Appalachian Dialect

Appalachian Vocabulary Test 15

Purchase Knob

Time for this month’s vocabulary test. See how you do:

  1. Haint
  2. Har
  3. Hearn
  4. Heist
  5. Hell


  1. Haint: ghost. “I hear tell theres a haint up there at the old Robinson cabins. Don’t know if it’s true-and I don’t aim to find out either!”
  2. Har: harrow. “I’m a hoping it warms up so I can har the garden. I shoulda already had it done.”
  3. Hearn: hers. “I told Geraldine not to bother the candy for it weren’t hearn.”
  4. Heist: hoist. “After I heist that engine out of the old Ford I plan to put it in the IWANNA and sell it.”
  5. Hell: laurel thicket. “While we were out looking for ole blue we stumbled into a laurel hell and I didn’t think we’d ever get out of it.”

I’m familiar with all of this month’s words and still hear them on a regular basis. I truly thought har was a real word-that everyone used-until just recently. Seems so much harder to say ‘harrow’.

As always-hope you’ll leave me a comment and tell me which words you know.



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  • Reply
    Gina Largen
    January 18, 2020 at 6:40 am

    There was a woman in our community that young ‘uns would probably have referred to as looking like a “witch” from a fairy tale. I remember fondly whenever my grandpa would see her he would say, ” Now, there’s a damn haint!” lol

  • Reply
    February 19, 2010 at 9:31 am

    I Love this …I grew with these word and still use
    Poke = Bag or Sack

  • Reply
    February 19, 2010 at 9:07 am

    I missed Har and Hell. love this post

  • Reply
    January 29, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    I grew up hearing HEARN and HEIST but that was about it. I wasn’t allowed to use the words LOL

  • Reply
    January 27, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    Oh, I love the idea of a vocabulary test! It’s not just that the words may be different, but the accent changes things, too. In my mind I can hear the southern accent. Very fun!

  • Reply
    Helen G.
    January 17, 2010 at 12:33 am

    I didn’t know har or hell in the context of laurel hell but haint, hern and heist I definitely have not only heard but have used, especially heist… as in soon as I heist my heinie out of this chair I’ll help you with the dishes… or whatever.
    Love the word posts.

  • Reply
    January 16, 2010 at 12:30 am

    I know haint and hearn this month, but not the other three. Can’t say that I’ve ever used any of them myself, but have heard them used by others.

  • Reply
    Fishing Guy
    January 15, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    Tipper: This is a list that I’ve never used or heard. It must be way more Southern then what I’m used to.

  • Reply
    January 15, 2010 at 9:58 am

    Only a couple of them this time, Tipper.
    To me…a heist is what bank robbers do.
    And hell can any kind of sticky situation.

  • Reply
    January 14, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    I was familiar with all the words except “Hell” in the context presented. I enjoyed the article on “Hog Killin’ Time” too. Pappy

  • Reply
    January 14, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    I have hear haint and heist and have read books that used hearn in the vocabulary, but the others are new to me. I always enjoy these vocabulary tests.
    Do you have much snow or is it gone already? We still have about two or three inches here but milder weather has set in.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    January 14, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    Dad said they always worried over the dogs gettin’ in the’Laurel hell’ when they were hunting in the mountains. When people would get lost in the Smokies…Laurel hell was always a thought in the back of the searchers mind. Grandmother called thickets with stickers or thorns (Saw-briars,blackberries,etc…
    Hear ‘bush har’ alot around here…”Your gonna’ have to take the bush-har to it, hits’ sa tall!

  • Reply
    January 14, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    I knew 3 & 4. These are really great!

  • Reply
    Sheila Bergeron
    January 14, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    I enjoy the vocabulry tests. Iv’e heard them all except hell. And have you ever run like a skeered haint? I have from hogs.

  • Reply
    Lonnie L. Dockery
    January 14, 2010 at 11:28 am

    We used (and use!) all of those.
    Like you, I thought some of them were real words. I fixed flat “tars” all my life, until I went to work for General “Tire” and Rubber Co.
    I don’t think Laurel Hell comes from our ignorance. Horace Kephart used it and if you’ve ever been through one you realize it’s a perfectly logical name!

  • Reply
    Eggs In My Pocket
    January 14, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Hi Tipper. I thought about you and your website the other day as I was watching TV. There was a documentary on “mountain folk” and the way they talk. It was very heart warming and interesting. Have a good weekend, blessings,Kathleen

  • Reply
    January 14, 2010 at 10:51 am

    When you say ” I truly thought har was a real word” you make me laugh, there are so many words like that from my childhood, words that aren’t even colloquial, but that were used by my family so much that I thought for sure they were real words.

  • Reply
    Julie at Elisharose
    January 14, 2010 at 10:11 am

    Well, you got me this time. I knew haint from books I’ve read, but I’ve never heard any of them in conversation.

  • Reply
    January 14, 2010 at 9:40 am

    I do like these vocabulary test. To bad I ain’t any good at them.

  • Reply
    January 14, 2010 at 9:32 am

    I didn’t know 1 or 5. The rest ere familiar.

  • Reply
    Greta Koehl
    January 13, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    Was only familiar with haint and hearn. I remember hearn from an old Burma Shave sign: “They missed the turn, The car went whizzin’, The fault was hearn, the funeral hisn.”

  • Reply
    Patty Hall
    January 13, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    I’ve never heard of har or a laurel hell. Not sure if I’ve heard heist.
    I’ve heard of haints
    I’ve heard hearn and hisn-for his.

  • Reply
    Nancy Simpson
    January 13, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    Tipper this is a good one. I got all correct this time.
    I love the image of the Laurel Hell. I can imagine what it was like for the early settlers who got lost in them and had to cut their way through them.

  • Reply
    January 13, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    This is too funny. I have heard of a few but especially haint and hearn. And har, in my neck of the woods was hair……LOL……thanks for the memories.

  • Reply
    Elizabeth Thomas
    January 13, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    The only word I was familiar with was haint, but I enjoy all your posts. I think every area of the country must have their set of words not used in other areas. I think I’ll start looking for some in mine.

  • Reply
    January 13, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    I’d never heard “laurel hell” before. I like it!

  • Reply
    Vicki Lane
    January 13, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    Heard em all — and had to laugh about har. I was a tutor with a remedial reading class in the local high school and my student was reading something for me. He bogged down at the word ‘harrow’ and I said ‘You know what that is — the triangular thing with teeth that you drag across a plowed up field to smooth it.’
    ‘You mean a har?’he said.

  • Reply
    January 13, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    Well, I guess 3 out of 5 isn’t too bad. I knew Haint, hearn and heist.

  • Reply
    Shirley Bullock
    January 13, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    I have heard all except the Laurel Hell. I think thats where Tar Baby was tossed! lol Shirley

  • Reply
    January 13, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    My score wasn’t even passing on this one, Tipper! 😮

  • Reply
    larry meckley
    January 13, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    i bought a book at cracker barrel once on how to talk southern. it was interesting. iguess im a yankee with a rebel attitude.born yankee to young to do anything about it.

  • Reply
    January 13, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    We don’t have laurel growing in this area, so that one wasn’t something I’m familiar with. However, I’ve not only heard the rest, I’ve used some of them in a sentence or two.

  • Reply
    January 13, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    These tests are fun! The only unfamiliar word was har for harrow, reminded me of my scots-irish grandpa using har (pronounced like car) for hair. The others aren’t commonly used around here, but I’m sure anyone hearing them would know what they mean -most of them had montaineer grandpaents too! I’m afraid a lot of folks are turning their backs on the rich culture we inherited. This is what makes what you’re doing so important! Keep up the good work, and thanks for allowing all of us a part in it!

  • Reply
    January 13, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    I just want to say how much I enjoy the vocabulary test. I am a activity director in VA and share them with my residents, hope you don’t mind. They love them also. I didn’t get har but the others I knew. Thanks!!

  • Reply
    January 13, 2010 at 8:45 am

    Har is a new one for me…the others I know…but don’t really use often I guess

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    January 13, 2010 at 8:35 am

    I don’t ever recall hearing of laurel hell, but I have heard hell used in a lot of expressions. In fact my mother used to call me hell on!
    I learned the word har from the Deer Hunters Papaw James. He told me I needed to get the garden hared. I said what is hared? He said you know cut. I said what does cut mean? He said you know hared. Well that could go round and round all day. When the Deer Hunters dad came home from work I asked him. He explained that piece of equipment is called a Disk Harrow. It is an attachment for a tractor. I had seen many of them but never heard the name. Boy did I get laughed at that day!
    Thanks Tipper, I always enjoy these tests!

  • Reply
    January 13, 2010 at 8:17 am

    Heard of a house that was ‘hainted’, but not a ‘haint.’ Not familiar with “har” and “hell” in that context. Not much of either in this area.

  • Reply
    Wanda in Northwest Alabama
    January 13, 2010 at 8:11 am

    I only got 40% on this one. I am very familiar with haint and hearn. I have never heard of laurel hell, but laurel doesn’t grow much in our part of the world.
    I love these vocabulary tests; please keep them coming!

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