Appalachian Dialect

Appalachian Vocabulary Test 156

Plum tree blooms in March

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. Adam’s needle: yucca plant. “You’ll usually see Adam’s needle a blooming in May after the weather warms ups.”

2. Addle-pated: same as addled (confused, dazed, mentally weak). “I swear after I fell off that ladder and hit my head I walked around addle-pated for days.”

3. A-front: in front of. “I’ll walk a-front of you and that way when they see you they’ll be really surprised!”

4. Atter: after. “Atter while we’re going to head down to mommas to eat some ramps and taters. Yuns are welcome to come along there’ll be plenty to go around.”

5. A-holt: hold. “Oncet I took a-holt of the front and pulled we were able to get him out of the ditch.”

While I’ve heard all this month’s words used in my area of Appalachia, atter is probably the most common. And you’re much likelier to hear addled than addle-pated.

Hope you’ll leave a comment and let me know how you did on the test!

Last night’s video: My Favorite OLD Cast Iron Pieces – (Favorite things to Use in the Kitchen – Part 2).


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  • Reply
    April 21, 2022 at 9:53 pm

    git choo s’moe

    help yourself to some more.

  • Reply
    April 1, 2022 at 2:26 pm

    I missed Adam’s Needle.

    All of the others are common in Eastern and Central NC (or were when I was growing up and into adulthood). I had to ask my Pa about addle pated. Being him, I had to get the dictionary out and look up both words. It made a great deal of sense when I learned that ‘pate’ refers to a human head which is about the only place one can get addled.

    Thanks for the quiz, Tipper.

  • Reply
    Wayne hackworth
    April 1, 2022 at 1:00 pm

    Saddy atter noon weuns all go to town to trade. Atter I grabbed aholt of the lectric wire I uz all addle pated for a bit.

  • Reply
    Don Byers
    March 31, 2022 at 7:53 pm

    Yore mommer nem awrite?

  • Reply
    March 31, 2022 at 4:00 pm

    Oh, reading your vocabulary posts swells my heart like getting a letter from a beloved relative!

  • Reply
    Ron Bass
    March 31, 2022 at 1:22 pm

    Still use aholt, atter, a-front and addled. We call yuccca plants “bear grass”, don’t know how that came about.
    Love your vocabulary test.

  • Reply
    March 31, 2022 at 12:50 pm

    This vocabulary quiz shows me there are words used in Appalachia more unique to certain areas. I have heard ahold, but the aholt I have heard but not certain when nor where. All the words sound exactly as something we would use.
    I agree with Larry Paul Eddings about folks getting invited to one’s home easily, but in our neck of the woods it was usually, “why oncha come see us.” It was usually a drop by visit, and I recall one widowed uncle by marriage dropping by after several decades. It became difficult for me since I worked long hours, but my raising prevailed and there was always coffee and something to offer at a moment’s notice. It was always enjoyed, and I can honestly say I miss those random unpredictable visits. It was a part of my Appalachia that no longer is. The housework can always wait!

  • Reply
    Gene Smith
    March 31, 2022 at 12:40 pm

    Got them all except Adam’s needle.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 31, 2022 at 12:03 pm

    I’ve heard all of these except Adam’s Needle. My favorite of the bunch would be addle-pated, it just seems so descriptive!
    I love our colorful and descriptive words and expressions, and I love how we can make up words to fit whatever we are trying to say!

  • Reply
    March 31, 2022 at 11:55 am

    I hadn’t heard these before, but they make sense to me. One of the pastor in my youth use to say wush, instead of wish. The first time he said it we were all confused, but yet when he said borned again, we understand him perfectly…lol…funny how we understand words we are use to hearing growing up, but are confused by words we aren’t use to hearing.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    March 31, 2022 at 11:13 am

    Addet pated was one of my Gramma favorite words, my fahe and grandfather both had to gey s holt of thinga. The test I’vr heard often ss a child, not so much anymore

  • Reply
    Brad Byers
    March 31, 2022 at 10:58 am

    I love them all!

  • Reply
    March 31, 2022 at 10:17 am

    I’ve always heard a-holt, and addlepated was in the Disney movie Bambi, but I have
    never heard the others.

  • Reply
    March 31, 2022 at 10:15 am

    I’m not sure about atter but {problee.} I’ve heard a-front used in another way as when you confront someone or insult them.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    March 31, 2022 at 8:38 am

    Well, let me see, of Adam’s needle, addle -pated, afront, atter, and a-holt I have encountered all of them but ‘a front’ at one time or another, one way or another but in varying degrees.

    I knew yucca before I ever read about Adam’s needle. Hmmm wonder if the folk tale was that he used it to sew the fig leaves? Those yucca blades are for sure tough stuff. Katy would like our yard, got lots of Adam’s needle. Looks like a big, tall haint in the night when it blooms.

    Grew up hearing “addled” and still use it but don’t think I ever heard ‘addle-pated’. Don’t think I ever heard ‘a front’ though. I’m thinking “go ahead” may have started out meaning just that and gradually came to mean ‘do it’. (That one got changed into ‘gourd head’.) We would say ‘atter’ as a conscious imitation of ‘old timey’ talking (in fun at ourselves, not mocking) but likely say ‘by an by’ for ‘after awhile’. Grew up hearing “ahold” with the “d” but only occassionally hearing the “t” version spoken, though I’ve seen it in print some several times.

    Guess that comes out at about a 2 1/2 out of 5 or thereabouts.

  • Reply
    Larry Paul Eddings
    March 31, 2022 at 8:37 am

    Years ago, we went to church with a fellow who would say, as we were leaving, “Youins come over to the house atter while.” He passed away a few years ago, and I hadn’t thought about him saying that for quite a while until this morning.

  • Reply
    Martha Justice
    March 31, 2022 at 7:42 am

    I’ve heard most all of these words before but reading them brings back memories. My dear husband still says “a -holt” of and “addled” purt near everyday ! He’s a preacher and says ” you must be BORNED AGAIN “❤

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