Appalachian Dialect Heritage

Appalachian Vocabulary Test 2

Appalachia mountains

It’s that time again-time to test your Appalachian Vocabulary skills.

  1. Back
  2. Backset
  3. Bad mouth
  4. Bait
  5. Bawl
  6. Bear down
  7. Beatinest
  8. Bed tick
  9. Biddies
  10. Biggety


  1. Back-To address a letter “Be sure to back the letter before you put it in the box.”
  2. Backset-A recurred illness “L.C. was getting better, then he took a backset.”
  3. Bad mouth-To speak bad about someone “She was bad mouthing her momma for grounding her.”
  4. Bait-A large amount of food “Nothing better than a bait of fish for supper.”
  5. Bawl-To cry “Poor little girl was bawling her eyes out-missing her Daddy.”
  6. Bear down-To work harder “We’re going to have to bear down to get the hay in before it rains.”
  7. Beatinest-Meanest; Ultimate of anything “I’ve got the beatinest husband in the world!” (could be a compliment or could be you’re bad mouthing your husband)
  8. Bed tick-A feather bed “Granny had the softest bed tick ever!”
  9. Biddies-Little chickens; Old women “The old biddies like to sit around and gossip about everyone.”
  10. Biggety-Uppity, snooty, stuck-up “Ever since Nellie moved to town she’s been biggety!”


I’m familiar with all the Appalachian words-except back. The rest-I hear and use on a regular basis. I hope you’ll leave me a comment and tell me if you’ve heard any or all of them.


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  • Reply
    December 13, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    I was familiar with all but back and bait!

  • Reply
    December 6, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    I knew quite a few of these, but not back. Grandma called her bed tick a feather tick. I’ve slept on these and they are awesome. Wish I still had one.
    Take care and thanks for the lesson on words.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    December 6, 2008 at 9:48 am

    Tipper I always love the vocabulary test. I know them all but 2, back and beatinest. It’s so funny the way we think these are our Appalachian/Soutnern expressions when actually they are Scottish and Irish.
    I remember my father telling me that we are of Scotch-Irish heritage.
    The pictures are great too!

  • Reply
    December 5, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    LOL I knew only a few, but once you explained them, they made sense.

  • Reply
    December 5, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    I have heard all but three…back, bait, and beatinest. Haven’t heard those but I have used the rest myself. Thanks for the vocab lesson.

  • Reply
    Joan J
    December 5, 2008 at 10:06 am

    Had to give you a few good ol’ New Hampshire sayings. Any idea what “Djeet jet?” or “No jew?” is? LOL That’s old New England speak for “Did you eat yet? No, did you?” “Ayah” is yes and “Dow” is no. And instead of negotiating, we “dicker”!

  • Reply
    Joan J
    December 5, 2008 at 10:03 am

    Fascinating! I’d heard of all but three – back, backset (though I’ve heard of set back, which would be used the same) and biggety (replacement would be uppity). I love reading these!

  • Reply
    Patty Hall
    December 5, 2008 at 9:40 am

    Tipper, come over to my blog. I”ve anominated you for an award.
    Thanks for keeping your blog “real”

  • Reply
    December 5, 2008 at 8:10 am

    The blacksmith, said to tell you, he’s heard all but the first one. Have a great weekend.

  • Reply
    December 4, 2008 at 11:32 pm

    I’m from SE Tn.I’ve heard them all too.
    Have you heard: SlickHairedandgreasedover. It must be said just like that too, all run together.
    as in: You better not get my towel slickhairedandgreasedover working on that car!

  • Reply
    December 4, 2008 at 10:44 pm

    I’ve heard “bad mouth” so many times! Fun list.

  • Reply
    December 4, 2008 at 10:42 pm

    I am familiar with them all, maybe because I am a little more country and a lot older than most of you.
    I enjoy your posts.

  • Reply
    Fishing Guy
    December 4, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    Tipper: I knew half of them well and I would never bad mouth your site.

  • Reply
    December 4, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    Never heard back or backset. I’ve heard the rest. My parents moved us to New Orleans when I was eight. There are very distinctive accents and expressions here. I hated living here so much at first that I rebelled by determining to never pick up the accent or customs. I didn’t. I have no accent or expressions from any culture. (although I can duplicate them pretty well) I use “ya’ll” or “you guys” not prefering one or the other.
    My family was originally from the appalachian area but migrated to north Louisiana (father) Mississippi (mother) so I have heard my relatives use many of these expressions.

  • Reply
    Amy @ parkcitygirl
    December 4, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    #3 & 5 are familiar to me, but bawl is the only one I use 🙂 Love your vocab lessons!

  • Reply
    teresa atkinson
    December 4, 2008 at 11:03 am

    I am unfamiliar with the word “back” as well. this was a fun post. Is the photo from an old barn or a covered bridge??

  • Reply
    Patty Hall
    December 4, 2008 at 10:11 am

    I’ve heard a few of these-bawl,backset, biddies, bedtick . My mom was from TN so I’ve heard of some of David Templetons also-creesies (creesy greens), dreckly (I can sitll hear my Aunt Dorothy saying that) and dope I knew was a soft drink.
    Another my TN cousins say is “arn your paints” for iron your pants. I love it!!

  • Reply
    December 4, 2008 at 9:25 am

    Actually, Southern-speak is a slightly different thing…Appalachian-speak is excellent too!

  • Reply
    December 4, 2008 at 9:24 am

    Back, bait and bed tick are new to me. The rest I use as appropriate. There rare so many good Southern-speak words and phrases! What a blast!

  • Reply
    Carolyn A.
    December 4, 2008 at 7:10 am

    Always beautiful pics Tipper. I really didn’t know 1,2 and 4, but the rest I knew. I also have a feather bed topper on my mattress … it’s like sleeping on a cloud. I also let go of a lot of stress when I beat it so that it fluffs back up when I make the bed. I sleep on a feather pillow too. They’re my favorites. xxoo

  • Reply
    December 4, 2008 at 1:18 am

    I know, and use, 4 out of 10. Bawl, Biddie, Bad Mouth, and Bear Down. I’ve heard of feather tick beds and pillows but not bed tick and have never heard of backing a letter.
    This was fun. I always enjoy your vocab lessons!

  • Reply
    December 4, 2008 at 1:10 am

    I know and use 2: badmouth and bawl. I’ve only heard bear down used for a woman in labor! 🙂

  • Reply
    December 3, 2008 at 11:09 pm

    Like the majority, I knew them all except for bait and back.

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    December 3, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    “Back” and “Bait” I haven’t heard used as such; the others I knew. Here are a few of the many words I heard when I was growing up in East Tennessee that I never do hear in Indiana:
    “Cap Buster”: The toy Roy Rogers six-guns that were “cap pistols” elsewhere.
    “Creesies”: A plant used for spring greens. “Cress” I guess.
    “Dreckly”: Directly or soon to follow.
    “A Dope”: (Can I have a nickle for a dope, Daddy?) Any carbonated beverage, such as NeHi,or Grapette, or Royal Crown Cola, Dr. Pepper, CocaCola, etc.
    “A cake”: usually a Moon Pie (Can I have a dime for a dope and a cake, Daddy?)
    “Tarpeeder”: The torpedo was a small, tightly bound packet of a mild explosive that was strapped to a train track, exploding when the train wheels ran over it … used in multiples to create a signal to the engineer.
    “Hit”: It (Hit’s colder’n a wedge)
    “Mudhole”: Up here they call them potholes in the road (Of course, on some of the dirt roads of my youth, a good hard rain made mudholes big enough to play in … like a wading pool.

  • Reply
    noble pig
    December 3, 2008 at 10:48 pm

    I’ve never heard even one!

  • Reply
    The Texican
    December 3, 2008 at 10:09 pm

    I’ve heard them all. Those of Scottish and Irish lineage in the South should have heard them too. Most of my kin came from the Carolinas in the early days. Sure brings back some memories of front porch sittin’. Pappy

  • Reply
    December 3, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    I’ve heard 4 of the 10. Not bad for a Northern girl! I can’t wait for the christmas CD.

  • Reply
    December 3, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    Most of those sound like central Texas talk.

  • Reply
    December 3, 2008 at 8:33 pm

    I thought of another sayin’…I ain’t seen “hide nor hair” of thet rascal!

  • Reply
    December 3, 2008 at 7:52 pm

    The only ones I am familiar with and have used are bad mouth, bawl, biddies, and biggety.

  • Reply
    Nancy Simpson
    December 3, 2008 at 7:25 pm

    I had not head of “back”, but I got the rest of them.
    Fun! The one I like best is “bait.”

  • Reply
    Helen G.
    December 3, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    I heard or used them all except for back, backset and bait. Bait at our home was a ‘mess’. A mess of fish, ribs, pork chops, chicken… of course when you are raised with 5 sibs every meal there was a mess of something put on the table. I really looked forward to when we had company because I’d usually get to sleep on the bed tick. We had two and we’d fold them halfways then roll them up to put away in the linen closet until the next need for them.
    Thank you Tipper, for binging more memories to mind.

  • Reply
    December 3, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    I use several of these regular. (All of them except back and backset)
    And then I wonder why these Ohio folk still can’t understand me after 4 years…lol!
    When I lived in TX back in the 90’s none of the gals I worked with knew what an eye was on the stove. I had to explain….
    Have you ever heard the expression “piece of the day”? I love that…I heard an old country woman say it once….she said “I have to get home and get some work done while I have a piece of the day left.”
    BTW…I’m not from Appalachia, I’m from Western Ky down by the Mississippi River and a stones throw from TN, but we still have lots in common ;~D

  • Reply
    December 3, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    I knew all but two.
    Back or bait I haven’t heard used in that context.
    And the bed tick, we called a feather tick.
    I like your Appalachian pics!

  • Reply
    December 3, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    I have never heard back, bait or biggety.
    That was fun to read through, thanks.

    • Reply
      Lesa Watts
      April 1, 2019 at 11:28 am

      Had not heard back, backset or biggety, though biggety was instantly understood. Got on your site looking for “bait”, a word both of my grandmothers used, (southern ky & southern tn).

  • Reply
    Brenda S
    December 3, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    Yep, I have heard and sometimes use all of them except back and bait in that way. And…my Granny DID have the softest bed ticking ever! She raised me til I was 11. Oh how I miss her and you do me so much good reminiscing of her and my precious Grandpa. She was born and raised in Natural Dam, Arkansas. Very much like the area you are from.
    Thank you Tipper. You are a precious lady.

  • Reply
    trisha too
    December 3, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    only four this time!
    bad mouth, bawl, bear down, and biddies.
    guess who i had the genius idea of looking to add to my ownty playlist?
    your Pap!

  • Reply
    December 3, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    I knew a few of them…maybe our mountains are related to your mountains.

  • Reply
    Dee from Tennessee
    December 3, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    Haven’t heard “back” or “bait” in this context.
    And Heaven forbid, that one should get a backset of the flu (and that’s the real, think-you-are-going-to-die flu, not the kind of flu where “I just kept goin'”)

  • Reply
    December 3, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    I was the same as you, though many of those words have escaped my vocabulary since I left home. I think it’s time to reintroduce them!

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