

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, PhD
    August 19, 2015 at 10:52 am

    Never heard the expression. Maybe it was because that snuff business was forbidden at our house! But being LEVEL HEADED was a mighty important quality in a fellow’s ‘make up’ back in the Cove.
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    August 19, 2015 at 10:50 am

    Never heard that one. I tell folks “If I was any better, y’all’d have to come over to the house and help me be happy!”

  • Reply
    Paula Rhodarmer
    August 19, 2015 at 10:47 am

    Tipper, I have heard said it but not used it myself. It does remind me, though, of my grandmothers snuff habit. She really loved and enjoyed her snuff. The only glasses she had in her cabinet to drink from were empty snuff glasses. The grandchildren could not stand to see or smell the stuff, but my goodness – what enjoyment she got from it. And she got to enjoy it for a long time as she lived to be just three months short of a hundred years old.

  • Reply
    Patty Howe
    August 19, 2015 at 10:14 am

    I haven’t heard this one before. The one I grew up with was “How you doing? Finer than frog hair”

  • Reply
    August 19, 2015 at 9:36 am

    I have heard that expression. You are also feeling pretty good if you are “higher than a Georgia pine”.

  • Reply
    Teresa Atkinson
    August 19, 2015 at 9:25 am

    we say “finer than frog’s hair” down this way.

  • Reply
    Brian Blake
    August 19, 2015 at 9:22 am

    Classic, and thanks to The Blind Pig! We’ve entered this colorful phrase in “Under Brilliant Stars” to describe our family in Texas in 1867, before they moved back east to Arkansas to escape Indian attacks.

  • Reply
    Evelyn Richardson
    August 19, 2015 at 9:15 am

    I have never heard that one, but one of my cousins says “a lot better than I deserve to be” when asked how he is doing.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    August 19, 2015 at 9:04 am

    Haven’t heard that version ! The one I recall is that my Dad would say, “Finer than frog’s hair.”
    I had not seen snuff tins like your picture in years and years. My Grandmother dipped snuff when I was a boy but quit somewhere along the way. She had Brunton – or maybe Bruton – snuff I think it was.
    Strange to think now of some of the things that were once quite ordinary that now would be considered ‘outlandish’. And for that matter things that are ordinary now that would have been outlandish then…..

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    August 19, 2015 at 8:46 am

    I love that old saying and I love to say it too when I’m around people who understand it. I have used it around people who didn’t and got some odd looks. Have you ever drank from a snuff glass? I don’t think I know any snuff dippers anymore. Growing up it was common to see a granny or grandpa with a dip of snuff. I actually tried it when I was a kid and about choked to death!
    Another saying I’m familiar with when asked how you’re doing is, if I was any better there would be two of me!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    August 19, 2015 at 7:52 am

    Brings back memories, but only the first part, ‘Finer than Snuff’

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    August 19, 2015 at 7:45 am

    Tipper–I have heard it and used it a lot, although in slightly different fashion: “Finer than snuff and not half as dusty.” Also, “finer than frog hair.”
    Speaking of snuff and mountain customs, did you know that snuff is a fine medium for saving seed? Grandpa and Daddy used it to keep bugs out of the seeds of vegetables they carried over from one year to the next.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    carol stuart
    August 19, 2015 at 7:38 am

    I have never heard this saying, but I have heard “Fine as frog hair”!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    August 19, 2015 at 7:33 am

    Yep, heard it! That’s a really old timey way of saying ” I’m very well, thanks”.

  • Reply
    August 19, 2015 at 7:30 am

    I have always heard “I’m finer than snuff” but not the “not the as dusty” part.

  • Reply
    August 19, 2015 at 6:15 am

    Yep I’ve heard it and best stuff to tell if a Man or Women is level headed.. according to Mike Snider..

  • Reply
    August 19, 2015 at 5:44 am

    My mom says that alot…. have heard it all my life!

  • Leave a Reply