Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Plait Your Hair

Granny says “Let your Momma plait your hair and it’ll stay out of your eyes.” The girls say “Momma will you braid my hair?” Sometimes I say “I could braid your hair if you want me too?” Other times I say “You should let me plait your hair and that way you don’t have to keep pushing it behind your ears.”

How about you do you plait, braid, or both?


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.


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  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    May 28, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    heard them both, but we braid

  • Reply
    May 5, 2011 at 9:04 am

    I braid the hair.
    But I’ve know people to plait the hair. LOL

  • Reply
    janet pressley
    May 4, 2011 at 1:01 am

    I dont think anybody ever braided my hair. Missed that life. Nana

  • Reply
    lynn legge
    May 3, 2011 at 7:09 am

    wow lots of hair talk. lol here in the pa area… we say braid your hair.. i used to fix my daughters hair in braids also..
    your girls are beautiful and yes. i agree their hair will be better braided when they clog..
    big ladybug hugs

  • Reply
    May 3, 2011 at 5:21 am

    My maw maw always wanted to plait my hair! I wish she was here to do it for me and my girls now. I think I’ll start using that term myself!

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    May 2, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    Mitchell plaits & I braid- neither one of us does it very well! I can really relate to RuthB.’s grandmother. My grandmaw had hair down below her knees that she plaited everyday-we still have some of her old-fashioned hair pins & tortoise shell combs.

  • Reply
    May 2, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    we always said plait, but it actually sounded more like “plant”.
    the first time I heard braid, I had no idea what it was.

  • Reply
    Vicki Lane
    May 2, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    My grandmother used to plait my hair –but these days I tend to say braid.

  • Reply
    Kim Haynes
    May 2, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    In south MS we said plait. I probably hadn’t heard the word braid until Martile Sudduth French-braided my hair for 6th grade Field Day – I think she was from Florida. That was in about 1980. I’m 42 now, and raised my girls using both works interchangably. My husband and I love your website!

  • Reply
    Uncle Al
    May 2, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    When I was a “young’un” I remember all my girl cousins doing the plait thing, but as I moved and grew a bit older I heard “braid” used more frequently. My wife “braided” my daughter’s hair. As for my hair, well there just isn’t enough to do either. (smile)

  • Reply
    Helen G.
    May 2, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    Momma braided my hair. I was grown before I ever hear plait. My hair was so fine that I ended up going to ‘doggy ears’ because the braids would work loose and so would the pony tail. Then I found the joy of short hair. Fun post and as a child I know I enjoyed the attention from momma while she braided my hair.
    Thanks for the kick in the memory before this Mother’s Day…

  • Reply
    Garland Davis
    May 2, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    What Jim said!!

  • Reply
    trisha too
    May 2, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    We braid, but are familiar with plait, so it’s not like we’d look at you cross-eyed if you said it!

  • Reply
    Joe Mode
    May 2, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    I do neither, but what’s a guy to do. However, now that we all have learned an old Applachian term, or one less often used, let’s re-intorduce the word to our kith and kin so it will not die out like so many other words found in our Southern Appalachian region.
    We are the keepers of the words. Pass em on.

  • Reply
    May 2, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Today I’m celebrating with a lot of joy and satisfaction. Our boys
    got ole Bin Laden. Thats a start.
    The hair braiding thing I have
    seen alot. My youngest daughter
    braids her 4 girls and it seems
    like an awful lot of work. My
    grandma’s sister use to stay about
    a week at a time with us when I
    was little. I remember her long,
    greyish-blonde hair reaching down
    below her backside but when she
    finished plaiding it, there was
    just a ball on the back of her
    head with some kind of pin through
    it. She was the neatest lady…Ken

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    May 2, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    My Grandmother plaited her hair. It was very long and then she wound it up in a bun on the back of her head, securing it with those “old timey” open hairpins and tortoise colored hair combs..
    At night just before going to bed..she would undo her hair, brush and comb it…put on her long flannel gown and robe, take off her glasses, take out her teeth and put them in a glass of water, move the chamber pot, aka (“Thunder Jug”), more toward the front (under the edge) of the bed..pull “umpteen” quilts down and prop up her pillows and climb into bed..LOL
    Nowadays I can’t believe that closed hairpins are getting to be “old timey.” As much as I wanted to be like a lot of the girls with long hair and braid mine, it wouldn’t stay unless it was braided very tight and then some…because it is so fine…it just fell out in no time…so I opted for a pony tail…
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    May 2, 2011 at 11:52 am

    Tipper–Like Lonnie, I’m afraid that this topic isn’t directly applicable to me. There’s hardly enough of my sparse grey hackle to comb, never mind plait.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Elizabeth K
    May 2, 2011 at 11:06 am

    I have heard and read plait, but use braid myself. I have very long hair and my husband braids it for me – and does a very good job too!

  • Reply
    May 2, 2011 at 10:25 am

    I agree with Samantha. I’ve heard plait & I think I used to say it, too. Haven’t heard it for so long I think I just forgot about it & call it braid.

  • Reply
    Luann Sewell Waters
    May 2, 2011 at 9:35 am

    I’ve always heard braid in this part of the country (Oklahoma).

  • Reply
    Sheila Bergeron
    May 2, 2011 at 9:17 am

    Mamaw said plait but now adays with my grandaughter’s black friends braid is one kind and plait is another–so we just use braid

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 2, 2011 at 9:15 am

    I’ve heard both plait and braid. Guess I’ve heard braid more. Like Phyllis my hair was mostly too short to braid and always too fine. Now my hair is long enough maybe I’ll give it a try.
    My granny had very long hair and every night she would take it dawn and comb it out. Then she would re-braid it and in the morning pin it back up. I think that was what most folks did at that time. In her later years she broke her arm and couldn’t manage her hair so she had it cut short.

  • Reply
    May 2, 2011 at 9:14 am

    Braid was not a word we ever used.It was always plait.As kids we would plait our pigtails.

  • Reply
    May 2, 2011 at 8:59 am

    My WV mother plaited my hair, but when I talk about my childhood I say I wore it in braids.

  • Reply
    Lonnie L. Dockery
    May 2, 2011 at 8:55 am

    I’d love to do either to mine! Plait was used almost exclusively when we were growing up. Now it’s always braid. Maybe plait is another one of those words that the French brought to England in 1066; English already had a word so both were used. We (as English speakers) are still sorting those out…they just hang on a little longer in the hills.

  • Reply
    Vera Guthrie
    May 2, 2011 at 8:32 am

    I have said both, it seems now if you say plaited no one knows what I am talking about. We knew a lady growing up her nickname was “Baby” and she has long long gray hair. Mama or Phyllis used to plait it for her then wind it up in a bun and pin it with beautiful combs.

  • Reply
    May 2, 2011 at 8:16 am

    mother called it plait when she could catch me, i hated it when she did it because it hurt and i always cried, so she cut it short and put a perm in it. perms way back then were the bobby pin kind making little tiny curs and pin to head. YIKES i hated that worse than plaiting.

  • Reply
    May 2, 2011 at 7:56 am

    I have never heard the word plait used, but have seen it in my reading. My little girl, who is 25 now, still asks me to braid her hair. Such a timeless mother-daughter moment!

  • Reply
    May 2, 2011 at 7:56 am

    Like the word plait, but I say braid. And I braid my hair every day. 🙂

  • Reply
    May 2, 2011 at 7:52 am

    don’t know where ‘braid’ came from but ‘plait’ the British thing to say

  • Reply
    Phyllis Salmons
    May 2, 2011 at 7:46 am

    Most of my life, my hair has been too short to plait. Even when it was long enough, the texture (extremely fine) of my hair does not accommodate the style either. We used to help an older lady when I was in my teens — either Mama or I would shampoo her hair, comb it out, and then plait it. She would then make a knot in the back and pin it up.

  • Reply
    barbara gantt
    May 2, 2011 at 7:21 am

    I hadnt hear the word plait in years. I used to say it but changed to saying braid. My Granny Nichols always plaited her hair , then wound it up on her head and pinned it. I have long hair and keep it braided. I love braided or plaited hair. Barbara

  • Reply
    May 2, 2011 at 6:18 am

    My Gram said plait and I used to say it, too. More frequently I say braid..plait seems to be a dying word.

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