Appalachian Dialect Ghosts - Haints - Spooky

Scared Sayings

Appalachian Vocabulary Test - The Spooky Edition

Yesterday’s post about being afraid made me think of all the ways we say we’re scared. Here’s a few that come to mind.

  • scared the living daylights out of me
  • scared me to death
  • scared stiff
  • scared me half to death (I guess half to death is better than death)
  • scared the beejesus out of me
  • scared witless
  • scared as a rabbit in a fox hole
  • had me quaking in my boots
  • gave me a case of the heebie jeebies
  • scared as a long tail cat in a room full of rocking chairs
  • gave me the willies
  • scared my pants off
  • made my skin crawl
  • gave me the creeps or the willies
  • scared the pee out of me

The one I use most often is scared me half to death—I guess that’s better than all the way to death 🙂 The other one I say is scared the living daylights out of me.

I’m sure I left some out, hope you’ll leave a comment and share your favorite scared sayings.

Last night’s video: Belled Buzzards in Appalachia.


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  • Reply
    Grandma Judy
    February 16, 2022 at 12:25 am

    Here’s one I have said plenty of times…
    “Scared me spitless..”.

  • Reply
    October 29, 2021 at 6:32 pm

    I cleaned up the one used most in our family…it skeered the snot outta me!

  • Reply
    Ron Bass
    October 28, 2021 at 8:57 pm

    My grandfather would never admit to being scared. Once when felling a tree it kicked back and bruised him up kinda bad. I asked him, papa, did it skeer ya? His reply was ” well, no, but it did git my attention. “

  • Reply
    October 28, 2021 at 8:45 pm

    I say scared me half to death and scared the living daylights out of me.

  • Reply
    Pastor Lon
    October 28, 2021 at 5:00 pm

    We use, Scared Me Half To Death & Scared The Living Day Lights Out Of Me a lot. But have heard of pretty much all of the ones you listed.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    October 28, 2021 at 3:07 pm

    “Well, I ain’t askeered a nothin!”
    “Me neither, but there’s a whole bunch of sumpthins that’ll put me to runnin!”

  • Reply
    Don Byers
    October 28, 2021 at 3:02 pm

    Wuz plumb skeert..

  • Reply
    October 28, 2021 at 1:14 pm

    Skeered me so bad my grandma’s aquiverin.

  • Reply
    October 28, 2021 at 1:13 pm

    We use scared half to death, I heard about all of them.

  • Reply
    Brad Byers
    October 28, 2021 at 12:01 pm

    There are some folks who are more easily scared than others of course. My Grandpa Byers used to say “He’s afraid of his shadow.”

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    October 28, 2021 at 11:28 am

    Tip, between your list and those added here it sounds like a pretty exhaustive list but you know we can make up a new expression as needed!
    I am surprised that your readers thought of so many more!

  • Reply
    October 28, 2021 at 10:32 am

    I think you covered all the ones I use, scared to death, scared out of my mind, seem to be the ones I’ve use the most if I’m scared. I read through some of the comments and there were a couple I’d not heard before, but they sure were interesting.

  • Reply
    October 28, 2021 at 9:45 am

    My wife says scared to pieces. I’ve heard one similar to scared witless as scared senseless. How about it scared me so bad I had goose bumps or it scared me so bad my hair stood on end.

  • Reply
    Angelyn Mclain
    October 28, 2021 at 9:29 am

    If I am scared or surprised , “Good gravy in the morning!” is usually what comes out! lol I have probably been saying that for 30 years.

  • Reply
    Bob Lingle
    October 28, 2021 at 9:12 am

    One I use often is “skeered da crap outta me”.

  • Reply
    donna sue
    October 28, 2021 at 9:08 am

    Scared me to death, scared half to death, scared the life out of me, scared silly, gave me the creeps, gave me the heebie jeebies, and made my skin crawl – are all ones I say. I can’t think of any different ones. When my older sister and I were teenagers, I use to love to scare the life out of her. I would hide around the corner, or behind some furniture. I would patiently, and quietly, wait for her – and then I would jump out of hiding and scare her each time. I usually said “boo!” as I did. You would think for as many times a day I did this, (I loved to annoy her), she would not scream and jump half out of her wits (ooo! There’s another scared saying I forgot I use!). But every time she would. I love my sister. Everyone thought we were twins because we were in the same grade. In her first grade, she was in the hospital with severe asthma so much that she missed over half the school year. (I do not have asthma or any allergies. Well, I do get severe headaches when I smell mint, like if someone is chewing mint gum around me. But that is my only allergy. Poor Lyn has tons). Because she missed so much school they kept her back a year. There is only a year and a half between our ages. I loved going through all of school with her. We are very close as sisters, and friends. I can relate to Corie and Katie being twins and having each other around so much. After the millionth time of being asked if we were twins, Lyn and I started just to say “yes”!

    Donna. : )

  • Reply
    October 28, 2021 at 8:58 am

    ‘Ya look like death warmed over, child. What skeered ya?’

  • Reply
    October 28, 2021 at 8:54 am

    It scared me so bad it made my hair stand on ends is my favorite saying. I also say it scared me half to death and scared me plum to death. Where I’m from we say skurd unless we want to be accused of talking ‘proper’.

  • Reply
    Kat Swanson
    October 28, 2021 at 8:45 am

    I don’t remember hearing my parents or my 4 ugly brothers ever saying anything about being scared. …guess we were either pretty brave or had gotten used to life being crazy.
    My own kids used….scared half to death . Once when we had been driving on the totally fogged in Blue Ridge Parkway, we finally found an exit and came out of the clouds. My 4year old said ….”mommy I was scared to about dead…I said the Lord’s prayer 2 and half times ” !

  • Reply
    October 28, 2021 at 8:37 am

    Scared me to death, scared the daylights outta me and scared speechless are all used often here.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    October 28, 2021 at 8:19 am

    Scared the bejeebers out of me (close to one you offer).
    Tightened my bunghole.
    Left me all a-quiver.
    Scared me so much I was looking at eternity.
    Turned my hair white overnight (there are actual examples of that happening).
    Scared me so much my hair stood on end.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    October 28, 2021 at 8:06 am

    Is “scared me so bad I got the cold chills” one? I guess “half to death” and “witless” are the two I know best. Wonder why there is not one about “scared me so bad my heart was racing a mile a minut” or ” galloping like a runaway horse”. One I do remember just now is “scared me out of a year’s growth” and a good thing about that one is it can be scaled by varying the time. If real scared it became “10 years growth”. We also use “scared the daylights out of me” as one but ramped it up by including “living”.

  • Reply
    Larry Paul Eddings
    October 28, 2021 at 7:49 am

    A counter to those is to proclaim “I’m not afeared”.

  • Reply
    Sheryl A Paul
    October 28, 2021 at 7:19 am

    Half to death is the one I say most often or scared the life right out of me

  • Reply
    Tina Huffman
    October 28, 2021 at 6:17 am

    Not scared here. Instead it was often pronounced scaret. “I was scaret plum outta my britches!”. I think the one I heard the most was “scaret the daylights outta me”. Just another one of those words with the last letter changed like you spoke about a little ways back. Have a blessed day!

  • Reply
    October 28, 2021 at 6:13 am

    Delving back into the far chambers of my mind I remember them saying, “I was as scared as could be.” Another is, “It scared me so bad I thought I was gonna die.” “I froze in my tracks.” I almost had a heart attack. Scared is a feeling unlike any other. and it will sometimes kick in faster than the brain can think. I can remember seeing a snake unexpectedly as a child, and seems I would scream before I fully realized the situation. I remember as a teen opening the door and two large men with the power company were standing there. I screamed, and one amused man looked at the other and said, “I didn’t know we looked that bad.”

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