The CKFiction Dictionary: Down-Home Sayings


It’s no secret that I’m from a cornfield in southern Indiana.  What most people who are unaccustomed with the state are unaware of though, is that Indiana is basically split into two subcultures: the bottom third of the state and the northern two-thirds.  The southern part of the state fits in more with Kentucky and Tennessee in regard to lifestyle, accents, politics, and whatever else you can think of, while the northern chunk is more relatable to Michigan.  (I’m not talking about the upper-peninsula of Michigan.  That’s basically just Canada’s basement.)  With that being said, I was raised around some pretty phenomenal turns of phrases, or southern sayings, if you will.  I’d love to share some of my favorites with you, so that’s what I’m gonna do!  Readysetgo.

“Busier than a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest.” As you can imagine, if this was the case, you’d be pretty active trying to keep up with the competition. There’s nothing tricky here with this saying, it merely implies a busy-ness.

“Can’t beat that with a stick.” This is used when something is too good to top. You can’t beat it because it’s so good. Throw in the stick element to further illustrate how unbeatable the topic in reference is.

“Fair to middlin’.” If somebody asks how you’re doing, you could respond with this, meaning somewhere between okay and slightly above average.

“Like putting lipstick on a pig.” This saying refers to trying to dress up a pretty awful situation, or attempting to be optimistic when things don’t appear to be so great.

“Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.” This saying is used when you’re making plans. You’re saying that you will follow through as long as nothing bad happens to prevent you.

“No spring chicken.” This is used to imply that somebody isn’t as young as they once were, often times used in the form of a reality check.

“Not just a hat rack, my friend.” Point at your noggin when saying this, and let people know you have a brain inside your head that serves more purpose than just wearing hats.

“Now we’re cooking with gas.” Cooking with an electric range might be more efficient, but once a gas burner warms up, you’re ready to roll, and that’s exactly what this saying means.

“Polish a turd.” See putting lipstick on a pig. You’re simply trying to make the best out of a crappy situation. Get it?

“Six of one, half a dozen of another.” Ever disagree with somebody, then realize you’re saying the same thing, just using different words? That’s where this saying comes in handy. Same difference.

“Ten pounds of s*** in a five pound bag.” – somebody looks worse for wear, meaning that they appear disheveled, exhausted, or ill. Or it could be used to describe an undesirable workload or situation.

“That dog won’t hunt.” A presumptive statement that something will fail or not live up to its intended purpose. This can also be a statement of disagreement. You can flip the meaning if you use “will” instead of “won’t”.

“Up a creek without a paddle.” Saying this indicates that you’re all out of luck. You are likely in a difficult situation with no easy resolution. If it’s a truly awful scenario, you can emphasize the crappiness by specifying which creek you’re in (up s*** creek without a paddle).

“Were you raised in a barn?” This question is a simple reminder for somebody to close the door behind them, although unnecessarily confrontational depending on the delivery. This question goes hand-in-hand with comments like “you’re letting the air out,” and/or “we’re not trying to heat all of the outdoors.”

“You make a better door than a window.” This comment is a straight-forward way to let somebody know they’re in your way, and blocking your vision. You’re line of sight would be a lot better by looking through a window than a door.

What are your favorite slang words or phrases? Let me know in the comments which ones I missed and teach me some new ones!

Thank you, that is all.

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