Appalachian Sayings: I “like to have died!”

I caught myself using this saying the other day.  In Appalachia, “like to have” means almost or nearly or came close to.  So “I like to have died!” means I almost died, came close to dying, nearly died.

It can be a true statement or an exaggeration.  In my case, it was something of an exaggeration when I was telling a friend about my recent hospitalization. Although I had been very ill and could have died if I had not received medical treatment, I was rushed to the hospital and did not actually come close to death.

Most often, as I have heard it, the statement is used to exaggerate a response, such as: “When I saw that huge spider on the porch, I like to have died!”  or “I like to have died when that cougar came down the hill and went behind the shed!”

“Like to have” also can be used in this way: “When he found out his daughter was dating that no-count boy, he liked to have had a conniption fit!”

Do you say, “I like to have died,” or have you ever heard it used?

Porch spider
Porch spider




14 Comments Add yours

  1. “Do you say, “I like to have died,” or have you ever heard it used?”


    1. REALLY?! So far, you’re the only person who has let me know they use this! Thanks!


  2. John Coleman says:

    And the Brits might say, “I thought I should have died”–just to offer a multi-cultural slant. 🙂 John

    Liked by 1 person

  3. iballrtw says:

    Yes, I have used it growing up. Not so much lately.


    1. Glad to her someone else has used this phrase!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. thiaBasilia says:

    That’s my style. Like to have died of laughter when I read it in your post! Glad u visited. Glad I visited! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Bill Rogers says:

    The phrase exists in an early English translation of the Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault.


    1. Fascinating! Thank you for the information!


  6. Ed Darrell says:

    I don’t use the phrase, but I’ve heard it a lot, mostly from farmers or rural families — and all across the nation, really.

    In the Northeast, the phrase often denotes something happening that embarrassed the story teller. “Those nice Mormon missionaries came around again, and I offered them coffee, which they refused; so I offered them tea, and they refused that. So I offered them a CoCola, but they wouldn’t take that. Well, I was beside myself, so I said, ‘would you like a beer?’ They left pretty quick. My Mormon friend called me and said they don’t drink caffeine or alcohol, and the poor missionaries thought I was trying to chase them off! I liked to have died right there!”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Love that story! Maybe the phrase isn’t really Appalachian. Who knows?


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