Talking with a Southerner can be an entertaining, albeit sometimes confusing, venture. We love to be colorful. We delight in our colloquialisms. After all, why use just one old boring word when you can liven up the conversation with 4 or 5 or more and convey the same idea?
For instance, you may see your friend Bitsy at the Pig and in the course of conversation you say, “Did you see Irma at the dance last night?”
Bitsy may respond with “I sure did. That Irma was puttin’ on the dog, wasn’t she?”
She was what??
Putting on the dog. — Dressed up all fancy. Probably a little too much so. Flashy.
Dogs seem to come up often in Southern speaking. Maybe it’s because the South was and still is largely agrarian and people use dogs in farming cattle and other animals. Maybe it stems from a long tradition of hunting with dogs. Who knows? Whatever the reason, here are some of my favorite colloquialisms that refer to man’s best friend along with their definitions.
That dog won’t hunt. — That idea/plan/scheme won’t work.
I don’t have a dog in the fight. — The outcome does not affect me.
If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas. — You are known by the company you keep.
He lies like a dog. — This one is a little play on words comparing telling an untruth to a lazy dog who lies down.
And last but not least…
She’s so ugly they had to tie a pork chop around her neck to get the dog to play with her.
Now that’s just doggone funny, bless her heart.