Appalachian Dialect

Appalachian Vocabulary Test 128

greenbeans under running water

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. Buck dance: a style of traditional solo dancing. “Every time he get a few drinks in him he starts buck dancing. He don’t even care if there’s no music he just goes to dancing no matter who’s around. ”

2. Broke up: distressed over an occurrence. “I’ve been all broke up since I found out she went and did that to her poor ole momma and daddy.”


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3. Brindled: mixed coloring in animals. “He came home with the prettiest little brindled pup you ever saw!”


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4. Bold: spring that flows freely and bountifully. “Oh it was the best place to live! We had plenty of good growing land and a bold spring right there behind the house.”

5. Bring out: to draw out a fever or other aliment. “My aunt used to pile the covers on anyone who was sick to bring out the fever. She claimed you had to bring it out to ever get it to break.”

I’m familiar with all this month’s words, but I rarely hear anyone use bold to describe a spring. In fact Pap’s probably the only person that I ever heard use it in that manner and now that he’s gone I probably won’t hear it again.

If you’d like to see buck dancing go here.

How did you do on this month’s test?


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  • Reply
    Yecedrah Higman
    September 27, 2019 at 7:27 pm

    I have heard all the words but “bold” stream!! We used the words jig dance instead of buck dancing.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    September 27, 2019 at 1:51 pm

    1. Dancing was frowned on in my community growing up but my aunt Steller (Stella) didn’t care. She liked to buck dance and would cut a rusty whenever she felt like it.
    2. I usually say heartbroke or tore up instead of broke up when referring to emotional anguish.
    3. Daddy used to say shenickledy brindled. Uncle Wayne just it called piss burnt brown.
    4. I heard “bold” used to refer to a spring where the water came out of the side of the mountain with force as opposed to a “seep” seeping spring where the water came up from the ground.
    5. Bring out a fever is the same as bringing on a fever. Oldtimers thought is you didn’t break out in a sweat the fever would turn inward and you would die. When you think about it they were probably right. Sweating it how the body cools itself so forcing a person to sweat might just cure him. If it didn’t kill him!

  • Reply
    September 27, 2019 at 1:31 pm

    Heard and used all but a bold spring. We would have said, “Strong flowing.”

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    September 27, 2019 at 10:52 am

    I had a 2nd or 3rd cousin who could really Buck Dance at Jimmy’s and Birdie’s Drive-In. They were Ted and Glata Lee, who took me and Harold fishin’ up at Roaring Fork on the Nantahala River above the Lake. Ted always took a Coffee Pot and at Dinnertime, he’d start a fire and make some Eight o’clock that you could smell a long ways. He was the first man to drink Hot Coffee right after pouring it into a cup.

    Him and Glata had four youngins, three girls and a boy. Their names were Camila, Nancy, Kay, and Gary, who rode bicycles with me where there were trails in the mountains. They lived right beside the Railroad Tracks, near Uncle Joe. (who had the Pet Crow.) …Ken

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    September 27, 2019 at 10:20 am

    Tipper–All of them are commonplace to me, albeit my days of buck dancing (I was once a decent hand at it) belong to a lost world. I’m surprised you haven’t heard bold spring. I’ve encountered it often over the years, although possibly more in print than in spoken form.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Paula Rhodarmer
    September 27, 2019 at 9:46 am

    All of these words are very familiar, and I use all of them but “broke-up.”

  • Reply
    September 27, 2019 at 9:25 am

    Bold is the only word in today’s test I am not familiar with.
    That is some pretty green beans in the picture…a vegetable I haven’t seen much of this year. The deer got the first planting and the weather got the second. September has been breaking records all month. It’s been 30 days or more without a drop of rain and over 90 degrees most days with a few close to 100.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    September 27, 2019 at 9:21 am

    Like you, I’ve not heard bold used that way but am familiar with all the others. That sure is a gorgeous pot of green beans!!

  • Reply
    Ken r in SW. Missouri
    September 27, 2019 at 9:18 am

    Heard and used all of them except bold I heard bold used other ways such as the was so bold he came up on the porch

  • Reply
    September 27, 2019 at 8:59 am

    I’ve heard about Buck dancing all my life and I don’t know why I never asked my parents to explain it. My grandparents would have a dance at their home ever so often. My father told me they took the furniture out of a room and some of them played music while the rest of the young people that came danced. My uncle played the piano, my grandfather the mandolin and another the guitar. I remember my father saying one of his first cousin’s could really buck dance. I really appreciate your having the link to utube. Looks to me like tap dancing and clogging. I always wondered and now I know. My Mother’s father died when she was entering her teens and I was told that he loved to dance. He grew up in Waterloo, Alabama and would ride his horse to Florence, Alabama for big dance parties. I think I got my love and ability to dance from him. I have buck danced and didn’t even know it. lol

    I have heard and used all the words except Bold for a spring. Never heard that one.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    September 27, 2019 at 8:53 am

    3.5 never heard buck dance growing up. Not sure about bold but I have run across that use somewhere.

    About the brindled, my Dad would occasionally say a nonsense phrase, “Yes Dick, I seed your cow, deep blood red, black and white spotted with a mottled face.” As best I recall, it was just a silly fun thing without any specific use. The “seed” was part of the fun.

  • Reply
    aw griff
    September 27, 2019 at 8:24 am

    I only got 3 out of 5. I never heard bold used like that or bring out a fever. I would say draw out or break a fever. Your Pap’s way is perfect for describing a spring that has a good year round flow. Always liked the word brindled but my Mother-In-Law called it muckle-lee-dun. for anything with mixed colors. I’ve never heard anyone say this except her and my Wife. Now, my Father-In-Law commonly used brindled. He kept hunting dogs all his life and had a COLORFUL Appalachian language. He did get saved late in life.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    September 27, 2019 at 8:10 am

    I have never heard the term Buck Dancing, but have watched it many times. Bold is also new, but it makes perfect sense when you think of the term. Thanks

  • Reply
    September 27, 2019 at 8:00 am

    I have absolutely never heard of a bold spring, but then most children never had the privilege of drinking from a cool mountain spring. Buck dancing is heard occasionally, but is not near as popular in my area as in your “part of the woods.” Broke up is only popular if a couple’s romance goes south. We used black drawing cream to draw out a boil, and it can still be found today. I have been around a few hunters, and yes a brindled pup is quite a treasure. I think ,as is the Appalachian way, they made up their own word and called it a brindle.

  • Reply
    Don Byers
    September 27, 2019 at 7:55 am

    Tore up!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    September 27, 2019 at 7:42 am

    I’ve heard all of these words and know exactly what they mean. Brindled was always a very strange word to me, I don’t think I quite understood what it meant or where it came from.
    I’ve seen a lot of buck dancing but was never able to do it, I just wasn’t coordinated enough. Two of my cousins danced on clogging teams and loved it.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    September 27, 2019 at 7:09 am

    I’m familiar with all of today’s words, I’ve heard them used and used them for most of my life. I used to have a friend over in Avery County who was relatively mild mannered soul but after a few drinks turned into a Buck dancing fool and wanted everyone at a party to join in.

  • Reply
    Julie Hughes Moreno
    September 27, 2019 at 6:09 am

    Never heard buck dance or bold used. All the rest are common with my people.

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