(More) NC Sayings

I recently saw an article of supposed “NC Sayings” floating around Facebook that I considered to be … well … pretty generic.  As someone who not only grew up in NC, but who has lived here for all but one year of my life, I think I know a “NC saying” when I hear one. Of course, sayings don’t really belong to any one state, but these were certainly popular in my growing-up years in eastern NC:


  1. Six of one, half a dozen of the other

I like this one because it makes you do the math.  Yeah, we could just say “it’s the same thing,” but why not paint a picture?


  1. Can’t carry a tune in a bucket

This saying typically comes from the singing-challenged person him- or her-self.  We aren’t so rude as to say this about someone else … in public. My grandmother, in speaking about herself, would add the qualifier, “… and it [being] shut tight.”

It has been reported that Justin Timberlake made this comment in an interview about former American Idol winner, Taylor Hicks. Apparently, crossing from NC to TN where Timberlake was raised, the rule of not saying this about someone else was dropped.


  1. We’re gonna have a little “come to Jesus.”

If someone from NC ever says this to you, just know that your time together won’t be anything like going to church.


  1. A sight for sore eyes

I’m not sure if my eyes have ever literally been sore, but I have been tired enough of looking at something distasteful that, upon seeing someone I love, I have been relieved enough to say, “You’re a sight for sore eyes!”


  1. My dogs are barkin’



Some folks are unfortunate enough to have painful, stinky feet, even wearing flip-flops. If you are on your feet all day and you can’t wait to get home to take off your shoes (and socks if you wear any,) then you can safely say while freeing your toes from their confinement, “My dogs are barkin’!”


My aunt used to say, when we would become mad or pouty, “If you can git mad, then you can git glad.” I don’t think that was a saying, per se, but I continue to use that one when it applies.

What fun sayings do you remember? We might discover that these are more “American” than local or regional …

Author: ssalvin

Mother of 3, grandmother of 2; EA by day, ordained minister by calling, worship leader by heart, singer, songwriter, blogger ... these are the hats I wear. Who I am is a woman "becoming". I appreciate the transformation process that God graciously allows us to experience and gratefully receive it!

3 thoughts on “(More) NC Sayings”

  1. SS. Now I may have to burst a tiny bit of your NC bubble but I, too , grew up with all of those sayings in Western NY State… except , maybe number 3. ” a little come to Jesus”. As a little Catholic girl we didn’t know that one per se. [ But I sure found out about it after I was grown and am so happy that I did.]
    How about one my mother, Sister Grandma, used to say…”We shall see what we shall see.”?


  2. Whoooo..I remember everyone of them…..’course we are from the same family! I must add…..”you better quit crying..or I will give you something to really cry about”. Bill Cosby was famous for using some of these….I used to wonder how he knew about them……Ha!


  3. MG, I admit some surprise that you knew most of the sayings from your days up north. But, I acknowledged that these are probably more Americanisms than NC-isms. Now, I wonder if someone from the UK or other English-speaking places would also know these …? Kaye, I wanted to use some more of Mama Sadie’s sayings – particularly what she called Thelma … Maybe we can have a private giggle about that one!


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