The sayings you learnt from your parents or grandparents

Parents say the darndest things, don’t they? Growing up you probably heard one or two memorable sayings uttered by your

Parents say the darndest things, don’t they? Growing up you probably heard one or two memorable sayings uttered by your parents (or your grandparents) and if they stuck, chances are you might be using them around your family and friends now.

For tonight’s ‘step back in time’ we take a look at some of the sayings you learnt from your parents and grandparents.

“This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you”

Uttered by many parents and usually followed by a spanking. “It didn’t matter if mum or dad said those words calmly or with anger,” John says, “I knew I was in trouble.”


“I’ll just give this a lick and promise”

“This was just one of the old phrases I remember my mum and my granny used to say, usually when they were cleaning up quickly before guests arrived,” Kathy says.

The expression is more than 200 years old according to some language experts. ‘Lick’ is said to mean ‘at a fast pace’ or ‘an act of cleaning or washing something in a hasty manner’, while the promise was to do a better job next time.

“Hold your horses

“When my brother and I were in a hurry to go fishing, my grandfather would always call this out to us,” Ray says. “He wanted us to slow down, take a minute and make sure we had everything we needed before going out on the water.”


“Everything but the kitchen sink

Christine says her grandmother used to detest camping, but once a year the family would head to the beach, pitch a tent and spend time together. “My father used to say we’ve brought everything but the kitchen sink to ensure grandma was happy,” she says.

It’s an old cliche, which means the family took almost everything they could think of with them.

“You’re all tuckered out”

“After playing outside most of the day, my sisters and I would come inside and collapse on the lounge room floor. Dad would always say ‘you kids are all tuckered out’ and send us off for a bath before dinner time,” Gerry says.

“It’s true… We’d run ourselves to exhaustion and on days like that we slept really well too.”


“You’ll fall and break your neck”

Betty says this phrase would be called out by her mother to her sister who was getting up to no good.

“My sister was quite the little adventurer when we were younger,” Betty says. “She made a flying fox using a piece of rope tied from the upper branches of a fig tree in our front yard to the fence and it caused my mother no end of grief watching her slip down the rope.”

“As thick as two bricks”

“My dad, who was a builder, used to say this about one of his workers,” Ricky says. “I took it to mean that the guy wasn’t all that bright, which is pretty accurate now I think about it.”

What phrases do you have from your parents and/or grandparents? Do you use any of these phrases now?

  1. When asked, “Where are you going Dad?” The reply was usually, “Up the river in a cab shooting oysters.”

    • Maria Dingjan  

      My Dad used to answer: “Down the road and ’round the corner”.


    When asking “what’s for tea?” the answer was “duck under the table”

    • Judith  

      Another good reply was “take it or leave it”

    • Maria Dingjan  

      My Nana used to say this phrase as well. But she always added: “And silver new nothing for dessert”.

      • Maria Dingjan  

        I meant to say: silver new nothing with bells on for dessert!

  3. Jeff Cook  

    When asking “What is that thing?” the answer was commonly “It’s a wingwong for a goose’s bridle!”

    • Joanne  

      ‘Wigwam’, is what my Nanna, & Mum used to say!

  4. Greg meek  

    He put his hand in he dunny and came up with a gold watch

  5. Amelia  

    When my children did something of which I disapproved, my fave saying to them was, ‘that’s not sociably acceptable’!
    I still say it to them, even though they’re adults’, now!

    Must’ve ‘stuck’, as heard it used to my Grandchild!

    ‘Circle of Life’, methinks!

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