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Old expressions not in general use.

(150 Posts)
Nelliemoser Wed 18-Jul-18 17:40:54

I was looking up this today and could not find many references. (On my tablet )To me it was just what you said.

"Skin a rabbit for ninepence" when pulling off a small childs clothes for bed.
I am from the East Midlands where I would have first heard it. any help please.

kittylester Wed 18-Jul-18 17:52:05

I remember 'skin a rabbit', nellie and remember (but try to forget!!!) seeing my dad skinning a rabbit and it seemed to come off in 1 piece - like pulling off a child's jumper or vest.

Maybe rabbits cost 9d or people were paid 9d per rabbit to skin them.

gmelon Wed 18-Jul-18 17:59:19

I think it was a sales pitch
When selling their wares the young lads would shout, Rabbits, rabbits, I'll skin you one for ninepence.

kittylester Wed 18-Jul-18 18:02:05

I sometimes still say it, nellie. And I remember a comedy with Ronnie Corbett in where his mum said it to him. What was that called? He was called Timothy. Sorry, I digress!

winterwhite Wed 18-Jul-18 18:06:43

Also ‘Let the dog see the rabbit’, maybe faded away with fox-hunting.
Remember Skin a rabbit, but not the nine pence.

Cherrytree59 Wed 18-Jul-18 18:10:38

'More than one way to skin a rabbit'

Eloethan Wed 18-Jul-18 21:26:08

My granddad always used to say "Good gardenstuff!" to express his surprise. I don't know if it was just his personal saying or whether it was something other people said too.

Mamissimo Wed 18-Jul-18 22:28:43

I’m not as green as I’m cabbage looking!

MissAdventure Wed 18-Jul-18 22:38:50

I'm not sure if this is someone's personal saying.. 'I feel like an 'haporth of soap after a hard days wash!"

lemongrove Wed 18-Jul-18 23:15:46

Not heard the skinned rabbit saying.
kitty.....yes, you got the tv series name right, it was Sorry!grin
‘Ah’ll tell tha that for nowt’ was a favourite expression where I grew up.Usually said when somebody had just forcefully said what was on their mind.

MamaCaz Wed 18-Jul-18 23:25:06

'You look like you've tossed up for your dinner an' lost', said to someone who looked a bit miserable.

MamaCaz Wed 18-Jul-18 23:33:45

'There's nowt as queer as folk' is another expression that you rarely hear nowadays grin

MrsAllboys Thu 19-Jul-18 07:58:54

"Stuff and nonsense " is an old one not heard now. Also 'once every Preston guild' was said by previous generation of family, which may be a regional thing.Eloethan could your father's saying have been a sanitized "Holy Shit!" ?

MrsAllboys Thu 19-Jul-18 08:01:01

Sorry...your Grandfather, not father Eloethan

BeeWitch Thu 19-Jul-18 08:18:17

'Well I'll go to the foot of our stairs!' was a favourite of Grandma when she was surprised. smile

sodapop Thu 19-Jul-18 08:24:20

Is it only people from the north of England who 'set' the table instead of laying it.
I used to tell my children to 'frame' when I wanted them to do something properly. My daughter also said this.

Charleygirl Thu 19-Jul-18 08:47:52

We also set a table in the east coast of Scotland.

MrsAllboys Thu 19-Jul-18 08:47:55

I say "set the table" but although I was born and bred in the south my family were of northern origin.

annodomini Thu 19-Jul-18 09:13:49

We always 'set' the table in my Scottish childhood and I'm sure it's still used.
When I first met my in-laws who haled originally from Yorkshire, though long resident in Kent, I was flummoxed when asked to 'side the pots'. My OH had to translate it as 'put away the dishes' when we'd finished drying them. As a Scot born and bred, this was completely foreign to me.

jusnoneed Thu 19-Jul-18 09:15:01

One of my Nan's sayings was "You'll meet yourself coming back" when anyone was racing about doing a task.

I sometimes say "I'll go to the foot of our stairs"

annodomini Thu 19-Jul-18 09:15:59

Come to think of it - the word I have just used, 'flummoxed' is not heard so frequently nowadays and yet I think it expresses very well the way one feels when puzzled.

kittylester Thu 19-Jul-18 09:44:53

Ooohhh, my nan used to side the table. I'd forgotten that.

grandtanteJE65 Thu 19-Jul-18 16:06:40

We set the table too in the West of Scotland.

Something really smart or even just new, or new fangled was described as being "fantouche"

sassenach512 Thu 19-Jul-18 17:00:47

" watch that bairn doesn't cowp his creels " meaning, be careful the little lad doesn't trip over something. This is a Northumbrian expression I haven't heard in a long time

boheminan Thu 19-Jul-18 17:11:12

My mum would describe something as being 'as black as Newgates knocker', an old reference to the old Newgate prison (I believe)

NanaandGrampy Thu 19-Jul-18 17:13:47

My dad used to say ‘ stone the crows’ when he was surprised about something ( or more often ‘stone the bleedin’ Crows 😁)

Grandma70s Thu 19-Jul-18 17:14:35

I recognise some of these expressions. We ‘set the table’ in north west England. I’ve always known ‘lay the table’ as well, but we said ‘set’.

My Irish grandmother used to say about the expense of family life, “A penny bun costs fourpence”.

I’ve noticed that the word ‘frightening’ isn’t used much any more. Everyone says ‘scary’.

Katek Thu 19-Jul-18 18:14:12

“As black as the Earl of Hell’s waistcoat” for anything/one dirty or unwashed. We also set the table (Edinburgh)

gmelon Thu 19-Jul-18 19:32:03

My Grandfather called me his "little bobby dazzler". I felt so special when he said it.
He and my Grandmother brought me up.
Whenever I asked where my very infrequently seen Mother was my Grandmother would say "gone for a soldier".
We always called the beach "the sands".

Nona4ever Fri 20-Jul-18 10:11:58

When we came home after being out, my mother would always say, ‘did you meet anyone you liked more than yourself?’

Nona4ever Fri 20-Jul-18 10:14:14

And my grandfather would always refer to anyone with a limp as ‘walking with a squint.’

Tweedle24 Fri 20-Jul-18 10:15:52

I set the table and I am from the southwest. My grandmother’s favourite was ‘mazed as a brush and twice as daft’. ( brush pronounced ‘brish’.

Nannarose Fri 20-Jul-18 10:16:55

I'm from the East Midlands, and hadn't heard the 'skin a rabbit for ninepence' (we were always given rabbits, didn't buy them!) but we do 'set' the table.
I was often told off for 'ommuxing' or 'morrising' and also to pack my 'mullucks' away. I still say those!

annifrance Fri 20-Jul-18 10:17:37

As a student I said to my Northern flatmate that I was feeling Dicky, meaning I was a bit under the weather. She fell about laughing and asked who Dicky was!

Grandma70s Fri 20-Jul-18 10:22:20

How about ‘vexed’ and ‘golly!’ (The exclamation, not the toy).

I still say ‘gosh’, but I think it’s probably outdated now.

coast35 Fri 20-Jul-18 10:24:00

I tell my little grandson that he has covered himself in glory when he achieves something extra special. I keep it for really big achievements and he loves it. He’ll ask “have I covered myself in glory Granny?”

Anniebach Fri 20-Jul-18 10:27:09

Never hear now - there is more than one way of skinning a cat. Who would want to skin a cat.

dragonfly46 Fri 20-Jul-18 10:29:27

Keep your finger on your penny ;)

Gilly1952 Fri 20-Jul-18 10:30:04

My gran used to say “he couldn’t stop a pig in an entry” when referring to someone with bandy or bow legs! I think people used to suffer from rickets in those days, which may have caused their bow legs.
I love the expression “handsome is as handsome does” - someone may be very good-looking but they also need to have the personality to match.

nettyandmasey Fri 20-Jul-18 10:34:01

We used to say 'skin a rabbit' when we we getting children undresssed. We also set the table ,Norfolk born and bred as were all my family.
My mother in law a Londoner could never get used to the fact that we put things up in Norfolk, rather than away. How do you put a bike up she would say.

BPJ Fri 20-Jul-18 10:39:49

While the chain is still swinging,the seat is still warm..

sue01 Fri 20-Jul-18 10:45:44

My family always used to say " Holidays tomorrow - piggies in a barrel ".

Never ever heard anyone else say it... until recently... in the East End of London.

My grandparents and great grandparents ran a pub on The Isle of Dogs..

Extra beer was always ordered.. on a sale or return basis.. for Bank Holidays.

These barrels were marked by the brewery with the stamp of a pig to differentiate them.

So when you saw a piggie on a barrel, holidays were coming !

Completely coincidentally... my Daughter and Son In Law make Saxby's cider and their company logo is a flying pig !

jangeo44 Fri 20-Jul-18 10:57:34

I'm a southerner and say set the table. Also still say black as Newgates knocker

Terrystred Fri 20-Jul-18 11:00:18

I still say the Newgate one! I got it from my mum. Also, when angry she used to call me a "guttersnipe". Still no idea what that means!!

winterwhite Fri 20-Jul-18 11:07:30

Maybe laying the table is recent rather than regional? I remember side, but used for clearing the table rather than setting it. There are some lovely sayings here that I will start using.

Overthehills Fri 20-Jul-18 11:09:52

We set the table in Ireland - I still do. Couldn’t understand what people meant by mashing the tea - we always let it draw!
Does anybody have a glory hole?

moggie57 Fri 20-Jul-18 11:12:43

theres more than one way to skin a rabbit. not sure how ,but oh YUK.... i still say i'm not do lally yet. i'm not sure where that comes from .in sussex my relatives and i say twitten for an alley way.

moggie57 Fri 20-Jul-18 11:15:27

a penny was for the keep your hands on your penny lol

Ronnie Fri 20-Jul-18 11:20:12

A saying my Scottish/Irish Mother was fond of saying to my younger brother & I when we were doing the ‘I want’ thing was “you can’t see green cheese but your teeth watters” with a Scots accent! I sometimes say it the the youngsters in our family & it makes them laugh.

keffie Fri 20-Jul-18 11:24:33

Setting or laying the table maybe depending on what class you were bought up in!

My late mom was from a professional middle class background. There was serious money in the family. They were all private schooled had nannies and housekeepers, gives you a jist of what I mean.

To summarize why I said that, is because I have (As all of mine always have too) said "lay the table" ehich came from my childhood. Just a thought. We tend to repeat what we are taught.

"Your face will stay like that" was one of mom's many saying. She also used "youth is wasted on the young" Ofcourse I didn't understand that being young and would roll my eyes. Now I do understand it

Ronnie Fri 20-Jul-18 11:26:56

Overthehill, I used the phrase ‘it’s a glory hole’ to my adult son who lives in Australia a while back, I was referring to a very untidy cupboard & he nearly. choked on his drink, apparently it has a completely different meaning over there!! So I have to watch my P&Q now🤣🤣

Brigidsdaughter Fri 20-Jul-18 11:33:38

I grew up in Ireland 'setting' the table. Lots of things were kept in a/the press. Often threatened as in 'I'll settle your hash'.

grannyactivist Fri 20-Jul-18 11:43:29

I had a younger brother who was rather needy and cried a lot. My mother's usual response was to ask him what he was skriking (crying) for and then tell him to stop mithering (bothering) her.

teabagwoman Fri 20-Jul-18 11:43:55

I’d forgotten a lot of these sayings but will bring them back into use. One my aunts used a lot was, if asked where they’d been, ‘there and back to see how far it is.’ My mother’s favourite was ‘let me and my heart take counsel for war is not of life the sum.’ I’ve never met anyone else who used this. Oh and then there was Uncle Ron’s ‘lummy day’ to express surprise and ‘fur coat no knickers’. The one that really puzzled me was ‘she loves lumpy custard’ said about anyone who was a prophet of gloom.

Legs55 Fri 20-Jul-18 11:48:48

I'm originally from Yorkshire now Devon & there's a lot of similar words used.

Keep yur 'and on yur 'apenny - often said to teenage girls going out with a ladgrin

Set the table = lay the table

Side the table = clear the table

Ginnel = narrow alley also known as a Snickett (sp?)

My DGD always called me "Blossom", DiL (Devon) calls every-one "Flower"

Put wood in'th 'ole = shut the door

You make a better door than a window = shift out of the way!!

Were you born in a barn? = close the door you've just walked through

More than one way to skin a cat/rabbit, often used when undressing a child who was being awkward or finding another way of tackling a difficult task

Well I'll go t'foot of our stairs = expression of surprise

All fur coat & no knickers = all top showgrin

Let the dog see the rabbit

I'm talking to the Organ Grinder not his Monkey

Gosh I could go on, this has really sparked some memories, I can hear my Granddad/Mum's voice when I say certain phrases/words

dragonfly46 Fri 20-Jul-18 11:55:08

I think when my mother used it, it meant hang onto your virginity!!
And sometimes it was 'keep your finger on your ha'penny'!

Marybel Fri 20-Jul-18 12:14:30

My Grandma used to say "It's looking black over Willie's mother's" when it looked as if it might rain. Never knew if it was just something she said or a regular 'saying'.

LouLou21 Fri 20-Jul-18 12:17:14

My dad used to say “make a noise like a carrot” much to our bewilderment and my mother used to say “I cried because I had no shoes, then I saw a man with no feet” when trying to impress upon us how lucky we were.

travelsafar Fri 20-Jul-18 12:21:32

As children if we pulled a face when asked to do something, my mum use to say ' your face looks like a cat's bum turned inside out!!'' or 'watch out the wind don't change' meaning you will stay looking like that. Where ever did these sayings come from!!! smile

Peardrop50 Fri 20-Jul-18 12:26:23

We always set the table. Surely to lay a table would hurt!

dragonfly46 Fri 20-Jul-18 12:33:09

We say 'it's looking dark over Bill's mother's' I expect Willie and Bill were the same person.

fluttERBY123 Fri 20-Jul-18 13:09:25

Can't find who asked but do lally is from the Indian place of Deolali where troops who had had a nervous breakdown, as it was then called, were sent.

Shelagh6 Fri 20-Jul-18 13:40:15

Did you see anybody better looking than yourself? My aunt always said that to me - from Eire!

Nannarose Fri 20-Jul-18 13:47:18

I have a glory hole, and I mash the tea (and love Saxby's cider!)
I was a very curious child, and had to have the expression 'the cat ran up the entry' explained when I was quite young. I'm afraid that where I lived, the cat ran up the entry several times.

mimiro Fri 20-Jul-18 13:47:59

in america set the table.
i wonder if the penny one is similar to the>put an aspirin between your knees-keeping virtue safe
more than one way to skin a cat-more than one way to do something difficult.
ggm was a scot and husband was dutch heard many of these growing up

DanniRae Fri 20-Jul-18 14:00:48

An ex boyfriend of my daughter's had never heard the expression "to go indoors" - as in "I'm just popping in doors". We are Londoners and he was from the Isle of Man.

lovebeigecardigans1955 Fri 20-Jul-18 14:05:46

If a house is untidy or dirty, "it's as bad as dirty Dick's", which I think refers to a poor man who was jilted at the altar and became too depressed to look after his house and it got into a terrible state.

Summerstorm Fri 20-Jul-18 14:08:54

Set the table in Edinburgh and Fife, the “bunker” and the “big light” and “ were you born in a field” seemed to totally confuse an English dil

DanniRae Fri 20-Jul-18 14:11:59

Confusing me too Summerstorm! Except I think "Were you born in a field?" means you have left the door open?

JanaNana Fri 20-Jul-18 14:21:57

I was born " up north" and recognise several of these sayings.
Set the table. = lay.
Mash the tea. = brew.
I"m really nithered = cold.
Snicket...ginnel = passage or short cut.
More ways than one to skin a cat. = different ways to do something.
Up the wooden hill = time for bed.

grandtanteJE65 Fri 20-Jul-18 14:29:34

My mother told any child who dared to say "I want" that "I want gets a smacked bottom" - not that I ever remember her carrying out the threat.

Fennel Fri 20-Jul-18 14:32:37

My Grandma used to say nettie for toilet, and gamp for umbrella.
Also 'hold your tongue' if we were cheeky.
That was in Northumberland.

4allweknow Fri 20-Jul-18 14:45:21

Still say set the table in Scotland. Lang may yer lum reek wi' aither folks coal is one rarely used nowadays.

Sheilasue Fri 20-Jul-18 15:02:28

In for a penny in for a pound. Don’t know what it ment.
A bird in the hand is worth two in a Bush? The early bird catches the worm. Night night don’t let the bed bugs bite.

Patticake123 Fri 20-Jul-18 15:17:32

I too am from the East Midlands and use the expression ‘skin a rabbit ‘ when undressing the children but don’t involve any money! When I lived in the West Midlands, I loved their expression of ‘I played my face’. I think it meant you let people know how you were feeling. What do others do when they leave the tea to mash? I’ve heard, brew, stew and steep are there any more?

chicken Fri 20-Jul-18 15:49:02

Let the tea draw---I'm a Southerner. A passageway is a twitten. We also said "skin a rabbit" when pulling a child's jumper over its head and "getting black over Will's mother's" presaged bad weather. When the cat gets skittish, it has the wind in it's tail, or is rizzling.

chicken Fri 20-Jul-18 15:53:10

My OH is a northener and always describes a certain shade of salmon pink as "Nettie pink". Apparently it was the colour usually used when painting the outside toilets (netties).

luluaugust Fri 20-Jul-18 16:06:27

Cat got your tongue (no idea what to say), black as the ace of spades (self explanatory) dog's dinner (right old mess), three sheets to the wind (drunk), his bark is worse than his bite (dogs, he's not as scary as he sounds). We used 'brew' for tea.

millymouge Fri 20-Jul-18 16:40:39

My dear aunt when she was surprised at something always said "well I'd go to the foot of our stairs". No idea how it came about.

patriciageegee Fri 20-Jul-18 16:44:47

Side the pots
You'll be laughing on the other side of your face
I'll box your ears
Scriek for crying/mither for pestering/ fair clemned for feeling hungry (or starving hungry)
What's for tea? Two jumps at the cupboard door (???)
Ay up!
Has the bin man bin mam?
All hilarious and double-Dutch ( there's another one) to anyone under 30

Daddima Fri 20-Jul-18 16:57:40

Ronnie, my granny talked about the ‘glory hole’, but when my brother went to live in Brighton he found it had another meaning!

‘ He/she’d skin a louse for its tallow’, about a mean person.

‘ She let the bunnets go by because she was waiting for a hat’, about someone who rejected suitors she felt were beneath her.

‘ Nae sense in wastin twa hooses’, when two unattractive people got together.

Photocrazy Fri 20-Jul-18 17:00:27

We live in Lincolnshire and our grandsons were born in the States and still live there. When telling our 3yr old GS he had done a good job, I said, "absolutely splendid" as my old aunt had always said to me. The next time he had done something well, he called to me in broad American, Grandma (and then in a very old fashioned English voice), "Is it absolutely splendid" and had us all in fits of laughter for ages. He's seven now and still remembers, needless to say he's a little comic.

oldbatty Fri 20-Jul-18 17:03:25

Daddima, Scots is full of brilliant sayings......anybody ever heard " Aye ma lassie you'll no be so jacko the morns morn"

JanaNana Fri 20-Jul-18 17:04:02

Remembered another one...the fire needs mending. = needs more coal and the poker to stir it up a bit.

JaneD3 Fri 20-Jul-18 17:21:29

As nesh as a gas mantle ( a fragile person who can’t stand cold, wet, discomfort)
I’ll smack your bottom til it bleeds buttermilk
Gornall - the place where they put the pig on the wall to watch the fair go by.
He’s from over Jordan - someone of Middle eastern appearance
All Black Country expressions

Bijou Fri 20-Jul-18 17:29:38

When we asked where Dad was going the reply was “to see a man about a dog”.
We always laid the table. Londoners.

Nonnatimesfour Fri 20-Jul-18 17:36:56

"Charlie's Dead" meaning your underskirt is showing.

"Blow me down with a feather" - being amazed and shocked.

Jane43 Fri 20-Jul-18 17:43:56

Maribel, “It’s Looking black over Bill’s mother’s” was used a lot in the West Midlands.

When we used to,ask my Dad where he was going he would often say he was going to see a man about a dog. It was usually to the pub but we used to ask him when we were going to get a dog before we knew what he meant.

Jane43 Fri 20-Jul-18 18:18:07

JaneD3, my DH is from The Black Country and he has his Dad’s book of Black Country stories featuring Enoch and Eli. They are very funny.

Jane43 Fri 20-Jul-18 18:21:19

Bijou I think our posts about ‘see a man about a dog’ were made at the same time.

Nonnatimesfour, yes Charlie’s dead was used a lot when I was growing up.

MrsEggy Fri 20-Jul-18 19:40:52

Go all around the Wrekin (go miles out of your way to get somewhere) - the Wrekin is a large hill near Telford.

Grandmama Fri 20-Jul-18 19:48:36

I'm Yorkshire through and through and heard Leggs55's sayings in my family. My father used to say 'Stone the crows' and 'Pull up the ladder, Jack, I'm in the dinghy' - probably from his time in the RAF in the war. If I asked what was for dinner I was told 'dry bread and pull it'. We still set and side the table. Bedtime was time to go up the dancers.

farview Fri 20-Jul-18 19:55:50

am from Lancashire and my dad also used to say "up the dancers"
Also skriking(crying)& mythering (asking/talking too much!
Nanny used to call all us grandchildren..Childer!

sodapop Fri 20-Jul-18 20:27:51

It's snowing down south - if your petticoat was showing
'She's had everything taken away' this was said in hushed tones when someone had an hysterectomy.

farview Fri 20-Jul-18 20:32:09

..also..she's all fur coat and no knickers! haha

Gin Fri 20-Jul-18 20:45:12

When asked what was for dinner my mother would reply ‘neck of nothing and no turnips’.

My children always laughed when I said ‘fossilised fish-hooks’ when I was frustrated, I have no idea where that came from.

Beau Fri 20-Jul-18 21:32:03

Terrystred, my mum always called us guttersnipes if we got too dirty playing (mainly my brother 😏
Grandmama, I thought only my mum said 'bread and pull it' if we dared ask what was for dinner 😅
We say 'lay the table' - London and Bucks.

farview Fri 20-Jul-18 21:55:24

Set the table,lay the's interesting! We say set the table, after reading all the posts....doesn't seem to be a North South thing...hmmm!!

JaneD3 Fri 20-Jul-18 22:00:00

Yes we went all round the Wrekin! Jane43 the Black Country and in particular, Bilston, is a source of tales! Aynuk and Ali part of my past!

Lilyflower Fri 20-Jul-18 22:06:33

MyMIL used to say ‘it’s black over Bill’s mother’s’ when clouds were dark.