Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Hissy Fits & Grits

Posted September 6, 2007
Updated September 7, 2007

What are you favorite Southern expressions?

Growing up in Burke County I heard my share. An example from a sultry day: “It’s hot enough to make the devil sweat.”  You might address your sweetheart by saying “Hi Sug.”   And if you stubbed your toe your mother or "Mama" would say "Bless your heart!"

Former WRAL personality Susan Dahlin has tapped into the rich reservoir of Southern expressions to launch a business. It's called "SweeTea." Susan and business partner Karen Hall have splashed colorful sayings on t-shirts and other apparrel.

Here are some of Susan's favorites : "Well, butter my buns and call me a biscuit", "Hissy Fit" and "I swannee."  Susan says her company has more than 50 expressions and add more monthly. "Just this week we shipped out over 3000 shirts to our vendors."

It's interesting. Both Susan and Karen are Yankees by birth. But they know a good thing when they hear it. Susan says they rely on their "Southern speaking hubbies for sayings and we receive suggestions daily from customers. We sell to just about every main street general store you can find. Customers love them - buying 3 or 4 at a time."

You can check out their website at

Any suggestions for Susan and her new company?   I reckon she'd love to hear from y'all directly.


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  • whoami Sep 8, 2007

    When I was little, I remember seeing these 2 dogs trying to get "in the act". I must've said something about the male dog's wee wee or something....and I remember her saying "that's just his lipstick showing". Maybe she was just a freak, and that ain't southern at all.

  • NCfriend Sep 7, 2007

    I might could...

    I don't care to do it (means you don't mind doing it)

  • morgs Sep 7, 2007

    I use-ta-could

  • dryhumper Sep 7, 2007

    "Take that finger out of there."

    Most of you have heard this expression in the past. My inbred uncle used to say this to his wife. This saying dates back many years and can be used all over the board.

  • Wheelman Sep 7, 2007

    Busier than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rockers!
    *** in one hand and wish in the other. See which fills up first.
    Ain't worth a hill of beans!
    Grinnin' like a mule eatin' briars through a barbed wire fence!
    You'uns come go with us!
    Need to see a man about a dog. (means I need a bathroom or a bush to get behind)
    Ain't seen you in a month of Sundays. Slick as **** on a door knob! Smells goog enough to eat! Playin' possum!

  • jakiret99 Sep 7, 2007

    When I was little, I was "knee high to a grass hopper".
    When someone pointed to something, it was "right chonder".
    On the farm, we "went to bed with the chickens" so we could
    "get up with the chickens" (sundown to sunup).
    A quick mopping of the floor was "a lick and a promise".

  • Question Sep 7, 2007

    May have missed it, but a saying in Bladen county when I was growing up was "What in the tarnation?". Had nothing to do with the Tarheels--just a substitute for something a little less proper.

  • bleslie Sep 7, 2007

    Remember Texas native Dan Rather and his election night expressions on CBS:

    "His lead is as thin as turnip soup."
    "This race is hotter than the Devil's anvil."
    "He’s sweeping through the South like a big wheel through a cotton field."
    "We used to say if a frog had side pockets, he'd carry a handgun."
    "In southern states they beat him like a rented mule."
    "If you try to read the tea leaves before the cup is done you can get yourself burned."
    The election is "closer than Lassie and Timmy"

  • Topsail Girl Sep 7, 2007

    Thanks Nancy for the explanation. Wow I can't believe how many posts we have!! How about:

    Busier than a three legged cat in a doo doo box

    - anyone ever heard that before - my 8 year old niece came up with that one. She lives on the coast and apparently heard that from someone local to the area. LOL

  • Josey Wales Sep 7, 2007

    As stubborn as Claude Harris`s mule !




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Bill Leslie