Appalachian Dialect Heritage

Appalachian Vocabulary Test

stove pipe in tree

I recently came across some old vocabulary quizzes from an Appalachian Course I took in college, and thought it would be fun to test you as well!

  1. addled
  2. agg
  3. aim
  4. allow
  5. anti-goglin
  6. anty-over
  7. arsh
  8. ary
  9. atter
  10. aye gonnies


  1. addled-crazy, dizzy, or dazed “After falling out of the tree, the boy was addled.”
  2. agg-to encourage a fight, argument, or action “She agged on the fight by making fun of his mother.”
  3. aim-plan to do something “I aim to make some fried pies for breakfast.”
  4. allow-state your opinion on a subject “I allow Chitter and Chatter are growing up too fast!”
  5. anti goglin-sideways or crooked “The mirror is a little anti goglin.”
  6. anty over-hand over or give an item up “I won the bet so anty over the money.”
  7. arsh-Irish “We are having some good arsh potatoes for supper.”
  8. ary-any “Have you seen ary deer this season?”
  9. atter-after “I’ll see you atter while.”
  10. aye gonnies-I’m going “Aye gonnies to town-need anything?”

There are 2 of the words I’ve never heard-except in the college course-aye gonnies and anti goglin. All the rest I hear on a regular basis. I hope you’ll leave me a comment and let me know how many you were familiar with.


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  • Reply
    Ol' Jawn
    March 25, 2019 at 5:39 pm

    Grew up in the far south of Chicago and one grandpa was from Buxton, Derbyshire and the other from the mid south of the Czech Rep. The most outstanding English slang is to get a Schwartz on something, which meant to measure it. I thought it was strictly a family term and then heard another Southside use it the same way. Turns out it came from the same source. There was a tailor on 79th street around Halstead who used to yell at his apprentice, “Schwartz , take the measurements!”

  • Reply
    December 10, 2018 at 3:09 am

    What a great post!

    I found you when I googled “anti-goglin,” because I grew up in Texas and have Irish roots.

    Had no idea the expression was Irish or Appalachian, and I wondered if it was a saying unique to my family. (We have many weird words.)

    I actually googled “Annie Goglin” at first, because I wanted to see if that was the correct spelling, and if so, if there were any Annie Goglins out there. There are a couple of people with that name! I wonder if they know of the phrase.

    I’ve heard “addled” and “aim,” but never associated them with any special region of the country.

    Thanks for the excellent rundown! 🙂

  • Reply
    Stephen Suddarth
    July 9, 2018 at 5:28 pm

    Hope ya’ know -I’m stealin’ all o’ these.

  • Reply
    February 5, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    I was gogglin at a pretty lady

  • Reply
    dan ramsey
    August 29, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    I grew up in Missouri Ozarks. An old neighbor used “aye gonnies” a lot and was the only person in the community that used the expression. I’ve wondered about the origins of the expression for seventy years. I lived in West Virginia for twenty years but never heard the expression there. I read the expression in a book (Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come, I think) Does anyone know the origins of the expression? Irish, Scots????

  • Reply
    June 4, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    My grandfather would always use the term.
    buckety-buck : Boss man – top dog
    other terms…
    aryun : either one … as in
    want pie or cake. Oh aryun will do.
    spoonin : same as courtin
    nyon : it’s been nyon a year ago
    britches: I’ll switch yer britches
    tagalong: follow after… as in you can tagalong
    fit : fought… as in dat dog clumb dat tree and fit that coon
    misch mesch : to mix it all up

  • Reply
    Keith Jones
    April 21, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    My granddad Dyer in Choestoe District, Union County, GA used to make a distinction between anti-goggling and psy-goggling (or sy-gogglin’)–both meant ‘out of line’ but one was to the left and the other was to the right. This especially applied to cars out of alignment or equipment and wagons out of alignment.
    Another thing–catheads are biscuits, all right, but only large ones, as big as a ‘cat’s head.’ Sure was good when we finished supper to wipe up all the gravy or pot liquor/pot likker with the last bite of your cathead, then put a big hunk of homemade butter in the middle of your tin plate, cover it with sorghum syrup, mix it all up, and slather it all over another cathead…and wash it all down with icy milk from granddad’s Jersey.
    More old words/phrases:
    *agg on–I heard it ‘aig’ on, and it’s just a mountain accent saying ‘egg on’ which is pretty common in standard English
    *slicked up–washed, in your good clothes, and for guys, with your hair wetted and combed, so you could go…
    *courtin’ (no such thing as a ‘date’)
    *drawed up–could mean ‘stopped’ as in ‘He drawed up to the stop sign’ or ‘cramped’ as in ‘He went swimmin right atter dinner an’ his stummick drawed up.’
    *make do–getting by with what’s on hand, so you wouldn’t have to spend…
    *cash money (i.e. not ‘scrip’ like was issued by some banks and businesses)
    *store-boughten–something purchased from a local merchant, usually thought of as finer than home-made, even if it wasn’t
    *mail-order–something ‘sent off for’ from Sears Roebuck or ‘Monkey Ward’ (Montgomery Ward)

  • Reply
    November 5, 2008 at 7:45 am

    Did you get my email with the “mountain talk” attachment?
    xo teresa

  • Reply
    Dee from Tennessee
    November 4, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    anti goglin -only one I haven’t heard.
    aye gonnies — Yes, I’ve heard that one used in the context another commenter noted…as in “by golly”
    Have heard all the rest (and I think of the Earnest T. Bass character from Mayberry and the Arsh/Irish…:)

  • Reply
    November 4, 2008 at 9:06 pm

    I enjoyed that list. It reminded me of being a graduate student in Ireland and finding the hibernicisms in the works we read. Gets to be lots of fun looking and listening.

  • Reply
    November 4, 2008 at 7:40 pm

    Oh this is fun. I have heard about half of them. I love some of the comments as well. Great stuff.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    November 4, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    Know them all, cept “anti-goglin”.
    Never heard of it.
    Great post, I like being reminded of my roots!

  • Reply
    Helen G.
    November 4, 2008 at 6:30 pm

    I haint seen nary a deer this season.. I’ve heard or read all of these except arsh. That one got me. My dad was born and reared in Tennessee and my mom was born in Texas and reared in Texas and Arkansas. Mostly I heard all of the above when we went back to Tennessee for family re-unions. In some of the relatives homes you heard anti-goglin a lot because everytime someone shut the door it knocked the ‘pichers’ (pictures) a-kilter and they was hanging anti-goglin until ‘summun'(someone) would straighten ’em up agin.
    Thanks for the memories…

  • Reply
    November 4, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    I have never heard aye-gonnies,and I have never heard anti-goglin but I have heard side-goglin if anything wasn’t straight.
    A few I’ve heard
    after bit-a little while”I’m going down the road, be back after bit.”
    cheer-“Pull up a cheer and have a seat.”
    fer-distance. “How fer did you go.”
    et-eaten. “Have you et your dinner yet.”
    Blar-briar. “I have got a blar in my foot.”
    merged-measured.”I merged all the ingredients for the cake.”

  • Reply
    November 4, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    Arsh, atter, and aye-gonnies are the three I’d not heard, at least not recently enough that I can recall. My Oklahoma Nanny used all the above. My mom, to this day, still says anti-gogglin anytime we’re trying to hang a picture.
    Most of the Appalachian terms you share are familiar to me from my Oklahoma roots. I haven’t determined if they’re common to both areas, or if someone in my mom’s lineage was originally from Appalachia. I can only trace that family tree back to my great-grandmother, who I know was from Oklahoma.

  • Reply
    Fishing Guy
    November 4, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    Tipper: I herds (heard)them all except 5 & 10 (sounds like a store to by sundreys). I must say if #10 was aye’s goin I might have gotten it. Aye’s goin (I is going) to town.

  • Reply
    trisha too
    November 4, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    We use addled, but egg someone on;
    we definitely use aim the same, but as for the rest, wow, not really! We do use “a goin'”–kind of like
    the aye gonnies (never heard that one before EVER!)

  • Reply
    November 4, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    My favorite is “reckon.” My grandmother said it all the time…”I reckon you can have some cookies.”

  • Reply
    Nancy Simpson
    November 4, 2008 at 11:49 am

    The ole teacher in me made me take this test seriously. I barely passed with 70%. I did not know aye gonnis nor anti goglin. I also missed arsh although I have heard it a million times. I was thinking: get your lazy arsh up and go to work. I guess that would be ars.
    I am learning, and hope to learn something new every day.
    Tipper, It was a joy to click on your site this morning. What fun! And the music is good.

  • Reply
    November 4, 2008 at 10:12 am

    Anti-goglin? I have never heard that! Our neighbor, Lura, grew up in the mountains and remembered being forced off their property when it suddenly became a park. She used many of the words you listed but I never heard anti-goglin escape her lips. You would have liked her. She played guitar, drank a tea made with ginseng root that she found in the woods, and pickled ramps (wild green onions found in the woods toward West Virginia).

  • Reply
    The Texican
    November 4, 2008 at 8:48 am

    I neigh gonna catch me a bream.
    If a turkle takes my bait I’ll stob him with this knife.
    I’m fixin’ to run to the house for more bait.
    Attle be all she wrote.
    It’s a comin’ up of a blowout.
    Nary a day passes I don’t feel punk.
    Well thatill do for now.

  • Reply
    November 4, 2008 at 6:27 am

    Well, I’m not Appalachian but have heard them all except for anti-goglin. I have heard eye gonna, instead of eye goonies. Maybe if I heard your pronouncian of anti-goglin it may sound familiar. We use a lot of slang where I grew up, and nick names for people abound. Funny, isn’t it?

  • Reply
    November 4, 2008 at 12:02 am

    I knew all of them except aye gonnies. I have used anti goglin all my life, we say it, annie goglin tho. The author, Margorie Rawlings, wrote about the folks in Florida, in the early part of the 1900’s and it took some getting used to her writing, she wrote as they spoke. The Yearling, and South Moon Down, were very good reads.

  • Reply
    Carolyn A.
    November 3, 2008 at 11:02 pm

    I knew the ones you knew, except those two also. And ary? Our people said “ena.” As in, “You got ena sugar you kin spare?” Gee, I miss the language of the hills so much. *sigh* xxoo

  • Reply
    November 3, 2008 at 9:28 pm

    I didn’t know those two either. But we always had arsh ‘taters in the green beans! I didn’t know it was Irish ’til I was about grown!

  • Reply
    November 3, 2008 at 8:41 pm

    “Arsh” was the only one I hadn’t heard regularly. Most of those my great-grandmother used on a regular basis and my grandmother continues to use them today.

  • Reply
    November 3, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    I’ve heard the same as you. But I’ll have to admit I was a little addled by that list.
    People tease me about my country slang all the time.
    But they love me anyway!

  • Reply
    November 3, 2008 at 6:48 pm

    I hear them all regularly, except anti-goglin and aye gonnes. In Arkansas & Louisiana.

  • Reply
    noble pig
    November 3, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    Oh my word those are hysterical, love em’.

  • Reply
    Valarie Lea
    November 3, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    Pretty much all but those same two.

  • Reply
    November 3, 2008 at 6:05 pm

    I’d never heard anti-goglin either. I’ve also never heard arsh. However, it’s very similar to what my grandmaw used to say she was gonna whip if we didn’t straighten up!

  • Reply
    November 3, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    I have herd allot of those words, but some are spelled diferantly then they sound, so I had to read some of there descriptions befor recalling them.

  • Reply
    November 3, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    I have to admit that a couple of these were quite foreign to me! Around here my favorite word is “fixin to”. As in, I am fixin to go to town.

  • Reply
    November 3, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    You sound like a Texan…..LOL…Take care.

  • Reply
    Matthew Burns
    November 3, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    Okay, you still have me thinking, why hadn’t i ever heard of anti goglin, but I can’t think of any time when I heared of it. You define it as:
    “anti goglin-sideways or crooked “The mirror is a little anti goglin.”
    We always referred to something lopsided as larnchways, as in, “That picture there on the wall is hanging larnchways” or “That barber cut your hair a might larnchways”.
    Interesting stuff….

  • Reply
    Matthew Burns
    November 3, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    I heared of all of them words ‘ceptin Anti-goglin. Also, I know aye-gonnies by a different definition. On the mountain, it means the same thing as “By Golly”, as in when you see a big deer out in a meadow, “Aye Gonnies ‘at shore wuz a big ‘un wudn’t hit?” or translated from mountain speak, “By Golly, that sure was a big one wasn’t it?”

  • Reply
    Amy @ parkcitygirl
    November 3, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    Hmm those are all pretty new to me. Probably seen a few of them in books, but not in conversation in these parts 🙂

  • Reply
    Brenda S
    November 3, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    My Granny raised me in Oklahoma, but she was from Arkansas. She said a lot of those phrases and words, but my favorites were:
    I’m plum tuckered out.(tired)
    Nary a one.(not one or nobody)
    I still use agg and addled to this day.
    Just found your site and really enjoying your writings. Brings back lots of memories.

  • Reply
    November 3, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    Never heard of aye goonies or anti goglin,either. And I don’t believe I’ve heard arsh or atter.

  • Reply
    November 3, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    Well you can tell I’m not from these parts. I don’t know if I knew what any of them meant!!

  • Reply
    November 3, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    I’d heard of addled, anty-over and aim- that’s about it! Reminds me of a linguistics class I took and dialectic differences in our country. Almost like a different language!
    My favorite is anti-goglin. I’m gonna be using that one from now on!

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