Appalachia Appalachian Dialect

Appalachian Vocabulary Test 102


word usage in north carolina

It’s time for this month’s Appalachian Vocabulary Test. I’m sharing a few videos to let you hear some of the words. To start the videos click on them and then to stop them click on them again.

1. Look over: disregard. “Every time they hand out raises they just look over him and that man does more work than anybody there.”

2. Loafer: to loiter or go about aimlessly. “Granny was always accusing Pap of loafering off somewhere with out telling her where he was going.”

3. Liked to: almost; nearly. “I liked to have broke my neck on that bicycle in the yard. I’ve told them and told them to put them things up when they’re done riding them.”

4. Leader: tendon. “He pulled that big leader that runs up the back of your leg. Why he can’t even walk today. Don’t know why in the world a grown man thinks he needs to play ball.”

5. Leastways: at least; at any rate. “I”m tired as all get out but leastways I’ve got that chore done for another year.”

Hope you’ll leave me a comment and let me know how you did on the test. All of the this month’s words, except leader, are common in my area of Appalachia.


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  • Reply
    July 29, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    Too funny, I was born and raised in Wyoming, but my mother was from Missouri and all of the words except leader are still part of my vocabulary… now I know why I occasionally get the odd look…they aren’t part of everyday vocabulary for all the world. LOL It’s always fun to see what we have learned from our parents and where it comes from. Part of why I enjoy you blog so much!

  • Reply
    Mick Fuller
    July 29, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    Tipper, some of the expressions you describe in this post have made it all the way to central California, where I live. My grandparents, who were from Covington, TN and Blytheville, AR, used to say “leastways”, “liked to have”, “look over” and “loafer”. They are gone now, these 20 odd years, but I can still remember their colloquialisms. Even my father, who has lived here in CA his entire 73 years, still says “liked to have” on occasion. Thank you for refreshing the memories.

  • Reply
    Sallie Covolo
    July 27, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    I did not even know that leastways wasan Appalachian expression, the same goes for look over and liked to, I thought that was just regular English..Now I know why our son used to get annoyed with me when I offered to type up a paper for him when he was a freshman at the local University. He would say, “Mama please do not insert your own ideas into my papers. You are not using correct English..Hmm…He has his PHD now…So he does not ask me to type anything for him..

  • Reply
    Mac McKay
    July 26, 2017 at 6:35 pm

    when you kill a hog and want hang it up to gut, there are two tendons on the back side of the back feet. You cut a slice down the back foot above the hoof to expose the tendons. Then you use a gambrel stick (or gamblin stick) between the back legs to hang the hog. These tendons are called leaders. Mac McKay

    • Reply
      July 27, 2020 at 5:06 pm


  • Reply
    Julie Hughes Moreno
    July 26, 2017 at 6:18 pm

    All of them but loafer! Don’t hear leader much since my Granny is gone.

  • Reply
    July 26, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    Knew ’em all.
    Always enjoy these.

  • Reply
    Jane Bolden
    July 26, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    I have heard and used all five.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    July 26, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    I got all five and have used them all. Ed, I think the correct name for a device used to hang an animal for processing is Gambrel but I too have heard it called a gamble stick, when we were slaughtering hogs we used a Singletree as a gambrel .

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    July 26, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    Yep, heard and probably used them all at some time or another…
    One thing that I ponder about Is “leader”! Sometimes I’ve heard ‘leader’ used like…”When he turned is ankle over that rock he stretched the ‘leader’ in his foot and it swoll up bigger n’ a melon!
    At other times like when Dad explained in the Emergency room to the doctor….”She was climbing that ladder after this kitten, when she fell backwards onto a broke bottle, it cut deep into the ‘leader’… it was spurtin’ blood bad. I near mashed her leg off a’holdin’ my handkerchief on it while I was drivin’ here…He used the word ‘leader’ as the main blood vein. Which after the accident I heard him tell others the story about my stitches and cutting the main blood leader in my leg and how it scared him so bad, because he thought I might bleed to death..ha I have heard my Granny say the same…”Don’t hold that knife toward you, if it slips and cuts the ‘leader’ you’ll near bleed to death!
    Well, I’ve been a’loafering long enough this morning. I got some corn waiting to cut off the ears!
    Tell Jim that I used to hear that the bench in front of the courthouse in Marshall, NC…was called the ‘loafers bench’ where men gathered and swapped stories and farm gossip!
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS…When the nurses/doctors found out I was trying to save my kitten…and it was in Dads truck and still worried about it…they sent Dad out to get it and bring it in the ER so I could hold it while they numbed my leg and sewed the cut closed!..Still have a big scar on my shin area after all these years…

  • Reply
    July 26, 2017 at 11:22 am

    I’m familiar with #3 and #5.

  • Reply
    July 26, 2017 at 11:05 am

    As you were explaining “leastwise”, I like the little grin you made. And Chitter showed me that knife-cut when you all were over here one time. I forget how many stitches it took. I recon I know all these Appalachian Words again. What kind of gun did the Deer Hunter get?

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    July 26, 2017 at 10:59 am

    Got ’em all five! Use ’em all five! Leader was quite common where I grew up, a few ridges (and a few decades) over from you.
    Loafing and Loafering are quite different. Loafing is laziness and usually confined to a specific area. Loafering is wandering around in seek of inspiration. Loafing is doing nothing. Loafering is looking for something interesting to do.
    When I was young and Daddy butchered a hog, he had a dogwood stick that was sharpened at both ends. After the hog was down and bled he would cut a slit on the back of its hind legs to expose the leader right above the heels. Then he would put the sharpened stick between the legs behind the leaders on each side. That is what we hung it by. He had a name for the stick which I can’t remember for the life of me. Gamble or gimble stick keeps coming into my mind. Do you know or know anybody that knows what that stick was called?

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    July 26, 2017 at 10:27 am

    Yes 5 for 5. I haven’t heard leader in a long while

  • Reply
    July 26, 2017 at 10:22 am

    I have heard and used all except leastways. Medical instructors were always the worst to correct our Appalachian words and expressions. I shudder to think how fast they would have reacted if I had mentioned those leaders in my legs, and it was a double whammy for them to teach and try to change our speech also. One girl sure got a scolding when she mentioned somebody was “eat up” with arthritis. Since I have retired I have found myself going comfortably back to the ways where I felt “at home.”
    Sometimes I can feel homesick right here in these hills. I guess I just miss the way things once were. The Blind Pig has given a place to be who we really are! Sometimes just strolling through a country cemetery writing down dates gives me more satisfaction than shopping at the mall.

  • Reply
    Larry Griffith
    July 26, 2017 at 10:20 am

    Don’t hear leader much anymore. Growing up I didn’t hear tendons or ligaments.

  • Reply
    Larry Griffith
    July 26, 2017 at 10:20 am

    Don’t hear leader much anymore. Growing up I didn’t hear tendons or ligaments.

  • Reply
    Larry Griffith
    July 26, 2017 at 10:20 am

    Don’t hear leader much anymore. Growing up I didn’t hear tendons or ligaments.

  • Reply
    Larry Griffith
    July 26, 2017 at 10:20 am

    Don’t hear leader much anymore. Growing up I didn’t hear tendons or ligaments.

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    July 26, 2017 at 9:11 am

    How about the expression “I’m down in my back!” As it happens, I am down in mine these last few days and find that phrase covers it well

  • Reply
    Cynthia Morris
    July 26, 2017 at 9:09 am

    Ever heard of “such thing” as there is no such thing as Boojum?

  • Reply
    wanda Devers
    July 26, 2017 at 9:05 am

    Mama called tendons leaders. hadn’t thought about that in a long time. always enjoy the memories your posts revive.

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    July 26, 2017 at 9:01 am

    Yep, sounds like home to me!
    My brother in law was always bad to loafer as a matter of fact he’s in his 70’s now and he still likes to loafer.
    I popped a leader in my middle finger once while trying to push my pants leg down inside my snake chaps. The tip of my finger just flopped down and would not straighten up for squat. Leastways I got it fixed somewhat by splinting it for several weeks.
    I liked to of stepped on a snake the other day.
    My brother use to tease me by saying to his friends, “just look over him, he ain’t right!”

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    July 26, 2017 at 9:00 am

    Tipper–All of these are quite familiar to me, although I don’t think I’ve ever personally used leader in talking.
    Common synonyms for “liked to” are peart near (or peart nigh) and near ’bouts.
    The town square in Bryson City was known as Loafer’s Glory during my boyhood, although it also had another name that I probably best not share here. At least a few of your readers will likely be familiar with it, and anyone who is sufficiently curious can contact me and I’ll provide the real skinny. I shared it with you and Matt on Sunday, as you’ll likely recall.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Larry Proffitt
    July 26, 2017 at 8:41 am

    Well I got 5 for 5 today . All common as part of my everyday speech . Larry Proffitt

  • Reply
    Barbara Woodall
    July 26, 2017 at 8:28 am

    Love it! Thanks for keeping our ‘talk’ alive!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    July 26, 2017 at 8:25 am

    5 for 5! You make me homesick for a different time and place. I need to move. As the Beyond the Blue band sang at that link your reader sent, “who will fill my heartspace when I am far from here?” You do – partly.

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    July 26, 2017 at 8:11 am

    The only stranger here is “loafer” used as a verb. Never heard that. And — I always heard and always say “looked right over” (disregarded). Oh, Tipper, I hear these charming words less and less — TV is absolutely ruining interesting regional vocabulary! Sigh.

  • Reply
    July 26, 2017 at 8:04 am

    The words are all so common to me, especially liked to.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    July 26, 2017 at 7:45 am

    Tip, I’m enjoying your videos. It’s like having my whole family in the living room. I know all these expressions. Your vocabulary posts have made me even more aware how regional our speech really is.
    I don’t hear leader much any more it’s a really old expression.
    I love the little grin on the Deer Hunter with his liked to statement. I know it’s like to be true!

  • Reply
    July 26, 2017 at 7:37 am

    I am especially fond of “leader”.

  • Reply
    Tracey Green
    July 26, 2017 at 7:33 am

    Liked to and leastways were common when I was growing up. I heard loafing instead of loafering, as in “He was just loafing around.” I heard look over some, but not commonly. I don’t recall ever hearing leader. Thanks for these posts!

  • Reply
    Keith Jones
    July 26, 2017 at 7:30 am

    My wife told the dermatologist the other day, “I didn’t go to get sunburned.”

  • Reply
    Bob Grove
    July 26, 2017 at 7:25 am

    Cute. As a displaced Yankee, I’ve come to recognize these Appalachian expressions.

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