Sayings from Appalachia

Sayings from Suzann

lady petting a stuffed boar

Here’s the most recent sayings my friend Suzann and her mother sent me:

  • I’ll be iddly and gum! (Same as “Well, I’ll be!” or “You don’t say!”)
  • I’m not talking to hear my head roar!
  • Now feel in your britches and see what you’ve done (Said to someone who is arrogant about being right but proven wrong)

Suzann said she often said the second one to her students when they weren’t listening in class 🙂

I’m going to try and start saying “I’ll be iddly and gum!” I’m sure that will get me some looks 🙂

The last one is my favorite. So very descriptive and some how offers righteous justice at the same time.


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  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    January 6, 2021 at 1:03 am

    Tipper, Well now…heard “Diddly-squat” all my life…Some one talks big about it but when time comes to prove it…”He don’t know “diddly-squat”…about it…or not one iota about his big boast…
    My friend used to talk just to head her roar …or lips move…LOL Heard this one forever as well…I think she talked so much to keep anyone else from talkin’ so she didn’t have to listen…rather listen to herownself talk…LOL
    One of my “sayin’s” is thru the years and never heard anyone else say it….except myself…Guess I got it from church when someone mentioned the heathen…I oft called someone that was off-course, or silly or maybe just to tease them…”You are a “hairy-legged heathen”!….I get more of people sayin’ “What did you just call him?” I repeat…he is a “hairy-legged heathen” much worse than just a heathen…LOL
    Thanks for posting…sayin’s…got more but would need a book page! LOL

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    January 15, 2020 at 10:01 am

    I’ve never heard the first one but often heard a variant of the second “I’m not talking just to hear my head roar. We used to have a neighbor who was a cattle trader whose bye line was I doggies,no matter what you priced an animal to him he’d shake his head and say “I Doggies that’s to high” If you stuck to your price he’d usually pay it but would declare I Doggies, you’ve beat me again.

  • Reply
    January 14, 2020 at 11:03 pm

    How about “Now that’ll cut her rain down to a drizzle!’ Anyway, I’ve heard some of these and some not. I had an uncle who said “dad jim” a lot. E. TN.

  • Reply
    January 14, 2020 at 1:15 pm

    Never hear “iddly gum” but do use “diddly squat” (He don’t know diddly squat to refer to someone who is saying things authoritatively that are totally incorrect (similar to “talking out of hat”).
    As retired teacher (and even sometimes now to the husband, kids, and grandkids, I’ll say “I’m not talking just to hear my head rattle” if I’m being ignored or not taken seriously. On the other had, if talking about someone who is being ignored or who is saying something something irelevent we might say “she’s just talkin’ to hear the echo in her head”.
    As for the third saying, I’ve never hear that one nor can I make sense of it; but, I can see how saying that could get a body in a passle of trouble!

  • Reply
    January 14, 2020 at 12:46 pm

    I’ve heard one of them. I know we’ve heard I’d be a money’s uncle. I heard alot of the other ones. I still use them.

  • Reply
    Phil Latimer
    January 14, 2020 at 12:24 pm

    “Skin off a snake” as in “That boy could charm (or talk) the skin off a snake”.

  • Reply
    January 14, 2020 at 12:02 pm

    My Dad would occasionally say, “I’ll be a suck egg mule.” I googled this, and it said it came from the old West. He never lived out West, but he sure loved Westerns. He may have heard it there from Gabby Hayes. He was a true mountaineer, and used the sayings often he had heard growing up. Much like Tommy, we used “Dag On it” One of my favorite was, “He ain’t right.” This could indicate somebody wasn’t “all there” or later used when somebody said something “off the wall.”

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    January 14, 2020 at 11:52 am

    I have yet to find anyone who has heard my mother’s saying “It’s a pour out” when things didn’t turn out the way they were supposed to. I hope Suzann or her mother will read this and shed some light on it.

  • Reply
    January 14, 2020 at 10:54 am

    Love these sayings , here’s some we heard growing up…. ” Well I’ll be a monkey’s uncle” and my granny’s morning coffee buddy would always say ,”I Swawny”, we also said I’m not talking to hear my head rattle”….love Suzann’s last one too, never heard it though, funny and fitting :). I know I’ll probably think of some more after I post this….. oh, and we still have had no snow.. anybody got any to share ☃️. The dandelions are gonna be tickled right out of the ground if it keeps staying this warm, my daughter said yesterday she thought she heard frogs croaking… haha I wonder if.

  • Reply
    January 14, 2020 at 10:41 am

    How about dad jim or dad jimmit??? Heard that alot growing up in Waynesville, NC!

  • Reply
    January 14, 2020 at 9:20 am

    There is one particular person I would love to wind up just so I can use the last saying on her. I’ll be iddly and gum is a new one that never made it across the hill into KY. Years ago, I had an older friend who was highly religious and raised by a preacher father. She was afraid to say boo and though some of my expressions were downright sinful. She told it would sound more ladylike if I said “Well, I’ll swawny” instead of “Well, I’ll be dag gone.” Yes, I say dag gone, not dog gone.
    Dad used the second saying quiet often.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    January 14, 2020 at 9:18 am

    In the case of the first one I would have said, I’ll be dipped in whip cream or Well, who woulda thunk it!
    The second I use all the time.
    The third, I’ve never heard but use it I will.

    • Reply
      January 14, 2020 at 9:45 am

      Ed, I say “Who’d a thunk it?” all the time 🙂

  • Reply
    January 14, 2020 at 9:09 am

    My mother had a phrase “messing and gumming” to describe somebody just idly making a mess.

  • Reply
    January 14, 2020 at 8:42 am

    You got me laughing for sure. I have only heard the second one, but will use the rest! I enjoyed the laugh because sometimes now I feel like I been ironin all day on a low board.

  • Reply
    aw griff
    January 14, 2020 at 8:40 am

    I’ve never heard idly and gum but have heard I’ll be dag gum or dog gum. Knew a man many years ago that said deeg gum. The second one I hear as talking to hear my head rattle. Never heard the last one and the only thing I could think of was what my Dad would say when he was stating a fact or won a discussion. Now put that in your pipe and smoke it.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    January 14, 2020 at 8:35 am

    Hmmm Do they make them up themselves or are they commonly said in their neck of rhe woods? I think witty mountain folks just make up their own and some catch on and last and some don’t. It is a real compliment to the originator when their saying becomes an everyday part of the way we talk. I do wonder if Appalachianers are particularly prone or if that kind of invention is common everywhere. Guess it would be hard to prove but I tend to think maybe we are.

    • Reply
      January 14, 2020 at 8:40 am

      Ron-the sayings are ones they hear or that Suzann’s mother heard in days gone by 🙂 I think you’re right-Appalachians are prone to colorful language!

  • Reply
    sheryl paul
    January 14, 2020 at 7:42 am

    Yes, diddly squat is what I grew up with and still say myself.
    Have to say I am still laughing out loud over that last one.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    January 14, 2020 at 6:00 am

    I’ve heard the second one but not the other two. I think it was mostly teachers who said it to get our attention. You know how inattentive kids can get in school.
    There is also ” he don’t know diddle squat” similar to the first one.

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