Appalachian Dialect

Appalachia Vocabulary Test 51

Appalachia Vocabulary Test 51

It’s time for this month’s Appalachian Vocabulary Test-take it and see how you do.

  1. Call
  2. Camp meeting
  3. Cap
  4. Case knife
  5. Catch


Appalachia Vocabulary Test 51 2


  1. Call: a duty, reason, or occasion. “Jay Harvey announced his call to preach last Sunday.”
  2. Camp meeting: annual religious services held outside. “I heard there were 17 people saved at that camp meeting they had in Andrews.”
  3. Cap: to remove the top green portion of a berry. “Granny said “If you’ll cap the berries and cut them up, I’ll get the cake and plates out.”
  4. Case knife: a general purpose kitchen knife which comes in a set with spoons and forks. “Why his pocket knife was so dull it was like trying to use a case knife.”
  5. Catch: a pain; a soreness or stiffness. “I woke up with a catch in my back and it won’t hardly let me straighten up with out hurting.”

I use and hear all of this month’s words on a regular basis. I think all of the words are common throughout the US-but I’m most interested to see what you say about #4 case knife-surely the entire world calls a case knife a case knife.



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  • Reply
    marsha king
    February 18, 2020 at 6:20 pm

    My family used them all, except on no. 1, We would have said Joe Harvey announced his calling to peach.

  • Reply
    don johson
    December 14, 2018 at 10:24 am

    have heard and used them all was surprised when a friend didn’t know I was talking about a dull kitchen knife and he is a app h b also question ever hear fetch or commit and my grandpaw used to say she has her underwear in a wad meaning she was upset about something or she has her a_ _ up

  • Reply
    April 27, 2017 at 5:46 pm

    Absolutely use(d) a case knife (aka dinner knife and table knife) and I also had a Case knife in my pocket. While both were used when eating, the case knife was part of a proper table setting. The Case knife was useful when cutting a plug of tobacco, picking teeth, or peeling and cutting off a bite of an apple,

  • Reply
    February 11, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    Heard of all of ’em, except where I came from, a “case knife” was the name brand of a knife, i.e. a Case brand knife, that I recall.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    February 8, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    Case knife is the pocket knife to me….the other is a kitchen or butter knife. Know the others but don’t use ‘cap’–and unfortunately, use ‘catch’ in the way you mention more and more these days! I grew up hearing it as “a catch in my get-along.”

  • Reply
    Donna W
    February 8, 2013 at 7:22 am

    I never heard the term “case knife” until I married my husband. I always called them butter knives. Of course, now I call them case knives too.

  • Reply
    Gayle Grier
    February 7, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    Hi Tipper, I remember my mom referring to a case knife. I believe it was called a case knife because flatware usually came in a box with a hinged lid (a “case”). Really enjoy your vocabulary challenges!

  • Reply
    Allison Britt
    February 7, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    Especially in my growing up years -heard all these words. Still use them at times.
    Sometimes I get’a catch’ in my back…and a general kitchen knife was commonly called a ‘case knife’ at my grandparents house.

  • Reply
    Susie Swanson
    February 7, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    I’ve heard and said them all Tipper.. Thanks for the lesson.

  • Reply
    February 7, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    I only use #5. I have heard the others, all except case knife…never even heard that one!

  • Reply
    Sallie Covolo aka Granny Sal
    February 7, 2013 at 11:11 am

    Heard all of the words but seldom use them anymore except for the call. No use to become a Preacher unless you are called. My mother used to use the word quickening…”I had a quickening in my tooth.” You may have already shared that one..Etc. Thanks Tipper

  • Reply
    February 7, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    Nope! Never heard the term ‘case knife.’ ‘Camp meeting’ is used differently than I thought it would. I figured I would use it as a gathering of people with a common purpose other than just a religious group. Very interesting vocabulary today! Thanks – keep teaching me!

  • Reply
    February 7, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    Ahhh..the vocabulary lesson, my most nearly favorite feature!
    I’ve heard ‘Call’ and ‘Calling’ used in the manner described, but I’ve also heard “There wan’t no call for James to bust Junior in the eye like that!” Or “Go to the Chevrolet garage and call for Mister Grubb, he’ll tell you who to do that.”
    Camp Meetings are known as revivals down here in Southwest Georgia, and I’ve never had the pleasure of capping berries.
    Now, as to the case knife: ‘Twas a West Virginia woman who first used that phrase in my hearing, she asked me to pass her the case knofe, and I handed her the Case ™ knife I had in my pocket. We finally got that sorted out ad I learned that case knives were what I knew as a ‘table knife’, to be set between the plate and the spoon n the right side of the plate, with the fork(s) on the left side.
    It’s rainin’ here, my whole being is all cotched up….
    The Recovering Yankee

  • Reply
    trisha too
    February 7, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    Did not know 3 or 4, but all the rest, yep, they’re the same.

  • Reply
    Brian Angell
    February 7, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    No we don’t use case knife here in England so that’s a new one for me

  • Reply
    February 7, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    I know and use these words the
    same way as you do mostly. Right
    after High School I had a job in
    a Thread Mill to serve threaded
    bobbins to the Spoolin Dept. ladies. And one of my jobs was
    to strip the remaining threads
    from the bobbins. You weren’t
    supposed to do it but I had the
    best, sharpest Case Pocket Knife
    around, and could whack that stuff
    off in just a second. I got tired
    of those blisters made from hand
    strippin’ the unused thread…Ken

  • Reply
    brenda s 'okie in colorado'
    February 7, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    I have heard them all growing up. All my family and friends have always told me I missed my calling. I should have been a chef or owned my own bed ad breakfast. I believe my 16 year old grandson has the calling to preach. I grew up going to camp meetin’ at an old brush arbor but later built an arbor of lumber with a real roof. Now that I’m in my 60’s, I get lots of catches in my neck, elbows, knees, and calves. Now, as for Case knife, It is definitely a brand of knives. My grandparents called the butter knife in the silverware set a case knife. Their last name was Case as well. No relation that we know of. I’ve even thought it might have come from German for kase knife, spreading soft German cheeses on bread. Just a thought. My grandfather was born in 1904. He ate his dinner holding his knife and fork like Europeans. But, he scooped his food with his fork onto the (case)knife and ate from the knife rather than the fork. We all loved watching him. It was so unique.

  • Reply
    February 7, 2013 at 11:31 am

    We use these words, except the Case knife would have been an example of a pocket knife. I always enjoy the vocabulary tests.

  • Reply
    Lonnie L. Dockery
    February 7, 2013 at 10:50 am

    I’ve never heard of capping berries. I cut the tips off strawberries now, but way back when strawberries weren’t big enough to need capping. Of course we just had wild ones. I had forgotten that use for “case knife”, but that’s what we always called a not-so-sharp kitchen knife! We called a butter knife a “silver knife”–or maybe we just had silver-colored ones–certainly not real silver! I also remember when accusing someone of having a dull pocket knife was the ultimate insult! I still keep one blade of mine really sharp in case I have to loan it to someone–so I won’t get offended!

  • Reply
    February 7, 2013 at 10:35 am

    I’ve heard all of the words and use most of them. Case knife is the only one I don’t use or hear much anymore. Case knife is a dull bladed kitchen knife to me, but I have heard men speak with reverence of their Case knives.

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    February 7, 2013 at 10:34 am

    I’ve heard and used all of the words except “case” in your description. Case knifes to our family was a brand, and mostly good pocket knifes. The knifes used mostly out of the wooden divider when I was growin’ up, was the “”parin’ knife, the “butcher knife” and the “butter knife”. No, not the little odd curved one, but the one you use for a “screwdriver”, the last squooch of peanut butter from the jar and at out house fer butter!
    I was at one of those “McCrorys five and dime” demonstrations one time. I got caught up in the little crowd around the table, listening to the sellers spill about some appliance or other. The free gift was a tin-like strawberry capper. I was young and had not put nary a strawberry in a jar or freezer except to help my Mother cap by hand the berries. The gadget went in my hope chest and on with me into marriage. One year the rage was a new recipe for a strawberry jam…
    Out came the capper…I love that thing. So much quicker and kept your finger nails mostly stain free. I would hate to think how many berries that little gadget capped…When we remodled our kitchen, somehow it got misplaced.
    If your out there little stained, tarnished strawberry capper, Please come home…it’s almost strawberry cappin’ time and I still love you!
    Thanks Tipper, for lettin’ me post my love for my capper!
    PS….Somebody is under the icy pearl bush in your first picture..

  • Reply
    February 7, 2013 at 10:25 am

    I don’t use it, but my mother called them case knives all her life. The other words are used often around here.

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    February 7, 2013 at 9:48 am

    I know them all. The butter knife was always the case knife at our house but A CASE knife was daddy’s good pocket knife and an overly active child was said to be as wide open as a CASE knife.

  • Reply
    Tim Hassell
    February 7, 2013 at 9:48 am

    I know and use all five words.
    I often hear the saying “He missed his calling” referring to someone that is particularly good at a task but doesn’t do that task for a living. “Tom missed his callin’ at layin’ tile.”
    I had a great aunt who used “double words” maybe she was just being specific but at her house there were butter knives, table knives, butcher knives and case knives (a smallish sharp knife used in food preparation but larger than a paring knife). She was a wonderful lady and her language was filled with these very specific names for everything. I miss hearing her sweet voice.

  • Reply
    February 7, 2013 at 9:43 am

    I don’t use the words much anymore like my parents did. I still say catch (ketch) and call often. Mom also used to say cap when she referred to putting a lid on a jar or bottle.

  • Reply
    February 7, 2013 at 9:25 am

    In our neck of the woods here in Oklahoma, it’s called a case knife. Bout all they are good for is to spread mayonaise, peanut butter, and butter! I have used one as a screw driver in a pinch.

  • Reply
    Bob Aufdemberge
    February 7, 2013 at 9:24 am

    I’ve heard the term “case knife” used as you describe, but not in a lot of years. Nowadays it always refers to something made by the Case company.
    The rest are all retty common hear too.

  • Reply
    February 7, 2013 at 9:18 am

    All understandable except case knife. I grew up where a pocket knife was a rite of passage, and a case knife was a case brand knife, as opposed to the starter barlow most kids got as a first knife. The knife with all the utensels was a hobo knife. Thanks for the reminder. I like the vocabulary posts and hope you keep them coming.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    February 7, 2013 at 9:16 am

    Tipper–I reckon I’ll have to differ with a couple of your definitions, argumentative feller that I am.
    1. A Case knife (at least if you use Case in upper case–now how’s that for confusion with the same word being used in two distinct fashions) actually refers to a long-established and revered brand of knives, one that ranks right alongside of Barlow, Remington, and Buck among collectors and knife aficianados.
    2. I’ve always heard it as a “calling” when it refers to a job or obligation. The National Wild Turkey Federation, on the other hand, urges its members to “answer the call,” a play on the wonderful voice of God through the medium of a wild turkey gobbling but also meaning to do one’s part for conservation.
    3. The only berries I can think of which need capping are strawberries. Of course, they are well worth the trouble, and Izaak Walton was spot on when he quoted words to the effect “Doubtless God could have made a better berry, but doubtless God never did.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Kimberly Burnette
    February 7, 2013 at 9:10 am

    I grew up using all of these words and still do use all of them. I just assumed that everyone called a case knife a case knife! 😀

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, Ph.D.
    February 7, 2013 at 9:06 am

    Tipper: Coming from way back in the hills you would have thought I had heard all the words! Well I have except that cap word. Maybe we ate our sweet berries so fast we never thought to cap them!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    February 7, 2013 at 8:27 am

    I hear and use all the words the same way that you do. A case knife makes a good screwdriver in a pinch.

  • Reply
    Barbar Gantt
    February 7, 2013 at 8:07 am

    Know them all and use them all. I dont use case knife a lot. Daddy always called the kitchen knife a case knife. We use call a lot at church. Go to camp meetings in the summer. Ours is over 125 years old. The kids cap the strawberrys. My husband aways has a catch in his elbow. Barbara

  • Reply
    Jerry in Arkansas
    February 7, 2013 at 8:06 am

    I’ve heard of all of these. I never thought much about why it was called a case knife. I know Case makes good knifes, but maybe it’s because they were part of a set of utensils. I remember one set we had that had a nice storage box or case.

  • Reply
    Gary Powell
    February 7, 2013 at 7:51 am

    Used and use them all. A case knife was any brand of pocketknife. Grandaddy may have had an actual CaseXX. We kids had a cheap hardware counter knife.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    February 7, 2013 at 7:28 am

    Know them all, Tipper, actually have a catch in my neck as we speak….must have slept wrong on it.
    A case knife is on that matches my forks and spoons and is used in setting the table, not a sharp knife. The only tome a sharp knife is a Case knife is when it is a knife made by Case. Case made both kitchen cutlery and folding pocket knives.
    Nice pictures!

  • Reply
    Judy Mincey
    February 7, 2013 at 7:19 am

    Gordon County, Ga uses all of those just as you define them. I suspect case knife derives from the box the silver was stored in.

  • Reply
    February 7, 2013 at 7:09 am

    Good morning from middle TN.,
    I am familiar with all vocabulary, but I do not use number 4-case knife. I remember hearing the term a few times from older people.
    Have a wonderful day!

  • Reply
    February 7, 2013 at 6:39 am

    Am familiar with all the except cap. Never have heard it used this way. As for case, thats all i’ve heard the knives called.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Ormond Paul
    February 7, 2013 at 6:35 am

    Yep, all of them, used case knife all the time when I was a kid. Don’t hear or use so much anymore though.

  • Reply
    Tim Mc
    February 7, 2013 at 6:31 am

    WE use all the above except the way “case knife” is defined,, just a plan ole case knife.. One that’ll cap the end of your finger off if your not careful.

  • Reply
    February 7, 2013 at 6:11 am

    In coastal NC, 1. A call is a “calling”. 2.A camp meeting is an “Arbor Revival” 4. The knife is a set is a butter knife(because they are so dull). A “case” is a good pocket knife even if it is not a Case. 5. And a catch is a “ketch” spoken very harshly because it is such a pain. Sometimes we also ketch a cold. #3. We do cap and hull our berries.
    (Up early every morning to prepare for another day at my calling to teach. )

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