There’s a Treasure Trove of Alabama Idioms Worth Knowing


Let’s all take a moment to gawk at this picture and note how people in Alabama talk funny.

First and foremost: the devil has a wife? Edward Snowden’s girlfriend thinks that’s a particularly unfortunate choice of partner.

Secondly, there’s an amazing wikipedia section of the page for “sunshower” that reads as follows:

In the United States, particularly in the Southern United States, and in Hungary as well, a sunshower is said to show that “the devil is beating his wife” because he is angry God created a beautiful day. The rain is said to be his wife’s tears. A regional variant from Tennessee is “the devil is kissing his wife”. In French, the phrase is “Le diable bat sa femme et marie sa fille” (i.e., “the devil is beating his wife and marrying his daughter”). In the Netherlands they say that there is a “funfair going on in hell”.

A funfair! I bet that’s when all the Dutch people dance around a maypole in a field of tulips as someone* reads from the Rhinelandic Rhyming Bible.

But mostly, this linguistic chestnut fills me with regret: while I come from the civilized world part of the country that doesn’t use this term for SunRain, I do feel regretful that I’ve gone my whole life without a word to describe this weather phenomenon that apparently exists.

So, with that in mind, I did some digging and found a few more common Alabama phrases you never knew you needed. As it turns out they have all kinds of phrases for everyday occurrences.

  • “God’s wife has a urinary tract infection” – meteor shower”
  • Angels are dancing on the moon” – when you see those spots after rubbing your eyes for a while
  • “God must be baking a cake” – a hot day followed by a cooling period
  • “The Mayor of Purgatory is tap dancing again” – whenever you accidentally crack a knuckle
  • “Snakes are eating the chutney” – the relief you feel when you drop something and it doesn’t break
  • “Spare on a prayer” – whenever someone picks up a 7-10 split in order to win a bowling game
  • “Where’s the beavers?!” – Commonly shouted phrase whenever someone stubs their toe
  • “Ghosts giving me the time” – hard rain accompanied by loud, howling winds
  • “The devil’s aunt got her tubes tied” – a traffic jam caused by road construction
  • “St. Peter is making copies” – lightning that is not accompanied by thunder

*I was hoping to put the name of a prominent Dutch actor here but as the wikipedia page for “Cinema of the Netherlands” says, “While many other Dutch actors and actresses have tried to break through in Hollywood, few have had the success of [Rutger] Hauer and [Jeroen] Krabbé.” So, good luck, that evil redhead from Game Of Thrones!

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One thought on “There’s a Treasure Trove of Alabama Idioms Worth Knowing

  1. […] we’ve learned some weird things about you: Ya’ll talk funny, your flag is strange and your men rock a haircut that’s reminiscent of the 90′s. But […]

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