Appalachian Dialect

Appalachian Vocabulary Test 24

It’s test time again-take this month’s Appalachian Vocabulary Test and see how you do. It’s all about the ‘lay’.

  1. Lay by
  2. Lay off
  3. Layway
  4. Lay out
  5. Lay down


  1. Lay by-to put something away for another time; when tending the crops is finished till harvest. “Mother said for me to just lay by my money if I wanted that dress. She said I’d have to get it my ownself.”
  2. Lay off-plow rows in a garden; to plan or intend to do something. “Pap’s going to lay off the cornfield Saturday week.”
  3. Layway-to ambush. “I knew she was mad at me but I didn’t know she’s going to layway me down the road. She sure give me what for.”
  4. Lay out-to miss work or school; to knock down or kill. “They found out what happened to all that mail. That sorry mailman was a laying out of work and just throwing the mail in the river.” (true story)
  5. Lay down-to give up or surrender; to go to bed for the night. “Once she laid down gambling she never went back to it as far as I know.”


So how did you do? I’m familiar with all this month’s words-and use them on a regular basis. I’m curious to see what you think about #4. Surely everyone says ‘lay out’ to talk about a kid skipping school or someone laying out of work or even someone staying out all night. I just can’t fathom that the use of ‘lay out’ in this manner is relegated to Appalachia.


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  • Reply
    Martha Henard
    September 6, 2021 at 8:25 pm

    my great grandma and granny were both “granny women” who delivered babies , took care of sick people, and would ” lay out” the deceased for burial.

  • Reply
    October 21, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    The girls did a great job on this, Tipper. What nice voices they have.

  • Reply
    Vera Guthrie
    October 14, 2010 at 10:26 am

    Well I didn’t know them when taking the test, but when I read the answers it came back to me. Ahh I pray I am not loosing my heritage.

  • Reply
    Nancy M.
    October 12, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    Strangely, I’ve only used a couple of those words. Number 4 I’ve used a lot!

  • Reply
    Dee from Tennessee
    October 11, 2010 at 11:42 pm

    Use all of them except we say “waylay”. (Layaway is to have merchandise saved for you as you make payments — our Kmarts still do “layaway or laybuy.” So….I know parents who put their children’s Christmas gifts in “layaway” at Kmart in Sept/Oct and make payments on it until Dec. at Kmart.
    Okay — the girls did an OUTSTANDING job — their talent is just getting stronger daily. I know your dad has to be so pleased to hear them. I told Donna on fb that I had that song on my ipod and I thought it was from Emmy but the more I think it may be Alison. Anyway, love that song and it’s not the easiest one to “hit” those notes and the girls just did GREAT.

  • Reply
    October 11, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    Thanks for another great one, Tipper! I am familiar with most of them, but as so often happens, a couple of them are used a bit differently up here. When we use lay off, we mean stop it; “If you don’t lay off teasing your brother, I’ll blister your behind!” (I heard that one many times in my youth!). When we’re talking about an ambush, we say waylay rather than layway. I wish we knew how these differences came about, that’d probably make for an interesting tale or two!

  • Reply
    tom marron
    October 11, 2010 at 9:40 am

    haha, i was stuck by #3. i knew the term in opposite: waylay = ambush, now i see it works both ways.

  • Reply
    October 11, 2010 at 7:44 am

    I’m Back from my 3 days off and the girls are looking gorgeous as usual. i knew all of them except layoff the rows for planting. have not heard that one before.

  • Reply
    October 10, 2010 at 11:45 pm

    Tipper, I use these on a daily basis as does my family guess we just take them for granted and think everybody knows what we are talking about when we use them.
    The girls singing was music to my ears, they are GREAT!!!!!

  • Reply
    October 10, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    That is like learning a whole brand new language! I would not have been able to guess at any of the lays.

  • Reply
    October 10, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    The girls get better every time I hear them, you and your family, are great. Keep up the good work. Kay

  • Reply
    John Dilbeck
    October 10, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    Good morning, Tipper.
    I’ve spent some time this morning catching up on your blog posts and listening to some fine music.
    On Heaven’s Bright Shore was one of Mom’s favorite songs. She would have loved listening to your family sing it.
    I’ve heard and used all of the words this time, but, as others have said, I’d be more inclined to say “way lay” rather than “lay way.”
    I also use #2 in the same way you state for #5.
    I’m gonna lay off playing my banjo ’til my hand quits hurting. (But, I have no intention of laying down my banjo! Not for long, anyway.)
    Always love your Appalachian Vocabulary Tests.

  • Reply
    Vicki Lane
    October 10, 2010 at 9:31 am

    I’d say waylay, not layway. And all the others I first heard when I moved to the mountains. In Florida, in my youth, people skipped school rather than laying out of school.
    In Ultimate Frisby, ‘laying out’ is stretching out almost horizontally to make a catch.

  • Reply
    October 10, 2010 at 6:47 am

    I didn’t take the test! I’d have failed anyway!!! But I thoroughly enjoyed reading your list of phrasal verbs with lay and their unusual meanings! I do use a lot lay off meaning stop employing a worker or stop doing or using something ~ “Harry was laid off for six months during the recession.” Great post!

  • Reply
    Donna W
    October 9, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    I’m back to tell you I’ve been strumming along to all the songs you’ve put on Youtube. Wow, it’s just like I’m there with all of you all. Thanks for giving me what I needed most: someone to strum along with.

  • Reply
    October 9, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    We use all these terms Tipper! The girls singing just melted my heart; it was so pretty!

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    October 9, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    Tipper, you waylayed me with lay way;)
    I think you’re right about lay out (in the context of avoiding something) is not limited to the mountains. There are several other uses of lay out that definitely aren’t mountain-only, such as to lay out a plan (how to attack a problem) or lay out a drawing (spread out a large size engineering diagram).
    But there’s another use of lay out that may – or may not – be limited to the mountains. That is when a body is “laid out” in preparation for burial.
    On Heaven’s Bright Shore is also a favorite of mine. I’d suggest a slight word change in your description of Pap’s reaction – I think I’d have said he was filled with joy – as in “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”
    Blessings on you and all the Blind Pig crew.

  • Reply
    October 9, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    While lay out is definitely shirking, the first thing that came to my mind was the viewing of the deceased. “Where’s he gonna lay out?” or “Didn’t they lay him out nice.”
    My mother often used lay out to remind us to get ready. “Y’all be sure to lay out what you’re gonna wear to school tomorrow.”

  • Reply
    October 9, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    I’ve used all of the words, ecept layway. We always said waylay.
    Also lay off would be used as wanting or needing to do something. “I’m gonna lay off to clean that parlor soon as I get a second wind.”
    Another “L” that I always heard was-“When she caught up to them kids, she LIT them up real good.”
    Also instead of hugs and kisses, we used to be asked to give some one a “likey.” “Go give Aunt Opal a likey now, afore we leave.”

  • Reply
    October 9, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    Knew all them words, but its fun.
    I know the feeling Pap gets listening to those beautiful girls
    singing. Makes cold chills run up
    and down my neck. Since Paul don’t
    show his expressions as much, I bet his toes are all curled up when they sing. My youngest daughter has beautiful twins and
    they’re the same age as Chitter
    and Chatter. Yours are super cloggers. Ken

  • Reply
    October 9, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    Listening to the girls sing, accompanied by their uncle and grandpap, IS indeed Heaven’s bright shore! Thank you for sharing it with us, Tipper. 🙂

  • Reply
    October 9, 2010 at 11:38 am

    My father used the term laid by, as when the crops are laid by this fall. I’ve also heard “waylay” as ambushing someone.And we were brought up on “layaway” as paying on a purchase for a period of months before we could take it home.
    I love your vocabulary words.
    And loved hearing the girls singing.

  • Reply
    Pat in east TN
    October 9, 2010 at 11:32 am

    I’ve not heard of #1 or #2, but the rest I’m familiar with.
    Kind of a similar, and true, story from my area … the mailman did lay out of work but he kept all the mail stacked up in his garage!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    October 9, 2010 at 9:59 am

    Hi Tipper, I have used or heard all but lay off in the manner you stated. I too would have used lay out that way as well.
    we also use layabout for a lazy person or one who won’t work.
    Good quiz!

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    October 9, 2010 at 9:56 am

    Those girls of yours can sing up a happy storm…
    Yes, I’ve heard and used most of the lay…ones..LOL
    For instance..#4..He laid out in the laurel hells until late in the evening, fairly thinking he was safe…It was then the “snake of a man” slipped in behind him. He swung and with the butt of his “smoker” laid him out. In one hour he was colder than a cucumber in June…

  • Reply
    Cathy ~ Tadpoles and Teacups
    October 9, 2010 at 9:55 am

    Fun to read how phrases are used in other areas.

  • Reply
    October 9, 2010 at 9:28 am

    Yes, I’ve heard all of them used. Just been a long time for some of them. You must be very proud of your family. So much talent. Brings back good memories from my childhood, when we sat on the porch and sang.

  • Reply
    October 9, 2010 at 9:03 am

    I have not heard/used layout or layway. I have also heard waylay.

  • Reply
    October 9, 2010 at 8:54 am

    The only one I use is lay by.
    I too, use waylay rather layway.
    Lay off – leave alone.
    Lay low – stay out of sight

  • Reply
    kathryn magendie
    October 9, 2010 at 8:43 am

    Love coming by here!
    I haven’t heard that, but then again, sometimes I’ll say or write something and wonder where it came from – things I’ve forgotten, or just heard in passing, etc!

  • Reply
    Just Jackie
    October 9, 2010 at 8:37 am

    Lay out is the only one I missed this month. Lay out to me would be to knock someone out. “Casper’s so jealous that he’s going to lay out the gravel guy” LOL

  • Reply
    October 9, 2010 at 8:16 am

    Love it!!
    That is one proud Granddad! It’s written all over his face.
    Is one of them learning mandolin?
    The talent in your family never ceases to amaze me.

  • Reply
    Donna W
    October 9, 2010 at 8:15 am

    “Lay by” is the only one I knew. I LOVE that song; it isn’t one that’s familiar to me, but it’s so singable that I think I’ll learn it so I can strum my guitar and sing it.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    October 9, 2010 at 7:30 am

    I had never heard layway. I have heard waylay used to mean the same thing. For me “lay out” would be used for the purpose you have and also for the same meaning as your meaning of “lay off”. The others I knew.

  • Reply
    October 9, 2010 at 7:06 am

    Tipper , a lot of times I layawake at night , does that work for a new one , also loved hearing the girls sing , sent the clip to brother Jim in Tenn. thanks .Malcolm and Ciejay in Thailand

  • Reply
    October 9, 2010 at 6:22 am

    i’ve never heard “lay out” used as in #4 before, but i do know that in england, young men not in school and not employed are called “lay abouts”, so, given the connections in our heritage, this must be related! i’d always thought it just meant more like “couch potatoes!”

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