Quirky things our parents used to say

Dec 27, 2021

We’re feeling pretty reminiscent here at Starts At 60, this Christmas.

We got chatting in the office, and realised that collectively, our folks all had a number of oddball little sayings that they used to wheel out when we were kids. At the time, we accepted them as normal parental lingo. It’s only when you consider them decades later that they seem so, well, weird. Here are some of the best, and what we think they mean. If we’re wrong, please feel free to let us know – otherwise, tell us the funny things your parents used to say.

“You can’t put brains on statues”

  • You’re clueless.

“Are your ears painted on?”

  • Are you listening to me?

“Do you live in a tent?”

  • Close the door, please.

“What do you think this is, bush week?”

  • Stop trying to take advantage of me.

“Get your laughing gear around that”

  • Get that in your mouth.

“Fair crack of the whip”

  • Give that a good go.

“That looks like a dog’s breakfast”

  • That looks disgusting/gross/like a mess.

“Just a few sandwiches short of a picnic”

  • You’re a bit daft.

“Buckleys and none” or “You’ve got Buckley’s chance”

  • No chance.

“Hit the frog and toad”

  • Get on the road.

“Do the Harry”

  • Disappear (like Harold Holt did).

“Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater”

  • Don’t disregard everything.

“A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”

  • Be grateful for what you’ve actually got

“She’s apples”

  • I’m all good thanks

“I could eat a horse”

  • I’m famished

“I could eat the crotch out of a low-flying duck”

  • I’m really famished

“Get the shit off the liver”

  • Get things off your chest

“Money doesn’t grow on trees you know”

  • We’re not made of money.

If a kid is pulling a face: “The wind will change!”

  • And you’ll get stuck looking like that.

“Hold your horses”

  • Don’t be so impatient; you’re getting ahead of yourself.

“You’ll live”

  • Stop making a fuss over nothing.

“I didn’t come down in the last rain shower”

  • I’m not stupid.

“Wacky do!”

  • Wow, that’s impressive!

“…And if they told you to jump off a bridge?”

  • Don’t copy idiot friends

“Because I said so”

  • My word is law.

“And who do you think you are? The Queen of Sheeba?”

  • Don’t go getting above yourself.

“There are starving kids in Africa, now eat your dinner!”

  • Be grateful for what you’ve got.

“Put a sock in it”

  • Hush, stop going on about it.

“Hay is for horses”

  • If you want to ask me something, say, ‘Excuse me’, not ‘Hey’?

“I don’t know, CAN you?”

  • I think you’ll find the correct phrase is “May I”

“The grass isn’t always greener”

  • Stop wanting what you don’t have and be happy with what you DO have!

What funny things did your parents used to say? And did you say them to your own kids?

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