Appalachian Dialect

Appalachian Vocabulary Test 132

ax, plate, and glass in front of woodpile

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. Devil’s snuff box: a mushroom that releases dusty spores when punctured or stepped on. “When I was a kid I loved to stomp on devil’s snuff boxes. They seemed to grow prolifically near my play house in Granny and Pap’s backyard.”

 

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2. Directly: a small amount of time. “She said she’d be here directly, but that’s been two hours ago. I sure hope nothing hadn’t happened to her.”

 

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3. Drearysome: sad, lonely, desolate. “The woods look plum drearysome in wintertime.”

 

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4. Dogbread: cornbread or other bread baked for use as dog food. “In the days before commercial dog food most everyone made dogbread for their hounds.”

 

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5. Doney gal: sweetheart. “The month for doney gals is almost upon us.”

All of this month’s words are common in my area, well I should say all of them but dogbread. Most folks buy their dog food at the store these days. Hope you’ll leave a comment and let me know how you did on the test.

Tipper

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29 Comments

  • Reply
    Tommy
    February 5, 2020 at 5:26 pm

    Never heard of Doney Girl. All the adults of my parents’ age used “dreckly”. If somebody said “Well I’ll swanny” it was slight amazement, apparently. Never knew where the expression came from, i wonder if maybe it was somehow connected to Suwanee.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    February 3, 2020 at 10:08 am

    Tipper,
    I’ve heard them all. Never use doney gal, but heard and read the words…when near the spoonin’ month!

    My Grandmother especially used “directly” inserted into answers and questions..LOL

    I make “Birdbread” ever winter for our “flying tweeters”! I do make it without salt, etc. so it is much better and safer for them…For several years now the Sea Gulls have been flying inland and swooping over our lakey areas here in our county. Remember we are in the lower mountains of East Tennessee. For some reason they took to the very large parking lot of our local Walmart..I often wondered if it was by mistake due to the color and large space of the lot. Of course maybe because the warmth of the light was on at night and insects died and are easily picked up at dawn…Anyhow, some bird lovers noticed these beautiful large gulls and started taking leftover or freshly made breads and cornbread’s to them..They are now changing into “Happy as Tennessee Larks” instead of crying Sea Gulls…LOL
    Thanks for a great post…
    PS…Our old hound dog loves leftovers…(no chicken bones or sharp bones)…but any gravy and bread mixed with his dog food suits him to a tee…

  • Reply
    Sherri Moore
    February 1, 2020 at 1:40 pm

    Ava, I”ll have to remember that, It seems no matter what recipe I try my cornbread never tastes like my moms. I’ll have to call it dogbread. 🙂

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    February 1, 2020 at 11:12 am

    Dreckly–still use it. Never heard Doney girl but have seen it in books. I think we called the mushrooms puffballs. I remember Mama calling bad looking cornbread dogbread. It has been drearysome around here for quite a while–we are so ready for spring!!

  • Reply
    tmc
    February 1, 2020 at 6:34 am

    I’m familiar with all these, even dogbread. How I came across it was my Papaw who was a coon hunter back in the day, and I had a coon hound and me and my buddies would go out at night and hunt, and my Papaw ask me one time what I was feeding my dog, and I told him and he said I needed to every once in a while bake her some dogbread or just cornbread was all it was, and also giver her sardines to keep her coat slick. I haven’t even thought of this until you brought it up.

  • Reply
    SusieQ
    January 31, 2020 at 9:03 pm

    Well I knew
    ”directly” , drearysome too, but dog bread , Doney gal ,and Devil’s snuff box were all new to me. I’ve stepped on those puffy things a many a time though. My Granddaddy had huntin dogs, I do remember him taking a pan of table scraps including cornbread and more out there to feed them back in the days gone by. Tipper here are two words my husband grew up hearing …. ” Dog Covers= shoes …… bertches= pants

  • Reply
    Karen Ward
    January 31, 2020 at 3:29 pm

    My grandmother, who was a school teacher and ensured that I used proper grammar, said directly. But I always thought it was spelled freckly, based on her pronunciation. She and papaw used certain words and sayings of the area. I think some of the songs and dittys they sang actually we’re rootedin our Irish and scot-irish heritage. I think more of these things got passed down back in days gone by. I think better education and exposure to people from other areas, plus TV, have changed that. I love the old words, sayings, and such. I guess because I miss my parents and grandparents so much!

  • Reply
    Liz Hart
    January 31, 2020 at 12:27 pm

    When I was small and mama sent me to tell daddy that supper is ready he always said “Tell her I’ll be there directly .” Until I was older I thought he said “I’ll be there the reckley.” LOL

  • Reply
    PinnacleCreek
    January 31, 2020 at 11:57 am

    I very well remember the days before dog food, but actually do not remember dog bread. Usually fed our beloved mutts leftovers. They especially were able to enjoy gravy and biscuits. As dogs do not live a long lifespan many of our family pets wandered through my mind. I have not heard drearysome, but may claim it, because nothing better describes the stark loneliness of the woods in Winter. I might add nothing so beautiful in the Summer and Fall. Directly quite common and especially used by Mom’s family at one time. No Doney girl, and just sounds so Irish. Memories of us children stomping happily around on something that created a dust.
    I was quite amused at Ed Ammons’ post about forgetting the name of the cornmeal, as I seem to be having the same problem. I have solved this with journals, posted notes, and a reminder list on frig. Unfortunately the problem is also accompanied by the problem of misplacing pens and posted notes. It hit my brain the other evening that I recall an Aunt using the term “well,I swan” or “well, I declare” when amazed at anything. I cannot imagine where that came from, but she surely had picked up the expression from older family members.

  • Reply
    Paula Rhodarmer
    January 31, 2020 at 11:49 am

    All are familiar to me except “dogbread” but isn’t that were the term “hushpuppy” came from? People would throw excess cornbread out to barking dogs, or something like that.

  • Reply
    Garland Davis
    January 31, 2020 at 11:24 am

    An experience with flour weevils while in the Navy: https://garlanddavis.net/2016/01/05/the-lesser-of-two-weevils/
    Jack of the Dust – The cook or Storekeeper in charge of the food storerooms and refrigerators
    Pork Chop – Slang for Supply Officers because of the oak leaf insignia of the Supply Corps resembles a Pork Chop.

  • Reply
    Dee
    January 31, 2020 at 11:15 am

    Takes me back to my grandparents as they used the word “Directly” all the time and I remember my Daddy used it some. The other words not so much. Never heard dogbread but my Daddy was an avid bird-hunter and had German Pointers, and I think Swedish Pointers. He trained his hunting dogs and I do remember he would add cornbread to dog food and a little warm water in the winter along with any left overs we had from supper. The dogs gobbled it up.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    January 31, 2020 at 11:04 am

    It’s snowing here!

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    January 31, 2020 at 10:38 am

    I’ve heard them all except dogbread (we just called it table scraps) and drearysome (called it dreary). Most of the time I heard Doney Gal was in Scotch-Irish folk music.

  • Reply
    Quinn Piper
    January 31, 2020 at 10:25 am

    The only one I use is “directly” – I think “the devil’s snuffbox” is a much more colorful name than my plain old “puffballs” though!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    January 31, 2020 at 9:24 am

    One more thing about dogbread. Mommy never put salt in it. She said salt wasn’t good for a dog. If she forgot to add salt or sody it automatically became dogbread. Most people don’t use salt and soda these days.

  • Reply
    Shirl
    January 31, 2020 at 9:23 am

    I have heard and used the first three all my life. We never had dogs which explains why I never heard of dog bread. Doney gal is a brand new one on me.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    January 31, 2020 at 9:07 am

    Sometimes when we got a bag of weevily flour or cornmeal Mommy would make it into dogbread. She sifted all her meal and flour looking for little critters. If she found anything she condemned the rest of the batch. People don’t bother to sift anymore, at least people I know.
    The other day I saw something squirming in my cornmeal. I didn’t make dogbread, no, I threw it in the trash. I don’t have a dog. I vowed never to buy that brand of cornmeal again then promptly forgot what brand it was. Old age does that to a body.

  • Reply
    Ed Karshner
    January 31, 2020 at 8:54 am

    “Directly” is beyond common for me. It’s one I use so often I didn’t realize was unique to our region.

    I’ll say that “drearysome” is what I’m feeling right now. I just saw on tv that NE Ohio hasn’t had sun in 39 days. I need a vacation.

  • Reply
    Tom Lilly
    January 31, 2020 at 8:50 am

    Being from southern WV I have been around most of the terms. Thanks for your “Chronicles ” of all stuff Appalachian!

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    January 31, 2020 at 8:22 am

    What an interesting group of words! I have heard and used only “directly” as meaning “when I get around to it,” but I see that word often in British novels used to mean “right this minute” or “instantly.” Also, I notice the word “plum” meaning “totally” — I always spelled it “plumb.” Also, I was shocked at making cornbread for dogs. I loved my dog, but I also love cornbread too much to give a crumb away. Ha!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    January 31, 2020 at 8:09 am

    2 of 5. I stomped on the devil’s snuff boxes to when I was a kid. And ‘dreckly’ comes right after ‘fixing to’. I think those vague words about when reflect a slower-paced lifestyle and a more laid-back attitude. It doesn’t do to let life rush us off our feet.

    I don’t think I ever heard any of the other three spoken. I like the ‘drearysome’, lots of imagery packed into one word. Today looks drearysomehere, cloudy, gray and trying to rain in a sorta, kinda way.

    Btw, I have been reading books by British authors lately and ran across the expressions “nor hide nor hair” and “neck of the woods”. Question is, did we carry those over here long ago or did they carry them over there?

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    January 31, 2020 at 7:39 am

    Tipper–I’m not familiar with dog bread. I know and have heard the others, though rarely in the case of doney gal. Matt gets the pronunciation of directly exactly right for my ears and experience, with the merest hint of the “i” being present.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    aw griff
    January 31, 2020 at 7:21 am

    I stepped on many devil snuff boxes but only knew the name from reading it and don’t ever remember hearing doney gal around here. At least it’s not used in my family. As far as dogbread goes my Dad did make bread or corn meal mush for his bird dogs at times. My favorite word in the whole bunch is directly said just like Paul said it. Dreckly.
    Well, if I was graded on this one I only got 60%. That was a F when I went to school.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    January 31, 2020 at 7:17 am

    I don’t remember hearing any except directly which I still use. I like the srearysome woods, it leaves no doubt as to what is meant.

  • Reply
    JanL
    January 31, 2020 at 7:16 am

    I grew up in Upstate South Carolina. For word “Directly’, y mother used with two definitions, one was ‘in a short while’, the other was ‘come directly home’ which meant no stops, no detours I had forgotten ‘drearysome’, but remember my grandparents using that word. The others I had not heard. We had cornbread frequently when I was growing up, and the leftovers often went to the farm animals (dogs included) but never heard dogbread. When my mother developed Parkinson’s disease, and her health deteriorated, I remember her sitting in a wheelchair teaching my father how to cook. Cornbread was one of his skills, developed when he was in his 80’s. I have a picture of him at age 90, Christmas Eve 2007, as he prepared his meal with a beautiful pan of cornbread.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    January 31, 2020 at 6:40 am

    I don’t recall hearing of dog bread but the rest of these are common to me. I am especially fond of directly.

  • Reply
    Sherri Moore
    January 31, 2020 at 6:33 am

    Tipper,
    My grandparents lived in West Virginia and we would visit every summer. My grandma would use the word directly. When I was 7 years old I asked her what directly meant and she said, ” it means in a little while.”
    My family moved to West Virginia when I was in my teens. My uncle was an avid hunter and his hunting dogs were out of food. On this particular day I was watching their kids and my aunt had asked me to make a pan of cornbread for the dogs. I had never rmade cornbread before and had no recipe. I was so concerned it wouldn’t be good enough. Needless to say the dogs gobbled it up. I had no idea until I read today’s blog that this was a common practice.

    • Reply
      Ava
      January 31, 2020 at 8:05 am

      When her cornbread turned out not looking it’s best, my mother would say , “This batch looks like dogbread.”

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