Appalachian Dialect

Appalachian Vocabulary Test 153

Katie's rocks

Two of Chitter’s handmade cabochons

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. Unfitten: unfit. “When I was a teenager leggings were really in style. Pap thought it was unfitten for me to go out in something that looked like my pajamas.”

2. Unlessen: lessen. “I wasn’t planning on coming back tomorrow unlessen you need me to.”

3. Upon my honor: interjection; exclamation; vote of confidence. “I told him upon my honor we’d be there come hell or high water.” or “Upon my honor I’ve never seen the beat!”

4. Upscuddle: an argument. “When the girls were little they played a lot with my niece April. Sometimes an upscuddle would happen and two of the three girls would take a side against the remaining one. If the third one out was one of my girls she’d come home saying “Momma they ganged me out.”

5. Untelling: beyond belief; beyond description. “It’s untelling how many wonderful comments Blind Pig and The Acorn readers have left me over the years.”

I’m familiar with all of this month’s words, although upscuddle and upon my honor are hardly used here anymore. Hope you’ll leave a comment and share how you did on the test.

Last night’s video: Putting Up Old Butternut Squash and Other Fall Chores.


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  • Reply
    October 29, 2021 at 2:15 pm

    If you think about where ‘upscuttle’ prob’ly comes from, it’s a perfectly clear description. M. Webster says that a scuttle is a small shallow basket for carrying grain or garden produce or a metal pail for carrying coal, mostly. To ‘up’ a scuttle would be to make a right mess and aggravation whether the scuttle carried grain, coal or fireplace ashes. Never heard upscuttle to mean an argument or spat but can see how it would be used. I’ve heard and used the others. “On my honor . . . ” is part of the Boy Scouts oath. I’ve more often heard it as “‘ pon my honor” when used as an interjection.

    As always, The Blind Pig gives me a great start to the day.

    • Reply
      October 29, 2021 at 2:16 pm

      ps: Would love to know what gems those are!

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    October 29, 2021 at 11:15 am

    All are new to me.

  • Reply
    Paula Rhodarmer
    October 29, 2021 at 10:37 am

    Like many of the other commenters, I had never heard upscuttle, but it was easy to guess its meaning. All of the others are common to me. I particularly love to use “unfitten.” There are so many unfitten things going on today!

  • Reply
    October 29, 2021 at 10:06 am

    These are all new to me.

  • Reply
    Frances Jackson
    October 29, 2021 at 9:57 am

    I love the word “fittin.” Once, when we were living in Arkansas, we had company to dinner, and when I called everyone to the table, the guest looked things over and remarked, “Well, this looks fittin.” That was the first time I heard it, and I wasn’t sure whether it was a compliment or not.

  • Reply
    October 29, 2021 at 9:53 am

    I don’t remember ever hearing upscuttle but the rest I’ve heard, just not recently. Untelling , I say as notelling and unfitten, I say as notfit. Notfit mostly used to describe a person as a no good. Example, he’s notfit for nothing or he’s not fit to tie her shoes.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    October 29, 2021 at 9:18 am

    I’d never heard of upscuddle until it showed up in a previous vocabulary test here on the Blind Pig. In its place I would have heard ruckus or snit.
    Upon my word, I might have heard, instead of Upon my honor.
    The other three abide in me and shall remain forever.

  • Reply
    October 29, 2021 at 8:49 am

    Upscuttle is the only one I have never heard. My relatives used to say upon my honor and I thought they were saying pawn my honor. I do think they were saying pawn instead of upon, as they often said I before pawn.

    • Reply
      Wyatt Firebaugh
      January 2, 2022 at 1:26 pm

      My grandma always heard it as “palm my honor”

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    October 29, 2021 at 8:09 am

    Hmmm I’ll say 2; just the ‘upon my honor’ and ‘untelling’. But I’ve heard the first way more as ‘ pon my honor if that boy ain’t growed a foot since Christmas.’ or ‘On my honor, I never done no such a thang.’ Untelling is common, but often pronounced ‘ontelling’ as in ‘It’s ontelling how many trips I’ve made to that old spring.’ Not going to claim ‘unlessen’, though I am pretty sure I’ve heard it and used it as just ” lessen”; for example, “lessen you’re tied up me and you’ll go afishing Saturday.” Never heard tell of ‘upscuttle’ and for ‘unfitten’ we just say ‘ain’t fit’ as in “you ain’t fit to be seen out in the public with your shirttail hangin’ out.’

  • Reply
    October 29, 2021 at 8:02 am

    Unfit is the only one I’ve ever heard.

  • Reply
    donna sue
    October 29, 2021 at 7:55 am

    I like the words unlessen, untelling, and unfitting. I think they are pretty self explanatory. I have never heard upscuddle. “Upon my honor” I remember hearing in Iowa, but haven’t heard it here. It’s a good phrase. I am sure when it was popular it carried a heavier weight, reminding someone to be honest, don’t tell lies, as your honor (your reputation, your word, your character) was at stake. A century ago, having good honor was something to take pride in. Sadly, not anymore.

    Donna. : )

  • Reply
    Don Byers
    October 29, 2021 at 7:54 am

    We had a knock-down-drag-out,,,,

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    October 29, 2021 at 7:51 am

    Tipper–I’ve never encountered upscuddle but the rest of them are familiar. Since you featured “up” words I’m surprised uppity wasn’t included. It’s a word I’ve heard used all my life to describe someone who got too big for their britches or got above their raisin’.

    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    joe chumlea
    October 29, 2021 at 7:35 am

    Have you ever heard the term ” odd turn “. As in “he sure has a odd turn to him” ,or he has a funny turn.

    • Reply
      October 29, 2021 at 7:37 am

      Joe-I have heard it 🙂

    • Reply
      Frances Jackson
      October 29, 2021 at 9:52 am

      In the Missouri Ozarks I’ve heard of someone having an “odd turn to him.”

  • Reply
    Michel Bossman
    October 29, 2021 at 7:31 am

    My husband introduced me to the Blind Pig and the Acorn! Just the name fascinated me! We live in a little burg in western NY. It a great way to get a feel for another part of our country through your blog. Im enjoying the expressions and language education. Thank you!

  • Reply
    Sanford McKinney
    October 29, 2021 at 7:13 am

    Upscuddle A new one for me.
    Upon my honor I used to hear older people say, “Plumb my honor” as in Plumb my honor if I ain’t telling you the truth.
    I think that might have been an invitation to “straighten the out” if they were wrong?

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    October 29, 2021 at 7:05 am

    I don’t recall hearing upscuttle but it sounds like a perfectly good and expressive word. You hear it and know exactly what it means!
    You know Tip, most of these words that show up on the vocabular tests are really good words, their just forgotten words.

  • Reply
    Sheryl A Paul
    October 29, 2021 at 6:22 am

    Upscuddle is brand new to me but like most Appalachian words the meaning is so obvious. The rest of the words I remember hearing as a child not at sll now. Made me smile to hesr

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