13 totally weird sayings people in Wales picked up from their parents


Everyone would have heard the parents use certain expressions whilst growing up. For each of us they probably seem perfectly normal and made total sense. But tell them to others from different families and they’ll probably sound like the oddest thing ever uttered.

Other particular phrases, on the other hand, might have been common to whole communities, like a shared quirk of speech within a certain area. So when we asked you to give us your own examples, some proved favourite old favourites while others us scratching our collective heads.

‘I could sleep on a chickens lip’

As said by Carole Evans’ dad from Aberdare, meaning that someone is so tired they’ll nod off anywhere.

‘You’ve got ears like Jodrell Bank’

Said by Steve Thomas from Pontypridd’s mother. Meaning the ability to overhear conversations from several rooms away (named after an observatory in Cheshire famed for its powerful radio telescopes).

‘He/she don’t peel no eggs’

Ceri Phillips remembers her grandfather from Ebbw Vale saying this, referring to a person who didn’t stand any messing about from anyone.

‘I could sleep on the edge of a wet Echo’



You may have heard this from someone who’s really tired

Another tiredness-related one – this time from Paul Watkins from Saundersfoot – meaning being so knackered you could drift off whilst balancing on a damp newspaper.

Read more: 13 slang words and phrases you only know if you’re Welsh or live in Wales

‘I see it all now some of it said the blind rabbit to the deaf horse’

Said by John Jones from Merthyr Tydfil’s uncle whenever he felt totally confused by a situation, regardless of any attempts to explain it to him.

‘You make a better door than a window’

Natasha Williams from Cardiff’s dad used to say this to her whenever she stood in front of the TV, blocking his view.

‘If you are looking for sympathy you will find it in the dictionary between swelling and syphilis’

Ian Simpson from Blackwood said his mother would use this if he was ever feeling sorry for himself.

‘It’s like Fred Karno’s army in here!’

Named after slapstick music hall entertainer Fred Karno and used during WWI to describe disorganised bands of volunteer soldiers, it was a familiar phrase in the household of Mags Cawthorn from Barry. It refers to any chaotic event or situation.

‘My stomach thinks my throat’s been cut’



A familiar phrase from anyone who’s late having their tea

This was a regular expression whenever some was really hungry in Denise Crews family from Port Talbot.

‘I could eat a scabby horse between two bread vans’

Another hunger-related phrase, this time used by Donna Howells’ dad from Rhondda.

‘What’s that got to do with price of tea?’

Caroline Edwards from Monmouth’s dad always said this whenever anyone said anything irrelevant to the point he was trying to make.

‘If the grass looks greener on the other side its just because it’s covered in fertiliser’

Chantelle Boswell from Trefin would get told this whenever she moaned about being unhappy with her lot.

‘Well, I’ll go to the foot of our stairs in a pair of pyjamas’

Donna Howells from Rhondda remembers this expression of disbelief being said regularly in her house.