Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A Lick and a Promise

EDIT: Welcome to all of you and especially to those of you who visit because Michele suggested it! It is indeed an honor to be Michele's Site-of-the-Day, and even more so the second time around. I hope you enjoy what you see here.

I am trying hard not to be royally pi**ed at Blogger today. It will not let me comment on some blogs and at first try, it wouldn't let me into my dashboard either. If you didn't get a comment from me today, blame Blogger, because I have been to every blog that showed up on Bloglines as new!


I got this in an email. Some of you may enjoy - and even add to the list. Are there any of these you are not familiar with?

A Lick and A Promise

"I'll just give this a lick and a promise," my mother said as she quickly mopped up a spill on the floor without moving any of the furniture.

"What is that supposed to mean," I asked as in my young mind I envisioned someone licking the floor with his or her tongue.

"It means that I'm in a hurry and I'm busy canning tomatoes so I am going to just give it a lick with the mop and promise to come back and do the job right later.

"A lick and a promise" was just one of the many old phrases that I remember my mother, grandmother, and others using that they probably heard from the generations before them. With the passing of time, many old phrases become obsolete or even disappear. This is unfortunate because some of them are very appropriate and humorous.

Here is a list that I came up with that I remember my parents and grandparents using that we don't hear much anymore. Perhaps you have some memorable old phrases of your own that you could add to the list:
· A Bone to Pick (someone who wants to discuss a disagreement)
· An Axe to Grind (Someone who has a hidden motive. This phrase is said to have originated from Benjamin Franklin who told a story about a devious man who asked how a
grinding wheel worked. He ended up walking away with his axe sharpened free of charge)
· A bad apple spoils the whole barrel (one corrupt person can cause all the others to go bad if you don't remove the bad one)
· At sea (lost or not understanding something)
· Bad Egg (Someone who was not a good person)
· Barking at a knot (meaning that your efforts were as useless as a dog barking at a knot.)
· Bee in your bonnet (To have an idea that won't let loose)
· Been through the mill (had a rough time of it)
· Between hay and grass (Not a child or an adult)
· Blinky (Between sweet and sour as in milk)
· Calaboose (a jail)
· Cattywampus (Something that sits crooked such as a piece of furniture sitting at an angle)
· Dicker (To barter or trade)
· Feather In Your Cap (to accomplish a goal. This came from years ago in wartime when warriors might receive a feather they would put in their cap for defeating an enemy)
· Hold your horses (Be patient!)
· I reckon (I suppose)
· Jawing (Talking or arguing)
· Kit and caboodle (The whole thing)
· Madder than an old wet hen (really angry)
· Needs taken down a notch or two (like notches in a belt usually a young person who thinks too highly of himself and needs a lesson)
· No Spring Chicken (Not young anymore)
· Persnickety (overly particular or snobbish)
· Pert-near (short for pretty near)
· Pretty is as pretty does (your actions are more important than your looks)
· Scalawag (a rascal or unprincipled person)
· Scarce as hen's teeth (something difficult to obtain)
· Skedaddle (Get out of here quickly)
· Sparking (courting)
· Straight From the Horse's Mouth (privileged information from the one concerned)
· Stringing around, gallivanting around, or piddling (Not doing anything of value)
· Sunday go to meetin' dress (The best dress you had)
· We wash up real fine (is another goodie)
· Tie the Knot (to get married)
· Too many irons in the fire (to be involved in too many things)
· Tuckered out (tired and all worn out)
· Under the weather (not feeling well this term came from going below deck on ships due to sea sickness thus you go below or under the weather)
· Wearing your "best bib and tucker" (Being all dressed up)
· You ain't the only duck in the pond (It's not all about you)

Well, if you hold your horses, I reckon I'll get this whole kit and caboodle done and sent off to you. Please don't be too persnickety and get a bee in your bonnet because I've been pretty tuckered out and at sea lately because I'm no spring chicken. I haven't been just stringin' around and I know I'm not the only duck in the pond, but I do have too many irons in the fire. I might just be barking at a knot, but I have tried to give this article more than just a lick and a promise.


Duke_of_Earle said...

I must be getting REALLY old, since I knew every one of those! There's a fellow I work with who tries to use some of those and gets them mixed up. His favorite expression is, "It's like pulling hen's teeth." He means it's very difficult, "like pulling teeth." But he remembers the one about "scarce as hen's teeth," and put's the "hen's" in there where it doesn't belong. Like a fox in the hen house, y'know?


Anonymous said...

Those are great! I have one...

I was complaining to a friend at how disrespectful and rude my 13 year old was being by rolling her eyes at me...I could NOT believe that she was acting like that to me...HOW RUDE!

What was my friends supportive reply to me in my time of need?

She says..."Well Anna, she didn't lick it up off the ground."

The truth hurts. OK, I am humbled now. I think I remember doing that exact thing to my own mother at 13 (and 33).... :)


Maya's Granny said...

I'm getting old too -- I knew them all. In our family, if someone gets too proud of something that they really didn't have much to do with (like an ancestor's fame), we say, "And doesn't our cat have a long tail."

srp said...

I remember my grandpa telling my younger brother to get something "over yonder". Stephen looked puzzled and then asked him, "Grandpa? What's "yonder"?"

Blogger had a scheduled downtime that lasted longer than it was supposed to. I had trouble with comments too and then it started giving the same verification word for every comment. Of course they worked on the Google groups too so it was hard to find out what was going on.

kenju said...

SRP: my great-grandparents' stock answer to the question "Where is......" was "over yonder", and my grandmother used that expression as well. The one that gets mr. kenju's goat is ....."I reckon", as a response for a question requiring a yes or no answer. He like that one about as well as he likes "Whatever" or "I guess so".

Anonymous said...

Oh, goody! This is perfect for people like me, whose first language is not English. I think I will print this list and learn it. ;)

Anonymous said...

:::jumps up and down and waves:::

Yer Michele's Site O'the Day! Yer gonna be famous!!!! I'll actually read your post. I was just a little excited, that's all... ;)

rosemary said...

Whoo-dee-whoo for you...of course your site is wonderful so Michele should make you Queen for a Day!!!!

I still use the term cattywampus! Like everything was in the dinning room after I re-hung stuff on the wall.

Catherine said...

I know most of those - for the ones I don't, I think it is due to different geography rather than lack of age :)
Michele sent me! Congratulations on being site of the day, and also on figuring out bloglines :) (I haven't, yet)

Anonymous said...

Hehehe...I love little things like that. Australians seem to use words like that all the time - eg. dead horse = tomato sauce. It's kinda rhyming slang isn't it? I love it. Those brits are pretty good at it too aren't they?

Congratulations being site of the day, so obviously, Michele sent me...

Anonymous said...

I haven't had any issues to speak of lately, but this morning Blogger was in the throws of something unnatural.

I like those sayings - and their origins. I also like when people get them wrong, like "for all intensive purposes."

And the Grand Mammy or them all -

Michele sent me.


mar said...

Great list, except when Mr Mar is at sea he isn't lost but happy as a clam (where does that come from?) as a hobby sailor!!
Loved your list, what a fun reading!
Congrats on being Michele's SOTD a second time!!!
Have a wonderful day filled with happy visitors.

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Hello, Michele sent me - although I do come over here all by myself for a quick lurk now and again. I knew most of those, mostly from books. A local English variant of the wet hen one is 'mad as a bag of badgers' which always amuses me. Another is 'you're pushing on an open door', a secular equivalent of 'you're preaching to the converted' which my older relatives used to say meaning - in case it isn't obvious - I agree with you and have done for some time.

ET said...

I don't know about a "Lick and a Promise" but I do feel you put your heart and soul in each entry.

Raggedy said...

Great list. I thought for sure there would be some on the list I had not heard. I guess that shows our age eh? I have not heard some of them in a very long time.

"Oh, shoot the cat!" When grandma was mad. Frustrated was "Hells, Bells."

He was mad as a cat on a hot tin roof

How are you?
Fair to midland.

Thanks for the trip to some good memories.

Have a wonderful day!
(=':'=) hugs
(")_ (")Š from
the Cool Raggedy one

Star said...

Congratulations on being SOD ! My mother grew up in an Amish area, although she was not Amish. She had some strange sayings that I never could quite figure out. If something got accomplished quickly, she said it was "faster than hell patch a mile" ?

Marie said...

"Scarce as a hen's teeth"... I like that!

Larry the Cable Guy has a whole new flock of these... politically incorrect ones of course, but funny!

Hooray for you, Kenju, as Site of the Day!! Though I've been here plenty, today Michele sent me!

Laura said...

congrats on being the site of the day!! It's well deserved!

I wrote about you today (Wednesday) also. :)))

And now I'm going to skedaddle, but first I think I'll cut and paste an email this list of quotes to some friends. brought back memories, they did! LOL

Greg Finnegan said...

My grandmother said, "Stop crying, or I'll give you something to cry about."

My grandfather called bad drivers - well, ALL drivers - amadans. That's his Irish for fools.

My Mom: "I'll make a darn good washerwoman in the First National Bank."

"Don't pay that no nevermind."

Gypsy said...

Fun stuff! Hi, Michele sent me.

Azgreeneyes said...

I was always told to "put a little elbow grease into it". Oh, how I loathed that saying! Yay for you being SOTD! Here from Michele's

panthergirl said...

Persnickety is one of my favorite words!

And my father, sadist that he was, sent my sister to the hardware store to buy elbow grease!!

Anonymous said...

My father always said "fifteen ways to sunday". i still don't know what that means.

Hi from Michele's.

PI said...

Couldn't comment on the previous post - thanks blogger! I was going to say if it aint broke don't fix it. Mtl has had endless gum trouble and has just had six months treatment and now has implants which cost a small fortune. Hopefully all will be well now.

PI said...

Some of thes are new to me and some slightly different wording. Just realised that you never see now the tide mark that little boys used to get on their neck when they had had a lick and a promise.

PI said...

Sorry I'm up the spout today but congrats on Michelle's award. Praise indeed!

Shephard said...

That's a great list. I will have to give it a lick and a promise, and come back and fully digest it. ;)
Barking at a knot. That one is new for me.
And I've been having the same trouble with blogger.
Congrats on being her site of the day again!!

~S :)

No_Newz said...

Oh that was one worth passing along. Thanks! Congratulations on being the blogger of the day! You deserve it!
P.S. Blogger has been a bugger!

Janet said...

I knew so many of those! My Mom had some other sayings, too, a couple of that come to mind:

a silver nixie and a golden wollywog (when I asked her what she was getting me for my birthday or Christmas)

out kalooping (when I was out with my friends)

Hi, Michele sent me :-)

utenzi said...

Michele sent me over today, Judy. Hi!

I've heard almost all those expressions before though a bunch were via The Beverly Hillbillies and not general conversation.

Blogger sure was a pain in the patootie yesterday. Their servers were down half the day, at least.

Anonymous said...

Ah, so it's not just me that blogger has been driving nuts then!

That is quite a liust of phrases adn I have heard most of them but there were a couple of new ones. I can't think of any off hand to add though.

Wordnerd said...

Yes, I'm whining about Blogger these days myself -- congrats on SOTD -- I had no idea you had made the big time!!! Woo hoo!

Beverly said...

Those are great! I remember them well. My mother usedto say, "Well, if that don't beat a hen a-peckin'." She did use correct grammar, but "don't" fit in quite well there.

Anonymous said...

congrats on SOD!

i love your list.

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Hey, Kenju - just read your comment on Birdy's blog - it wasn't her, it was me, Zinnia, who made the 'bag of badgers' comment above - I think perhaps you clicked the wrong blog on the Blogger profile... anyway, glad you liked it!

Laura said...

Hi Judy, I'm back. Should have worded my previous comment differently.
Meant to say that I wrote about you today.
(... and only today.)

sorry about that!

David said...

good stuff, ( here from ms M) all tuckered out from reading that whole post

Chancy said...

Judy I went to Michelle's blog and told her Judy sent me and now I am back here telling you Michelle sent me :)

I like your post today and seem to know most of those old fashioned sayings.

Don't throw the baby out with the bath water.

Happy as a dead pig in the sunshine.

Seamus said...

Bolgger has been a complete pain in the ass for 2 days now and today aloscan is acting up as well! Grrrrrrrrrr!

Claire said...

Great post! Was on my way over but Michele hurried me and told me to come here I am!!

Congrats on being site of the day! Well deserved! :D

Mamacita said...

I come here at least once daily anyway, but this time, I'm here from Michele's. I would have been here much sooner, but my computer at home will not let me comment anywhere!

Stalk, stalk, stalk. . . .


Anonymous said...

Hello, Michele sent me

Terri said...

Congrats on being Site of the Day!
You're not the first person I've recently heard complain about blogger. Makes me very glad I don't have that, as I've had my own computer problems the past couple days....made the MAJOR mistake of upgrading from Internet 6.0 to the 7.0. FYI....DON'T do it! I'm back to 6.0 and all is well again. Talk about frustrating!

Anonymous said...

Have a blast reading all these but remember, a watched pot never boils!

Karen said...

Judy - congrats on being Michele's site of the day - YAY! A well-deserved honor!! She sent me here. I love the list. I know almost all of them and learned a few new ones!

Jamie Dawn said...

Smearin' & gommin': making a mess

Plum tuckered: tired out

I'm gonna snatch you bald headed!: You better stop it now or there's hell to pay.

I know there's a lot more I heard when I was growing up, but that's all I can think of for now.

colleen said...

How can this be? It says no comments on the front page. But I know it's not true cause your michele's site of the day! It's amazing to me how much these saying become common speech and we forget where they came from. I never understood what pretty is as pretty does means. I still think that one's confusing.

Inanna said...

When I was little my family always told me to stop gauming, meaning to stop making a mess, then, if someone was being cranky, they called them a "contrary Potter," after a rather cranky member of my ancestry. Thanks for the look back!

Anonymous said...

Hi Judy, I was surprised to find that I knew almost all of your sayings, when you consider the geography.
My parents used, "A wigwam for a gooses bridle" when we asked what something was, now that one sounds Australian. said...

Congrats Judy! I couldn't even post on your site earlier because of the traffic!

kontan said...

I have heard so many of those! I'm here just making the rounds on my blogroll, but 'grats on being Michele's site of the day!

Anonymous said...

When I was growing up in the 50's the expression "A Lick and a Promise" pertained to hair.
My Mom would call us kids to her and say here let me just give you a lick and a promise.
She would comb our hair and then lick her fingers to push the stray hairs into place.

Anonymous said...

Well, if it wernt so inpolite I would say this here blog was slick as snot on a door knob. But seein I do know how to tie my shoes, I will say this blog is better than a pocket on a short sleeve shirt. Others that I have eyed are about as useless as 10 dead flys.


Unknown said...

Grinning like a mule eating greenbrier's!

Pample Moose said...

He's so dumb, ....he couldn't poor piss out of a boot with the instructions printed on the heal!