Monday, March 13, 2006

Know your similes (Deep South edition)

Feeling like you'd like to liven up the level of discourse in your circle with down-home folksy phrases, but just not sure where to begin?
Here is a guide to 10 classics you can use with confidence once you know how.

"It was like...."
...Grant took Richmond - swift, harsh, and downright cruel. You didn't see it coming and you haven't recovered yet.

...a duck on a junebug - can be used in the same context, but with a different connotation. The duck is just a-doing what comes natural.

...white on rice - one in the same; inseparable. Used to describe 2 things that oughta be seperate, but ain't no more.
This is not a racial slur, despite how it sounds. You're thinking of "free, white, and 21." Don't use that.

...Cox's army - anything large. Used with an adjective, any multitude can be as hungry as, dirty as, tired as, strong as... Cox's army. Originally "Coxey's army," the term is usually used to define a quantity of food as being enough to feed them.
If you had to click that link, you have never identified with a Jeff Foxworthy reference, nor do you have a single picture of a relative in their coffin.

...tall dog at a short table - unbelievably good luck. Easy access to enough food to feed Cox's army.

...long walk off a short pier - unbelievably stupid luck. This is also something you can "invite" someone to do, like "play in traffic," or "pound sand."

...long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs - you really have to be 107 and have a name like Rufus to use this in its entirety (as presented here). "Like a long-tailed cat" will usually suffice. It means nervous or jumpy, of course.

...the Queen of Sheba - someone all dolled up and lording it over others, like a freshman come home from that fancy girls' college

...Miss Astor's horse - [ sometimes pet horse, sometime Mrs Van Astor] similar, but with the added sad element of thinking you look dolled up, but you ain't. Wearing a fancy millinery hat, but still a horse. Some Yankees say "lipstick on a pig."

...butter wouldn't melt - cool and unflappable. "in her mouth" is the end of that phrase, but rarely needs to be said.

Now get out there and start a-verbalizin.


  1. And don't forget "looks like he/she was rode hard and put up wet."

  2. 2 points, Suzie!
    This expression does not mean what it sounds like it means, but gets a reaction, like "shooting one's wad" (an artillery reference). "Rode hard" is like horses... which you should dry off before stabling.

  3. One of my mother's and one of my favorites: "uglier than a mud fence"


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