When I was growing up and, well, even into adulthood, my family uttered phrases I never heard anyone else utter, with few exceptions.

My parents are both gone now, but my sister and I still vividly remember all the folky colloquialisms we learned from them. We even still use them on occasion. And to my great delight, I got to use them in my Introduction to Folklore class at Western Kentucky University back in the day. And we all had a field day when I mentioned one of my dad's favorites, and one of mine, too.


My friends at Western were big fans of that one, too, but we had no idea where it came from if it came from ANYWHERE. Well, it did and it does. And it's kind of gross, too. As you might have guessed from the image, it refers to Epsom salts which were once used as a laxative in the 1800s. (And here I use them to soak my feet.) So when you hear someone say, "That moved through me like a dose of salts through a widow woman," you'll get the reference.

As for why widows would be more susceptible to the powers of Epsom salts, I can't tell you, but it did make the phrase a little more humorous, if a bit dark.

Below, you'll find a list of those old words and phrases my parents and grandparents used to say. And some of them were meant to replace curse words, even the mildest ones.

So take a look. Have any of THESE ever rolled off your tongue?

Fun and Familiar Family Phrases, But Do Other Kentuckians Use Them?

Gallery Credit: Dave Spencer

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