Appalachia Appalachian Dialect

Appalachian Vocabulary Test 43

Appalachian Vocabulary Test 43

Its time for this month’s Appalachian Vocabulary Test. Take it and see how you do:

  1. Tear up
  2. Terrible
  3. Terrible to
  4. To do
  5. To where

Appalachian Vocabulary Test 43 2


  1. Tear up: to break an object; to become exhausted either physically or emotionally. “You better put up your Daddy’s guitar before you tear it up.” or “Sounder is one of my favorite movies but it tears me up every time I watch it.”
  2. Terrible: extreme, very large, extraordinarily. “There was a terrible crowd at the movie last night.”
  3. Terrible to: having a tendancy to. “I’m terrible to keep on working when I know I ought to sit down and rest.”
  4. To do: a party or other social gathering. “They had closed off most of town cause they were having some big to do over at the courthouse.”
  5. To where: to the point. “Before his surgery it had gotten to where he couldn’t even walk up the steps anymore.”

I’m familiar with all this months words-in fact I use them all myself. How about you-how did you do on the test?



You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    July 1, 2012 at 6:54 am

    I am terrible to use all of those! tee hee

  • Reply
    Judith Curry
    June 14, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    Love Ed’s spellin. Judith

  • Reply
    Judith Curry
    June 14, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    I love reading this stuff, bringing attention to our wonderous uniqueness, right down to tearing up the gettar. Judith

  • Reply
    June 12, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    “Have you ever heard of the term cattawampus (sp.)?”
    We pronounced it cattywampus, and it meant the same as whanky which meant to us, not quite right in some way…crooked, off kilter, odd.
    For instance, the new minister’s brother was whanky, REAL whanky. Know what I mean?
    God bless.

  • Reply
    June 12, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    Yep, I use every one of them, a couple I didn’t even realize I used til I saw them here. LOL
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    June 12, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    Pretty good. I’ve heard of them all.

  • Reply
    June 12, 2012 at 10:31 am

    I don’t use #3 but I use all the rest and I hear #3. I love this segment!

  • Reply
    June 10, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    I have heard them all,even used a couple. #2 heard only rarely(my grandmother, I think). On # 3,it was ‘bad to drink’, more often. How about ‘tore up’? Or, ‘tore down’? Have either one been covered in a test? They get a lot of mileage betwixt their several meanings. I love these vocab tests!

  • Reply
    June 10, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Great fun, Tipper! Yes, these are used here.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    June 10, 2012 at 8:09 am

    Carol–A synonym for cattywampus is sigogglin’, and both of them are in regular use in the mountain country where I grew up. Off kilter is another synonym, although I’ve heard it used to refer to mental instability more often than in any other context.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    June 10, 2012 at 7:11 am

    Carol- Ive heard cattawampus to mean crooked too : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    June 9, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    Yep, have used and heard all of these and also Carol’s word of cattawampus (or catterwampus?)

  • Reply
    June 9, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    I have a “terrible” appreciation for people that appreciate language!!
    (What can I say? I’m a quick study!)

  • Reply
    June 9, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    Time don’t mean much to me but I
    did send in a comment, I thought,
    sometime ader dinner. Must a forgot to hit ‘Post’.
    Anyway, after reading B. Ruth’s
    comment, looks like she ’bout
    covered my thoughts.
    I just wish Chitter and Chatter
    was in them shoes to show folks
    how to Clog in harmony…Ken

  • Reply
    Grandma Sallie
    June 9, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    Tipper, I love these Appalachian Vocabulary Tests. My kids and grand kids too, sometimes laugh at my vocabulary. I just laugh with them!
    I have used all of the above words in the way you have them here.

  • Reply
    Barb Johnson
    June 9, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    Yes I have heard them all and use them all. We use To do to mean make a big deal about it: She made a big to do over her passing the test.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    June 9, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Well yeah, I know them all and have used them all at one time or another. But, Tipper, I thought it was turrible, that’s how I heard it.
    I used to try to speak better ‘Kings English’, as my mother called it but I’ve got to where I just don’t pay it no attention.
    It is what it is and I am who I am and that’s just the way it is!

  • Reply
    X Spaceial Ed
    June 9, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    B.Ruth-Whird ewe go to skool? We mite a hadda sam techer? Yure problee swuftern me cuz I thay made me drap outta skool an git a tooter. Sheuzza gooden two. Tawt me howta spel an make senences an pernouns wurds rite. I wooden bee the sucksess I am tuhday athout her.
    I dont thank thems reel wurds thet Jim feller uz’s. He gist makesome up an caws aint nobidy swuft enuff tu no the defurnce he gits awa wiff it. whattau thank?
    Look I lurned tuh rite mi nam two. an knot jest the X. I ken rite tuhther part two. Mi last nam is Write but I aint lurnt tuh rite it Right yit. Butt ima duin beter, Wright?
    Mi tooter tol me her nam wuz Miss Enfurmachun. Iffin u kneed eny hep I ken sender yore way. Whasure adrest sews she ken git thare.
    Im cher glad I grageated. Now I daunt hafta dicktate mi emails tu mi stewpid bruther.
    Seeya latr alley gater. I dont thank thets how u spel it butt u no whut Ah mint tuh sa. Sew, Buy!

  • Reply
    Harold Ammons
    June 9, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    Ol’ man Will Shakesphere wouldn’ be nary bit put out by the way you talk.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    June 9, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    I have thunk on this and did a little pondering….I think when one sees a drap of water rollin’ down the face of a person…it should be spelt “teer”..a’liken to “deer”…..Now then, when that storm come thru and “tore up Jack” and my Beech trees, hit jest teared me up somethin’ terrible…It was so bad that I can’t get the tear that hit tore in my shirt sewed right and that makes a teer in my eye……..Ainglish is a mystery at times…I pitty them poor little chillens’ having to larn hit.
    Jim shore hit the nail on English or Ainglish words on this one…Is that why he uses them there big words, cause they are easier to understand even though they are a “booger” to spell…LOL Especially them giant “P” words…LOL
    We use just about all reglar ‘cept we are terrible to gettum’ spelt wrong!!….
    Thanks Tipper,
    I gots cucumbers!..UhOh, that’s right we are growing beans this year..LOL Only one bean came up so far..would you believe a bad day bean….LOL Is that an omen, remember the bad day cukes last year came up first…and then didn’t produce as well….LOL

  • Reply
    dolores barton
    June 9, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    Either I’m learning the Appalachian words from listening to others, or your site is teaching me real well. I only wasn’t quite sure with ‘to do’, but after reading how it was used, I understood the message completely. Good lesson!
    Now the tap shoes remind me ot times past when I used to take tap lessons. Good memory!

  • Reply
    Kimberly Burnette
    June 9, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    I have used them all! 🙂

  • Reply
    June 9, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    All but #3. The tear up I hear used is to indicate a musician really gave it their all. (tear s in rip)Something your famiy probably does regularly.
    I tear up, as in cry profusely, when watching movies where the animal heros die. Man from Snowy River, Old Yeller, etc.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    June 9, 2012 at 11:52 am

    Use them all, tear up I’ve heard this way too. Parent to child; “If you don’t mind me I’m gonna tear you up.”

  • Reply
    Mama Crow
    June 9, 2012 at 10:39 am

    “That ol’ Mrs. Butcher, she was terrible to lay up in the bed ’till 8 or 9 o’clock”

  • Reply
    June 9, 2012 at 10:18 am

    I done turrible! I use those phrases so may times in my regular speech patterns that I didn’t recognize them as being Appalachian-specific.

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    June 9, 2012 at 9:46 am

    Know all of them and use most. Bad to is more common around my neck of the woods. Tore up is common too. As in, I get all tore up when they sing that song in church or his daddy bought him that car and he has tore it all to pieces.

  • Reply
    June 9, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Oh yeah, that’s everyday talk around here. Some people just look at me and some giggle when I get to where I forget to watch what I say. I just got called out for putting ‘a’ in front of words. I’m a fixin’ to clean house today and I’m a going to be too busy to go shopping.
    Have a wonderful weekend!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 9, 2012 at 8:38 am

    Bad to – occasionally
    Terrible to – will not miss an opportunity.
    And that’s exactly the way I say ’em too. I finally got over being ashamed of the way I talk. Now I wear it like a badge.
    we say it. we say it. Howd I do that? do that?

  • Reply
    Bob Aufdemberge
    June 9, 2012 at 8:35 am

    Like many of the others, use all except “terrible to”.

  • Reply
    June 9, 2012 at 8:34 am

    A similar one is “aiming to.” He’s aiming to fix the car some day. Could be the better spelling is “aimin.”

  • Reply
    June 9, 2012 at 8:26 am

    I am familiar with all the words and their uses. This is my favorite part of your posts. Have you ever heard of the term cattawampus (sp.)? As I was leaving my parents, the front of an old truck was crooked. It looked like it had run over something. The word came to me.

  • Reply
    Mary Shipman
    June 9, 2012 at 8:12 am

    I was all tore up by that terrible to do! It was to where they all were a fightin all the time down there

  • Reply
    June 9, 2012 at 8:06 am

    Use all of them. “Terrible to” not so much.

  • Reply
    June 9, 2012 at 7:59 am

    Ed-well you just did! So now I don’t need too : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    June 9, 2012 at 7:58 am

    Tipper–All of those terms are familiar to me and ones I use on a regular basis.
    Tear up has, as your examples indicate, multiple meanings depending on pronunciation (whether pronounced in a way that means rip something apart or as an indication of crying). Those multiple meanings and pronunciations of words are one of the many things which make English such a fascinating (and frustrating) language.
    I knew a fellow down in Georgia who did some writing on the outdoors and who loved to spend time in a bass boat. His tombsone reads: “Leroy was bad to fish.” To me that is a five-word tribute to a life well lived.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    June 9, 2012 at 7:56 am

    I’m familar with all except “terrible to”, we’ve always used “bad to” in the context you show.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    June 9, 2012 at 7:35 am

    I don’t recall the “terrible to” usage. All the others were familiar.

  • Reply
    June 9, 2012 at 7:19 am

    I’ve used just about all of them, with the exception of the “terrible to” I don’t think I’ve heard that one since my Grandmother passed away years ago. The saying that drives my sons and my 2 best friends crazy is when I say “fixin” as.. I’m fixin to mow the yard. I grew up with that and no matter how I try (when they are around) it just comes out before I can catch it!

  • Reply
    Bill Dotson
    June 9, 2012 at 7:10 am

    Yep I use them all the time.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 9, 2012 at 6:58 am

    You know you otta put in the pronunciation as well as the definition.
    tare up
    tur a bul
    tuh whir
    That way we could see it the way we say it we say it.

  • Reply
    Wayne Newton
    June 9, 2012 at 4:27 am

    I was still up at 4 a.m. As i started to shut down for the night, I noticed a new blog from you.
    When do you rest?

  • Leave a Reply