08 November 2013

"Happy as a dead pig in the sunshine"

"When a pig dies, presumably in a sty outside, the sun dries out its skin. This effect pulls the pig’s lips back to reveal a toothy “grin,” making it look happy even though it’s dead. This phrase describes a person who’s blissfully ignorant of reality."
From "13 Southern Sayings That The Rest Of America Won't Understand." Also explained at the link -
  • "We're living in high cotton."
  • "He could eat corn through a picket fence."
  • "You look rode hard and put up wet."
  • "That thing is all catawampus."
  • "He's got enough money to burn a wet mule."
And others.  I spent two decades living in "the south," but some of these were new to me.


  1. I don't know that I think some of these are necessarily Southern - some seem to me to be more sayings of an older agricultural era. I use several of these sayings and attribute it more to my grandparents farming background than to my childhood in S. Illinois, which isn't very far south anyway, although the folks in Cairo would disagree with me.
    Jessi P., Eau Claire, WI

  2. My mom, who grew up in New Orleans, uses catawampus.

  3. My MIL used to say a variation of the dead hog one--"happy as a dead hog in a white shirt"--which never made a lick of sense to me. And I've always heard "useful as tits on a boar hog", too, same source. My husband's family were from Texas which might explain the difference. I've always heard about things being "cattywampus" and "cattycorner" all my llife, and "bless your little heart" is definitely the polite way for saying anything!

  4. "Eat corn through a picket fence" - bad case of buckteeth.
    "Rode hard and put up wet." - from the days when people knew their way around a horse - an animal that was ridden hard enough to sweat copiously ("all lathered up" ) had to be carefully cooled down by walking around until dry. Horses are notoriously prone to muscle damage (so are human athletes) in such circumstances. Exhaustion sets in and they aren't good for much for several days afterwards.


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