Appalachia Appalachian Dialect

Appalachian Vocabulary Test 35

Appalachian Vocabulary Test 35
Time for this month’s Appalachian Vocabulary Test-take it and see how you do.

  1. Reach
  2. Rare up
  3. Recollect
  4. Red worm
  5. Ridy horse

Appalachian Vocabulary Test 35 2


  1. Reach-hand; place an item in someones hand. “Reach me that book above the stove if you don’t care and I’ll read you a story.”
  2. Rare up-to raise up. “Doogan was the best horse you ever saw except he was bad to rare up every time he thought he saw a booger.”
  3. Recollect-to remember. “If I recollect I left that crock down to Mommy’s. I better go see before it gets gone.”
  4. Red worm-earthworm. “I sent him to the pasture to dig some red worms so we could go to the river and fish late this evening.”
  5. Ridy horse-a makeshift seesaw. “We had the best ridy horse down at Aunt Mae’s. It was a small poplar about the size of your leg. It grew along the edge of the bank. Three or four of us kids would get on it and ride it to beat the band. We had a lot of fun.”

This month’s words are so familiar to me-I’m not sure how I would say what I wanted to say without using them. I’ve heard Pap tell stories of riding trees to the ground when he was a boy, but ridy horse also reminds me of the game you play with small children. Chatter and Chitter loved to ride a horsey on The Deer Hunter’s knee when they were babes-like most kids they like the ‘and don’t fall down’ part best.

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





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  • Reply
    Sherri Moore
    October 22, 2018 at 6:45 am

    Hi Tipper,
    I”ve only recently happened upon your blog. I love it, the music. the stories the recipes and the words of Appalacha.
    My parents, my husband and his family are from West Virginia. I was raised in Ohio. Many of the things I’ve read from your posts are familiar to me. Reading the word reach in your post reminds me that my husband says retched instead of reached. Just wondering if you have ever heard reached pronounced that way.
    Sherri Moore

    • Reply
      November 4, 2018 at 5:57 pm


      Thank you for the comment! So glad you’re enjoying the blog!! I have heard reached said exactly like that 🙂

  • Reply
    September 16, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Lea-I’ve heard lots of folks say rared up-including me : ) I’ve never heard the saying your Grandma used-but it is very interesting!
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    September 14, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    I am a little shame-faced to admit that I didn’t realize the rest of the world doesn’t say “rare up”. Now, I realize the proper term is “reared”. Oh, me.
    I have one for you, though: “grain-a-mine”. My grandma used to say things along the lines of, “I’m grain a mine to cook this chicken even though we already have enough food fixed.” Ever heard of it?

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    September 10, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    Sorry to get back on this so late
    Reach- use it all the time
    Rare up- We use this to mean get mad. As in every time he hears her name he rares up.
    Recollect- Use it in the same way.
    Red worm- . This one I’ve just heard worms, I guess any kind will do around here.
    Ridy horse- Never heard this one

  • Reply
    September 10, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    The first three are very familiar to me.
    I’ve never heard an earthworm being called a red worm. But I have heard red worm before. Now I know what they were talking about. tee hee
    Never heard of ridey horsey either. But I love seesaws.

  • Reply
    Laura @ Laura Williams Musings
    September 9, 2011 at 9:53 am

    I grew up hearing all those but the ridy horse one. I say them too with a look from dh most times. Funny thing is he grew up less than 30 miles from where I did. lol

  • Reply
    Dee from Tennessee
    September 9, 2011 at 6:02 am

    Never heard Ridey Horse as a seesaw but yes as in bouncing a baby on a knee — ridey a little horsey into town, ridey a little horse back to home, etc.
    We STILL have one string vs. a light switch in our basement…LOL. Just one though….
    We don’t say “carry” someone to church or to the store, etc, but my husband’s family in Middle Tn (riiiiiight below Nashville) would say “we carried Momma to the dr to last week.” And they also said “dressed eggs” instead of “deviled eggs.”

  • Reply
    September 8, 2011 at 11:28 pm

    Like some of the others, I have heard them all except ridy horse. There are so many different dialects in Kentucky. You can go from one county to another in some places and see a difference.

  • Reply
    September 8, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    All so very familiar to me. Seems though we used “wretch” as the past tense of “reach”. I must say thanks for the reminder of “Ridey Horse” Have not heard it, seen it nor been it for so many years and am flooded with memories of that activity.

  • Reply
    Donna W
    September 8, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    I am only familiar with #2 and #3.

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    September 8, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    Don’t recollect ridy horse, but it does remind me of “ride a little horsie”. The rest are every day words around here. I love these tests, Tipper, it’s so funny to me that everybody doesn’t talk like this!

  • Reply
    September 8, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    Tipper, I’ve heard all of these from my Mama’s family in southern Iowa, except for ridy horse. Guess we just called it a horsey. Now the term ridy makes me think of my Mama saying she was going to “riddy up” the table or the kitchen. We kind of figured it was a Welsh expression as some of her family came from Wales.

  • Reply
    September 8, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    All those words were used in my family! “Ride a little horsey down to town. Get some candy and don’t fall down. Whoa horsey, whoa horsey, whoa horsey, whoa!”
    Another rhyme my Dad would say…
    “Chickama, chickama, criney crow. Went to the well to wash my toe. When I got back, the old black eyed chicken was gone. What time is it ole witch? One!” ? As I grew older I wondered about that crazy rhyme and what in the world it was. I saw in an old folk book that it was a rhyme that kids would say while jumping rope. My Dad could play the fiddle and just about anything and he was so much fun and had lots of riddles and things that made us laugh and didn’t make any sense at all.

  • Reply
    September 8, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    WE did not use the term “ridey-horse” when we grew up. That is a new one for me. We called the maneuver “riding trees”. It was great fun but had a bit of danger thrown in; you needed to be sure the smallest person exited off the tree first. If left to last, they might be throw for a loop. This happend to our son and a broken arm resulted. I don’t know that I use these words every day but I certainly am acquainted with them. Many people find the usage of these words to be an indication of ignorance. I think those people are the ignorant ones!

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    September 8, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    I use 1,2 and 3 all the time. we usually call earth worms – fishing worms.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    September 8, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    One thing I always find amusing is that “I talk like you” and when I’m around several of my “High Tideder” friends down around the Albemarle Sound area they have the audacity to tell me that I talk funny. To them every trail or one lane road is a “Paath” and I can’t get them to understand that if it has two ruts it’s a road. Actually we have a great time with the differences in how we speak our commom English language. We need to enjoy our differences while maintaining the uniqueness of our areas and “raisin”.

  • Reply
    teresa atkinson
    September 8, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    I even say “rare-up” when I get mad.
    And red worms — yup dug a many of them myself.
    Love —

  • Reply
    Vicki Lane
    September 8, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    Never heard ridey horse — we called it “This is the way” as in ‘This is the way the lady rides: walk, walk, walk. his is the way the gentleman rides:trot, trot, trot. This is the way the cowboy rides: gallopty, gallopty, gallopty. And this is the way the farmer rides: hibbledy, hobbeldy, hibbledy, hobbledy.”
    And of course the ride gets more and more wild till the farmer gets rocker from side to side.

  • Reply
    Larry Proffitt
    September 8, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    Tipper, All these words are common to me except ridy-horse. We always said ride-n horse.
    Larry Proffitt

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    September 8, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    I’ve heard all these words at one time or another. However recollect and red worn are the ones I’ve heard and used the most.
    I thought red worm was the official name for those red critters crawling around in the dirt.
    Yes, Ron, I remember the light string. When I went to my grandmothers every bedroom had the string. It went from the light in the center of the ceiling to the bed post. All you had to do to turn the light off or on was hold your arm straight up then swing it over toward the string. You couldn’t miss it! LOL

  • Reply
    September 8, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    I too am familiar with these words
    and I bet I’ve dug more red worms
    than you can count. Both my girls
    had a big time ridin’ on daddy’s
    knees, but seems like I sung a
    different tune. Can’t remember.
    A lot of these Appalachian Words
    touch the core of where I come

  • Reply
    Pat in east TN
    September 8, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    For the first time ever, I am familiar with all your words today!

  • Reply
    September 8, 2011 at 9:09 am

    Ridy horse sounds just like it is.

  • Reply
    Barbara Johnson
    September 8, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    all of the except ridey horse. My dad says retched for reach, and I did too until I learned the real meaning!

  • Reply
    Tim Mclemore
    September 8, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    They are all very familiar to me, but the word “reach” is used, and depends on how far off the main road you were around here, in a different context. Example, “as pronounced by some” That feller has got to be the “reaches” man I know, in stead of “riches”.

  • Reply
    September 8, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    I enjoy these vocab tests! I’ve heard “recollect” and “rare up” often enough, and “reach” on occasion, but never heard of a “ridey horse” or a “red worm”. Thanks for the trip to Appalachia!

  • Reply
    September 8, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    I don’t use 4 and I have never heard of 5. Interesting…

  • Reply
    September 8, 2011 at 10:52 am

    I think I probably made a B on this test; after reading the definitions though, I did know them all. Fun!! Can’t believe how fast the time flies and that it’s time for another test.

  • Reply
    September 8, 2011 at 10:33 am

    I remember all of those except ridy horse. The usage I love that often confuses outlanders is “carry” in the sense of giving someone a ride.
    “How did you get to church?”
    “Mama carried me.”

  • Reply
    Bill Dotson
    September 8, 2011 at 9:30 am

    I remember hearing all these and using most if not all myself. As for the red worms around here there are several species, the red, green (stinking and hard to find but really good bait) the common earthworm and the night crawler (my yard is full of these). Bill

  • Reply
    Uncle Al
    September 8, 2011 at 9:11 am

    We use(d) all regularly except “ridy horse”. As best I can recollect we used see saw…

  • Reply
    September 8, 2011 at 9:03 am

    Reach is as natural to me as birdsong. Rare and recollect are familiar, but mostly used by the oldtimers. I have never heard redworm or ridey horse used here in the foothills. One usage I wouldn’t mind disappearing; reached pronounced like ‘retched’!Thanks for another fun vocabulary test!

  • Reply
    September 8, 2011 at 8:55 am

    That test was easy! I also say ‘booger’, not boogieman. Glad to know someone else besides my family says ‘gets gone’. It’s hard to believe you and I grew up in different areas, yet are plime blank in so many things we say and do.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    September 8, 2011 at 8:52 am

    I can’t remember using ridey-horse but Dad built us a “Spinnin Jenny” down in the edge of the pasture which we put many a mile on which resulted in many skinned elbows and knees. Did anyone else ever ride a “Spinnin Jenny”?

  • Reply
    September 8, 2011 at 8:47 am

    Hi Tipper,
    Well, red worm was the easy one! I have heard re-collect before but thanks fro sharing what I can learn to know about here.
    I am learning so much! And loving it, I adore your photos also!
    Smiles, Cyndi

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    September 8, 2011 at 8:46 am

    I have heard all of these used throughout the years. I have also heard retched as in “I retched up and turned the light out” Does anyone remember pulling the string on the overhead light instead of a wall switch?

  • Reply
    September 8, 2011 at 8:44 am

    Okay, I got three of the five. I am a northeast city girl, but love living in the mountains. I’m learning, but very slowly. Reach and red worm were my downfall. Great teaching!

  • Reply
    September 8, 2011 at 8:25 am

    I wasn’t sure about “reach” until I saw the def., and I certainly have heard it used that way- though not a lot. “Ridy horse” also reminded me of the baby game, but I didn’t think of the makeshift see-saw.The others I got right off.

  • Reply
    Debby Brown
    September 8, 2011 at 8:25 am

    I remember hearing “rare up” as in meaning someone who gets mad about something. But it sounds like I guess it could mean both things, its according to who was doin the raring up!

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    September 8, 2011 at 8:16 am

    Tipper–all of those words and phrases are common as pig tracks to this son of the Smokies. However, I’ve normally heard what you render as “rare up” pronounced as “rar up” (rar would rhyme with are). As always, I enjoy these vocabulary tests, not so much because of the “Do you know these?” aspect of matters but rather because they remind of the uniqueness of mountain talk. Words, phrases, and expressions many of us use as an integral part of our way of communicating and consider commonplace are actually quite distinctive.
    I can’t tell you how many times over the years someone has commented, usually after I have given a talk to some group, “You ought to put all those sayings into a book.” As is the case with you and, I suspect, many of your readers, these are just our way of talking.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    September 8, 2011 at 8:12 am

    I recollect hearing and using all of them..especially reach me something…ha Red worms was common around here since we are a fishin’ bunch. We had names for the worms we used, red worms, wigglers and nightcrawlers.
    When one of those saplings would rare up and smack you in the head you would forget about a ridy horse for a while…ha
    I am trying to remember the rhyme, for the knee ridy horse we used to play with the kids and Grandkids..Something like, “Ride a little pony into town, uphill, downhill, don’t fall down!” Thast’s the best I recollect!…ha

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    September 8, 2011 at 7:41 am

    Don’t remember hearing “reach” used that way, but the rest were familiar.

  • Reply
    Sue Nugent
    September 8, 2011 at 6:23 am

    Pop didn’t grow up in that area, but he uses some words,from his raisin’, that are different.I tried to correct him on occasion, when we first married, to no avail.Now I catch myself using a word or two that I have heard him use for years.I use to think it was just poor grammar,because they were never taught the correct terms, but now, I tend to think,that was just their way of speaking from the area he was raised.I suppose every area has it’s own dialect.

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