Appalachia Appalachian Dialect

A Blind Pig Reader Has A Question


Carol Stuart has a question for us:

When you do another set of vocabulary words would you please ask your readers if they have ever heard the word “stribbley”? An example of it’s use – “Her hair sure looks stribbley today”.


I can’t place my finger on exactly where I’ve heard stribbley used before-but I know I have heard it used in connection with hair. But the word was not in any of my Appalachian Dictionaries. How about you-ever heard the word?


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  • Reply
    March 13, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    Recently found your blog and can’t start my day now without getting your email posting. It comes early in the quiet morning when I start my day. Love that you have music and He Is Real is a favorite. I am a Tennessee gal transplanted to Kentucky and have a passion for all things related to history, simple and real. Thanks. So glad I found you.

  • Reply
    March 13, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    I was SO appreciative of all of the answers to my question! I especially think the Scottish or Pa. Dutch links would fit the region of West Virginia where I heard this. There were many German settlers in that area and a few Scots also. Thank you so much for checking on this for me.

  • Reply
    Mary Lou McKillip
    March 13, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    the older I get my hair look stribbley. My grandmother had a dutch saying pilchy. When my mother used the word she had heard many time, a person clothes were dirty and their hair a mess, she would say Pilcy. I am not sure how to spell it correctly but I took it as a filthy person as we would say in English. Grandmother’s nickname was Dutch. From what I can gathering she was a ring tail tooter.( afraid of nothing). she drowned a deer, dogs ran it into the big mill pond near her cabin and she jumped in and held it nose down until it drown. When Grandpa got home she had the old mule Sally with a single tree ready to jump in and drag the deer out of the pond.She helped Grandpa drag it out and they hung him up and slit it throat and let it bleed then skinned it. They worked fast the story was told.

  • Reply
    March 13, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    That’s a new one on me.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    March 13, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    That is a new word for me. Sending sunshine from middle TN:-)

  • Reply
    Mrs. V
    March 13, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    Our family uses the word “stewffely” to describe general unkemptness. It’s a made-up word but we based it on the German childrens book, Der Stuwwelpeter by Heinrich Hoffmann.
    Oh, those Germans.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    March 13, 2014 at 11:12 am

    Sounds familiar…may have read the word!
    I have heard “stubbley”, as my Dad was known on Saturdays to go “stubbley” if he didn’t have to go out to work! My husband can’t stand it, he has to shave!
    I read on Urban dictionary that “stribley, was defined as …A gamer, or to go crazy!
    I notice a that the spelling,
    Stribley one b, is a common sir name and the name of a town.
    Could this Mr./Ms Strible or Stribley, that lived in the dell, town, community, etc.,,have been know for being eccentric with crazy, uncontrollable hair. So when a child of the same dell, town or community had a bad hair day or (an adult for that matter), the word was corrupted, saying;
    “Bobby you must have mr/ms Stribleys hair today, go wet it down and try to comb it again!” Then it was shortened to you have (stribbley this or that) description of anything out of the norm or in disarray! I’m just pondering! “Chortle, chortle!”
    From yesterday, a word I never use but have read and am going to try and use more, instead of LOL, lol or ha, ha, hee, hee and “snicker”!
    Thanks Tipper, and thanks Carol for the interesting word today!

  • Reply
    Garland Davis
    March 13, 2014 at 11:00 am

    I once read an article written by a gentleman who studies language and language patterns. He contended that without the modern ability to travel and communicate over great distances, dialects would diverge and within the period of a century numerous versions of English would have developed in the U.S. to the extent that regions and states would lose the ability to converse with each other without translators.

  • Reply
    March 13, 2014 at 10:49 am

    No, I’ve never heard the term, but I love Mike McLain’s quote from the Dictionary of Scots Language. It is so visual; there can be no doubt of its meaning.

  • Reply
    March 13, 2014 at 10:34 am

    Dan-great research! Thank you for adding the link! Have a great day!
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia
    On Thursday, March

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    March 13, 2014 at 10:08 am

    The Dictionary of the Scots Language defines stribbly:
    ‡STRIBBLY, adj. Of hair: straggly, loose and trailing (Bnff., Abd., Kcd. 1971).
    *Abd. 1928 N. Shepherd Quarry Wood i.:
    Her hair was a good sensible drab . . . and she had a wicked habit of sucking one or another of its stribbly ends.
    [Conflation of straggly and dribbly or phs. stibbly s.v. Stibble.]

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    March 13, 2014 at 10:04 am

    That is a new one on me! Never heard anything even close to stribley.

  • Reply
    March 13, 2014 at 9:55 am

    I’ve never heard stribbly used to describe hair. If a person’s hair was unkept, we would call it stringy or scraggly. I believe scraggly was also used to describe a person’s overall appearance.

  • Reply
    Dan O'Connor
    March 13, 2014 at 9:49 am

    I found a post on a ancestry website: , that defined the word as “‘stribbley’ for the way your hair looks when it needs washing.

  • Reply
    March 13, 2014 at 9:04 am

    Never heard of that one!

  • Reply
    March 13, 2014 at 9:02 am

    I have heard of straggley like a couple of others, but not stribbley. Perhaps, it is a word used in a specific area/region. Maybe it was invented and hasn’t made it to the Appalachian dictionary yet. I like learning new words and phrases.

  • Reply
    March 13, 2014 at 8:58 am

    Nope,, it’s a new one on me. I seen kids with “nappy” hair.. not stribbley..

  • Reply
    March 13, 2014 at 8:54 am

    yes I am aware of that being in the area of Penna. the word stribbley was used when speaking of someone’s hair

  • Reply
    March 13, 2014 at 8:02 am

    I have never heard the word. My theory is that some words and sayings are unique to specific areas of Appalachia. Back in the day when there wasn’t a lot of moving around, these words or sayings could remain in one area. I worked with a lady who lived approximately 50 miles from me, and she was always coming up with some expression or saying I had never heard. This is so very interesting, and I will be checking back to see if this word is familiar to others.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    March 13, 2014 at 7:24 am

    Haven’t heard of it, but if mostly gone = stribbley, I qualify.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 13, 2014 at 7:19 am

    Nope, never heard stribbley used to talk about hair. Could it be a take off on stringy. I’ve heard lots of references to stringy hair. I’ve even had stringy hair. LOL!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    March 13, 2014 at 7:10 am

    Same as you, I know I have seen or heard the word and in connection with straggly. It is a very descriptive word though you get the exact meaning without anything further to explain.

  • Reply
    Scott Durborow
    March 13, 2014 at 5:44 am

    Being born and raised in the heart of PA. Dutch country. My mom would use that if we didn’t comb our hair. Or she would say it’s time for a hair cut you are looking a little stribbley. This is not the first time words were posted that also were used in South Central PA.

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