Appalachia Appalachian Dialect

Common World Sayings in Appalachia

sayings about the world

Back in the day when The Deer Hunter and I were courting, he teased me for saying the phrase every day of the world like this: “He thinks he has to call her every day of the world and make sure she’s o.k.”

One day he said “What does that even mean?” I said “It means every day of the world what do you think it means!”

A few other world sayings:

  • Dead to the world: being deeply asleep. “I reckon I was dead to the world I didn’t hear the storm at all.” I say this one too. I sleep dead to the world every night and The Deer Hunter wishes he did.
  • What in the world/Why in the world: disbelief, surprise. “Why in the world did you erase the message David Grier left me? I wanted to keep that FOREVER!”
  • Wouldn’t take the world for: valuing something/someone. “I wouldn’t take the world and it’s riches for my Daddy.”
  • If the world ends/the world may end: why do something or why not do something when life as we know it may soon be over. “I’m tired of worrying about how Gerlene’s going to fix this mess before next week. You never know the world may end tomorrow and it wouldn’t matter no how.”
  • Worldly: used in a derogatory way. “Why children today worry too much about worldly goods instead of worrying about their neighbor in need.”
  • The World is my oyster: all the good opportunities of the world are yours for the taking. “After I got my first job with Ritter I felt like the world was my oyster.”
  • The weight of the world: being worried. “With his wife sick and then loosing his job he looked like he was a carrying the weight of the world.”
  • In your own world: “Oh he’s sitting in there in his chair reading a book. Once he starts reading he’s in his own little world. You’ll have to tell him you’re here before he notices you.”

Eventually The Deer Hunter quit teasing me for saying every day of the world and started saying it himself. What about you-do you say any of the world sayings? Do you have another one to add to the list?


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  • Reply
    Marie Cooke Beckman
    November 21, 2020 at 6:43 pm

    Love these! How about a world of trouble? “If you stay out late tonight you’re gonna be in a world of trouble when Mama finds out!”

  • Reply
    November 26, 2018 at 9:43 am

    “He’s got the world by the tail with a downhill drag!”

  • Reply
    Grandma Cate
    November 23, 2018 at 10:51 am

    All of these, plus “worldly wise.”
    Thanks for you all reminding me!
    Guess you don’t use the “oyster” one unless you live where you get them.

  • Reply
    Rob Simbeck
    November 23, 2018 at 10:27 am

    So good.

  • Reply
    Sallie Covolo
    November 6, 2016 at 6:32 am

    Loved the sayings,,,

  • Reply
    Eldonna Ashley
    November 6, 2016 at 12:14 am

    Every single one is common for me except the pie one he says was just made up. I think the ones I use most often are “Why in the word?” and “I think the world of . . .”
    Oh, I have to face it, I use them all. I is a fun post.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    November 5, 2016 at 10:16 pm

    “This WORLD is not my home,
    I’m just a passing through.
    My treasures are laid up,
    somewhere beyond the blue.
    The angels welcome me,
    through heaven’s open door.
    And I don’t feel at home,
    in this WORLD anymore.
    This song doesn’t actually exactly apply to me. I’ve never felt at home in this WORLD. There are a few, like you, that make journey bearable, but I’ve never felt at home here.

  • Reply
    Jane Bolden
    November 5, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    Heard them all. Said them all but the oyster one.

  • Reply
    Deb Kroll
    November 5, 2016 at 7:22 pm

    I use all of these all of the time!

  • Reply
    Pam Danner
    November 5, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    I have said and heard all but “everyday of the world”.

  • Reply
    Rooney Floyd
    November 5, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    Jack Hall was the resident carver at the Folk School for many years. He once said that he didn’t know just how big the “world” was, but if it was as far the other way around as it was from here (Brasstown) to Asheville then it was a pretty big place.

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, PhD
    November 5, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    Well, Tipper: I think you have heard from a WORLD OF PEOPLE! If I add my small world of experience to this discussion I will be in a world of trouble. Cheers, Eva Nell
    p.s. I had a wonderful “Fiddler” event today in Murryville, TN! Sold several copies of the book/CD. We have a BIG event in Dec. over in K-town (i.e. Knoxville) which will be fun! Wish yuns could come over!

  • Reply
    November 5, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    I agree with Jim’s comment that us Blind Pig folks just love Tipper. …Ken

  • Reply
    Peggy Lambert
    November 5, 2016 at 11:59 am

    Well, my Mom would say this when we took her shopping or some where. ” She drug me all hell and half of Georgia.”
    Peggy L.

  • Reply
    November 5, 2016 at 11:54 am

    All are used except ” every day of the world” that’s a new one on me..

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    November 5, 2016 at 11:49 am

    I’ve heard and used most of these sayin’s!
    I’ll be glad when this politickin’ is over, “my world has been turned upside-down for over a year”!
    Believe it or not the prediction of rain “brightened my world” better n’ sunshine!
    Hearin’ of Goobers illness “upset my world to no end”!
    If I had it on me, “I’d give the world for one of my Daddy’s good ole homemade cathead biscuits!”
    I guess I use world in more conversations than the world allows! ha
    Thanks Tipper,
    Enjoy the world today, girlfriend!

  • Reply
    Sherry Case
    November 5, 2016 at 10:40 am

    I’ve heard and say, “She thinks the world revolves around her!”
    Also say ‘What in the world’
    This is off the subject, but I want to tell you how much I look forward to your posts. I have my coffee with Blind Pig! That always gets my day off to a smiling start!

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    November 5, 2016 at 10:40 am

    All of the above — also, “She got worlds of stuff for her birthday.” and
    “She and I live in different worlds.”

  • Reply
    Larry Proffitt
    November 5, 2016 at 10:30 am

    Tipper, I think I might be a bit embarrassed that these usages of “world” are so common to me. Larry Proffitt

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    November 5, 2016 at 10:28 am

    Feels like the whole world is closing in on me.
    He has the weight of the world on his shoulders.
    Just standing there watching the world go by.
    If the world was a pumpkin, I still couldn’t make a pie (I just made that one up.)

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    November 5, 2016 at 9:57 am

    With a book or some music, I’m often in my own world.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    November 5, 2016 at 9:41 am

    When something goes wrong I say “welcome to my world”. My mother used to say, when someone left home “the world will look after him now.
    What in the world is that?? I use that one a lot. whose world are you living in is another one.

  • Reply
    November 5, 2016 at 9:40 am

    I’d give the world to know how the sayings got started. Young folks have added some world sayings we never used. I will rock your world and I will turn your world upside down.

  • Reply
    Will Leith
    November 5, 2016 at 8:43 am

    I haven’t heard this in some time, and I believe it was my Pappaw I remember saying this, he would say ‘ Well I been all over the world and part of Kentucky, and never seen anything like that before’ Lol… To tell you the truth, I’ve not thought about that saying, Lordy, in many year’s atleast maybe longer!!LOL…See Tipper, that’s why your Blog is so ‘GREAT’ some of us everyday read this and remember’s just some little saying,and the saying goes ‘Memories are saved, but only if you share them’, so once again, thanks for your writing’s, hope you folk’s have a great weekend, Will,

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    November 5, 2016 at 8:31 am

    Once again I can’t vouch for my saying them all but I have several. The two least used is the one about the world being one’s oyster and being in one’s own little world. I have heard the variation “wouldn’t take the world and all”. We sometimes say “around the world” to describe an un-necessarily long trip. It is moreso than “around the house and about the barn”.

  • Reply
    anita griffith
    November 5, 2016 at 8:29 am

    I never use the one with the oyster,but say I got the world by the tail.

  • Reply
    Kay Paul, Alabama
    November 5, 2016 at 8:21 am

    World of hurt — as in, “If she doesn’t learn to keep her mouth shut, she’s gonna find herself in a world of hurt”.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    November 5, 2016 at 8:20 am

    What in the world is going on here?
    Why in the world did you say that?
    Who in the world told you you could come in here?
    Where in the world did you get those breeches?
    What world did you come from?
    I could go on but this gives you an idea of my familiarity of this world!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    November 5, 2016 at 8:01 am

    I never put them all together like that. Don’t out on the teasing to stop, you would miss it.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    November 5, 2016 at 7:50 am

    Tipper–Here are a few more:
    If that youngster keeps messing around, he’s going to be in a world of hurt.
    All of us who read this blog think the world of Tipper.
    Why in the world is that man so mean?
    She’s so uppity she thinks she’s got the world by the tail.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Candy Davis
    November 5, 2016 at 5:04 am

    I say all of those except ‘every day of the world’, butI like that one too!

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