Old Sayings/Clichés: Let's have some fun!

I tend to use a lot of old sayings when I write here. My goodness, I only usually recognize them when I write them down, otherwise, I can't think of any specifically. Haha

I know some are quite common over a wide area, and some are quite specific to a region. Considering, I thought that it could be fun to swap a few, especially since we are a worldwide group!

I just used "not the sharpest tack in the barrel" in the haying thread. What others do you use? I don't want them to only be about the swiftness of (or lack of) others, but should cover all subjects!

Feel free to come back and add more whenever you find yourself using one. I will try to do the same.

If you know the origin of the term, please share that as well.



  • water2world
    water2world Posts: 1,156 ✭✭✭✭

    Don't worry about things............ "It'll all come out in the wash"

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,537 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Easy come easy go

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,537 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited June 2021

    Any job worth doing is worth doing well - That was a big one in our house. I can still hear my dad voice saying that one

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,458 admin

    My great grandmother always used to say, "A whistlin' girl and a crowin' hen will never come to no good end."...... but, I never knew what that meant!

  • Tave
    Tave Posts: 952 ✭✭✭✭✭

    How funny! I was just thinking of old sayings the other day.

    A penny saved is a penny earned.

    Make hay while the sun shines.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,517 admin
    edited June 2021

    I've never heard of that one. It's worth some thought.

    I would venture to guess that that girl is up to something and shouldn't be trusted?

    The crowing hen part may be easier to understand. It needs an adjustment as they most likely won't be laying. You know where a non-layer ends up...in soup!

    However, in keeping with the whistlin' girl, maybe it's a woman that keeps loudly making trouble and would meet the same fate as a crowing hen would.

    Just a guess.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,517 admin

    The latter quote is actually a version of what's found in the Bible in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 "For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either." In this case, there were busybodies who didn't want to work, yet, I suppose, must have been relying on the hard work of others. That's never a respectable thing.

    As for the first quote, you know anything could happen to interfere with ____!

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Posts: 1,820 ✭✭✭✭✭

    My dad used to say "You make a better door than a window" to one of us when we stood in front of the TV.

    My grandmother used to say "That is as ugly as a mud fence."

  • MaryRowe
    MaryRowe Posts: 736 ✭✭✭✭

    When I was a kid, the girls whistling/hens crowing was a caution against girls acting too bold, independent, assertive, tomboyish--"unladylike." It might be OK for boys to whistle, but girls should never whistle...that was improper and "unladylike" --just as roosters were expected to crow but hens weren't supposed to act like roosters.

    It's hard to think of the old sayings without letting them just come up in a situation, but I thought of a couple more:

    He/she doesn't have the sense God gave geese,

    ...robbing Peter to pay Paul

    (He got out of that problem situation) as slick as greased lightning

  • naomi.kohlmeier
    naomi.kohlmeier Posts: 380 ✭✭✭

    Maybe not an old saying, but I remember my grandmother would say "chicken teeth" or "horsefeathers" when she was frustrated (or maybe trying not to say bad words) and my aunt would say "crumb". I almost always say "bumblebees" when things don't go the way I think they should.

  • JodieDownUnder
    JodieDownUnder Posts: 1,483 admin

    Describing how you feel: I’m so tried, I could sleep on a barbed wire fence.

    A fond goodbye: See ya when I’m lookin at ya.

    Describing someone a bit useless: About as handy as an ashtray on a motorbike.

  • RustBeltCowgirl
    RustBeltCowgirl Posts: 1,403 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @JodieDownUnder " Describing someone a bit useless: About as handy as an ashtray on a motorbike." Version of that here, "as useless as teets on a bull."

    Another one I hear a lot "not the sharpest tool in the shed."

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,635 admin

    "As easy as shootin' fish in a barrel". I'd really like to know the origins of that one.

    One I use fairly often is "getting all my ducks in a row". I imagine the origins of that being an old hunting reference.

  • MaryRowe
    MaryRowe Posts: 736 ✭✭✭✭

    I thought of another, one that I have only heard from older folks in this part of Missouri. I think it must be a local thing:

    He/She is sound on the goose.

    It means that person is reliable, trustworthy, "one of us." It usually comes up in the context of having the "right" opinion about some controversial issue, being in-step with the majority opinion in the community.

  • Brindy
    Brindy Posts: 212 ✭✭✭

    Don't let him get your goat.

    Someone mentioned earlier, God willing and the creek don't rise. That was one I heard a lot growing up.

    If there's time to lean, there's time to clean.

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,111 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Wow, We heard that all the time in our house. And in the same vain.... "You might be a pain, but your not made of glass."

    In our area it was always, "useless as teets on a boar hog."

    Then there was...

    "his/her elevator don't go to the top floor."

    "that one's a bushel short of a load"

    When someone was threatening to leave (not necessarily a partner) or you wanted someone to get out...

    "don't let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya."

    This one might be harder for some...

    "They got more excuses than Carter's got liver pills."

    "he/she has a satellite dish but no TV."

    Brings back lots of memories thinking over all these. Thanks, LaurieLovesLearning for starting this.

  • Brindy
    Brindy Posts: 212 ✭✭✭
    edited June 2021

    You got a few screws loose.

    Don't drink the kool-aid. Or you've been drinking the kool-aid. That one's not that old and is to say don't blindly follow, referencing Jonestown massacre.

    A few fries short of a happy meal or the blond roots run deep. They aren't firing on all cylinders. For someone ditsy or clueless.

    You kids your mom with that mouth? When someone uses bad language.

    Don't let the door hitcha where the good Lord splitcha.

    Haha, I worked on this so long that my last one was already listed.

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Posts: 1,820 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @vickeym I'm wondering if our shared sayings are a midwest thing?

    Others I've heard:

    His elevator doesn't go all the way to the top.

    He's one card short of a full deck.

    That'll tickle his fancy.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,517 admin
    edited June 2021

    @MaryRowe Thanks for the explanation on the whistlin girl one. That makes perfect sense.

    There is dumb as a rock. Swift like a sack of hammers. Not the sharpest tool in the shed.

    @torey I have at times actually had all my ducks in a row! Lol

    @vickeym You're welcome. I think thinking through these & hearing regional ones is a lot of fun.

  • Tave
    Tave Posts: 952 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I love it!

    I'm so hungry I could eat a horse

    He's got bats in the belfry

    Slower than molasses in January

    Like a bull in a china shop

    Sharp as a tack

  • Brindy
    Brindy Posts: 212 ✭✭✭

    I've had time to think about it and I've been remembering so many, but I've picked out a few more favorites.

    @Tave My family used a molases saying too growing up, but with my kids I changed it to, you're as slow as molasses going up hill in the Winter time.

    A watchpot never boils

    The pot calling the kettle black. When you're being a hypocrite.

    Bless her/his heart. When someone not that bright or beautiful.

    If it aint broke don't fix it.

    You get what you get or you don't get ......... nothing

    Or You get what you get and you don't throw a fit. Meaning don't be picky.

    Don't kick the gift horse in the mouth. Appreciate what you're getting and who have it to you.

    6 and 1/2 a dozen the other. When basically they are the same thing either way.

    Up a creek without a paddle. Basically you're screwed.

    You catch more flie with honey than vinegar. Meaning you go farther with people by being nice.

    I keep thinking of more even while I'm typing. I'll stop now, but I've got so many more.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,517 admin

    @Brindy Come back when you have more time & add more! That's what this thread is all about.

    At everyone...great additions. I have heard many of these and most likely have used some without thinking about them. However, when your kid asks, "What does that mean?" You need to take a second look at it. 🤪

  • Tave
    Tave Posts: 952 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I found a couple of sayings at work this morning.

    If wishes were horses, beggars could ride. (One of my mom's favorites)

    Pouring salt on the wound or lemon juice in a papercut.

  • dipat2005
    dipat2005 Posts: 1,277 ✭✭✭✭

    @LaurieLovesLearning I love these old sayings. I always heard about Carter's Liver Pills, Carter's Spanky Pants, and Carter's Ink. My maiden name was Carter. I remember a lot of these old sayings and will add more as I think of them.

  • Merin Porter
    Merin Porter Posts: 1,026 admin

    "As nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs"

    "This too shall pass"

    "It's colder than a bear's behind"

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,517 admin
    edited June 2021

    "There's a hole in your pocket" Somebody spends everything.

    "Slipped through your fingers" Just missed the opportunity that you had

    COWLOVINGIRL Posts: 954 ✭✭✭✭

    I love reading theses! Thank you everyone!

  • Owl
    Owl Posts: 346 ✭✭✭

    I love it!

    “Rare as hen’s teeth”

    “happy as a clam” (who just sit and smile)

    ”fine as frog’s hair”

    ”don’t be a sheeple” (don’t do what everyone else is doing just because they are)

    ”one bad apple” can spoil the whole barrel

    “mad enough to spit”

    ”he/she don’t have the sense God gave a goose” my grandmother’s favorite about me and my cousins and friends

    “His/her elevator doesn’t go all the way to the top”

    ”armed to the teeth”

    “never date a man who’s prettier than you are, or even thinks he is”

    ”too tired to breathe” (I’m good at this one!)

    ”green as a gourd” for someone who’s nauseous. I have suffered with motion sickness my whole life and I heard this one so much I learned the Kermit the frog song “It’s not easy being green”

    ”hit the nail on the head” when you deduced the correct answer

    ”the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence” just ask a goat!

    ” The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” about children doing as their parents did

    ”he/she’s not the brightest crayon in the box”

    ”that boy’s rough as a cob” often followed by “and dumb as a box of rocks”

    ”he/she could haunt houses” or “curdle milk”

    My favorite (and most personally applicable) “she can hide her own Easter eggs”

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Posts: 1,820 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Don't split hairs.

    The devil is in the details.

    Tickle my fancy.

    I am up to here with this nonsense. (Had enough.)

    You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs.