Appalachia Appalachian Dialect

Appalachian Vocabulary Test 39 & A Request

It’s time for this month’s Appalachian Vocabulary Test-but before you take it-Don Casada has something to share with you.


Pearl Cable

I got word today (Thursday) while I was back in the mountains on a bushwhacking trip looking for home sites that Pearl Cable had fallen and broken her hip this morning. Pearl’s parents, Miles and Sarah Crisp, knew what they were doing when they named her Pearl – she is a beautiful gem of a mountain woman. This is a picture I took of her last year holding her mother’s kraut-making pan, which Pearl both treasures and still uses.

The details are still being worked out as I write this, but surgery is in the offing. I’d encourage the Blind Pig readers to offer up a prayer for darlin’ Pearl.

Don Casada


Maybe you’re wondering why I’m telling you about Pearl and her fall. A few reasons come to mind: Don has been working on a guest post for you-about Pearl-so you’ll soon know more about her; Mountain folk like Pearl are the very reason the Blind Pig exists; and lastly because of people like Pearl-the rich language of Appalachia that I celebrate with these monthly tests-still springs forth from my mouth.

Appalachian Vocabulary Test 39

Now for the test-take it and see how you do.

  1. Scotch
  2. Screak
  3. Scrooch
  4. Sell out
  5. Shine


  1. Scotch: to stop something from moving by placing an object under it. “His old truck was bad to jump out of gear. Every time he had to park on a hill he had to scotch the tire with a piece of wood he carried in the back.”
  2. Screak: to squeak or squeal. “The old wood floor screaked so bad you couldn’t hear yourself think in that place!”
  3. Scrooch: to sit closer together; to move over to make more room. “I’m freezing to death. Scrooch over here and keep me warm.”
  4. Sell out: to move out of an area. “People are selling out right and left. I reckon they’re a hoping to find work somewhere else.”
  5. Shine: to like. “I took a shine to The Deer Hunter the first time I ever laid eyes on him.”

Not only am I familiar with all of this month’s words-I use each of them on a regular basis.

How about you?



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  • Reply
    February 16, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    I have heard and used all of them except screak.

  • Reply
    February 12, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    I’ve never heard ‘scotch’ used that way, and I’ve never heard ‘screak’ or ‘scrooch’, but guessed the meaning of the latter, as ‘scooch’.
    My Daddy, who was from the Ozarks, also said ‘snake doctor’ for dragon fly.
    I’m happy to know Pearl is mending and healing.

  • Reply
    February 11, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    One of our own Golden Oldies fell this morning too; she didn’t break anything but has bruises and a big bump on her forehead. Praying fervently for Miss Pearl and our Churchmom.
    4 & 5 I’ve heard and use. The first two, nope. And for “scrooch,” we’ve said “scooch.”
    God bless.

  • Reply
    February 11, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    Keeping Miss Pearl in prayers.
    Hadn’t heard screak and we always said scooch….have heard and used the others.

  • Reply
    Sue from Ky.
    February 11, 2012 at 9:43 am

    A lot of the words you mention are very familiar to me as I live in central Kentucky,but I know what you mean by the use of certain words rubbing off on you.Although I know it is not the proper word to use, in many cases, my husband’s words and terms flow easily from my lips, now too.I imagine that’s how such words are carried down from generation to generation.Different areas have their own words and accents, although to that specific region, it is the norm.It’s funny how it stands out so, to folks from other regions.

  • Reply
    February 11, 2012 at 7:13 am

    Tim-Although I did not grow up hearing dragon flies called snake doctors-I have read the term in books-I like it!!
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    February 11, 2012 at 3:13 am

    The English angle:
    Scrooch – we use “scooch up” and also “hutch up” but I’ve not heard “Scrooch”.
    Shine – used commonly in this way, almost everyone would have heard and used it.
    Scotch – never heard it used this way but it’s often used about plans and intentions as in “That’s what he wanted to do but I soon scotched his plans”.
    Don’t know any of the others.

  • Reply
    Helen G.
    February 10, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    Pearl is a little bitty spit of a woman and that will help her in her rehab… I’ll be sending prayers on angels wings that she will come through this with flying colors and get back to making kraut again.
    ‘Scrooch’ in my family was ‘scooch’ over, scotch is not one I’m familiar with but screakin’ floors and even more with screakin’ babies. I’ve known more’n one family that had to sell out and I’m sure glad that Deer Hunter wasn’t just shinin’ you on when he figured out you had taken a shine to him.
    Love the vocabulary tests as I usually learn a little something and I know the good Lord will cradle Pearl in His Hands throughout her hip surgery and recuperation.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    February 10, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    Ken, I don’t know what part of the Smokys you are from but where I came from we raised punkins on the flatland. You see our cows had legs on one side that were longer than the others. They were a special breed called Hillside Grazers. Worked out good except we had to call them in to milk about 30 minutes early because they had to walk all the way around the mountain to get back to the barn.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    February 10, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    Scooch and Scrooch just ain’t the same word. Let me explain. Scooch is like in church when somebody comes in and wants to sit on the pew with your family. Every body just moves over to the next warm spot and lets the newcomer sit on the aisle.
    Now scrooch is when two people (preferably one of each sex) want to occupy the same warm spot. (or create a new one) Hopefully this isn’t happening in church. Scrooch is also how we used to get five overgrown teenagers in the back seat of a Volkswagen Beatle.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    February 10, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    Prayers for Miss Pearl & Miss Bunny as well. We use all these words!

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    February 10, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    An update: I talked to Pearl’s son a minute ago, and he reported she was eating a little, and indications are that she’ll be moved to rehab sometime next week.
    I mentioned all the prayers that the Blind Pig faithful had been offering, and he asked me to pass along their thanks.
    So – Thank every one of you’uns for your thoughts and prayers for Pearl. They’re doing some good.

  • Reply
    February 10, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    Prayers from our side of the mountain to Pearl. I hope her recovery is quick and uneventful.
    As for the words, I knew all of them except that we use “scootch” over without the “r.” And “shine” immediately makes me think of white lightning.

  • Reply
    February 10, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    Our thoughts and prayers are with Pearl. Wishing her a speedy recovery!Can’t wait for Don’s piece about her, sure she has a fascinating story to tell. Yes, use all 5 words all the time!

  • Reply
    Tim Cuthbertson
    February 10, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    I am familiar with scotch, sell out, and shine, but not screak or scrooch.
    I want to talk about my favorite Appalachian term, “snake doctor”. I got it from my grandfather, who was from the high mountains of North Carolina. In fact, the first time I heard another kid refer to a dragon fly, I said something like, “No, that’s a snake doctor.” Are you familiar with this one?

  • Reply
    February 10, 2012 at 11:59 am

    Soon as my uncle landed to fight
    against the Germans in WW2, his
    sargent climbed aboard an old flat
    bed truck to introduce himself to
    all his men. Paceing back and forth made the bed SQUEAK as he
    ordered the men to SCROOCH and
    listen-up. He talked about the
    importance of having a buddie, and
    not to SELL-OUT on him. Then he
    had each man stand and tell where he came from and what he did.
    After stating his name, my uncle
    said these words: “Sargent, sir, I come from the Foothills of the
    Great Smoky Mountains in Western
    North Carolina. And since I was
    the oldest male in our family, it
    was my job to SCOTCH punkins. You
    see, I was the Chief Punkin Scotcher for our family. What flatland we had was for the cattle
    to graze on so we could have milk.
    So, daddy showed me how to make
    wedges from our big ole hemlocks,
    cause they would last a long time.
    We grew hundreds of punkins on
    these steep faces and I scotched
    every one of them. Matter of fact,
    we supplied the whole neighborhood
    with punkins.”
    Needless to say, the guys all took
    a SHINE to him.
    And my Prayers go out to Pearl in
    this hour of need…Ken

  • Reply
    Jay Shepherd
    February 10, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Here in Pike County, I’ve heard folks use the terms “scooch” instead of “scrooch”. A lot of people use “sell out” all over the country now, and “screak” may also be widely used. Interesting how you talk about “shine” in a positive way. I recall my mother saying “you quit cutting a shine before I bust you!” which is to say “stop running around acting stupid before I spank you.”
    I talk to our Heritage Center Curator all the time about these kinds of things, I love our culture. We have a cool Heritage Center here in Pike County, everyone is welcome to stop by and have a gander at our Appalachian artifacts!
    So much about Appalachian Culture can be found at our local Big Sandy Heritage Museum. They have artifacts from Native American, Hatfield-McCoy Feud, Civil War and farming cultures and events. Check out the website for details.

  • Reply
    teresa atkinson
    February 10, 2012 at 11:41 am

    Prayer lifted. and we use all but screach…..

  • Reply
    lynn legge
    February 10, 2012 at 11:36 am

    sending my thoughts and prayers to pearl for a speedy recovery… and that she will be embraced by everyones love and good wishes.
    thank you for the update..
    as always i enjoy your tests and even here in pa.. we use some of them..
    have a great weekend.. sending big ladybug hugs to you all
    lynn l

  • Reply
    susie swanson
    February 10, 2012 at 11:22 am

    I will for sure keep Pearl in my prayers..I use all of these words too..Susie

  • Reply
    Kimberly Burnette
    February 10, 2012 at 11:20 am

    I will send some healing thoughts for Pearl.
    I have heard all of these words and still use them often. My favorite is “scrooch.” I love “scotch” too. I wonder what the origin of that term is?

  • Reply
    February 10, 2012 at 10:41 am

    Prayers for Pearl goin’ up right now. I failed the vocab test :/

  • Reply
    Sallie Covolo
    February 10, 2012 at 10:35 am

    Hi Tipper, I said a prayer for Pearl just now. I have heard all of the vocabulary words used before. I wonder if scotch comes from using ‘scotch tape’ to fix stuff. I have also heard ‘sell out’ used in abandoning your ideals. But I guess it originally came from people abandoning their mountain homes. I do not know how you keep on coming up with these appalachian vocabulary tests but I certainly enjoy them.

  • Reply
    February 10, 2012 at 10:28 am

    Sending prayers for Pearl.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    February 10, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Tipper, I passed on all the words, for we used them all in Choestoe, Union County, Georgia (and still do–many who still live there!) We had a little stronger use, too, for “sell out.” As a youngen’ I heard this warning, “Now don’t you sell out to the Devil!” That was our admonition not to do things we’d been taught were of the devil.
    Praying for Mrs. Pearl Cable. The picture of her is beautiful. I thought of my Aunt Avery Collins, long since gone to her reward. Mrs. Pearl and Aunt Avery both have that distinctive strong mountain woman look. I look forward to Don Casada’s post about Mrs. Pearl.

  • Reply
    Uncle Al
    February 10, 2012 at 9:50 am

    That meaning for scotch is a new one for me. And Screak is close to what we’ve used, but not exact. Prayers for Miss Pearl.

  • Reply
    Rooney Floyd
    February 10, 2012 at 9:47 am

    I wonder if Pearl Cable was related to Lou Cable. She was one of the early Brasstown Carvers and made many wonderful little Terrier dogs for sale. Anyway, may our Lord keep His healing Hand on Sister Pearl and return her to good health.

  • Reply
    February 10, 2012 at 9:35 am

    I will be praying for Pearl to have a full recovery from her surgery. I am looking forward to Don’s post. I enjoyed listening to the part of the interview with her that he posted here. I could spend hours and hours talking to people like Pearl about the ways things used to be done. They are full of information and heart warming stories.
    I have used all the words that you have posted today except for scotched. I have never heard it used like that. We also say scootch instead of scrootch.

  • Reply
    Pam Moore
    February 10, 2012 at 9:34 am

    We use them all, except scotch. We also would say, “scooch on over”. Pearl is in my prayers. She looks a bit like my great aunt Pearl.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    February 10, 2012 at 9:26 am

    Good to hear Pearl is doing OK.
    I know all these words and use some regularly. I am more likely to say “scooch” than “scrooch” but with the same meaning.
    I understand Tipper, I took a shine to the Deer Hunter’s dad the first time I saw him. LOL
    Guess charm runs in the family.

  • Reply
    February 10, 2012 at 9:22 am

    I knew these words!

  • Reply
    February 10, 2012 at 9:20 am

    scrootch and shine i know, the others are new, we say chock it for number one. sorry to hear this about Pearl. I pray for her healing and for guidance for the doctors.

  • Reply
    Karen Larsen
    February 10, 2012 at 9:13 am

    I just listened to Pearl talking about making molasses and fruit butters. I wish her well with her surgery and wish her a speedy recovery.
    As for the vocab words… I only know and use “shine”. Thanks, Tipper, for the education!

  • Reply
    February 10, 2012 at 9:13 am

    Healing thoughts for Pearl!
    I have heard those terms before, but don’t use them myself, think I will have to begin:)

  • Reply
    dolores barton
    February 10, 2012 at 9:09 am

    I figured out two of the words, but I still have lots to learn.
    Prayers for Pearl are already on my list. I don’t know her age, but hopefully it will not be a long road for recovery. May the Lord be with her and her family.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    February 10, 2012 at 9:00 am

    I still use all thes words, most on a daily basis. In fact Scrouching is one of my favorites and one reason I look forward to cold weather. I am lucky enough to be married to Pearl’ first cousin once removed and she too is a Gem. Not to be outdone by Pearl, Bunny suffered a bad fall and had surgery Tuesday on her broken shoulder, I ask all Blind Pig fans to please include her in your prayers also as she is having a lot of pain. Thanks in advance.

  • Reply
    Melissa P (Misplaced Southerner)
    February 10, 2012 at 8:55 am

    Keeping Miss Pearl in my prayers. God speed her healing.
    Knew and use all but “scotch.” The only scotch I’ve heard of comes in a bottle from Scotland. Not that I would know much about that, though.

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    February 10, 2012 at 8:46 am

    These are pretty familiar words, except maybe ‘screak’ and I would probably say ‘scrunch’ instead of
    ‘scrooch’. At first I thought you were going to say ‘shine’ meant moonshine! But we use the other meaning, too, I also took a shine to Charley on our first ‘blind date’ we had.

  • Reply
    Nancy Wigmore
    February 10, 2012 at 8:45 am

    Praying! Reminds me of a lady we called Aunt Pearl. The kraut pan brings back special memories too! Kraut making and pepper relish making days back when. Have a great day!

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    February 10, 2012 at 8:36 am

    Prayers for Pearl – lots of them! Man, I aced the vocabulary test today! My favorite is scrooch (go figure). House sites — are you building a new one?

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    February 10, 2012 at 8:28 am

    Skreak is a combination of Squeak, Squeal & Creak. Like the sound of an old rusty hinge or my knees of a morning.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    February 10, 2012 at 8:17 am

    Pearl is on our prayer list. Thank you, Don, for letting us know.
    This time, I knew all the words!

  • Reply
    Pat in east TN
    February 10, 2012 at 8:16 am

    Miz Pearl is in my prayers. I’m anxious to hear more about her.
    I am familiar with all words except for number 1.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    February 10, 2012 at 8:13 am

    My thoughts are with Pearl and a speedy recovery.
    We too use scooch not scrooch. The rest I’ve heard, but don’t use scotch or screak

  • Reply
    Patty Hall
    February 10, 2012 at 8:01 am

    Aw! Ms. Pearl is a beautiful lady! Will say a prayer for her.
    I’ve heard all the words and said them at some point in my life.
    Patty H.

  • Reply
    February 10, 2012 at 7:56 am

    I am so sorry to hear about Pearl I shall have her name place on a prayer list. Keep up informed of her condition. As far as the list of words I knew and use all but scotch so once again Tipper, you have taught me somethings new.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    February 10, 2012 at 7:45 am

    Pearl had surgery yesterday evening. The report last night was that she was doing good. Thank you all for your continuing prayers.
    I have posted a little part of an interview Wendy Meyers and I had with Pearl at the link below (copy it and paste it into your browser) about making molasses and fruit butters. I think you’ll feel closer to her just a-listenin’ to her talk – and you’ll hear some talking ways that Tipper’s postings on Appalachian vocabulary are all about. The place where I cut it off will lead in to the story that Tipper will post in the coming days.
    Reminder – you’ll have to stop the player above.

  • Reply
    February 10, 2012 at 7:40 am

    Heartfelt prayers for Pearl, can’t wait to read Don’s post and get to know more about her.
    This was another eye opening test! I am not familiar with scotch used in that way. Mostly scotch around here is used to denote someone reneging on a deal. Being mostly scots myself, I prefer your meaning! The rest are part of my everyday vocabulary, but we say scooch with no ‘r’.

  • Reply
    Donna W
    February 10, 2012 at 7:28 am

    They all sound familiar except for “screak”. Oh, and instead of “scrooch”, I’ve heard “scooch”.
    I am saying a prayer right now for Pearl.

  • Reply
    Mary Shipman
    February 10, 2012 at 7:21 am

    Prayers for Miz Pearl being sent.
    All the words but ‘screak’ are familiar to me, we Ozarkians use ‘scootch; instead of ‘scrooch’, but that is a moot point.
    It’s a-snowin, here on Sunrise Ridge this mornin, I’m gonna throw in a pine know and scootch up by the stove. Have a great day, Blind Pig fans

  • Reply
    February 10, 2012 at 6:29 am

    Will be praying for this lady. Hope all goes well with the surgery. Am familiar with all the words except scotch.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    February 10, 2012 at 5:43 am

    Don, I will say a prayer for Pearl’s speedy recovery.
    Tipper, did you take that shine to the Deer Hunter in the jug or did you pour it in one Granny’s snuff glass. Did he git his snoot full?
    Don’t you know you shouldn’t drink on the first date?

  • Reply
    February 10, 2012 at 5:33 am

    I know and use all those words. As for Don’s request, we will do as he asks for Mrs Pearl. I’ll just bet they did name her right.

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