Appalachia Appalachian Dialect Sayings from Appalachia

Chitter got up Backwards

I got up backwards this morning

The other day Chitter got up backwards. She woke up in a bad mood and then she had one of those days that we all have every now and again. You know the days where you spill your water before you even take the first sip; burn your oatmeal while you’re cleaning up spilled water; let the dog out only to have to climb down the steep briar covered bank in the back of the house to rescue her; finally get ready to head to the basement to get some work done and painfully scrape your right hand while simultaneously burning your left one on your first attempt at work.

I told her she should have gone back to bed and tried to get up again.


get up backwards verb phrase To be out of sorts, ill-tempered, having “gotten out of bed the wrong way.” Cf backside, outwards.
1941 Hall Coll. Hot Springs NC Me and Blondie got up backwards this morning. (Herman Smith)

Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English




You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    January 17, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    About a week ago, I musta got up wrong, cause soon as I got coffee made at the shop, I had to put some more wood in my heater. I knew it would Smoke some so I only opened one door: Big Mistake! I’m right handed and I burned the back of my left hand. If it hadn’t been Cold, it would have hurt more, but I remembered what my Daddy use to say, “It’ll feel better when it quits hurtin!”

    Hope Chitter is over that Spell of gettin’ up on the wrong side of the bed. …Ken

  • Reply
    January 17, 2018 at 12:50 pm

    It was ” You got up on the wrong side of the bed.” at our house. Attitude was something not accepted. “Put a smile on it.” However, there are those days when everything seems to go the wrong way. “Grin and bear it.”, seems to the be the best we can do. Just wait it out.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    January 17, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    Things are a little flaky here today. About 5″ of flakes on the ground and some still coming down. I hope you got your share. If not let me know and I’ll start ordering from somebody else. Seems our suppliers are a little sketchy anymore.

    Fluffy wisps they’re swirling ‘round,
    Hoping not to touch the ground.
    And rise again and again they fall.
    Will they ever land at all?
    Like feathers fly
    upon the wind.
    Toward the sky
    and down again.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    January 17, 2018 at 11:18 am

    Poor child! We said the wrong side of the bed, too but I like backwards–not your fault when things just keep going wrong. First thing I thought of was recently dropping a raw egg in the floor!

    I made your honey nut bread recipe yesterday. Very good and I plan to toast some today.

    We got more snow last night–I’m getting cabin fever. I’m out of new books to read and that’s a calamity for sure.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    January 17, 2018 at 11:12 am

    Chitter is the left-handed one, right? Us lefties have to adapt to a world made for right handed people. When we get up right it all seems wrong. So Chitter didn’t get up backwards, she just couldn’t adjust to seeing the world as most people see it.
    Everyone gets the disorder occasionally. It usually lasts only one day. Some people are that way all the time. In medical terminology it’s called being bassakerds.

  • Reply
    a.w. griff
    January 17, 2018 at 10:08 am

    I never heard backwards. We always said got up on wrong side of bed.

    I like that one about the witches rode us all night.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    January 17, 2018 at 9:57 am

    Like other folks, I heard it as getting up on the wrong side of the bed. I have also heard starting out bad and getting worse. Or starting out wrong and going downhill all day. And while it is at it, some wag is liable to say it builds character. Makes one want to say, I’ve got plenty of character now thanks. I worked with a fella once who, when things got tough, would say, “My Mamma told me there would be days like this. But she never said they would come in rows like corn.”

    Hopefully there is no row in the offing. Great picture today. The rhododendrons (?) make a nice backdrop. And Chitter has a look that says she is more than equal to a backwards day.

  • Reply
    Stephen T.
    January 17, 2018 at 9:30 am

    As with S. Paul, in my family, to wake up in a bad mood or have the events in your day go wrong was to “get up on the wrong side of the bed”. A little maturity should help in this matter when we realize that while what we do should be taken seriously, we should not take ourselves too seriously. I’ll bet Chitter has already learned this lesson because she looks no worse for wear. Good parenting?

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    January 17, 2018 at 9:29 am

    Mother always told us to go back to bed and try getting up on the right side. Don’t think I ever did it.

  • Reply
    January 17, 2018 at 9:27 am

    It does seem like if your day starts off wrong it will continue that way until bedtime. We accuse a cranky person of getting up on the wrong side of the bed. Getting up on the wrong side wouldn’t have been possible when I was growing up. Our beds were almost always positioned against a wall on one side.

  • Reply
    Sherry Whitaker
    January 17, 2018 at 9:27 am

    My Daddy used to say we got up from the wrong side of the bed. A church we attended in New Orleans taught us a song to teach our kids for on the way to church after hurrying everyone in the car in order to get to church on time… “Turn it over to Jesus, Turn it over to Jeaus, Turn it over to Jesus and you’ll smile the rest of the day!” By the time we got there we were on the right side of the bed.

  • Reply
    January 17, 2018 at 9:26 am

    I know it well! But I have never before heard “I got up backwards.” It has always been “I got up on the wrong side of the bed.” And it was interesting and puzzling to me that this could happen even when one side of the bed is against the wall!

  • Reply
    January 17, 2018 at 9:13 am

    My great-grandmother used the phrase “got up backwards” and somewhere I’ve heard the phrase “got up on the backside of things” but don’t recall hearing or using “outwards”. All seem akin to “getting up on the wrong side of the bed” which I have used many a time! Other similar meaning phrases: “You have the contraries” and “You must have put your orneries on this morning” thought those emphasize the foul mood while the earlier phrases generally refer more to a day where things just go wrong and lead to a bad tempered day!

  • Reply
    Sheila Bergeron
    January 17, 2018 at 9:09 am

    As I’m getting older, I get up on the wrong side of the bed more . My mother in law used to say,” Well, who p*seed on your nettle ?”

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    January 17, 2018 at 8:37 am

    Get up on the wrong side of the bed is what I’m accustomed to. I have had days that I wish I could start over. It seems once your day starts that way it sets in motion a chain of events that can ruin your day. Thankfully those days don’t last and we can usually look back at them and laugh.

  • Reply
    Sanford McKinney Jr
    January 17, 2018 at 8:18 am

    “Getting up on the wrong side of the bed” was the first thing that came to my mind, but I realized that getting up backwards and wrong side are two different meanings. A person who gets up backwards might not be cranky or grouchy at all, but things just go wrong? When we used wrong side of bed, it always meant grouchy or “out of sorts”.
    I do not remember hearing getting out backwards. Thank you.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    January 17, 2018 at 8:02 am

    I’ve gotten up backwards before and it seems to always last all or at least most of the day! Have you ever wondered what causes a backwards day? I have but I’ve never gotten an answer.
    It’s a wonderful expression that perfectly describes the condition. I’heard this one all my life.

  • Reply
    Peggy Shifflett
    January 17, 2018 at 7:33 am

    In the Alleghenies, we always said “witches rode us all night” to explain a grouchy day.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    January 17, 2018 at 7:03 am

    Or as those in my family say, “got up on the wrong side of the bed” Many a morning like that

  • Reply
    Perri Morrison Smith
    January 17, 2018 at 6:53 am

    I always heard “got up on the wrong side of the bed” when someone woke up cranky. We’ve got about 3″ of snow here in Marshall. I’ve had enough now!

  • Reply
    January 17, 2018 at 5:47 am

    I always heard it called getting up on the wrong side of the bed. This usually mostly was getting up in a bad mood. We particularly referred to doctors who came into the facility in an early morning bad mood. It sure is tough when a day starts off wrong and gradually gets worse as the day goes on. We have mentioned we needed to go home and go back to bed when this happens. Chitter looks too pretty to have a backwards day!.

  • Reply
    January 17, 2018 at 5:42 am

    That reminds me of what my Wife’s Grandfather said about one of his Daughter’s, she internally has everything backwards, like her heart is on the other side of where your heart is and so on, and she has been battling auto-immune for years, he said as a child she was cut out right but sewed up wrong. And O yea, seems the older I get the more I get up backwards.

  • Leave a Reply