October 18, 2009

Too Soon Old And Too Late Smart!

I grew up in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, also known as "Amish Country."  The Amish are Pennsylvania Dutch, but not all Pennsylvania Dutch are Amish.

"Dutch" does not mean they are Dutch people from the Netherlands.  Rather, the German word for German is "Deutsch."  So they are really Pennsylvania Germans or Deutsch who somehow ended up being called Pennsylvania Dutch!  The Pennsylvania Dutch today are descendants from German-speaking immigrants.

I've been thinking about PA Dutch sayings or expressions I heard or spoke as a child.  However, when I left home at age eighteen, I quickly learned to change some of my words!  You'll understand why!

It wonders me . . .
Outen the lights.
I get so befuddled.
She writes so fancy like.
I can't make her out.
Eat yourself full.

And, of course, I could always entertain people by telling them some old stand-by PA Dutch idioms or proverbs.

We get too soon old and too late smart.
Kissin' wears out . . . cookin' don't!
No woman can be happy with less than seven to cook for!
A plump wife and a big barn never did any man any harm!
What's the use of a pretty table if there's nothing on it?

Can you add any Pennsylvania Dutch expressions?  Please comment.


  1. One from my family was, "The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get."

    I have no idea if that's Pennsylvania Dutch or not. But I was born in Pennsylvania and grew up loving Scrabble, even if we moved away when I was one.

  2. "Papa's at the table and half ate already."
    "Today I walked the stream around."