Appalachian Dialect

Appalachian Vocabulary Test 131

galax growing wild in the woods

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. Cut a shine: to make a fuss or commotion; to behave unseemly. “Every time he gets lit he has to cut a shine. Always embarrasses me to death, but I don’t reckon there’s nothing I can do about it.”


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2. Court: to date. “When I was a teenager someone was always asking me if I was courting yet.”


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3. Corruption: Pus from a sore or wound. “He cut his leg with the saw last week. We bandaged it up good, but its got so much corruption in it I’ve been a begging him to go to the doctor.”


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4. Contrary: stubborn, cantankerous. “When I don’t get enough sleep I’m prone to being contrary myself.”

5. Come by: to obtain, procure. “Its got to where good side meat is hard to come by.”

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


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  • Reply
    December 29, 2019 at 10:04 am

    I’ve heard all those, but haven’t heard corruption used like that in awhile.

    One that’s common where I’m from, is sworpin’. It means to be out partying in a generally disreputable way. Going to the prom isn’t sworpin’. Skipping the prom to get drunk and go skinny dipping, is.

  • Reply
    Franklin Delph
    December 28, 2019 at 6:28 pm

    Tipper,I still use a lot of Appalachian English,asI call it.Born in Appalachia, 1953, will never forget my roots.Proud. Now live in Florida , people like to hear me talk about life in the mountains.

  • Reply
    December 28, 2019 at 2:07 pm

    Come by and contrary are both common in my neck of the woods 🙂

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    December 28, 2019 at 2:39 am

    Guess pretty much heard them all…Don’t use corruption in that context now-a-days…First time I heard the term used to indicate infection was from my granny…
    My Daddy didn’t need to be lit to “cut a shine”…just some good fast toe-tappin’ music, full belly and good mood!
    Which was caused by the full belly…
    Thanks for this post..

    • Reply
      Jeff Loflin
      December 28, 2019 at 11:27 am

      The word quare or to be weird different, to be different from normal.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    December 27, 2019 at 7:48 pm

    Does cut a shine mean the same as cut a rusty?

    • Reply
      December 28, 2019 at 7:41 am

      Ed I think so 🙂

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    December 27, 2019 at 4:24 pm

    Oh yes, all of them! I’ve heard them and I hear them…welcome to Appalachia!

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    December 27, 2019 at 2:38 pm

    5 of 5 are familiar . I hear ornery and cantankerous about as much as contrary. Working with my Grandpa and Dad who were the neighborhood “Vets” in the day before there were any real Veterinarians with book larnin around I often heard them use corruption in your context of today’s test.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    December 27, 2019 at 1:59 pm

    Tipper–All are powerful familiar except corruption; I’d rate it as passin’ familiar, with a “runnin’ sore” or “oozin’ pus” being a bit more commonplace.

    As for contrary, synonyms such as mule-headed, tetchy, and ornery come to mind. In her often overlooked but important book, “Spirit of the Mountains,” Emma Bell Miles states: “No amount of education ever quite rids the mountaineer of bull-headed contrariness.” She presumably tendered that thought it just a hint of negativity, but for my part I’ll wear the description as a badge of honor.

    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    December 27, 2019 at 1:48 pm

    Yes, I’ve heard courtin’, contrary, and come by. I’ve never heard corruption used this way, but it sure describes our government.

  • Reply
    Don Byers
    December 27, 2019 at 11:21 am

    “He was tootin’ ‘um up”. Meant he had been drinking alcohol.

  • Reply
    Patricia Small
    December 27, 2019 at 11:18 am

    I’m familiar with all these terms and I’ve certainly known more than a few folks to get lit and “cut a shine” ha ha.

  • Reply
    Rosamary Christiansen
    December 27, 2019 at 10:55 am

    My dad used to say, “She’s so contrary, if you threw her in the river, she’d float upstream!”

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    December 27, 2019 at 10:52 am

    Corruption brought to mind when my mother was in hospital with a broken arm. She had surgery on it & the doctor came by to look at it. Mama asked him is it was “dreenin” (draining)–meaning was corruption coming out of it. That young doctor asked her twice what she was talking about when I stepped in & told him what she meant.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    December 27, 2019 at 10:38 am

    Corruption! A word we are seeing often these days. It seems to pervade throughout our government. A different kind of corruption you might say but is the same oozing stinking mattery mess we might find on our body, it just seeps from all directions. A sore on our collective souls!

  • Reply
    Betty Mc
    December 27, 2019 at 10:23 am

    Not familiar with “cut a shine” or “corruption” but I’ve heard the others used here in South Texas.

  • Reply
    December 27, 2019 at 9:29 am

    I’ve heard and used them all except “corruption.” I am pretty sure my grandparents would have used that word and that brings to mind a word I think was carbuncle. Pronounced like he had a terrible carbuckle on his neck that had to be opened and drained. It sounded bad to me and I was glad I never had to see one.

  • Reply
    December 27, 2019 at 9:19 am

    All the words except corruption are common in my family. I have heard it used that way, but it’s been a long time.

  • Reply
    Larry Proffitt
    December 27, 2019 at 9:06 am

    All of todays words are still in common use here except I hear infected or “infected and running to describe a situation that needs care. I find it interesting that most patients know the medicine Neosporin but merely want to adk the pharmacist if they have assessed the situation corrrectly or should they go on to the ER or an Urgent care.

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    December 27, 2019 at 8:43 am

    All but ‘cut a shine’.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    December 27, 2019 at 8:32 am

    4 of 5 for sure and 1 maybe. I think I have heard corruption but if I did it was when I was little and then not much.

    I heard “doing didoes” as another way to say ‘cut a shine’. Still another was “cut a rusty”. And the adults used to plague me about whether I was courtin’ or not along about the time I was in high school. Sadly, I am contrary sometimes and I know someone who I tease about their being a contrarian, just not quite as bad as the feller who would say about everything, “I’m agin it.”

    I think I saw two pretty Christmas sweaters and I suspect they were hand knit. That way you get to wear love.

  • Reply
    Grandma Cate
    December 27, 2019 at 8:26 am

    Court, contrary & come by are words/expressions I learned growing up & still use. “How did you come by that?!” could be asked of a thing or an idea. Thanks for the reminders.

  • Reply
    aw griff
    December 27, 2019 at 7:42 am

    I use all of these, perhaps corruption the least. Infection has replaced corruption. I hear contrary as conturee.

  • Reply
    Julie Hughes Moreno
    December 27, 2019 at 7:13 am

    All except corruption are common in my family.

  • Reply
    December 27, 2019 at 6:29 am

    I’m familiar with all of them except corruption used to describe infection. Courting is not used much around here anymore, but I’ll give some advice my Friend said he was gonna do when his Girl got old enough to date, he was gonna shoot the first boy that showed up and hang him on a tree limb like a crow and didn’t think anymore would show up after that. . LOL. He was just kiddn of coarse.

  • Reply
    December 27, 2019 at 6:24 am

    Think this is the first time I have known them all!

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