Appalachian Dialect Sayings from Appalachia

Stinks to High Heaven

bucket of muddy water

That bucket of water and mud mess they left in the backyard stinks to high heaven.

—-

The other day I was reminded of the old saying stinks to high heaven when I heard it come out of my own mouth.

Over the weekend we had some kind of smell in the kitchen. One of those mysterious smells that almost makes you gag, but you can’t really pinpoint where it’s coming from. We’ve went through cabinets and looked under things all to no avail. We never did figure out what it was, but thankfully our kitchen is no longer stinking to high heaven.

Tipper

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23 Comments

  • Reply
    Colette Casper
    October 14, 2019 at 3:40 pm

    Hey Tipper, I’m new to your site, but I’m in love with it already. My grandma grew up in Pocatalico West Virginia. She always used to say “girl you sure got a good cook on that…” or “did ya get yer sleep out”. Have you heard those before? I’m sure she had a ton more just like them.

  • Reply
    Quinn
    October 5, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    Now that’s one I’ve heard all my life and still use when (unfortunately) appropriate!

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    October 5, 2019 at 12:16 pm

    Tipper,
    And Ed,
    Thank you for the link, I had never heard him before, or the Song.

    I got to go to a Funeral today, it begins at 2:00 and at Valley River Church, near Happy Top. My buddie, Carol Clark, 55 died at Gainsville Hospital from Pneumonia recently. He will be missed.
    …Ken

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    October 4, 2019 at 12:52 pm

    Tipper,
    and Jim,
    Who in the devil is Loudon Wainright? Maybe I been watchin’ too much Shrek. …Ken

  • Reply
    Paula Rhodarmer
    October 4, 2019 at 10:38 am

    That is a phrase I use often. It was common when I was growing up, but maybe not so much now. I lived in Canton for three years and when I first moved I kept smelling something awful. I assumed it was the paper mill and I would just have to live with it. Later, I discovered a rotten potato in my bin in the kitchen. I could have found it lots earlier if I had not thought it was something else. Thankfully, I have been back in the country for many years, but every now and then I can “smell to high heaven” something even here.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    October 4, 2019 at 9:52 am

    Maybe you closed the window on a stink bug!

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    October 4, 2019 at 9:48 am

    Tipper–The spelling of the word Aw Griff is looking for is carrion.I can’t believe no one, as I write this, has mentioned Loudon Wainwright’s “classic” song, “Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road.” I won’t give away the secret, but strange as it may seem there’s a spot of romance connected to that song in the life of Br’er Don. I’m sure if he reads today’s post he will explain.

    As for smell, I can’t think of anything worse than a cow carcass which has reached the point where ‘possums are dining in the stomach cavity. It will spoil any thoughts you have of dining, and anyone who eats ‘possum after seeing them in that particular setting has a far, far strong stomach than me.

    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    aw griff
    October 4, 2019 at 9:23 am

    Yes. I’ve heard and used that expression. The expression I don’t hear much any more is stunk like quarn, karn. Don’t know how to spell the way it’s pronounced. B.Ruth and Ed are good at the spellings, maybe they can come up with a better way.
    I didn’t realize until after I was grown up that it meant carrion.

    • Reply
      Ed Ammons
      October 4, 2019 at 9:49 am

      Maybe kyarn! You run k and yarn together. kyarn

      • Reply
        aw griff
        October 4, 2019 at 5:04 pm

        Thanks Ed. that looks good to me.

  • Reply
    Melissa P. (Misplaced Southerner)
    October 4, 2019 at 9:20 am

    We’ve got a mystery in our dishwasher that stinks to high heaven! Not in the line because the sink right next to it is fine. Can only figure it’s the grinder in the unit itself, but it’s enough to gag a maggot!

  • Reply
    Shirl
    October 4, 2019 at 9:13 am

    When I have one of those stinking to high heaven smells, I start looking for a dead mouse. They are usually dead in the basement/cellar and the smell comes through the ductwork, causing me to hunt for hours and never find it. I dread this time of year when the little varmints come inside to keep warm and die.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    October 4, 2019 at 8:55 am

    “Stinks to High Heaven” I’ve heard that all my life and all my life I’ve wondered “Is there a Low Heaven?” and which one is my real home.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    October 4, 2019 at 8:47 am

    I haven’t had to use that term in years. Thank Heaven. Now that I have said it I will probably have something make me a fibber. I am praying for lots of clear mountain smells. Even though it is hot Fall is in the air.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    October 4, 2019 at 7:57 am

    Had not heard the phrase ‘to high heaven’ in a long time but it was common when I was growing up. As best I recall, most anything could be ‘to high heaven’ that is, to the maximum, though it was attached to stinks probably more than anything else.

  • Reply
    PinnacleCreek
    October 4, 2019 at 7:56 am

    Yes, I even surprise myself by occasionally using an expression from my childhood. Stinking to high heaven can really be baffling, especially when you can’t locate the source. Recently a stray piece of cantaloupe was causing a really strange smell. Followed the fruit flies!
    A few years ago I was puzzled when my kitchen had an odor, and when a friend pointed it out I knew I had to get busy. I turned the kitchen upside down cleaning an already clean kitchen, and finally found the culprit. Always the overanxious to get started gardener I found a forgotten small bag of onion sets, and they were stinking to high heaven. I read a story once about an ex getting possession of the house, so wife took revenge by hiding fish scraps about the house before she departed. Bet that was a stinky divorce!

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    October 4, 2019 at 7:20 am

    I dont know what’s worse, a rotten potato or a rotten tomato. But they both stink to high heaven.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    October 4, 2019 at 6:57 am

    I remember my mother saying that and I have caught myself z time or two as well

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    October 4, 2019 at 6:39 am

    Worst ever in the kitchen is a rotten potato! When I was a child a mouse died inside our propane heater. There was no way to get it out & the stink was unbelievable!

  • Reply
    Tmc
    October 4, 2019 at 5:54 am

    Yep happen to use also one year possibly one of 2 things, vent pipe has obstruction or septic tank is getting full and needs pumped out, the later is what fixed ours, we never had this problem in all the years we lived at our 1st house but the soil was different there and the field lines did their thing, at our newer house the soil perked but barely and so the field lines are not as good as the others were. O yea, it did stink to high heaven.

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