Hillbilly

A hillbilly is someone from the mountains and of a different culture from those in the cities and suburbs. Hillbillies are often considered ignorant and rough. America’s most famous portrayal of hillbillies comes from the 1960s era American television series “The Beverly Hillbillies“. It’s about a family of hillbillies who strike oil on their property and move to Beverly Hills, an expensive city in Western Los Angeles.

Get Out of Here

scared

Get out of here (or get outta here) can be used to tell someone to leave. It can also be used when you don’t believe what they are saying or you are surprised by it.

Person A: I just got married

Person B: Get outta here

Other phrases we use to express disbelief include: Are you kidding me? No way! Are you joking? or just plain whaat?

 

An Arm and a Leg

Gingerbread-man-arm-and-a-leg

“It cost me an arm and a leg” means that it cost a lot of money. Other idioms that use arms and legs, include “break a leg”, which means good luck — especially in show business, “pull my leg” which means to fool someone (e.g Are you pulling my leg?) and pull my finger, used by uncles towards little nephews and nieces. When the child pulls the extended finger, the uncle then releases a fart (the moral of this story is to avoid pulling the fingers of American uncles).

That’s What She Said

unhappy-woman“That’s what she said” is an old idiom for old men. It is (in their minds) a witty aside that adds out-of-the-blue sexual innuendo. It is also usually self-depreciating as it belittles the speaker’s sexual prowess. Here’s an example:

Man A: How was the dentist visit

Man B: I didn’t feel a thing

Man A: That’s what she said.

In this dialogue, Man A is associating the statement made by Man B with a fictional sexual encounter in which he had left the woman unsatisfied. This joke is used all the time when men are speaking together… and they are out of earshot of women.

The idiom was originally found painted on the walls at Lascaux

Working hard or hardly working

“Working hard or hardly working” is an amusing and informal way to greet someone you know, especially if they’re over sixty. It’s good to know since it can help you keep two similar but different words distinct in your head.

Working hard means to work with great effort. Hardly working means to be working with as little effort as possible. What’s funny (to some people –mainly senior citizens) is the word play using hard and hardly. In most cases, adding an ly changes the word form, but the meaning remains the same. For example: quick and quickly both mean to do something fast. But the meanings for hard and hardly are opposite.

Here is an example of how to use this phrase:

You: Hi grandpa. Working hard or hardly working?

Grandpa: What?

 

[ ] Ass

You might be confused as a learner of English by the many idioms that include the word “ass”. I have already mentioned in a previous entry “pain in the ass”, but the ass idiom is so much more.

Of course, ass can be an animal. But we seldom use the word since the other meanings overpower it (kind of like using gay for anything besides homosexual.) So, besides the four-legged horsey type animal let me remind you that ass is a casual term for that area between your lower back and thighs. It’s what you sit on. So, how do Americans use ass?

Well, if you tell too many jokes, and especially if you are sarcastic, someone might call you a “smart ass.” If you do something stupid, you are a “dumb ass.” Overweight? fat ass? Inactive? lazy ass. I think you are starting to get the picture.

Also, someone might refer to your ass. For example, if they want you to move quickly, they might say “Get your lazy ass out of that bed.” If they won you at something, they might say they beat your ass.

The list goes on and on.

Have any other ass idioms? Let me know.