Appalachian Dialect

Appalachian Vocabulary Test 17

relics in hazel creek
Time for this month’s Appalachian Vocabulary Test-take it and see how you do:

  1. Het
  2. Heared
  3. Hog Rifle
  4. Holp
  5. Holler


  1. Het: to become upset or angry. “I don’t know what her problem is, but she sure is het up about something.”
  2. Heared: heard. “I heared they were going to have a square dance down to the armory.”
  3. Hog rifle: muzzle loader. “Your son went and sold Grandpa’s hog rifle to pay for some souped up engine!”
  4. Holp: help. “I used to holp old man Hollingsworth put up his tobacco ever year.”
  5. Holler: “The prettiest girl you ever saw lives in that little holler just beyond the second ridge of the mountain.”

So how did you do? I hear all of this month’s words on a regular basis-except holp-although I do remember my Granny using holp for help when I was growing up. Leave me a comment and tell me which ones you knew.



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  • Reply
    April 10, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    I knew them all except hog rifle. I grew up knowing “het up”; the others I knew from books and movies. My grandmother often used “stove up”. “My neighbor fell down and is all stove up now.” And “commenced”, i.e., started. “We commenced to drying that corn.”

  • Reply
    Elizabeth Westmark (Beth)
    March 14, 2010 at 10:39 am

    Buck carries his Daddy’s hog leg all the time. It’s a big old 38 special revolver. He has always referred to it as the Hog Leg.
    Now don’t get het up. We’re careful with it.

  • Reply
    Jay Henderson
    March 11, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    P.S. — Those who haven’t heard “hog rifle” haven’t been spending enough time in the upper Tennessee River watershed. QED:

  • Reply
    Jay Henderson
    March 11, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    Haw! Got ’em all this time, and dint need hep (which is how they say holp arounhere). And it would be “hawg raffle,” in these parts, even with possibly embarrassing ambiguity.

  • Reply
    March 11, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Hi, i am back bloggin, I took a few days off. I passed the test on everything but the hog rifle. forgot about the muzzle loader thing. i love these test.

  • Reply
    Bobby C
    March 11, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    Tipper, what a wonderful site! I happened upon it while viewing some Appalachian photos on Flickr. I’ve always been facinated by “Appalachian words” used by myself, my family and friends and when I came across your invitation to take the Appalachian vocabulary test, well I just couldn’t resist. I got so caught up that I had to go back and view all the previous tests! Funny thing is, until I graduated high school and started college, I didn’t realize that a lot of these weren’t proper English. And the sad thing is, I’ve allowed my job to cause me to suppress a lot of these words from everyday use. Unless of course I’m among home folk.
    Now about the words, “het” was a new one to me and I’ve heard “hope” for help…but maybe it was actually “holp” and the L was just silent! 🙂 And if I may comment on another word in your previous tests, “har” really should be a word because like you, I just can not bring myself to say harrows!
    Here are a few that I still hear everyday that I wonder if you’re familiar with:
    1-Yuns; (NOT you’uns, but rhymes with sons…to be used like y’all or you all…”How are yuns doing?”
    2-sidlin’; sloping or leaning…”That ground is too sidlin to plow with a tractor.”
    3-climb; (rhymes with limb) used for past tense of climb…”He climb that tree to get away from the bear.”
    I hope I didn’t go on too much here or cover some ground that’s already been covered…but your site was the inspiration of my carryin’ on. 🙂

  • Reply
    March 10, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    I had to ask Teresa what policy man and carrying charges meant-this is what she said: policy man – was an insurance salesman that went door to door on a certain schedule collecting insurance payments.
    carrying charges – were what my nanny called interest on a charge account. she always tried to keep us from buying on credit to avoid carrying charges.
    I had heard of carrying charges-maybe in a song? But not policy man. Thanks Teresa!!
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Music, Giveaways, Mountain Folk
    All at

  • Reply
    Fishing Guy
    March 10, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    Tipper: A tough group for me. Holler is the only one I knew and doesn’t it also mean to give someone a call. Holler at me when your in the area.

  • Reply
    kay keen
    March 10, 2010 at 8:49 am

    I knew most of them,I didnt know what hog rifle was, when I was growing up a lot old folks would say hit for it. Thanks I enjoy very much. Blessings k

  • Reply
    March 10, 2010 at 12:12 am

    I very much enjoyed your vocabulary list. I had not heard of ‘hog rifle’ before.
    Thanks for your birthday wishes.

  • Reply
    March 9, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    I used to hear the all the time in Belfast!

  • Reply
    March 9, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    I knew them all except “het”. I’ve never heard that one before! I also haven’t heard hog rifle very often, I think I knew it just from reading books. I’m pretty sure everyone in Kentucky knows holler! Even if it’s written as “hollow” you’re still expected to say “holler”.

  • Reply
    March 9, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    Never heard of the hog rifle, but know all the rest.

  • Reply
    Brenda Kay Ledford
    March 9, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    What an interesting vocabulary test. I missed two, but have heard of most of these terms growing up here in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I’m glad you’re keeping the mountain language alive.

  • Reply
    March 9, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    I didn’t know hog rifle and was thinking of “give me a holler”, but I do remember “butcher holler”, too.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    March 9, 2010 at 9:36 am

    I think the whole USA was introduced to holler by Loretta Lynns’ Coal Miners Daughter and Butcher Holler…LOL
    Never heard het but heard hit as in Hit never rains…etc.
    Teresa brought back memories with “policy man” if you mean, “I got the money to pay the “policy man” if he comes today”. Meaning: I got to pay the insurance payment, if he comes to get it! And if you don’t pay on time you will have “carrying charges”.
    Love it…love it…haven’t times changed…Does anyone have a insurance agent that comes to the home anymore to pick up the payment?

  • Reply
    March 9, 2010 at 9:17 am

    I knew all but hog rifle. My dad belonged to a muzzleloader club when we were kids, so you think I would have heard that one.
    I’ve been doing some geneanology and my dad’s side of the family hailed from the hollers of West Virginia for quite a few generations.

  • Reply
    March 9, 2010 at 9:11 am

    Well, I didn’t know hog rifle or het. There’s many hollers in WV and I grew up in one. That’s where I’ve heard most of the words in your vocabulary tests.

  • Reply
    March 8, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    Knew #2 and #5, use #5.
    Brr we sorta cold today, more typical spring weather than what we have been having but I don’t think it will get cold enough to do any major damage.
    Really trying to stay on track with the signs and gardening, boy it is hard, I am realizing how fickle and how much I do things depending on how I feel that day! Sometimes I just really want to weed when I’m supposed to be seeding and visa versa.

  • Reply
    Greta Koehl
    March 8, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    I knew all of them except for “hog rifle.” Strangely enough, I knew “holp” from reading rather than from hearing it said. My Dad (from Texas) always said “hep” for “help.” I think my parents and their families used to say “don’t git all het up about it.”

  • Reply
    Elizabeth Thomas
    March 8, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    I got 3 out of 5 this time. I’ve never heard of a hog rifle. I guessed help for holp. As usual I’ve only “heard” these things from reading. The most regional words I heard growing up were dis,dat,dem,does;replacing th with a d.

  • Reply
    March 8, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    I only knew one and that was holler. Blessings,Kathleen

  • Reply
    March 8, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    You have some new ones on me. HEt, can’t say I’ve ever heard that one.
    Now as for Hog rifles, hubby and I have shot them for over 35 years,and I’ve never heard that one. We’ve even been to the National shoots in Friendship Indiana.
    Goes to show you, your never too old to learn.

  • Reply
    March 8, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    These are all great and thanks to your site, I am aware of some of the terms being used in the book I am reading, “Bloodroot”, which takes place in Appalachia. It is a wonderful story so far and in case you were unaware of it, you should check it out.

  • Reply
    Donna W
    March 8, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    I didn’t know “hog rifle”. The others are familiar to me. Cliff and I use “holler” almost daily, since we take walks in the pasture and look down into several hollers as we stroll. You can see one holler on the picture presently on my header.

  • Reply
    March 8, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    All but hog rifle for me too. this morning at work we were talking about two more – “policy man” and “carrying charges”
    have you heard those??

  • Reply
    March 8, 2010 at 11:39 am

    I missed hog rifle. I’d never heard a muzzle loader called that. All the rest were used by some of my family when I was a child.
    They also used Het when referring to having het the water for a bath.

  • Reply
    March 8, 2010 at 11:13 am

    I knew a couple of them. Sounds like southern talk to me.

  • Reply
    Granny Sue
    March 8, 2010 at 10:14 am

    Heard every one of those, Tipper, and like you these are common words to hear in my area. How about ‘hitch in his git-along?’ or ‘har road’?

  • Reply
    Vicki Lane
    March 8, 2010 at 10:06 am

    I know them all except hog rifle. And while I know ‘het up’ from reading, I don’t think I’ve heard it used around here.

  • Reply
    March 8, 2010 at 10:03 am

    I didn’t know hog rifle, but I didn’t grow up in a family of hunters, which may explain it. The others I know and here from my family regularly.

  • Reply
    March 8, 2010 at 9:28 am

    Well, I don’t live up a holler, so maybe that’s why I’ve never heared of them other words. tee hee

  • Reply
    Just Jackie
    March 8, 2010 at 8:57 am

    I never know if I should be proud that I know or have used most of the words in the vocabulary test or worried. My grandma used to tell me I spoke 2 languages, English and country. LOL I know all but hog rifle. The first 12 years of my life, I lived up Big Pete Holler. Wish I had remembered to ask someone who Big Pete was.

  • Reply
    March 8, 2010 at 8:34 am

    I knew heared and holler. 🙂 Hope your week is a great one, friend!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 8, 2010 at 7:56 am

    I’ve “heared” ’em all! Hog rifle I’ve heard the least.
    My grand parents used “holp” a lot. They pronounced it “hope”
    “Holler” is one I hear regularly.
    I love these vocabulary tests, they always bring back so memories of my family who are long gone.

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