So, whatís a Ma-Ism? My mother was born in the early 1900s. She was part of that group recently described as "The Greatest Generation". Going through two world wars, it was understandable how they received that moniker. However, itís a crock of poop. Do a Google search and see what happened to our founding fathers.

But, Maís generation did have morals and ethics (and Iím not talking about religion) that we lack in todayís liberal secularism. It didnít mean they practiced it all the time but at least they had something for which to strive.

Alas, as usual, I digress.

Cursing or swearing was never allowed in our home; this was rigidly enforced. However, my mother used other expletives that were equally effective and some quite humorous. She also used other expressions to describe certain life situations.

Iíd like to share some of these with you. Here are Ma-Isms Iíve collected from my memory and other family members.


Good night nurse! (to express surprise)

Glory be to Moses!

Holy Mackerel!

Batissimo! (no idea what this means, but she used it when mad)

Jalimbeebee! ( used in humorous situations)


Phrases & Expressions

You kids quiet down right now or Iíll knock you into the middle of next week!

He looks in the pink ( registers good health)

Money doesnít grow on trees.

Who does he think he is (unfortunately a French-Canadian saying all to common and meant to keep people down)

Iím going to brain you if you keep that up! (when she was really mad)

Heís as Irish as Paddy Murphyís pig.

Iíll be there in 2 shakes of a lambís tail. (Iíll be there really quick).

Get a move on (get going).

Go down to the meat market and get me a pound of the $.39 (Imagine $.39 per pound for hamburg).

Donít you look at me with that tone of voice!

He couldnít fight his way out of a paper bag. (Ma was a great fan of the ĎFriday Night Fightsí, boxing matches on TV back in the Ď50s).

Sheís cute as a button (no idea how this developed).

Heís got bats in his belfry (heís crazy).

Batty as a bluejay (see #13 above).

The catís meow (Thatís great!)

Thatís for the birds (thatís not good).

Heís a Fion Fion (heís flamboyant or just a flamer)

Hope you enjoy these and let me know if there are other expressions from this generation I should add.