Appalachian Vocabulary Test 155

ladder with snow on it

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. Work out: To manage, accumulate. “I’m so proud of him! He worked out the money to pay for that truck instead of getting it on time.”

2. Work off: Of liquor or sauerkraut: to ferment. “I used to hate the smell of momma’a kraut when it was working off. She finally started putting it on the back porch and I was glad.”

3. Wooly: Overgrown with vegetation. “It was so wooly back in there behind the house that I was afraid she’d get on a snake and get bit.”

4. Yanway: That way, in that direction. “Off yanway is the last place I seen that big buck a good while back. I reckon someone got him or he finally died out.”

5. Yet: Still. “I’m always amazed when I see old rock foundations and chimneys that are there yet even though there’s no other sign of the house.”

Most folks I hear use the word wooly are talking about a person who has wild hair or maybe a man with a big beard. Not many folks using the word yet for still in my area of Appalachia, but it was one that Pap used often. The others are still fairly common around here. What about where you live?

Last night’s video: The Best Sweet Potatoes in Appalachia.


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  • Reply
    January 28, 2022 at 9:55 pm

    Had never heard ‘wooly’ used in that context but have heard the others used as described. “Yander” was mostly heard in the NC mountains.

    Yet and still can be confusing for English speakers. Imagine how ESL folks are confused. When I worked in Spain, we became friends with some young Spaniards who used us to practice their English and we used them similarly to practice Spanish. The first thing we were asked as to explain how ‘yet’ and ‘still’ were properly used. The best I could come up with was to explain that ‘yet’ was a condition not met, as in, “He is yet to finish his test.” Further, still was explained as something that continues to happen, as in, “The motor is running still.” Of course that doesn’t begin to explain usage but was at least a start. Then we fell into the idiom of saying, “Yet and still we ain’t fer sure.”

    • Reply
      January 28, 2022 at 9:56 pm

      PS: Not everyone uses IG.

      • Reply
        January 29, 2022 at 11:55 am

        Robert-you don’t need an instagram account to watch the videos. If they’re not showing up on your computer it may be your settings stopping them from appearing.

  • Reply
    January 28, 2022 at 8:49 pm

    It is just our way to sometimes use more words than needed. I have heard the yet used as “yet still there.” Yanway nor wooly are familiar, although we often joke about our over yander and yonder. Seems the yander goes way back in my memory. Your vocabulary tests are so very interesting, and they always take me back to a pleasant place. I am saddened when I see how much my area is losing those wonderful old phrases and words. Too much television will have us all sounding like we are from California! 🙂

  • Reply
    Gary Griffith
    January 28, 2022 at 1:06 pm

    I think I have heard and used all of these. “Wooly” has often been used to describe me when I am in bad need of a haircut or beard trim but I also use it to refer to an overgrown piece of ground. I hear “still” and “yet” used together. “It has cleared up,but still yet there is a chance of Snow.”

  • Reply
    January 28, 2022 at 11:35 am

    I’ve heard all those words except wooly as referring to brambles or a yard overgrown. I use the word wooly to describe a caterpillar that you notice more in the fall when your thinking of how cold that winter may be:) Tipper, I always smile when I see you using pans like I have and my Mother had in her kitchen. Today, when I viewed you making sweet potatoes, it was the wooden bowl sitting on your counter. I have my Grandmother’s wooden bowl that she made her biscuit dough in and it is a treasure to me. You mentioned in that video about those who came before cooking in their fireplace which sparked my memory. Mother told me that her Mother would wrap eggs in a wet cloth tied individually and laid in the ashes of the fireplace, cooked the eggs perfectly (hard-boiled), and served them to her children.

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    January 28, 2022 at 11:10 am

    Yet is the only one I’ve ever heard.

  • Reply
    January 28, 2022 at 10:44 am

    “Work off” is new to me. The others are familiar although I would spell “Yanway” with an “o” as in “yonway”. Most of the time I say “yonder a ways” but I remember older relatives saying “yonway”. Wish you had a video for that one – Do you say it with the first “a” sounding like the “a” in “cat”?

    • Reply
      January 30, 2022 at 10:55 am

      Tamela-I’ve heard both yanway and yonway used in my area. Yanway said like the a in cat and yonway said with the o sound 🙂

  • Reply
    Ray C. Presley
    January 28, 2022 at 10:34 am

    You pulled some good ones out that time, Tipper. I’ve seldom heard “yet” as a substitute for “still.” “Yanways” not so much either. Instead of “yanways,” we would just use “yander,” as in “off yander” at the mouth of the holler is the best place to pick blackberries “

  • Reply
    Sallie the apple doll lady
    January 28, 2022 at 9:53 am

    I’m familiar with them all but wooly as some comments say, I’ve heard referred to a person with lots of hair. The Deer Hunter reminded me of an incident when I was beginning student teaching. My boyfriend (later husband) and I brought a gallon of my Daddy’s homemade wine to my boyfriend’s place. After the 1 1/2 hr drive we were in sight of our destination when we heard a loud “pop” and smelled wine. Evidently it hadn’t completely worked off, had gotten warm and spilled the whole gallon in the floor behind the driver’s seat. It was hard to clean out and my new car smelled of wine for a long, long time. I was so afraid of the smell being on me when I met my teacher for the first time or if I was stopped by the police. There was more wine where that came from but I hated that it was wasted. Daddy said he “only made it for him and the church and the church never came and got theirs”! He gave lots away. I enjoyed the vocabulary teat as usual. Thanks.

    • Reply
      Ray C. Presley
      January 28, 2022 at 9:45 pm

      The same thing happened to my Mother when she was fermenting blackberry wine. She always used a big jug and a balloon. She got to where she could accuratelly estimate how long it woluld take for the fermentation process to work off, expand the balloon and then deflate when it was finished….only one night it worked off so hard that it caused the jug to bust into a million pieces.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    January 28, 2022 at 9:47 am

    Hmmm not right sure where I am with these. I think I have heard, and used, “work out” to mean ‘plan’ or ‘figure out’ or maybe ‘design’ as in, “I’m gonna build me a garden shed soon as I work out the best way to do it.”

    As for ” work off”, while I would understand the connection with fermentation, I would mostly think of it as working off some kind of obligation.

    Do not recall ever hearing “wooly” to mean ‘all grown up’. I most likely would say “brushy” or maybe “thickety”, ranging frim plain ‘brushy’ through “bad” or “awful” brushy to “a pure dee jungle”. I don’t think I ever encountered the word “hell” for ‘ivy’ or ‘laurel’ thickets where I grew up even though we had a gracious plenty of both. Don’t understand that.

    I have no definite memory of “yanways” or “yonways” but I am inclined to believe I heard one or both growing up but then only rarely. If seriously meant, it would require pointing or some other help to be semi-useful. Puzzling, could mean ‘ don’t know where they was headed to but they went off in that direction.’

    I have to laugh about “yet”. I suspect I would say that instead of “still” every time. But if that’s right, I had no idea of it. Now I’ll have to try and remember and catch myself. Your vocabulary tests invariably leave me a bit uncertain about how I say things and when – or if – I have heard others say them the Appalachian way.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    January 28, 2022 at 9:42 am

    All familiar but some with slightly diffetent meanings. Wooly is a place that could be a bit dangerous. Momma would not let ud go to a spot ee loved to pick blueberries cause it was too wooly. Yanway is yonway same usage

  • Reply
    January 28, 2022 at 9:38 am

    I’ve heard and used “work it out or work it” to refer to getting things done or solving problems and yes, used working out, but that usually referred to exercising. I’ve heard “yonder still”, but don’t thing I’ve used it myself to refer to people still being around. Woolly was used for either hairy or feeling itchy because wool fabric back in the day made one feel itchy. We didn’t have to be wearing wool, we sometimes just felt itchy and instead of saying itchy, I would say “Mama, I’m all woolly “ …as I scratched my arms.

  • Reply
    January 28, 2022 at 9:11 am

    All the words are familiar to me. Wooly or woolybooger is often used to describe a man who has let his hair get out of hand. My parents used to say over yander to describe the direction something or someone went. That is probably one of my daughter’s favorite words to have fun with when she is mocking me. When I was a kid, I used to visit a house where homebrew (beer, I think) was being made in a churn. When it was working off, it was the most amazing smell. I can’t stand the smell of beer now that I have grown up so maybe what they made in a crock wasn’t beer.

  • Reply
    January 28, 2022 at 8:20 am

    Smiles. I lived in England for years and they use, ‘Work out’ in the same way today. Appalachia is such a wonderful tribute to the many settlers from Europe, bringing in their (our) distinctive Music, colloquiums, slang, traits, recipes and more. BUT OUR SMILES ARE ALL THE SAME. Thank you, Tipper.

  • Reply
    Margie G
    January 28, 2022 at 8:08 am

    As in: He was a WOOLY booger with all that hippie hair which needed dealt with. She WORKED OFF that pie washing dishes and sweeping the floor. I been WORKING UP a mess of fresh beans for tonight’s supper. When I was about 8, a friend of mine from Korea gave me a beautiful cat named GOYONGA ( which means cat in Korean.) The old boy held up in our chimney about 2 or 3 days before he came out. Mommy grabbed her broom and tapped it on the floor with the door open and GOYONGA left as she yelled in a upset tone, “ GO YONDER, GOYONGA!” and I never saw him again…

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    January 28, 2022 at 7:40 am

    Tipper–All five are quite familiar to me, although to a certain degree there are additional definitions or usages.
    Work out–“He worked out that patch of ground until it was slick as a mole’s behind.”
    Work off–“It took him half a day splitting wood to work off that hangover.”
    Wooly–I’ve more frequently head “wooly head,” and not in reference to hair but particularly dense patch of vegetation such as a laurel hell.
    Yanway–Again, “yanderway” is more familiar to me, and this brought a wry smile since I still remember Momma chastising me when I was seven or eight years old and said to someone who was visiting, “That’s up yanderway.” Yet I think the odds are more than even I had picked the expression up from someone in the family, most likely Grandpa Joe.
    Yet–As with you, I hear this the least.

  • Reply
    January 28, 2022 at 7:33 am

    The only one I’m not sure about is yanway which I hear and say as yonway or yonways. May have heard yanway years ago but not any more.

  • Reply
    Sanford McKinney
    January 28, 2022 at 7:17 am

    1. Work out: Everything will “work out” fine.
    2. The county is letting Joe “work off” his debt by picking up trash along the road.
    3. That man sure has a “wooly ” head of hair.
    4. The last time I saw him, he was running “yanway” trying to get away from the bees. Usually accompanied by a pointing finger in some direction?
    5. She dumped him five years ago and he loves her, “yet”.

  • Reply
    Ron Bass
    January 28, 2022 at 6:42 am

    We use wooly referring to a person. We use work out meaning to accumulate and work off as to work off a debt. Still cold here in flat N.C. this morning, 26. Predicting 17 tonight. Have a great day and God Bless.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    January 28, 2022 at 6:30 am

    All of these are familiar to me, I’ve also heard wooly to describe someone overgrown with hair on their head and/or face!
    All of these words I hear still yet!
    I just love our language in spite of the fellow I used to work with me telling me that my country is showing when I used some of our more colorful expressions!

  • Reply
    donna sue
    January 28, 2022 at 4:36 am

    I use “yet” and “still” interchangeably pretty much on a daily basis. And I have heard “work out” used before. The other words I have not heard or used myself. Another great batch of new words for me!

    Donna. : )

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