Appalachian Dialect

Appalachian Vocabulary Test 137

girl holding leaf

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.

1. Hindside first: backwards. “I think it’ll fit if you put it in hindside first.”

2. High-headed: self-important; arrogant. “If she wasn’t so high-headed someone could talk some sense into her, but she just won’t listen to reason.”

3. Iron glass: Mica. “Granny was always crazy about iron glass. When she found a big piece she’d set it in the window where the sun could hit it.”

4. Importantest: most important. “Since they made him the manager I guess he’s the most importantest one working there now.”

5. Ill: hateful, angry, harsh. “She’s as ill as a hornet. If I’s you I wouldn’t even go in the house!”

All of this month’s words are common in my area of Appalachia. I’d say the ones used least are hindside-first and iron glass. Hope you’ll leave me a comment and tell me how you did on the test.


Subscribe for FREE and get a daily dose of Appalachia in your inbox

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    Doug Bishop
    June 26, 2020 at 3:18 pm

    I grew up on Del-Mar-Va and most of the men referred to Mica as Isinglass.

  • Reply
    June 26, 2020 at 12:51 pm

    “iron glass” – strange (an oxymoron) since mica is so brittle. All the rest (and most of the variations mentioned in the comments) are familiar to me.

    Did some internet searching for “isinglass” and found the following – interesting!:
    What is an isinglass window?
    Isinglass is an outdated, somewhat generic term for clear window material. It’s also spelled “eisenglass” (which translates to “iron glass” in German) and “isenglass.” Isinglass is a form of mica, which are any of various opaque or transparent minerals made from watery silicates of aluminum or potassium. › What-Is-Isinglass-Clear-Window-Mate…

    What beer is filtered through fish bladders (also known as isinglass)?
    Soon to be made without any fish guts, Guinness is going vegan. It’s tough out there for vegan beer drinkers. Brewers often use fish bladders, more formally known as isinglass, for the filtering of cask beers.May 1, 2017

    Guinness is eliminating fish guts from production to make vegan … › guinness-is-eliminating-fish-guts-from-producti…

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    June 26, 2020 at 11:05 am

    These are all new to me. If someone seemed to think too highly of himself, we said he was putting on his high hat.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    June 26, 2020 at 11:00 am

    Failure this time! Mama often said someone was “ill as a hornet”–had a hornet attack me years ago while I was drawing water from the well! Could not let go of the well bucket to escape & the hornet stung me twice!!

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    June 26, 2020 at 10:23 am

    One time me, Harold, and Daddy were over at Bigfist’s. John Nelson and Daddy were sitting on the couch talking; and me and Harold were playing on the Barstools that went round and round near the counter. I felt Harold put something in my coat and said we’d eat it going home on the railroad tracks. It was a small chocolate cake with Devil’s Food and that white stuff in the middle. Daddy suspected we were up to No Good and he wouldn’t go on down the Railroad.

    When we got home, Daddy found the little Cake that only cost 5 cents and he went out across the yard and got some of Mama’s lyloc bushes. We got the Home-Sweet Hell beat out of us and Harold knew what about to happen, so he stuffed whatever he could find and stuck in his pants. Daddy knew how little boys were so he pulled down Harold’s britches and wore him and me out.

    To this day, we never bothered anything that didn’t belong to us. The most humiliation was Daddy gave a nickel to Harold and told him to go and pay Bigfiest for what we stole. He made me go with him. That was a long time ago. …Ken

  • Reply
    Paula Rhodarmer
    June 26, 2020 at 10:10 am

    All those words but “iron glass” are very familiar to me. I remember reading somewhere that isinglass was mica, so I wonder if that has anything to do with it being called “iron glass?”

  • Reply
    Rebecca Wines
    June 26, 2020 at 9:53 am

    My husband nicknamed one of our youngest Grandaughters (Hornet Head) because she is always stirring the others to see what their reaction will be.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 26, 2020 at 9:38 am

    I’ve heard mica called isinglass but never iron glass.
    Bassackerds is more common than hindside-first on my side of the mountain.

  • Reply
    June 26, 2020 at 9:30 am

    Interesting that I have never heard iron glass. I often heard the word and would still use the expression “high minded.” It is a little different than your version but means the same. That seems to indicate a person who has an exaggerated sense of their importance. The Deer Hunter getting ill over messing with the tv brings to mind a phenomena I noticed growing up. The interests of men and women seemed much more differentiated than nowadays. Normally NASCAR would be a topic of a man’s conversation except for me. I loved going to those races back in the day of Richard Petty. It changed so much for me when so many of the young drivers died in accidents or plane crashes in a short while. Also one of my all time favorites was Mr. Neil Bonnett, and I don’t think I have even watched on television since he was killed. As cute as that little daughter is I just might have gotten ill if my race was interrupted

  • Reply
    June 26, 2020 at 8:58 am

    I thought my family was the only folks who said ill to describe a hateful person. Most of the time it was used to described a whiny child. We like the word so much that we say a person is ill-mannered when they are rude. All the words are common in my area except iron glass.

  • Reply
    June 26, 2020 at 8:52 am

    Never heard iron glass but I have found rocks that have Mica on them and they sure do sparkle.

  • Reply
    Sanford McKinney
    June 26, 2020 at 8:42 am

    “If I’s you I wouldn’t even go in the house!”
    “If’n I wuz you, I wouldn’t step a foot in that house”

  • Reply
    gayle larson
    June 26, 2020 at 8:35 am

    I am not familiar with iron glasss. I say hindsight all the time but not hindside. I love these tests. Makes me think about just what I do say and how we use these words.

  • Reply
    aw griff
    June 26, 2020 at 8:24 am

    I don’t remember iron glass for mica but have heard mica called isen glass. When I came to importantest and you explained we often add est to words I wondered if I do that because I don’t say importantest. Yep I do: goodest,bestest,hatefulest,meanest, etc.
    The word I use most is ill, especially if I talking about an ill natured dog.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    June 26, 2020 at 8:07 am

    Hindside first I have probably heard as hindend foremost but more commonly as ack basswards. High-headed I always heard as “on a high horse”. There is no mica where I grew up so I never saw ‘iron glass’ until I was nearly twenty. At one time it was called ‘ising (spelled wrong?) glass. Importantest I do not recall ever hearing but I know we are “bad to” add “est” to make the idea of the most of anything. Ill I am very familiar with, usually said as “ill as a hornet”. That is particularly apt because a hornet will chase you down to sting you. Yellow jackets and wasps give up a lot quicker.

  • Reply
    Jim K
    June 26, 2020 at 8:01 am

    I hear “High-headed ” most of the time now, when I was growing up I remember the term “big like” was commonly used in the same manner, don’t her that anymore.
    Iron glass is a new one for me.

  • Reply
    Margie Goldstein
    June 26, 2020 at 7:26 am

    We do have “funny” ( peculiar to outsiders) dialect. I get a kick out of your family helping with your videos and may I add they seem to be naturals in front of the camera ( or big hams.) Thanks for the share. I ALWAYS LOOK FORWARD to seeing and hearing you EVERY MORNING! Have an awesome weekend, Tipper and family!!!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    June 26, 2020 at 7:11 am

    On glass is also new to me

  • Reply
    Don Byers
    June 26, 2020 at 6:23 am

    “After that promotion his head swole up”

  • Reply
    June 26, 2020 at 5:47 am

    I’m familiar with all but iron glass, that’s a new one on me.

  • Leave a Reply