“Dog Gone It” and Other Weird Things I Say

Today I said, “Dog Gone It,” and then I wondered where that expression came from. It sounds innocent enough. Like someone got mad because the dog was gone, but it really doesn’t make sense. So I decided to ask Google and boy, oh boy, was I surprised to learn that it’s slang for an awful swear word that I would never use in a million years.

How did that expression find it’s way into my vocabulary? I know I heard my parents and grandparents say it, so I’m going to blame them.

More About Words

Then I started thinking about other expressions of frustration my parents verbalized, like “Dagnab it,” and “Dadgum it,” and low and behold they are associated with swear words, too.

It seems my ancestors (and maybe yours too) didn’t want to use profanity so they made up expressions to use in place of them.

Fun Southern Phrases It’s Okay To Say

My parents used some of these phrases but my grandmother was the source of more southern sayings than you can shake a stick at. (There’s the first one for you)

I’m fixing to,” meant she was going to take some sort of action. “I’m fixing to go to the store.”

I reckon,” replaced the word “think.” “I reckon it’s going to rain because my knee aches.”

After she’d eaten a big dinner she was “full as a tick.”  Gross, I know, but very descriptive.

If my parents or grandparents felt like I was over confident about something they would tell me, “Don’t count your chickens before your eggs are hatched.”

If someone lost their temper they were described as, “mad as a wet hen.” My grandparents raised chickens but I don’t remember ever seeing wet hens. I do remember being scared of their rooster; he had a nasty disposition. Maybe the expression should have been “mad as a wet rooster.”

Pretty is as pretty does,” didn’t originate with Forrest Gump because I remember my grandmother saying the same thing. In other words, to be attractive you have to be nice!

The Power of Words

My grandmother was as sweet as a big glass of southern sweet tea and I know that when she said “Dagnab it” or “Dadgum it,” she had no idea that those words came from what we call “bad words.”

I almost wish I didn’t know what it meant because now if it slips out I’ll think to myself, “Oh my word, I ought not be saying that!”

What expressions do you remember your grandparents saying that aren’t common today?

dog gone it

“Dog gone it” has nothing to do with dogs but I always thought it did!



  1. Carolyn 29 Dec, 2017

    I still say “I’m fixing to!” ? Also, I say a lot “Good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.” Funny thing is, I live on a farm with a creek now!
    An older lady from my Church when I was growing up would say “Naked as a jay bird.” (That one I still don’t understand!) ???? If anyone can explain it, please do! ?

  2. teresak 31 Dec, 2017

    I had forgotten “naked as a jay bird” but that was in Grandma’s vocabulary too! Thanks for the reminder!

  3. I laughed a lot because I’m Yankee born and raised and most of those expressions came out of my Nana, too! How about “ use your head for more than a hat rack!”

  4. I recently tickled someone with “skeeter hawk” or mosquito hawk. They didn’t realize that dragonflies ate mosquito larvae, thus the Southern nickname.

    I also like “pitching a fit.” That one is always a good one.

  5. Oh, my word! Hmmm . . . From Mom:”My Stars and Garters!” or “You have two choices for supper: Take it or leave it!”
    From Dad:”Good Lord Henry!” or “You look like you’ve been kicked through a keyhole!” From my Husby’s Grandmother when faced with a dull knife: “You Could Ride to Ovid on that knife!” From FIL: (After handing one of the kids a small rock) “Here. Suck on this. The flavour will come!”
    So fun!

  6. I’m 100% Northern bred but I remember most of these sayings, too. My grandparents were all immigrants so it must have been my parents. And, some livin’ in the South in my young adulthood probably gave me the rest!

  7. teresak 4 Jan, 2018

    Now my stars and garters is a new one on me!

  8. teresak 4 Jan, 2018

    That’s a new one too! Thanks for sharing!

  9. teresak 4 Jan, 2018

    Yes, I’ve heard that one but had forgotten it! Thanks for reminding me Cathy!

  10. teresak 4 Jan, 2018

    Thanks for commenting Alana!

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