Author Childen Stories Email Inspirations Family Stories Home Inspirational Stories Links Poetry Recipes


Mountain Talk

This is just a few of the words and phrases I could think of, with the help of a few friends and family.

More to come as I think of 'em.


Appalachian Dialect -- Explanation of Word or Phrase


A bird in hand is worth 2 in the bush -- Keep what's a sure thing.
a good spell atterward -- a long time afterwards
a lick -- a bit a little
a whack of jacks 2 tall men coudn't shake hands over - plate full of flapjacks
acrost -- across
acrost the waters -- from overseas
afeard -- afraid
afixin' about to -- getting ready to
afore -- before, or "for"
aggin -- against
aggravatinists -- most aggravating
ahainna -- I haint a going
ahead of hand – before time
ahind -- behind
aiight -- alright, another slur
aimin' -- have been going to
ain't -- is not
ain't got nary none -- do not have any
ain't heerd tell -- haven't heard of
ain't much common -- unusual
ain't much of a fool -- do not like
Ain't never could do nothin'. -- Don't give up before you get started.
ain't never seed no kind of -- have never seen any
airy -- any
allovers -- nervous
allus -- always
a'purpose -- on purpose
argy -- argue
arter -- ought to
akseert -- scared
arnin -- ironing
askes -- asks
aspell -- a while, as in a length of time
atwixt -- between

- B -
baccer -- tobacco - pronounced "backer"
back in the day -- years ago
back this letter -- address it
backards -- backwards
baggin -- begging
bar -- bear
beats the heck outta me -- I don't know
bed it -- lay around
be'ens -- since or because
benastied himself -- hurt himself
better git on -- need to leave
bettern' we -- hadn't we
biggest through -- loud shouting, usually at a funeral or church
biled -- boiled
birds of a feather flock together -- stay with your own kind
bite yor tongue -- be quiet, don't say it
blackards -- foul mouthed person
Bleedin' like a stuck hog -- bleeding a lot
blinked milk -- sour milk
bloomers -- ladies underwear
bodaciously -- bodily or all the way, entirely
bob'd war -- barbed wire
born in a barn -- means you don't have manners, left the door open
born on the wrong side of the blanket -- out of wedlock, or unknown father
borry -- borrow
brang -- brought
britches -- pants
brickle -- brittle
broke forth -- sprang
brought on -- store bought
brought up -- raised or reared
brow -- the end of the cliff
brung -- brought
bub -- light bulb
bubba or bub -- common nickname for brother
bunch of hogs runnin' round with stick in ther mouths -- gonna be cold

- C -

caint -- can not
cairn -- heap of stones used as a marker
caint see strait -- dizzy or tired
cantankerous - hateful
carry me to the doctor -- take me to the doctor
catty corner -- across the corner
Cattywompas -- a real mean critter, a crook
caviled -- quibbled or quarrel
chamber pot -- slop jar
cheap as dirt -- stingy
chimley -- chimney
chanct -- chance

cheak skate -- someone who is stingy
cheer -- chair
churched -- thrown out of church, taken off the
membership list for indiscretion
churn -- a special piece of crockery used to make butter from milk
churning -- the act of making butter from milk
clatterment -- loud noises, ruckus
clean fergot -- I forgot
clearto -- all the way
clean yer clock -- fight, do bodily harm
clumbed -- climbed
cock of the walk - strutting around, important
cold feet warm heart, dirty feet no sweetheart – phrase similar to a nursery rhyme
come along and go -- come with me

comes by it honest -- you are like your family
commotion -- loud noises
Confound it -- an epitaph
contrary her -- make her mad
corruption -- sickness
cotton pickin' minute - hold on a minute
coudnt hit the broadside of a barn -- have no aim
countryfied -- raised in the country, citified - raised in the city
court -- to date romantically
coveralls - overalls
crick -- creek
critter -- animal
cumear -- come here
cuss -- to curse
cut on the light -- turn on the light
Cute as a punkin' -- Pretty as a pumpkin
cuttin' stills -- tearing down and destroying moonshine stills
cuz-- because or cousin

- D -

dad blame it! -- an epitaph
dad burn -- an epitaph
dag nab it -- an epitaph
dasn't -- dare not, do not
dat -- that
dauncy -- picky eater
dawg -- dog

day late and a dollar short -- never on time and always broke, your "ship" hasn't come in
deef-- deaf
defiles - defining part between two clifs - in between
devil it -- aggravate, antimidate, make fun of
diddly squat -- not much or nothign
didn't doner -- did not do it
dingy -- very dirtydiffer -- difference or matter
dinner -- mid day or late meal..depending on where you live
dipper - was used in a water bucket -- a communal drinking cup
disablest -- sickest
discern when -- know when
do hit if hit harlipped the gov'ner -- would do it anyway
dog gone it -- an epitaph
doin' -- doing
done did -- already did
done done -- finished
don't get next to our business -- don't be nosy
Don't put all yer eggs in one basket -- spread around your wealth, or possessions, or don't bank on just one thing and chance losing it all
don't reckon -- do not believe or surely not
dose of your own medicine -- get back what you've done
down-go -- sick and dying, on the way down
d'reckley -- directly or soon
dreen -- to drain
druthers -- things one would rather do over anything else
dudn't -- does not
Dumber than a coal bucket. -- A really, really , really , really stupid person.
during the while -- in this day and time
durn'd -- darned, another euphanism for damned
Dutton that tear you fer a duster? -- amaze you

- E -

early bird gets the worm - get up early and you'll succeed
eat a bait -- more than a bite, hearty meal
edzact -- understand
eetch -- itch
em -- them
enough food for Cock's army -- a lot of food
errol -- antenna aerial
et -- ate

every tub has to sit on it's own bottom -- you have to live with your mistakes and choices in life

-F -

far -- fire
fard -- fired
fair to midlin' -- i'm ok
farn -- unusual or foreign
faultin' -- finding fault or quarreling with
feathered into -- charged at to fight
fer -- animal hides, or for
fer piece -- long way
fer why -- how come?
ferro or Pharoah -- locust
fetch -- bring
fiddlesticks -- an epitaph
fillin station -- gas station
fistes -- fists
fit as a fiddle -- fine
fit to be tied - very upset
fix or afixin' -- plan or planning to
fixin' -- to prepare, to get ready
flar -- flour
fling -- throw, or to have a romantic relationship
flustrated -- frustrated
foddershock - cut cork stalks tied into tall bunches in the fall
foiled - stopped
foller -- follow
Foller yer own lights. -- Do what you know is right.
foot warshins' -- a religious event where members of a
church would actually wash each other's feet with a washpan and a towel, just as Jesus Christ did with the disciples at the Lord's Supper

forever and a day -- more than eternity
fork or forks -- branches or branches of a river or a creek
fotch'd - fetch or bring
fotch on -- store bought
fraidy cat -- easily scared
fraidy hole -- a cave, or cellar or dairy
fray or fraction -- fight to the death
free-for-all -- a ruckus to be had by all - ruckus being fight
fret -- to worry
freezy-fied - cold natured
futher -- further
fuss -- worry over, or quarrel

- G -

Gallowses -- taken from the word gallows any structure used for supporting, used to hold up up pants, another word for suspenders
gaumed up -- to make a mess
gave it out -- told
Gawd -- God
geewhiz -- gosh
get or be shed -- to dispose of or to do away with
Get your dander up -- to get angry, mad
getting above your raisin -- acting stuck up
getting' hitched -- Getting married.
gineraly -- generally
gittin -- leaving
give out -- announcement
gizzywhiz -- a thing (like a thing-a-ma-bob)
God willin' and the creeks don't rise. -- You can count on it unless….
God works in mysterious ways - something you can't explain
goober pea -- peanut
good book -- The Bible
google -- to stare at
goodin -- good one
gormed up -- to make a mess
got a face that would stop an 8 day clock -- very ugly
grabble taters -- to open a hill of potatoes, get out the new
ones and cover back up the small

grandfathered in -- accepted as is without further ado
Grandsir -- elder gentleman
Great day in the morning! - An exclamation of surprise
grine -- groun
gripe -- loose bowels
growd -- grew
gum'd it -- chew it (for those without teeth)
gussied up -- getting ready for a party

- H -

haar -- hair

ham, jam, beef, bull and bear -- take your pick, or all inclusive
hanker -- want or craving
Happier than a dead pig in the sunshine -- a phrase used for happiness
happy-go-lucky – not a care in the world
hardness between -- dislike
Have a little guide of yerself. -- Have some self-control.
heap o' -- a lot of
heck, heck fire! - epitaph for hell
heerd -- heard
hepin' -- helping - a portion
hep -- help
her'n -- hers
hey! -- Hello
hidee -- Hi
hide nor har -- have not seen
high-falutin or hoity-toity -- acting stuck up or better than someone else, important
High-water britches pants -- that are too short
hippins -- diapers
his'n -- his
hit -- a form of it
hoecake - a corn cake bakes over open fire, was originally cooked on a hoe
holla or holler -- hollow
hot diggity dog – an exclamation of joy
horse or cow hockey -- their droppings
horsefeathers -- an epitaph
horsepital -- hospital
hoss -- horse
hottern blueblazzes -- very hot
house raisin' -- neighbors all gather to build a house
hunert -- hundred

- I -

I declare! -- an exclamation
I seed -- I saw
I Swan! Well, Swanee! -- derived from the word swear
idear -- idea
if that don't take the cake -- surprised
if'n -- If
ignert -- ignorant
ill -- bad tempered
Irahland -- Ireland
It's hotter than the gates of hell today! -- It's hot out. Very colorful expressions…
it'l -- it will

- J -

jawin' -- talkin
jeat -- did you eat?
Jeepers Creepers! -- another slang term for Jesus Christ
jest -- just
jine -- join
joshin' -- jokin'
Jumpin' the broom -- Getting married.
just a cotton pickin' minute -- hold on a second

- K -

karn -- dead animal buzzards pick at
keer -- care
ketch -- catch
ketch your death of cold -- will catch a cold if you don't cover up
kilt -- killed
kin -- know
kit and kaboodle -- bundle or package
kitt'l -- kettle
kivers -- quilts or blankets to "cover" up
knowin' to the sarcumstance -- advised of the situation

- L -

landogoshen -- an exclamation
landsakes -- an exclamation
larnt -- learned
lassy/lasses -- molasses
Laws A Mercy! -- Lord Have Mercy!
learn -- I'll learn you to do that - teach
leather britches -- dried beans, boiled hull and all
left off -- dropped off, delivered
let it fly – fly off the handle - let ‘er rip - lose your temper
li'bery -- library
liddy biddy -- same as little bitty
lift a rag for home -- headed for home in a hurry
light bread -- white store bought bread
Like a bull in a china shop! -- a clumsy person
Like a button on a barn door – comes and goes all the time

like it or lump it -- deal with it
like to have died -- too much of somethin'
like as not, I'll be goin -- more than likely
likken -- whoopin or spankin
likness -- photograph or tintype
lit into -- charged at to fight
litt'l uns -- little ones
little bitty -- tiny
live so fer back in the woods you havta pipe sunshine in -- live back in a holler
lizzard out -- to run, be cowardly
lock, stock and barrel -- everything
lollygag -- to loaf, relax, to be lazy
lolling about -- laying around
looks like death eatin' a cracker -- very white or pale
looks like death warmed over – looks sickly
looky yonder – look over there
'low or allow -- will go, want to go, plan to go

- M -

mad as a hornet -- very angry

made your bed now lay in it -- live with the consequences of your life decisions
makin' a mountain outta molehill - over tell or exaggerate something
mash the button -- push the button
maters -- tomatoes
mayhap -- perhaps and maybe
meaner than a striped snake -- very mean indeed
mess of -- an amount to cook
might could -- maybe, possible
might nigh -- almost
minners -- minnows
mommick -- to make a mess
moon-calf -- a child who is simple or daydreams
much that dog -- pet that dog, make much over him
mully-grubs -- belly rattles or belly aches
muscle -- wrestle something in place,
or use your muscles to move something
my goodness gracious -- an exclamation

- N -

nable -- navel
nar -- narrow
nary -- not any
nary bit -- not any
naw -- no
neckin' -- making out, kissing
needcessity -- neccessity
Never amount to a hill of beans! -- Never will be a success
nex -- next
nigh -- near
nigh onta– close to
nighway -- closest path
no sweat -- don't worry, no problem
nose out of joint -- upset, or hurt feelings
not the sharpest knife in the drawer – not too smart
nuss -- to nurse, to care for, to pet
nuttin' -- nothing

- O-

obliged to ya -- owe you, thank you
of all things -- an exclamation
oft times -- often
old as the hills -- ancient
one card shy of a full deck - not all there
ornery - hateful, hard to get along with, stubborn
orter -- ought to

out of whack -- out of order, out of alignment, disjointed
Out Spreeing -- out drinking, or also a female cow in heat looking for a bull
ovair -- over there

- P -

painter -- panther
pallet -- bed on the floor
peaked -- pale
peart -- appeared
peckerwood -- wood pecker

penny pincher -- a stingy person
perpendclar -- straight up
pert nigh -- almost
petticoat -- full slip -- undergarment
petticoat government -- woman wears the pants
picture show -- talking pictures -- a movie
piece of work -- not a good sort
pieded -- spotted
piles -- hemorrhoids
piller -- pillow
piller slip -- pillow case
play parties -- dances called play parties because the churches
didn't approve of dances
play perty -- a toy
pline blank or pint blank -- used as an epitaph or swear word
plum -- very
plumb berift -- daft or crazy
plumb fool -- a person in love, or you love it
poke -- sack
pokesalat -- wild greens
polecat -- skink
pot likker -- liquid left in pot after cooking, such as stock
powerful long -- is or isn't a long time
Praise the Lord and pass the ‘taters! - a blessing at the table
proud flesh -- unhealed part of a wound
purtnigh -- almost
purty -- pretty
purty close -- real near

put that in your pipe and smoke it -- like it or lump it, deal with it
put your hand to the plow - get started
putting on airs -- acting stuck up

- Q -

quair -- acting funny, not common

- R -

rack and ruin -- turn into shambles or ruin ones life
rag – old worn out clothes, an old timey song, cloth to warsh with
rarin' -- ready to go
rat -- right
reap what you sow -- you will get back what you give
rekollect -- remember or recall
reckon to -- guess, to suppose, to think
reckon -- suppose
retarred -- retired
rernt -- ruined
right smart -- pretty good amount
rightly -- correct
riled -- to get angry, mad
rimptions -- a lot
rinch -- rinse or wrench
riteder -- right there
roast'nears -- ears of boiled corn
rotten to the core -- very mean all the way inside
Rough as a corncob -- Corn cobs were often used in the outhouses for wiping oneself after using the toilet. Also referred to
as a rough person.
ruckus -- fight
ruction --quarrel
ruther -- would rather

- S -

salary -- celery
salat --salad
sang/sangin' -- ginsing/ginsing hunting
sarvis huntin' -- service berry hunting
sass -- applesauce
sassified – satisfied
schoolin' or book learnin' -- education
set along -- sit on the floor
set my heart a'quiverin' – fallin in love, nervous
sharp as an axe – cutting wit
sharp as a tack – very smart
shet -- shut
shindig -- party
shine -- moonshine, homemade liquor
Shoot! -- an epitaph
shor'nuf - surely
shuck -- to peel
shut eye -- sleep
shut of -- rid of
si-goggle – look sideways, or something not straight
sick -- bad health
sight for sore eyes -- longed for, or beautiful
sissy or sis -- common nickname for sister
sissified -- feminine or cityfied - from the city
six of one, one-half dozen of another -- doesn't matter
skedaddle -- to get away, to run when threatened
skeer the livin' daylights outta me -- scare or surprise someone skeer'd - scared, afraid
slap dab -- I did

slow as molasses -- very slow
smidgen -- little bit
snakeses -- snakes
snatch baldheaded -- a punishment term
sneakin' wolf -- false person
snort -- a drink of likker (likker or liquor most likely moonshine)
so and so -- a certain person
some cause or other -- reason
sorry good for nothings -- a bad sort
sparkin' -- dating
spenders -- suspenders or gallowses (galluses)
squarsh -- squash
Stick it where the sun don't shine. -- To hide….nicely put
still waters run deep - watch out for the quiet ones
stir-off -- cooking sugar cane juice until it turns to molasses
stob -- stub
stove-up -- stiff or hurt
Straighten up an fly right! -- Quit messing around and do what is right.
Stubborn as an old mule - Won't give in at all - very stubborn
sumers -- somewheres
supper -- mid day or late meal -- depending on where you live
surely undoubtedly -- most certainly
sweetheartin' -- courting

- T -

taint -- isn't
take to your bed go -- to bed and stay there
talking machine -- a Victrola - the first long play record player
tamar -- tomorrow
taking the stubbs – being stubborn
Tan Your Hide -- I'll whoop you - spank you, - most likely derived
from the strop used to tan hides with, or belt
tard as far and twic'd as hot -- very tired
taters -- potatoes
teched -- crazy in the head
thang -- thing
thank -- think
thing-a-ma-bob -- a thing
thing-a-ma-jig -- a thing
this-n-ere -- this one
thisn' -- this one
thar -- there
that'n -- that one
thow -- throw
thrash -- spank or whoop
three dog night - so cold you need 3 dogs to keep you warm
Tighter than Dick's hatband -- to be stingy
time flies when you're havin' fun – time passes swiftly
to beat the devil -- to beat it all
toddick -- a small measure, also hot toddy
tolable -- friendly
tom-foolery -- to joke around, mischievousness
tommy toes – cherry ‘maters
too big for your britches -- smart alec
took my foot in my hand and lit out -- started on a journey
torndownest place -- a place in ruin or disrepair
tother -- the other one
travellinist -- travel a lot
truth will stand when the world's on fire - truth always comes out on top
tucker -- tire
tuk -- took
turkey-tails -- branches out like a fork in the river
turn of meal -- you wait your turn at the mill for your grain to be ground
tutor it -- just right do it just right

- U -

upsot – upset
up in the papers -- being pregnant
up and done it -- did, or you've done it now
upscuddle -- quarrel
ust -- used

- V -

varmitated - act like a varmint
varmints -- small creates who will eat your food, or critters who will eat you
vittles -- human food

- W -

wadn't -- wasn't
waller -- wallow
waylay -- surprise or set a trap
weary -- worry
whar -- where
warsh -- wash
warshbord -- used before wringer washers to scrub clothes
warter -- water
wasper -- wasp
weuns -- us or we
whallopers -- real big
whar in the round brown world -- where is it
what in the sam hill? -- questions
When hell freezes over -- Never
white as a sheet – very pale
whole endurin' day -- all day long
whopper -- big
whopperjawed -- big mouth
whupped -- whipped
widder -- widow
winder -- window
window light -- window
woods colt -- unknown father
work brickle -- lazy
workinest -- hard worker
would witch me -- cast a spell on me
woudna miss a hog killin' -- be in on everything
writ -- warrant
wrought -- brought it on yourself
wrung out -- squeezed the water out of or tired

- Y -

y'all -- you all
yers -- ears
ye -- you
yep -- yes
yestede - yesterday
yo -- hello
yonder -- over there
yore -- your
you'ns -- you all
youn'to? -- do you want to - a slur
youn'ses -- you all
youngun -- a small child
you ain't jest whistlin' dixie -- agreeing
Yurp -- Old Country - Europe
You've been sucking on the old sow -- A dirty faced person
zamine -- examine