Maybe I saw a discussion about this particular phrase on social media and that's how I started thinking about it.

I have very few memories of my paternal grandmother; she died a couple of days before my fifth birthday. I remember rolling down the hill behind my grandparents' duplex; my grandfather moved when she passed away. I remember her fried white corn. And I remember "I swanny."

"Well, I swanny," she'd say, most likely on a regular basis, otherwise I wouldn't remember something from when I so young.

It means "I swear," and I guess it occurred to me that I don't hear it anymore. And then I began to consider OTHER old phrases that I don't hear anymore.

My dad had quite a collection. And some of his phrases, I later came to realize, were substitutes for cursing. (Well, except for that one time he hit his thumb with a hammer. No euphemisms that day.)

For example, for garden seed. Oh wait. Let me put it in the proper context. "Well, for GARDEN seed!" It stood for "for God's sake." I've never heard anyone else use the phrase.

He'd say "I'll be dad burn" instead of "I'll be damn" because...well...Mom.

And speaking of Mom, she had a few words and phrases or her own. And, like Dad, a couple of them were her versions of swearing, which she never did.

"Blame take it!" was a big one. Heard that a lot. And if she was really feeling it, "Blame take it and throw it away!" If there is an origin to this phrase, I have yet to happen upon it. So I'll assume she gets full credit for this one.

And maybe for "Cricket!" Another curse word alternative and, again, another Mom original, I'm once again going to assume. YOU try searching "cricket" and see if you can find where it's the virgin drink answer to swearing. You'll get the sport, the lighter, the phone service, or the insect. You will NOT get the colloquialism.

And one more before I go. If something was hung crooked or just generally looked a little out of whack, Mom would say it was "all sigogglin." Used to crack me up. I even tried spelling it one time--cygogglin (I was close)--because, well, I thought she made it up. THAT one sounded like she made it up. But I would be wrong. It's an old Appalachian term meaning "not built correctly, crooked, skewed, out of balance" according to So she got that one dead on.

How about you? You remember family members from back in the day who would drop these words into conversation?

And how many do you remember that I didn't?

Enter your number to get our free mobile app

CHECK IT OUT: These words were born in the '80s