Appalachia Appalachian Dialect Sayings from Appalachia

Cold in Appalachia

cold in Appalachia

We’ve had some down right chilly temperatures this winter in Appalachia. I know many other parts of the country have too. The other day a friend I hadn’t seen in a while asked me how I was liking this cold weather. I told her “I like it! I want it to be winter in the winter and summer in the summer.” She agreed she liked it too. The Deer Hunter loves it. He lives for cold weather. You’ll never hear him complaining about the cold, but when the weather is hot you’ll hear him complain a lot!

I know the cold can be tough on some people and I feel bad about that. Granny stays cold all the time, even while she’s sitting inside by the heater.

Along with the cold we’ve had some snow as well. I got the tiniest skiff of snow you ever saw over the weekend. It looked like kids had sprinkled flour around the edges of the house and yard after making cookies. Yesterday I woke up to a slightly bigger snow, but not much. I guess we had about an inch. I know other areas of Appalachia got a big snow.

Whenever we have an extended period of cold weather like we have over the last several weeks you start hearing people talking about how cold it is. I thought I’d share some of the cold sayings I’ve heard over the years with you. I’m sure I won’t think of them all so please leave a comment if you think of any others.

  • Cold as whiz (I still don’t really know what this means but I say it.)
  • It’s ooshie!
  • Blue Cold
  • Too cold to snow (I think this one might have been proved wrong during this cold snap.)
  • Cold as kraut
  • Too cold to write your name in the snow (This is The Deer Hunter’s favorite.)
  • Cold enough to freeze the nuts off a steel bridge
  • Cold as a Mother-n-law’s heart (Not mine! Miss Cindy’s heart is full of warmth and goodness.)
  • Colder than a witches tit
  • Colder than a witches tit in a brass bra
  • Cold as gouge (I don’t know what this one means, but it’s from Clay County NC. A blind pig reader left it in a comment one time, their Mother said it.)
  • Cold as all get out
  • Cold enough for a 3 dog night
  • Too cold to stick your tongue to a flag pole
  • Too cold to let the chickens out

Stay warm!


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  • Reply
    David Templeton
    January 18, 2018 at 4:47 pm

    I only know one standard for reference: “Colder’n a wedge”. Only someone who, as a kid, had to go out to the woodpile and split enough wood for supper and overnight and the next morning, when it was around zero, and had to split it with a hand-held wedge, only those ol’ boys know what cold is. And , in the process, you don’t spit on your hands or handle the wedge with damp fingertips or you’ll stick to the wedge just like Flick sticking his tongue to the subzeroed flagpole.

  • Reply
    January 18, 2018 at 2:36 pm

    Always heard Cold as a Well diggers rear end in Idaho. Don’t know why that state.

  • Reply
    Paula Rhodarmer
    January 18, 2018 at 1:41 pm

    Tipper, my grandparents always used to say “cold as a wedge.” For years that puzzled me. I know now it’s something you split wood with. I guess it could get cold being left outside.

    • Reply
      January 18, 2018 at 3:10 pm

      Paula-I’ve heard that one too! I think The Deer Hunter’s Uncle Sam says it and he lives in Clyde : )

  • Reply
    Susie Etheridge
    January 18, 2018 at 12:52 pm

    My Man was eating these with me, so fun and funny, asking him ones he says, this is the most favorite, ”Colder than a well -Diggers Butt ”….. but I see some others have shared that too… :), have also heard my parents say ,”Cold as all get out”

    • Reply
      Susie Etheridge
      January 18, 2018 at 1:02 pm

      Haha ha I was re-reading my first reply, and saw the haha we were ”READING” not ”EATING” …I’m still giggling, ,,,

  • Reply
    January 18, 2018 at 12:45 pm

    cold as Christmas, colder than a by-golly, colder than a well-digger’s knee, cold as Blitzen

  • Reply
    January 18, 2018 at 12:36 pm

    For the record, even here in Central Texas it’s cold!! 10 degrees low yesterday morning; 15 degrees low this morning!!!
    about “cold as kraut”: think that may have had something to do with WW1 German soldiers, some of whom could be very ruthless and cruel, ie “cold” – “cold as kraut” now applied to severely cold and dangerous weather.
    As for well diggers in Texas. did you know that it is possible to make ice in particularly hot areas by digging a deep hole, setting up a tall chimney over the hole and setting up the chimney draw effect so that the bottom of the hole is cold enough to freeze water? – – or so I’ve been told. I haven’t seen the freezing effect but did see a demonstration of a “dessert refrigerator”: 4 ft deep hole lined with moist sand ; small barrel with lid in the middle; black inverted funnel chimney over it; kept milk,eggs, and cheese, etc. good for 3 or 4 days.
    Come to think of it, I can remember several cool breezes coming up from the depths of outhouses – especially if they were freshly dug . . . .
    Gee Tipper – you most always set my brain to meandering!!

  • Reply
    Rita Munnerlyn
    January 18, 2018 at 12:20 pm

    I Like the new site. It is true about the chickens. I am in North Missouri near an area they call Blue Ridge. Many of our early settlers came from KY and the TN mountain area. My grandparents were married in the Blue Ridge Baptist Church in Missouri. lol. We have some beautiful hills in North MO, must of reminded them of home.
    It has been -10 and -14 here with the wind chill, so 10 degrees is feeling like a heat wave. It is true, the chicken have not wanted to leave the coop. I had to bring one poor little thing in and clean the frozen poo from her behind. I told my husband the other night it was a two pant winter because I’ve wore two pairs of pants for most of it.
    Have you thought about adding a board for folks to post conversation, tips, post pictures and such. But that might be a lot of work. Just thinking out loud.
    Thanks for always brightening my day and sharing your life with us. Bless You.

    • Reply
      January 18, 2018 at 3:12 pm

      Rita-I’m glad you like the new site!! Still a work in progress, but coming along. I think the idea for a Blind Pig and The Acorn board is a great idea-I’ll add it to my list : )

  • Reply
    January 18, 2018 at 12:20 pm

    During the Golden Girls commercial, me and Whisky went outside and it was 1 degrees at 12:00 mid-night. I guess it was -2 or -3 this morning, but I was under the covers. I Love this Cold Weather! …Ken

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    January 18, 2018 at 10:46 am

    I heard a guy say the other day that it was so cold the chickens were lined up outside the KFC waiting to get in!

  • Reply
    Melissa P (Misplaced Southerner)
    January 18, 2018 at 9:56 am

    Funny-but-true story. In thoroughbred horse racing, the Jockey Club has a group of people who look at proposed horses’ names to weed out any that might be considered “obscene” or even “questionable.” That said, I have no idea how so many horses related to ones we had managed to have so many names that wouldn’t conform to those standards, including Coldasawitchs and Coldasawelldiggers.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    January 18, 2018 at 9:48 am

    It’s been so cold here the politicians have their hands in their own pockets!

    • Reply
      January 26, 2018 at 11:47 am

      It was so cold here last night that a five pound sack of flour froze and busted.

  • Reply
    Sherry Whitaker
    January 18, 2018 at 9:38 am

    Burrr! Cold in Florida this morning too! I love Miss Cindy’s loving expression about those beautiful Smoky Mountains! You folks are blessed indeed.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    January 18, 2018 at 9:34 am

    We got about 3 inches at our house in Brevard, NC yesterday. It is cold here and the snow is dry. Yesterday, I shoveled our driveway clear, mainly because of warnings of possible black ice conditions today. This morning, the winds had blown the snow around and we had about 1/2 inch on our deck. I swept it off like I was sweeping sand. None of it had melted to the wood. The temperature this morning was 15.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    January 18, 2018 at 9:31 am

    I use “Cold as a well diggers Lunch Bucket” trying to be PC but I often slip and state “It’s colder than a witches tit in a brass bra in a power dive” guess we can’t always be Politically Correct when you are raised Appalachian.

  • Reply
    January 18, 2018 at 9:18 am

    Does Granny need some wooly socks and slippers? I don’t know if it’s just different now because I’m old, but I’ve found that now, if I don’t make an effort to keep my feet WARM when I’m in the house, the rest of me always feels chilled. I even wear socks to bed now, and find I sleep better! I put on clean socks at bedtime and then I have a headstart on being up and dressed in the morning 😉

  • Reply
    January 18, 2018 at 8:58 am

    I love the snow but hate the record breaking cold. Seems like its been below freezing since Christmas and I’ve set some records of my own. While the kids spends hours sledding out back in 10 degree temperature, I stay put in front of the woodburning stove and didn’t leave the house for five straight days! It’s colder than a well diggers hiney and I’m sick of it!

  • Reply
    Susan Landis
    January 18, 2018 at 8:56 am

    My mother always said, “colder’n a well digger’s butt in Texas.” I have no idea why it was Texas.

  • Reply
    a.w. griff
    January 18, 2018 at 8:33 am

    My wife has always said cold as a blue whizzy.

  • Reply
    January 18, 2018 at 8:15 am

    That “cold as all get out” covered just about anything growing up in our household. You could be mean as all get out, stubborn as all get out, ugly as all get out, or it sure could be cold as all get out. It always seemed that it meant something negative to the umpth degree. I just loved your post this morning!
    Occasionally I hear somebody say something that is so Appalachian I will think about you and your readers, Tipper. Recently a friend said she “fell out” with another friend. This also is used in so many ways such as she fell out of favor, she fell out (passed out), or she simply had a misunderstanding with somebody.
    I am out of town in a city that is always warmer than home, and wouldn’t you know I must have brought the bad weather with me. If these city folks get wind of it they will run me out of town on a rail. School is out due to bad weather, and I have been teaching my grandson how to cook. He says I am teaching him life skills which, of course, is more macho. It makes me sad that he is a different generation, and knows nothing about the ways and sayings of Appalachia. Well, at least he loves the Appalachian diet. I must get off as we are having fried potatoes for breakfast, and as far as I know nobody has taught this child to peel anything….should be interesting. No instant stuff around this grandmother!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    January 18, 2018 at 8:12 am

    Well diggers must live a cold life with their butts almost always cold! Yep this is some cold weather were having. To tell the truth I don’t like it too cold or too hot, I like it to be just right! I do, however, love these Smoky Mountains and will take what ever weather they dish out! We are very fortunate to live in the loving arms of these mountains….and we don’t get bored we get to experience four distinct seasons every year.

    • Reply
      Susie Etheridge
      January 18, 2018 at 12:59 pm

      I live about a 6 hour drive, give or take a bit…. from those Beautiful Mountains, but drive it we do…many times , I was 10 years old when I first saw Gatlinburg, never forgot , ….to live there would be something special for sure,,,,

    • Reply
      January 19, 2018 at 11:45 am

      My sweet Georgia born and bred daughter (still lives here) loves your Smoky Mountains so so much and I am going to share your “fortunate enough to live in the loving arms…” she will love that and so do I. Such a beautiful part of this wonderful world we live in!

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    January 18, 2018 at 8:07 am

    It is so cold the KeKe birds are out.
    Meaning Ke Ke kripes it is cold.

  • Reply
    Jane Bolden
    January 18, 2018 at 7:53 am

    I remember hearing it’s too cold to snow. Thinking it’s not true.

  • Reply
    Ed Karshner
    January 18, 2018 at 7:37 am

    Blue cold is my go to and it has been. We’ve had quite a bit of snow, too. It certainly has been a winter”s winter so far.

  • Reply
    January 18, 2018 at 7:31 am

    I love cold weather, too. I guess its a person’s physical make-up — some people love hot, hot weather, but it makes me miserable. But I don’t care how cold it gets. I’ve heard “cold as kraut” all my life and say it too, as well as “cold as all get out.” I’ve also said “cold as a witch” – because as a child I wasn’t allowed to say the rest of it!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    January 18, 2018 at 7:28 am

    In our family the guys said “Cold as a well digger’s setter.” I never did know why a well digger’s behind was supposed to be so cold. We also said, “Cold as gee whiz.” (It is probably common that local expressions have a kid-friendly version and more ‘rough-neck” versions.)

    I think I posted about this before but working in the woods I think of really cold (20’s and below) as when the rhododendron leaves curl up and hang down like beagle ears. And the leaf litter has a crunchy frozen crust.

    I’m like you. I want temperatures to be seasonal; winter in winter and done. Howsomever, my Upper Piedmont-Appalachian foothills location doesn’t really lend itself to that. 16 F here at daylight.

  • Reply
    January 18, 2018 at 6:57 am

    Cold as a well digger’s belt buckle. Cold as blue blazes – almost nonsensical – gas burns blue on your stove, doesn’t it?

  • Reply
    Patricia Page
    January 18, 2018 at 6:13 am

    My dad always used to say colder than a well diggers belt buckle. I think he may have cleaned it up a bit for his “little girl” though.

  • Reply
    January 18, 2018 at 6:08 am

    One that was always used around these parts is ” Cold as a Well Diggers Butt” . 9 deg this morning brrr. O yea I’ve been getting the e-mail notifications just forgot to tell ya.

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