AW: [sw-l] Chicken Scratch

CWren at DOE.K12.GA.US CWren at DOE.K12.GA.US
Thu Jan 4 14:47:16 UTC 2007

The (American) South is full of really bizarre idioms.  Since I have moved 
here, I have started collecting them.   I think my favorite is "That room 
is so small you couldn't cuss a cat in it without getting hair in your 

Cherie Wren
GSD Staff Interpreter
232 Perry Farm Rd
Cave Spring, GA 30124
706-766-0766 Cell

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"Neil Bauman" <neil at HEARINGLOSSHELP.COM> 
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01/04/2007 09:30 AM
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Re: AW: [sw-l] Chicken Scratch

Hi Cherie:

>I always heard that referred to as "chicken feed"  ::grin::   I get 
>paid 'chicken feed' to work here at GSD.  I also heard the idiom 
>derived from the old days where employers might pay the workers in 
>barter... so they might actually get paid in =real= chicken feed, 
>(as opposed to cow feed, which would be worth more?). Today it just 
>means 'pay next to nothing'.

Just shows how things change over time and from one part of the 
country to another. I heard this where I grew up in western Canada. 
The chickens scratch to get their food--so either works.

Another thing, we wouldn't have said "chicken scratch" for slopping 
writing, we'd have said "chicken tracks". Again slight differences in 
different parts of the country.

But they all mean basically the same. Such is the diversity and 
richness (and confusion) of English.



Neil Bauman, Ph.D.
Center for Hearing Loss Help
49 Piston Court
Stewartstown, PA 17363
Phone: (717) 993-8555
FAX: (717) 993-6661
Email: neil at

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