Appalachian Dialect

Appalachian Vocabulary Test 122

shoe sitting on gravel road

It’s time for this month’s Appalachian Vocabulary Test.

I’m sharing a few videos to let you hear the words and phrases. To start the videos click on them.


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1. Workingest: working the most. “I have to agree with The Deer Hunter, Pap was the workingest man I ever saw.”

2. Working alive: plentiful; busy. “He tore off the first board and you could see termites just a working alive! I don’t know if they can save any of the rest of it or not.”


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3. Wooly booger: anything or anyone who looks frightful. “Come bear season a lot of local men look like wooly boogers because they let their beards grow out big and bushy.”


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4. Withouten: with out. “If you don’t stop that crying you’ll have to do withouten. I ain’t going to listen to such and then spend a whole dollar on candy at the store.”


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5. Widder: widow. “I can’t believe they got married. Why she’s been a widder woman for at least 25 years.”

How did you do on this month’s test? All of the words are familiar to me except withouten. I can only think of one person I’ve heard say it.



Come cook with me!

Location: John C. Campbell Folk School – Brasstown, NC
Date: Sunday, June 23 – Saturday, June 29, 2019
Instructors: Carolyn Anderson, Tipper Pressley

Experience the traditional Appalachian method of cooking, putting up, and preserving the bounty from nature’s garden. Receive hands-on training to make and process a variety of jellies, jams, and pickles for winter eating. You’ll also learn the importance of dessert in Appalachian culture and discover how to easily make the fanciest of traditional cakes. Completing this week of cultural foods, a day of bread making will produce biscuits and cornbread. All levels welcome.

Along with all that goodness Carolyn and I have planned a couple of field trips to allow students to see how local folks produce food for their families. The Folk School offers scholarships you can go here to find out more about them. For the rest of the class details go here.

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  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    March 31, 2019 at 11:23 pm

    I may have heard withouten but never used it. All the others, yes.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 29, 2019 at 9:14 pm

    Withouten withouten I would’ve gotten ’em all. Not only do I know the rest, I am part of the rest. Or have been! I used to be workenest but I got over that (or it got over me.) My wife is deceased now, does that make me a widderer?

  • Reply
    March 29, 2019 at 12:19 pm

    I have heard all them Tipper and some of them been used on me.. when i was a child. GOD BLESS!

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    March 29, 2019 at 11:18 am

    All but “withouten”. All the others are very familiar. Sure do enjoy these vocabulary days!

  • Reply
    March 29, 2019 at 9:29 am

    I remember all but withouten though I think my grandmother may have used that word.

  • Reply
    March 29, 2019 at 9:11 am

    All the words are familiar. It’s been awhile since I have heard a few of them. I’m pretty sure Mom and Dad used to say withouten. The most common way to describe without was to say adoubt. “If you go out of this house adoubt your shoes, you will catch pneumoney.”

  • Reply
    aw griff
    March 29, 2019 at 9:08 am

    I hear withouten as withoutinnem. Don’t hear widder woman much anymore.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    March 29, 2019 at 8:30 am

    Familiar with all but withouten.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    March 29, 2019 at 8:15 am

    Withouten is the only one I am not familiar with.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    March 29, 2019 at 8:04 am

    3 of 5 (60%), guess that is a D. Don’t recall ever hearing ‘workingest’ or ‘withouten’ though my Dad was one of those workingest men. Had not heard ‘working alive’ in awhile but it describes the fire ant hills in my garden. And ‘wooly booger’ is familiar.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 29, 2019 at 7:50 am

    I don’t recollect ever hearing withouten but if I did hear it I’d know exactly what it meant, the rest are very common. I think wooly bugger is the one I’ve heard the most.

  • Reply
    Sheryl A Paul
    March 29, 2019 at 7:44 am

    Witjouten is new, workingest is probably the one I hear and use the most

    • Reply
      Ron Banks
      March 29, 2019 at 8:57 am

      I’m not familiar with withouten. All the others are very familiar to me. My dad was one the workingest men I knew. As mama would say, “he ain’t got stopping sense!”

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    March 29, 2019 at 7:38 am

    Tipper–All are familiar, although I don’t think I’ve ever heard withouten (just seen it in print). I might add that wooly bugger is an extremely popular style of trout fly. The mailing address for Trout Unlimited, the national conservation organization, is in Wooly Bugger, WV.
    Jim Casada

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