Appalachian Dialect

Appalachian Vocabulary Test 140


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. Laps: the branches or bushy part of a tree. “He split and chopped the trunk of that tree that fell but never did clean up the laps. I reckon they’ll lay there till they rot away.”

2. Larrupin: very tasty. “That peach cobbler was larrupin good!”

3. Lavish: an abundance, plenty. “I’m telling you the garden produced a lavish of orkry this year.”

4. Lay back: to save; to conserve. “I’ve tried to lay back some extra this year just in case.”

5. Learn up: to learn thoroughly; to study. “Chitter’s been learning up on how to cut rocks and she’s got good at it!”

So how did you do on the test? I’ve only heard one person use larrupin and it was in a youtube video. You don’t hear lavish used to indicate abundance very often in my neck of the woods. The others are beyond common.

*If you’d like to send Ken Roper a card you can send it to him at:
Ken Roper
c/o The Laurels
70 Sweeten Creek Road
Asheville, NC 28803

He’ll only be there a limited time so sending the card quickly is important. I’ll share his new address once he lands there 🙂


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  • Reply
    November 28, 2020 at 2:32 pm

    I think some of these words have different meanings depending on the situation. I remember getting a good “larrupin” with a strap and I remember the barber larrupin his straight razor on a strop and I remember my granny larrupin the aigs (eggs) when she was baking.

  • Reply
    September 29, 2020 at 7:57 pm

    I didn’t do well at all on these words.

  • Reply
    Sanford McKinney Jr
    September 26, 2020 at 10:37 am

    I remember hearing some of the older residents of Upper Shell Creek TN using ” larruping” when mentioning a dog drinking water. “That dog was larruping that water like he was about thirst to death!”

  • Reply
    Billy Hugh Campbell jr
    September 26, 2020 at 9:25 am

    Greetings from Northeast Tennessee. I think different families used different words. Some of the words my family used, my wife’s family didn’t use,, and some words they used we don’t use. Also I believe word usage differed from county to county.

    • Reply
      September 26, 2020 at 9:31 am

      Billy Hugh-I so agree with you! My husband is from about 4 counties away and we both say different words that are common in Appalachia…well I should say we did when we first met but after 26 years of marriage we pretty much say the same thing now 🙂

  • Reply
    Sanford McKinney Jr
    September 26, 2020 at 9:22 am

    Lay back
    This reminded of “Lay by” which meant the last cultivating and hoeing that plants would receive before harvesting.

  • Reply
    Paula Rhodarmer
    September 25, 2020 at 10:01 pm

    I haven’t heard “learn up” but I have heard “study up.” Also, I am not familiar with the word “lap” used as tree branches. I have a recipe called “Blackberry Larriup.” I wonder if that is related to larrupin. The others are commonly heard around here.

  • Reply
    Yecedrah Beth Higman
    September 25, 2020 at 7:02 pm

    I have heard all but “lap”. My husband uses the word “bolixing” like ” what are you bolixing with now?”

  • Reply
    September 25, 2020 at 4:32 pm

    I’ve never heard these expressions. I have heard “study up on.”

    • Reply
      September 26, 2020 at 9:30 pm

      A lot of these words and phrases are still used here in the Ozarks!

  • Reply
    September 25, 2020 at 3:11 pm

    Festus Hagain on Gunsmoke said larrupin in several episodes. I don’t recall hearing anyone else use it. All the others were familiar.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    September 25, 2020 at 11:38 am

    Learning versus Studying.
    Learning is what you get from a book, a teacher or from personal experiences.
    Studying is deep thought, pondering, analyzation, turning a situation over and over in your mind. In other words studying is the use of what you have learned.
    Studying is also what you have to do when someone is working off of a shaky ladder.

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    September 25, 2020 at 11:31 am

    I’ve heard and used “larrupin” all my life. Also “lay back.” But I have heard “lavish” used only as an adjective (a lavish feast) and never heard the others.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    September 25, 2020 at 10:53 am

    Never heard lavish used that way–I have heard “a gracious plenty”. Never heard of laps. Lay back is what I’ve been trying to do more of in this uncertain world. We used to say “lay by” to mean the time when plowing, etc. stopped in late summer–it was a happy time!!

  • Reply
    SusieQ & Donnie Ray
    September 25, 2020 at 10:29 am

    Happy Birthday to both your sweet girls… hope they have a lovely day celebrating it. As to the vocabulary test I haven’t heard larruping, we usually say ” Granny’s cobbler is lip smackin good.” Laps I’ve heard as in a runner, but not referring to tree branches…. know lay back and lavish too.

  • Reply
    Larry Tolley
    September 25, 2020 at 10:20 am

    Wow! I was actually thinking about larripin the other day! When I was in high school I worked at a meat shop in Erwin Tennessee which was owned by two brothers. The elder one used the word enough that it has stuck in my memory after all these years.

  • Reply
    aw griff
    September 25, 2020 at 9:58 am

    I familiar with laps and have used it. Never heard larrupin but heard and used lappin good. My friend says that food was so good that my tongue liked to lapped my brains out. I’ve heard lavish used like for a lavish meal. Lay back I’ve heard and used but learn up is always study up.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    September 25, 2020 at 9:51 am

    I have heard and use them all. Lavish to me doesn’t mean an abundance while it is still on the land but after it has been harvested and laid back. Or lavish is a table filled to the excess. A lavish larder or pantry, a lavish spread.
    I predict that most people won’t know a lap in the connotation of a tree top. That’s been my experience anyway. A tree top is also called a crown but most people won’t know that either.

    More about laps. You are calling a branch, I call a limb. To me a branch is a stream of water to small to be a creek or a stream that branches off of a creek. A tributary of a creek.

  • Reply
    September 25, 2020 at 8:54 am

    Good morning! My grandmother, who died in 2006 at age 97 is the only person I’ve ever heard say ‘larrupin’. I’ve heard lay back or lay by often, and I say ‘studying up’ instead of ‘learning up’. Never heard the others that I remember. I love your blog – thanks for all you work.

  • Reply
    September 25, 2020 at 8:53 am

    Lay back is the only word I am familiar with in this month’s test. I think I heard my parents say learn up but I don’t use it in that way.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    September 25, 2020 at 8:23 am

    For the first time I’d have to say I got none. I know the meaning of “laps” and “larrupin” but if I heard them spoken I would note them as being unusual. For some reason, I think of “laps” as being more of a North woods lumberjack word. “Lay back” I would easily understand the meaning of but again it would sound odd to me. Never heard, or even read, “learn uo”.

    • Reply
      Ed Ammons
      September 25, 2020 at 9:58 am

      If North Carolina counts as North woods, then yeah. Daddy lived all his life in North Carolina, mostly in the woods. Except when he was in the Army! Limbs are trimmed off the log up until is is no longer usable. The lap is cut off as a whole.

      • Reply
        Ron Stephens
        September 25, 2020 at 12:25 pm

        I never had heard before the idea of “laps” being just the unmerchantable tops. But I must say that makes great sense to me, more than if all the limbs, trimmed and untrimmed are lumped together as “laps”. Reminds me to of how what we always pronounced as “pole ax” was really a “poll ax”, so-called because of having a flat back, a “poll” .

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    September 25, 2020 at 7:24 am

    Tipper–The first four are quite familiar to me. I’ve never heard learn up although I’ve heard and used studying up.

    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Don Byers
    September 25, 2020 at 7:06 am

    My Granddad Nick Byers would exclaim, “I ginny”! I would say “My gosh”…..

  • Reply
    Maurice and Barbara
    September 25, 2020 at 6:59 am

    From Maurice and Barbara,
    Here’s wishing a blessed 24th birthday to the Pressley girls!!

    • Reply
      September 25, 2020 at 12:59 pm

      Oh my gosh! Happy Birthday to Chitter and Chatter. Hope they have a wonderful day. Can they really be 24? Time is flying by.

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