If Wishes Were Horses

Howdy All. Joanna here, thinking about colorful phrases in general and historical colorful phrases in particular.

Wench dog

dog, not hunting or fighting

My father came from farm people in the South. I’d go visiting down there and hear expressions that just delighted me. I remember, “She’s so mean I’m surprised her spit don’t poison her,” “Things put away all cattywumpas,” “That dog won’t hunt,”  “Folks living high on the hog,” and another canine metaphor, “I have no dog in that fight.”

If I were writing a Southerner, I'd have her use these expressions. When I try to create a character who thinks in another language, I look for folk expressions in that language and and use them in literal translation, hoping this builds a sense of "foreign" into the character’s thinking.

We have some lovely French expressions:

Wench bird nest 2
— Petit à petit, l'oiseau fait son nid
 (Little by little the bird builds its nest.)

This is a very French saying from before the Eighteenth Century. I like the image of the little birdie patiently picking the exact twig and inserting it into the exact right place. The proverb doesn’t just tell us to keep working. It says to take pains as we keep working.

I could see a protagonist in 2050 muttering “Subroutine by subroutine the wizard builds his program.”

Nowadays folks — well, French folks — say La nuit porte conseil (The night brings counsel) which tells

Wench night

The Goddess Nut, no doubt bringing counsel

us to “Sleep on it." Good advice in the age of after-hitting-send regrets.

But that’s not quite the original old folk saying. In 1800 they would have said “La nuit est mère de conseil" (Night is the mother of counsel.) Somewhat more colorful, but it would sound old-fashioned and florid in a modern convo.

— Il faut tourner sept fois sa langue dans sa bouche avant de parler.(One must turn one's tongue in the mouth seven times before speaking.)  Or, “Think before you speak.”

Nch monkThis does not present a pleasant picture, does it? It's so long and awkward-sounding I cannot imagine why it’s still around, but it dates convincingly to 1835 and is still in colloquial use today.

L'habit ne fait pas le moine.  (The habit doesn’t make the monk.)

Modern equivalents would be “Clothes don’t make the man,” or “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” Interestingly, neither of those seem to have existed in the Regency.

Our habited monk is in use in modern France and also nicely old. Dates before the C18. But it may be happier on a native French tongue in Regency times than on English ones. Henry VIII having closed down the monasteries in C16, would English speakers find the habits of monks the first comparison they’d reach for?

This one is a reminder that our historical folks need proverbs suited to their worldview as well their times. Would our 1810 Earl's daughter advise the Vicar sitting next to her at dinner to “cut to the chase,” or "she'll knock him tail over teakettle"? It's not just that the catch phrases are 200 years in the future, they would have been considered inappropriately informal.

Bottle 2

Or why not the whole world?

— Avec des si on mettrait Paris en bouteille. (With an ‘if’ we would put Paris in a bottle.)

This is an old one, considered traditional even in 1803. It means, if anything is possible, then everything is possible. If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. If we accept one wild unlikelihood we can prove impossibilities. This is kinda the mother of logical fallacies.

I’m not sure what Paris is doing in a bottle, though.

 

And you?
Do you have a folk saying you love
and does it need to be more widely used? 

 

 

175 thoughts on “If Wishes Were Horses”

  1. I’ve always been fond of “sure as God made little green apples” and “the green apple quick trots,” both of which my mother picked up from her Southern boss. (He was a highly successful lawyer who found a folksy demeanor useful in court.)
    One I was about to use in my 1802 WIP was “letting the fox into the hen house,” which sounds very traditional to me, but my sources keep telling me it’s 20th century. And I can’t think of an alternative. Frustrating.

    Reply
  2. I’ve always been fond of “sure as God made little green apples” and “the green apple quick trots,” both of which my mother picked up from her Southern boss. (He was a highly successful lawyer who found a folksy demeanor useful in court.)
    One I was about to use in my 1802 WIP was “letting the fox into the hen house,” which sounds very traditional to me, but my sources keep telling me it’s 20th century. And I can’t think of an alternative. Frustrating.

    Reply
  3. I’ve always been fond of “sure as God made little green apples” and “the green apple quick trots,” both of which my mother picked up from her Southern boss. (He was a highly successful lawyer who found a folksy demeanor useful in court.)
    One I was about to use in my 1802 WIP was “letting the fox into the hen house,” which sounds very traditional to me, but my sources keep telling me it’s 20th century. And I can’t think of an alternative. Frustrating.

    Reply
  4. I’ve always been fond of “sure as God made little green apples” and “the green apple quick trots,” both of which my mother picked up from her Southern boss. (He was a highly successful lawyer who found a folksy demeanor useful in court.)
    One I was about to use in my 1802 WIP was “letting the fox into the hen house,” which sounds very traditional to me, but my sources keep telling me it’s 20th century. And I can’t think of an alternative. Frustrating.

    Reply
  5. I’ve always been fond of “sure as God made little green apples” and “the green apple quick trots,” both of which my mother picked up from her Southern boss. (He was a highly successful lawyer who found a folksy demeanor useful in court.)
    One I was about to use in my 1802 WIP was “letting the fox into the hen house,” which sounds very traditional to me, but my sources keep telling me it’s 20th century. And I can’t think of an alternative. Frustrating.

    Reply
  6. When I was a child, I had an aunt who would say that we would do something or the other “if the good Lord’s willing and the creek don’t rise.” I used that quote quite often, but nowadays I just say “if the good Lord’s willing.”

    Reply
  7. When I was a child, I had an aunt who would say that we would do something or the other “if the good Lord’s willing and the creek don’t rise.” I used that quote quite often, but nowadays I just say “if the good Lord’s willing.”

    Reply
  8. When I was a child, I had an aunt who would say that we would do something or the other “if the good Lord’s willing and the creek don’t rise.” I used that quote quite often, but nowadays I just say “if the good Lord’s willing.”

    Reply
  9. When I was a child, I had an aunt who would say that we would do something or the other “if the good Lord’s willing and the creek don’t rise.” I used that quote quite often, but nowadays I just say “if the good Lord’s willing.”

    Reply
  10. When I was a child, I had an aunt who would say that we would do something or the other “if the good Lord’s willing and the creek don’t rise.” I used that quote quite often, but nowadays I just say “if the good Lord’s willing.”

    Reply
  11. I think the one most appropriate for today, with all the name calling, is one I sometimes use. When called a name I look at the person and say “It takes one to know one”, one of my mom’s favorites that leaves most people with a blank look on their face.

    Reply
  12. I think the one most appropriate for today, with all the name calling, is one I sometimes use. When called a name I look at the person and say “It takes one to know one”, one of my mom’s favorites that leaves most people with a blank look on their face.

    Reply
  13. I think the one most appropriate for today, with all the name calling, is one I sometimes use. When called a name I look at the person and say “It takes one to know one”, one of my mom’s favorites that leaves most people with a blank look on their face.

    Reply
  14. I think the one most appropriate for today, with all the name calling, is one I sometimes use. When called a name I look at the person and say “It takes one to know one”, one of my mom’s favorites that leaves most people with a blank look on their face.

    Reply
  15. I think the one most appropriate for today, with all the name calling, is one I sometimes use. When called a name I look at the person and say “It takes one to know one”, one of my mom’s favorites that leaves most people with a blank look on their face.

    Reply
  16. We have a few colorful expressions downunder, too. One of my favorites is “S/He’s as useless as a back pocket in a singlet!” (A singlet being a sleeveless undershirt. Not sure what it’s called in the US)

    Reply
  17. We have a few colorful expressions downunder, too. One of my favorites is “S/He’s as useless as a back pocket in a singlet!” (A singlet being a sleeveless undershirt. Not sure what it’s called in the US)

    Reply
  18. We have a few colorful expressions downunder, too. One of my favorites is “S/He’s as useless as a back pocket in a singlet!” (A singlet being a sleeveless undershirt. Not sure what it’s called in the US)

    Reply
  19. We have a few colorful expressions downunder, too. One of my favorites is “S/He’s as useless as a back pocket in a singlet!” (A singlet being a sleeveless undershirt. Not sure what it’s called in the US)

    Reply
  20. We have a few colorful expressions downunder, too. One of my favorites is “S/He’s as useless as a back pocket in a singlet!” (A singlet being a sleeveless undershirt. Not sure what it’s called in the US)

    Reply
  21. Lillian, I’d use that expression anyway. It has clearly been around a long time, the meaning is obvious and it’s not going to jar and throw a reader out of the story. The thing about dictionary dates is that they record the date of the first time they know it has *gone into print* – but many expressions were used long before they ever went into print. And folksy expressions and barnyard sayings were most unlikely to have made it into print early on.

    Reply
  22. Lillian, I’d use that expression anyway. It has clearly been around a long time, the meaning is obvious and it’s not going to jar and throw a reader out of the story. The thing about dictionary dates is that they record the date of the first time they know it has *gone into print* – but many expressions were used long before they ever went into print. And folksy expressions and barnyard sayings were most unlikely to have made it into print early on.

    Reply
  23. Lillian, I’d use that expression anyway. It has clearly been around a long time, the meaning is obvious and it’s not going to jar and throw a reader out of the story. The thing about dictionary dates is that they record the date of the first time they know it has *gone into print* – but many expressions were used long before they ever went into print. And folksy expressions and barnyard sayings were most unlikely to have made it into print early on.

    Reply
  24. Lillian, I’d use that expression anyway. It has clearly been around a long time, the meaning is obvious and it’s not going to jar and throw a reader out of the story. The thing about dictionary dates is that they record the date of the first time they know it has *gone into print* – but many expressions were used long before they ever went into print. And folksy expressions and barnyard sayings were most unlikely to have made it into print early on.

    Reply
  25. Lillian, I’d use that expression anyway. It has clearly been around a long time, the meaning is obvious and it’s not going to jar and throw a reader out of the story. The thing about dictionary dates is that they record the date of the first time they know it has *gone into print* – but many expressions were used long before they ever went into print. And folksy expressions and barnyard sayings were most unlikely to have made it into print early on.

    Reply
  26. I say “in a dog’s age” to refer to a long time. For example, “I haven’t seen you in a dog’s age.”
    I’ll share an anecdote from my daughter who is teaching English in South Korea. One of her students mentioned a ‘recorder rat man’ when he was trying to describe the Pied Piper of Hamelin.
    When studying Russian in college, I was taken with the fact that water in Russian locomotes while in English it runs.

    Reply
  27. I say “in a dog’s age” to refer to a long time. For example, “I haven’t seen you in a dog’s age.”
    I’ll share an anecdote from my daughter who is teaching English in South Korea. One of her students mentioned a ‘recorder rat man’ when he was trying to describe the Pied Piper of Hamelin.
    When studying Russian in college, I was taken with the fact that water in Russian locomotes while in English it runs.

    Reply
  28. I say “in a dog’s age” to refer to a long time. For example, “I haven’t seen you in a dog’s age.”
    I’ll share an anecdote from my daughter who is teaching English in South Korea. One of her students mentioned a ‘recorder rat man’ when he was trying to describe the Pied Piper of Hamelin.
    When studying Russian in college, I was taken with the fact that water in Russian locomotes while in English it runs.

    Reply
  29. I say “in a dog’s age” to refer to a long time. For example, “I haven’t seen you in a dog’s age.”
    I’ll share an anecdote from my daughter who is teaching English in South Korea. One of her students mentioned a ‘recorder rat man’ when he was trying to describe the Pied Piper of Hamelin.
    When studying Russian in college, I was taken with the fact that water in Russian locomotes while in English it runs.

    Reply
  30. I say “in a dog’s age” to refer to a long time. For example, “I haven’t seen you in a dog’s age.”
    I’ll share an anecdote from my daughter who is teaching English in South Korea. One of her students mentioned a ‘recorder rat man’ when he was trying to describe the Pied Piper of Hamelin.
    When studying Russian in college, I was taken with the fact that water in Russian locomotes while in English it runs.

    Reply
  31. Similar to “in a dog’s age” is “in donkey’s years”. I like “letting the cat out of the bag” although it does
    (at least for me) conjure up an unpleasant image of a cat that just barely escapes drowning. But if one thinks of a wily secret escaping, it’s a lovely image.

    Reply
  32. Similar to “in a dog’s age” is “in donkey’s years”. I like “letting the cat out of the bag” although it does
    (at least for me) conjure up an unpleasant image of a cat that just barely escapes drowning. But if one thinks of a wily secret escaping, it’s a lovely image.

    Reply
  33. Similar to “in a dog’s age” is “in donkey’s years”. I like “letting the cat out of the bag” although it does
    (at least for me) conjure up an unpleasant image of a cat that just barely escapes drowning. But if one thinks of a wily secret escaping, it’s a lovely image.

    Reply
  34. Similar to “in a dog’s age” is “in donkey’s years”. I like “letting the cat out of the bag” although it does
    (at least for me) conjure up an unpleasant image of a cat that just barely escapes drowning. But if one thinks of a wily secret escaping, it’s a lovely image.

    Reply
  35. Similar to “in a dog’s age” is “in donkey’s years”. I like “letting the cat out of the bag” although it does
    (at least for me) conjure up an unpleasant image of a cat that just barely escapes drowning. But if one thinks of a wily secret escaping, it’s a lovely image.

    Reply
  36. I’ve always liked the phrase “It’s raining cats and dogs” and now that I’ve looked it up, it actually is quite old and may (or may not) have been coined by Jonathan Swift. https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/raining-cats-and-dogs.html
    In German we are much less colorful as far as weather is concerned, so it only pours buckets or rains like twine.
    My favourite French phrase is “construire the chateaux en Espagne” which has always fascinated me, because while it translates as building castles in the air, it seems far less difficult to do. So what does that say about the French? Again it seems to be quite an old phrase, so maybe building castles in Spain then was incredibly difficult.
    Ony of my favourite German sayings is probably “Was dem einen seine Eule ist dem anderen seine Nachtigall” Which basically means One man’s meat is another ones poison. Apparently the owl (Eule) is a harbringer of doom while the nightingale (Nachtigall) signifies luck and happyness. Sadly you don’t hear that saying that often anymore.

    Reply
  37. I’ve always liked the phrase “It’s raining cats and dogs” and now that I’ve looked it up, it actually is quite old and may (or may not) have been coined by Jonathan Swift. https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/raining-cats-and-dogs.html
    In German we are much less colorful as far as weather is concerned, so it only pours buckets or rains like twine.
    My favourite French phrase is “construire the chateaux en Espagne” which has always fascinated me, because while it translates as building castles in the air, it seems far less difficult to do. So what does that say about the French? Again it seems to be quite an old phrase, so maybe building castles in Spain then was incredibly difficult.
    Ony of my favourite German sayings is probably “Was dem einen seine Eule ist dem anderen seine Nachtigall” Which basically means One man’s meat is another ones poison. Apparently the owl (Eule) is a harbringer of doom while the nightingale (Nachtigall) signifies luck and happyness. Sadly you don’t hear that saying that often anymore.

    Reply
  38. I’ve always liked the phrase “It’s raining cats and dogs” and now that I’ve looked it up, it actually is quite old and may (or may not) have been coined by Jonathan Swift. https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/raining-cats-and-dogs.html
    In German we are much less colorful as far as weather is concerned, so it only pours buckets or rains like twine.
    My favourite French phrase is “construire the chateaux en Espagne” which has always fascinated me, because while it translates as building castles in the air, it seems far less difficult to do. So what does that say about the French? Again it seems to be quite an old phrase, so maybe building castles in Spain then was incredibly difficult.
    Ony of my favourite German sayings is probably “Was dem einen seine Eule ist dem anderen seine Nachtigall” Which basically means One man’s meat is another ones poison. Apparently the owl (Eule) is a harbringer of doom while the nightingale (Nachtigall) signifies luck and happyness. Sadly you don’t hear that saying that often anymore.

    Reply
  39. I’ve always liked the phrase “It’s raining cats and dogs” and now that I’ve looked it up, it actually is quite old and may (or may not) have been coined by Jonathan Swift. https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/raining-cats-and-dogs.html
    In German we are much less colorful as far as weather is concerned, so it only pours buckets or rains like twine.
    My favourite French phrase is “construire the chateaux en Espagne” which has always fascinated me, because while it translates as building castles in the air, it seems far less difficult to do. So what does that say about the French? Again it seems to be quite an old phrase, so maybe building castles in Spain then was incredibly difficult.
    Ony of my favourite German sayings is probably “Was dem einen seine Eule ist dem anderen seine Nachtigall” Which basically means One man’s meat is another ones poison. Apparently the owl (Eule) is a harbringer of doom while the nightingale (Nachtigall) signifies luck and happyness. Sadly you don’t hear that saying that often anymore.

    Reply
  40. I’ve always liked the phrase “It’s raining cats and dogs” and now that I’ve looked it up, it actually is quite old and may (or may not) have been coined by Jonathan Swift. https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/raining-cats-and-dogs.html
    In German we are much less colorful as far as weather is concerned, so it only pours buckets or rains like twine.
    My favourite French phrase is “construire the chateaux en Espagne” which has always fascinated me, because while it translates as building castles in the air, it seems far less difficult to do. So what does that say about the French? Again it seems to be quite an old phrase, so maybe building castles in Spain then was incredibly difficult.
    Ony of my favourite German sayings is probably “Was dem einen seine Eule ist dem anderen seine Nachtigall” Which basically means One man’s meat is another ones poison. Apparently the owl (Eule) is a harbringer of doom while the nightingale (Nachtigall) signifies luck and happyness. Sadly you don’t hear that saying that often anymore.

    Reply
  41. I love the colorful Southern sayings, but alas, we have no connection to the South in my family. Even so, I’ve been known to say “I don’t have a dog in that fight.”

    Reply
  42. I love the colorful Southern sayings, but alas, we have no connection to the South in my family. Even so, I’ve been known to say “I don’t have a dog in that fight.”

    Reply
  43. I love the colorful Southern sayings, but alas, we have no connection to the South in my family. Even so, I’ve been known to say “I don’t have a dog in that fight.”

    Reply
  44. I love the colorful Southern sayings, but alas, we have no connection to the South in my family. Even so, I’ve been known to say “I don’t have a dog in that fight.”

    Reply
  45. I love the colorful Southern sayings, but alas, we have no connection to the South in my family. Even so, I’ve been known to say “I don’t have a dog in that fight.”

    Reply
  46. I’m with Faith, Joanna. That was such fun read, and I loved learning the French phrases. I’ve listened to many of your books, and the narrator does a superb job, using just enough of an accent and wonderful intonation to convey the perfect touch of “foreigness.” The only language I studied well enough to remember proverbs from is Russian, and a few of my favorites were: “unexpected guests are worse than the Tatars,” “guests are like fish; they start to stink after five days,” and “repetition is the mother of learning.” That last one rolls particularly well off the tongue in Russian (poftorennia mat uchennia) and I throw it at people all the time (primarily my kids and my students!), not really caring if they understand me or not:)

    Reply
  47. I’m with Faith, Joanna. That was such fun read, and I loved learning the French phrases. I’ve listened to many of your books, and the narrator does a superb job, using just enough of an accent and wonderful intonation to convey the perfect touch of “foreigness.” The only language I studied well enough to remember proverbs from is Russian, and a few of my favorites were: “unexpected guests are worse than the Tatars,” “guests are like fish; they start to stink after five days,” and “repetition is the mother of learning.” That last one rolls particularly well off the tongue in Russian (poftorennia mat uchennia) and I throw it at people all the time (primarily my kids and my students!), not really caring if they understand me or not:)

    Reply
  48. I’m with Faith, Joanna. That was such fun read, and I loved learning the French phrases. I’ve listened to many of your books, and the narrator does a superb job, using just enough of an accent and wonderful intonation to convey the perfect touch of “foreigness.” The only language I studied well enough to remember proverbs from is Russian, and a few of my favorites were: “unexpected guests are worse than the Tatars,” “guests are like fish; they start to stink after five days,” and “repetition is the mother of learning.” That last one rolls particularly well off the tongue in Russian (poftorennia mat uchennia) and I throw it at people all the time (primarily my kids and my students!), not really caring if they understand me or not:)

    Reply
  49. I’m with Faith, Joanna. That was such fun read, and I loved learning the French phrases. I’ve listened to many of your books, and the narrator does a superb job, using just enough of an accent and wonderful intonation to convey the perfect touch of “foreigness.” The only language I studied well enough to remember proverbs from is Russian, and a few of my favorites were: “unexpected guests are worse than the Tatars,” “guests are like fish; they start to stink after five days,” and “repetition is the mother of learning.” That last one rolls particularly well off the tongue in Russian (poftorennia mat uchennia) and I throw it at people all the time (primarily my kids and my students!), not really caring if they understand me or not:)

    Reply
  50. I’m with Faith, Joanna. That was such fun read, and I loved learning the French phrases. I’ve listened to many of your books, and the narrator does a superb job, using just enough of an accent and wonderful intonation to convey the perfect touch of “foreigness.” The only language I studied well enough to remember proverbs from is Russian, and a few of my favorites were: “unexpected guests are worse than the Tatars,” “guests are like fish; they start to stink after five days,” and “repetition is the mother of learning.” That last one rolls particularly well off the tongue in Russian (poftorennia mat uchennia) and I throw it at people all the time (primarily my kids and my students!), not really caring if they understand me or not:)

    Reply
  51. Really enjoyed this post! For Lil, maybe you could put the “cat among the pigeons” instead of the “fox in the henhouse”. One phrase my Mother always used to say was “Close the door, were you born in a barn?”

    Reply
  52. Really enjoyed this post! For Lil, maybe you could put the “cat among the pigeons” instead of the “fox in the henhouse”. One phrase my Mother always used to say was “Close the door, were you born in a barn?”

    Reply
  53. Really enjoyed this post! For Lil, maybe you could put the “cat among the pigeons” instead of the “fox in the henhouse”. One phrase my Mother always used to say was “Close the door, were you born in a barn?”

    Reply
  54. Really enjoyed this post! For Lil, maybe you could put the “cat among the pigeons” instead of the “fox in the henhouse”. One phrase my Mother always used to say was “Close the door, were you born in a barn?”

    Reply
  55. Really enjoyed this post! For Lil, maybe you could put the “cat among the pigeons” instead of the “fox in the henhouse”. One phrase my Mother always used to say was “Close the door, were you born in a barn?”

    Reply
  56. I am fine as frog’s hair. That ol’ boy is dumber than a box of rocks. I am hotter than a depot stove.
    These are a few of the phrases I use on a regular basis. I live in Texas. There are other Southern sayings, but right off the top of my head, I can’t think of them.
    Y’all need to say these with a slight southern drawl to get the full effect.

    Reply
  57. I am fine as frog’s hair. That ol’ boy is dumber than a box of rocks. I am hotter than a depot stove.
    These are a few of the phrases I use on a regular basis. I live in Texas. There are other Southern sayings, but right off the top of my head, I can’t think of them.
    Y’all need to say these with a slight southern drawl to get the full effect.

    Reply
  58. I am fine as frog’s hair. That ol’ boy is dumber than a box of rocks. I am hotter than a depot stove.
    These are a few of the phrases I use on a regular basis. I live in Texas. There are other Southern sayings, but right off the top of my head, I can’t think of them.
    Y’all need to say these with a slight southern drawl to get the full effect.

    Reply
  59. I am fine as frog’s hair. That ol’ boy is dumber than a box of rocks. I am hotter than a depot stove.
    These are a few of the phrases I use on a regular basis. I live in Texas. There are other Southern sayings, but right off the top of my head, I can’t think of them.
    Y’all need to say these with a slight southern drawl to get the full effect.

    Reply
  60. I am fine as frog’s hair. That ol’ boy is dumber than a box of rocks. I am hotter than a depot stove.
    These are a few of the phrases I use on a regular basis. I live in Texas. There are other Southern sayings, but right off the top of my head, I can’t think of them.
    Y’all need to say these with a slight southern drawl to get the full effect.

    Reply
  61. One of my favourite “modern” saying is “A few Club-Z points short of a blender.” Unfortunately, it refers to the now defunct department store Zellers, and since it was only a Canadian chain is way to colloquial to use. They were one of the first to have a rewards program, though!
    My grandmother didn’t swear, but when in extremis would use “Son of a moose!” I find that escaping from my lips to strange looks quite often still. 🙂

    Reply
  62. One of my favourite “modern” saying is “A few Club-Z points short of a blender.” Unfortunately, it refers to the now defunct department store Zellers, and since it was only a Canadian chain is way to colloquial to use. They were one of the first to have a rewards program, though!
    My grandmother didn’t swear, but when in extremis would use “Son of a moose!” I find that escaping from my lips to strange looks quite often still. 🙂

    Reply
  63. One of my favourite “modern” saying is “A few Club-Z points short of a blender.” Unfortunately, it refers to the now defunct department store Zellers, and since it was only a Canadian chain is way to colloquial to use. They were one of the first to have a rewards program, though!
    My grandmother didn’t swear, but when in extremis would use “Son of a moose!” I find that escaping from my lips to strange looks quite often still. 🙂

    Reply
  64. One of my favourite “modern” saying is “A few Club-Z points short of a blender.” Unfortunately, it refers to the now defunct department store Zellers, and since it was only a Canadian chain is way to colloquial to use. They were one of the first to have a rewards program, though!
    My grandmother didn’t swear, but when in extremis would use “Son of a moose!” I find that escaping from my lips to strange looks quite often still. 🙂

    Reply
  65. One of my favourite “modern” saying is “A few Club-Z points short of a blender.” Unfortunately, it refers to the now defunct department store Zellers, and since it was only a Canadian chain is way to colloquial to use. They were one of the first to have a rewards program, though!
    My grandmother didn’t swear, but when in extremis would use “Son of a moose!” I find that escaping from my lips to strange looks quite often still. 🙂

    Reply
  66. They say that “English doesn’t just borrow words from other languages. It follows them down the street and mugs them.”
    “Fish and visitors stink in five days” made it into Poor Richard’s Almanac.
    I wonder who had it first, the Americans or the Russians?

    Reply
  67. They say that “English doesn’t just borrow words from other languages. It follows them down the street and mugs them.”
    “Fish and visitors stink in five days” made it into Poor Richard’s Almanac.
    I wonder who had it first, the Americans or the Russians?

    Reply
  68. They say that “English doesn’t just borrow words from other languages. It follows them down the street and mugs them.”
    “Fish and visitors stink in five days” made it into Poor Richard’s Almanac.
    I wonder who had it first, the Americans or the Russians?

    Reply
  69. They say that “English doesn’t just borrow words from other languages. It follows them down the street and mugs them.”
    “Fish and visitors stink in five days” made it into Poor Richard’s Almanac.
    I wonder who had it first, the Americans or the Russians?

    Reply
  70. They say that “English doesn’t just borrow words from other languages. It follows them down the street and mugs them.”
    “Fish and visitors stink in five days” made it into Poor Richard’s Almanac.
    I wonder who had it first, the Americans or the Russians?

    Reply
  71. I don’t know how wide-spread these are: growin up, my mother had two neighbors with different ways of saying “haste makes waste.” She and my aunts always used them and i have adpted them
    From the irish-born neighbor, “Sure, my head wil run my heels off yet!”
    And from the German-born neighbor: ‘The hurrierd i go, the behinder i get.”

    Reply
  72. I don’t know how wide-spread these are: growin up, my mother had two neighbors with different ways of saying “haste makes waste.” She and my aunts always used them and i have adpted them
    From the irish-born neighbor, “Sure, my head wil run my heels off yet!”
    And from the German-born neighbor: ‘The hurrierd i go, the behinder i get.”

    Reply
  73. I don’t know how wide-spread these are: growin up, my mother had two neighbors with different ways of saying “haste makes waste.” She and my aunts always used them and i have adpted them
    From the irish-born neighbor, “Sure, my head wil run my heels off yet!”
    And from the German-born neighbor: ‘The hurrierd i go, the behinder i get.”

    Reply
  74. I don’t know how wide-spread these are: growin up, my mother had two neighbors with different ways of saying “haste makes waste.” She and my aunts always used them and i have adpted them
    From the irish-born neighbor, “Sure, my head wil run my heels off yet!”
    And from the German-born neighbor: ‘The hurrierd i go, the behinder i get.”

    Reply
  75. I don’t know how wide-spread these are: growin up, my mother had two neighbors with different ways of saying “haste makes waste.” She and my aunts always used them and i have adpted them
    From the irish-born neighbor, “Sure, my head wil run my heels off yet!”
    And from the German-born neighbor: ‘The hurrierd i go, the behinder i get.”

    Reply
  76. I once heard a mechanic (who may well have been from the South) say disgustedly of his profane colleagues: “I bet them boys kiss their mama with that mouth.”
    I’d never heard it, but I liked it.

    Reply
  77. I once heard a mechanic (who may well have been from the South) say disgustedly of his profane colleagues: “I bet them boys kiss their mama with that mouth.”
    I’d never heard it, but I liked it.

    Reply
  78. I once heard a mechanic (who may well have been from the South) say disgustedly of his profane colleagues: “I bet them boys kiss their mama with that mouth.”
    I’d never heard it, but I liked it.

    Reply
  79. I once heard a mechanic (who may well have been from the South) say disgustedly of his profane colleagues: “I bet them boys kiss their mama with that mouth.”
    I’d never heard it, but I liked it.

    Reply
  80. I once heard a mechanic (who may well have been from the South) say disgustedly of his profane colleagues: “I bet them boys kiss their mama with that mouth.”
    I’d never heard it, but I liked it.

    Reply
  81. This isn’t exactly a folk saying, but I hear “Bless his heart” quite a lot from southerners all around me. It can mean different things depending on the intonation and the facial expressions – I’m sorry for him because something terrible has happened and I am full of sympathy — or he did something dumber (than a box of rocks) but he can’t help it, poor thing, so no point in being angry, etc. etc.

    Reply
  82. This isn’t exactly a folk saying, but I hear “Bless his heart” quite a lot from southerners all around me. It can mean different things depending on the intonation and the facial expressions – I’m sorry for him because something terrible has happened and I am full of sympathy — or he did something dumber (than a box of rocks) but he can’t help it, poor thing, so no point in being angry, etc. etc.

    Reply
  83. This isn’t exactly a folk saying, but I hear “Bless his heart” quite a lot from southerners all around me. It can mean different things depending on the intonation and the facial expressions – I’m sorry for him because something terrible has happened and I am full of sympathy — or he did something dumber (than a box of rocks) but he can’t help it, poor thing, so no point in being angry, etc. etc.

    Reply
  84. This isn’t exactly a folk saying, but I hear “Bless his heart” quite a lot from southerners all around me. It can mean different things depending on the intonation and the facial expressions – I’m sorry for him because something terrible has happened and I am full of sympathy — or he did something dumber (than a box of rocks) but he can’t help it, poor thing, so no point in being angry, etc. etc.

    Reply
  85. This isn’t exactly a folk saying, but I hear “Bless his heart” quite a lot from southerners all around me. It can mean different things depending on the intonation and the facial expressions – I’m sorry for him because something terrible has happened and I am full of sympathy — or he did something dumber (than a box of rocks) but he can’t help it, poor thing, so no point in being angry, etc. etc.

    Reply
  86. We didn’t use the local equivalent as that saying using Zellers, but it would’ve been ‘such a hoot!’ When I was muuuuch younger my Mom and aunts collected ‘green stamps’ from participating store. And she got such a kick out of redeeming them, for her they were strictly for buying something she wanted for herself. As I got old enough to start collecting them (oh so slowly) I saved and saved and ‘bought’ a rocking chair when I was pregnant with our son. But ‘a few green stamps short of a blender’ would’ve spread like wildfire around here! Ha. In fact I may start using that, but only around adults my age. That is so cute Brenda.
    A looong time ago I heard someone say ‘Son of a biscuit.’ And since we had a little guy around the house I started using that. Sadly as he got older my tongue got looser. But then when I went to work for a Dr’s office, that had to go. So ‘son of a biscuit’ came back. 😀

    Reply
  87. We didn’t use the local equivalent as that saying using Zellers, but it would’ve been ‘such a hoot!’ When I was muuuuch younger my Mom and aunts collected ‘green stamps’ from participating store. And she got such a kick out of redeeming them, for her they were strictly for buying something she wanted for herself. As I got old enough to start collecting them (oh so slowly) I saved and saved and ‘bought’ a rocking chair when I was pregnant with our son. But ‘a few green stamps short of a blender’ would’ve spread like wildfire around here! Ha. In fact I may start using that, but only around adults my age. That is so cute Brenda.
    A looong time ago I heard someone say ‘Son of a biscuit.’ And since we had a little guy around the house I started using that. Sadly as he got older my tongue got looser. But then when I went to work for a Dr’s office, that had to go. So ‘son of a biscuit’ came back. 😀

    Reply
  88. We didn’t use the local equivalent as that saying using Zellers, but it would’ve been ‘such a hoot!’ When I was muuuuch younger my Mom and aunts collected ‘green stamps’ from participating store. And she got such a kick out of redeeming them, for her they were strictly for buying something she wanted for herself. As I got old enough to start collecting them (oh so slowly) I saved and saved and ‘bought’ a rocking chair when I was pregnant with our son. But ‘a few green stamps short of a blender’ would’ve spread like wildfire around here! Ha. In fact I may start using that, but only around adults my age. That is so cute Brenda.
    A looong time ago I heard someone say ‘Son of a biscuit.’ And since we had a little guy around the house I started using that. Sadly as he got older my tongue got looser. But then when I went to work for a Dr’s office, that had to go. So ‘son of a biscuit’ came back. 😀

    Reply
  89. We didn’t use the local equivalent as that saying using Zellers, but it would’ve been ‘such a hoot!’ When I was muuuuch younger my Mom and aunts collected ‘green stamps’ from participating store. And she got such a kick out of redeeming them, for her they were strictly for buying something she wanted for herself. As I got old enough to start collecting them (oh so slowly) I saved and saved and ‘bought’ a rocking chair when I was pregnant with our son. But ‘a few green stamps short of a blender’ would’ve spread like wildfire around here! Ha. In fact I may start using that, but only around adults my age. That is so cute Brenda.
    A looong time ago I heard someone say ‘Son of a biscuit.’ And since we had a little guy around the house I started using that. Sadly as he got older my tongue got looser. But then when I went to work for a Dr’s office, that had to go. So ‘son of a biscuit’ came back. 😀

    Reply
  90. We didn’t use the local equivalent as that saying using Zellers, but it would’ve been ‘such a hoot!’ When I was muuuuch younger my Mom and aunts collected ‘green stamps’ from participating store. And she got such a kick out of redeeming them, for her they were strictly for buying something she wanted for herself. As I got old enough to start collecting them (oh so slowly) I saved and saved and ‘bought’ a rocking chair when I was pregnant with our son. But ‘a few green stamps short of a blender’ would’ve spread like wildfire around here! Ha. In fact I may start using that, but only around adults my age. That is so cute Brenda.
    A looong time ago I heard someone say ‘Son of a biscuit.’ And since we had a little guy around the house I started using that. Sadly as he got older my tongue got looser. But then when I went to work for a Dr’s office, that had to go. So ‘son of a biscuit’ came back. 😀

    Reply

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