Appalachia Appalachian Dialect

Appalachian Vocabulary Test 45

Appalachian Vocabulary Test 45

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

  1. Well-turned
  2. Whistle pig
  3. Why ever
  4. Yonway
  5. Yankee Dime


Appalachian Vocabulary Test 45 2


  1. Well-turned: having a pleasing personality. “I like ole Harold-he’s well turned and always willing to lend a hand at work. (good turn is used for the same meaning in my neck of the woods-and for the opposite meaning hateful turn is used)
  2. Whistle pig: a ground hog. “He brought a trap and caught that big whistle pig that we’ve been seeing back behind the building. Said he was going to take it home and eat it.” (true story)
  3. Why ever: why. “Why ever would you do that! You ought to know better than to pull something like that!” (If I’m excited-you can bet I’m going to add the extra word ‘ever’ to my why)
  4. Yonway: in a certain direction. “I saw him head yonways into the woods about 2 hours ago.”
  5. Yankee dime: a kiss. “If you do the dishes I’ll give you a Yankee dime.”

I hear and use 1-4 on a regular basis. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard #5 but I’ve read it in a book.

Be sure to leave a comment and tell me how you did on the test.



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  • Reply
    January 24, 2019 at 11:24 pm

    I never heard of a Yankee Dime, but my father often said he would give us a Dutch quarter for doing something. A Dutch quarter is a hug.

  • Reply
    Darlene Debty Kimsey
    August 17, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    My Mom and I used the term Yankee dime this past week. She asked if she could wash the dishes. I told her if she would, I would give her a Yankee dime. 🙂

  • Reply
    Sallie aka granny Covolo
    August 11, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    I have heard a variation of Well-turned. My granny used to describe a person who was peculiar as “quare-turned”..I guess she meant queer-turned.

  • Reply
    August 11, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    In Oklahoma, had always heard “Yonder way” not yonway. Did know whistle pig and had heard Yankee dime. Re: well-turned, like Jim C., I’d heard this used for women.

  • Reply
    August 10, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    I’m catching up on a few days of posts and enjoying all the comments…especially the turkey gizzard beans, which I’ll bet those folks were happy to find!
    I did poorly on the vocab this time, as the only one of the five expressions I’m familiar with is “why ever.” Say it all the time.
    “Yankee dime” makes me laugh 🙂

  • Reply
    Larry Proffitt
    August 10, 2012 at 9:56 am

    Tipper , we commonly use all those words except yankee dime. I have hated whistle pigs since 1969 . I had my 3 rows of late half runners about 8 inches tall .Went to the farm one day and there and only about an inch of half of them were left standing . Two days later when I went back they were gone. I declared war on them and their progeny from that time.Didn’t help any when I was bush hogging a back field and the right rear wheel of my tractor dropped in a hole as it caved in and I about turned over. I never have eaten a whistle pig but I know a man who has . I said Roy what did they taste like . Groundhog he said.
    I would have to be pretty hungry. Larry Proffitt

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    August 10, 2012 at 9:12 am

    Catching up on comments….
    Our friend from Cumberland Gap sent us a jar of those Turkey Gizzard Beans….They are very good and felt lucky to have a few of the heirloom beans…
    Thanks Tipper..PS He told the same story about the beans being in the turkey gizzard…

  • Reply
    August 9, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    I’d never heard Yankee Dime or yonways–though that one seems simple to figure out. The others I’ve heard and used. I also use “fine as frog’s hair” when someone asks me how I’m feeling. I love learning all these new words. Sarah

  • Reply
    Peggy Lambert
    August 8, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    This is for Ken. Thank you for believing my story about the turkey gizzard beans. There is no bean that is better tasting than the white half-runner. I don’t know if that Ed Ammons was making fun of my story or what. That is where a turkey or anykind of bird’s food goes, so they can grind it up with the small gravel they eat. Ever saw inside a gizzard’s. Thanks.I’ve killed all kinds of fowl. You just catch them by the neck give a few turns like your’e winding them up and brake their necks. Flop them on the chopping block and take an axe and cut their heads off and throw them down and let them flop and bleed. Does sound gross.

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    August 8, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    If I ever figure out the difference between yon way and yan way, I’ll make my husband a verrry happy man!!

  • Reply
    Tim Mc
    August 8, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    2 out of the 5 for me, with number 4 altered a little, instead of (yonway) we’ve used it like, the last time I seen him, he was heading yoner-ways..

  • Reply
    Carol Killian
    August 8, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    I have never heard of whistle pig. Also, I remember my mother using the phrase, “I’ll give you a yankee dime for such and such.” Thank you…I enjoy the vocabulary tests.

  • Reply
    August 8, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    I’ve heard them all–especially love “whistle pig”! Daddy used to offer us a “wooden nickle”.

  • Reply
    August 8, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    In S. C., we always said “yankee nickel” was a kiss. Guess we didn’t have as much money as ya’ll.

  • Reply
    August 8, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    I saw a ground hog in a tree. My daddy said ground hogs didn’t climb trees, but when he saw the animal, he knew it was a ground hog, or, as he called it a whistle pig. Googled it to be sure tree climbing was a whistle pig/ground hog skill.

  • Reply
    August 8, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    I just had to comment on Peggy
    Lambert’s story of how “turkey
    gizzard beans” got their name.
    My friend Jesse (died at 94) has
    a son and he had his daddy to
    plant those a few years back.
    They were pretty beans, quite a
    bit different from our White

  • Reply
    janet pressley
    August 8, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    Never heard a groundhog called a whistle pig. Nor yankee dime refer to a kiss. Nana

  • Reply
    Barb Johnson
    August 8, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    Never heard the last one…but being a Yankee I love it and am going to start using it today!!

  • Reply
    August 8, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    I’m a thankin’ ye. “Whistle Pig” is a new on me. I have heard and used all those words except “Whistle Pig.” If someone hadn’t already said that it is a groundhawg I would have thought for sure that it was some sort of country boys’ homemade musical instrument. You know like, “Yessir, that boy sure can play some foot stompin’ tunes on that “Whistle Pig!”

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    August 8, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    The story about the beans in the turkey gizzard the best I’ve heard in a long time. Turkey Gizzard Beans! I love it.

  • Reply
    Pat in east TN
    August 8, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    I’m familiar with 1 thru 3, but the others are new, especially Yankee Dime.

  • Reply
    August 8, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    What about “fit”? As in “They fit & fit ’til they’s both bloody as a stuck hog!”

  • Reply
    Tim Hassell
    August 8, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Like many of the others it was yonderways for my part of the country. I know #s 1 and 3 well, I had heard #5 but not often. But whistle pig is a new one for me. I don’t think there are any “whistle pigs” in this part of Arkansas, if there ever was the coyotes “problee” eat ’em all when the coyotes invaded.

  • Reply
    Kimberly Burnette
    August 8, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    I have never heard Yankee Dime or yonway, but I did grow up hearing people say over yander. My grandpa always called groundhogs whistlepigs!
    I have heard “well-turned” before and my husband says “why ever” all of the time. 🙂

  • Reply
    August 8, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    The only one I’m not familiar with
    is Yankee Dime. But I’ve eaten
    Ground hog many times, sometimes
    diggin’ half way to China so my
    fiests could get him out of his
    hole. Daddy could whistle just like one of those ‘whistle pigs.’

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    August 8, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    Like Ed I scored 100%, all these words saw usage around Needmore, NC which is just across the ridge from Wiggins Creek. Both locations aren’t really that far east of Brasstown as the crow flies. Many folks would be surprised just how close many mountain locations are when one follows the old trails and sled roads through the gaps the Cherokee and early settlers used.

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    August 8, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    ah, all familiar — except we said yonder way and I’m sure yonway is condensed version 🙂 I first hear whistling pig in Colorado. And, yes, yankee dimes were legal tender in my neck of the woods.

  • Reply
    August 8, 2012 at 11:04 am


  • Reply
    Peggy Lambert
    August 8, 2012 at 10:54 am

    I have used all the words listed except the “Yankee Dime”. I had a “Whistle Pig”
    for years that lives in his hole next to the creek. Feed him ( “Fred” is his name) apples all fall and winter till he went back to sleep till spring time. We watched in the spring every day for him and finally one day he came back with his friend and a bunch of little ones. Fred had really been working.
    Been canning beans and eating white half-runners and state runners, greasy beans and a new bean I had never tasted. Suppose to be a heirloom bean from the “Trail of Tears”.
    As the old Indian man used to say, not way back yonder, but “way back a go”.
    On the way west my ancestor s had to hunt for food and one day the hunters killed a
    turkey. When they cleaned the turkey they cut the gizzard open found that it was full of beans. They got the beans out, dried them and the next year planted them to get a start of the bean. The name they give this bean is “Turkey Gizzard Beans” . They are so pretty and really have a good taste. Have you ever saw or tasted this bean????
    Can my beans like your Granny.
    Peggy L.

  • Reply
    Melissa P (Misplaced Southerner)
    August 8, 2012 at 10:19 am

    Never heard Yankee dime or yonway (yonDER yes! yonWAY, no). The other three, certainly. A funny tale: One of the nature centers up here in Michigan has their own version of Punxsutawney Phil. When I asked if anyone knew whether or not the ‘whistle pig’ had seen her shadow, not one soul knew what the heck I was talking about.

  • Reply
    Bob Weekley
    August 8, 2012 at 9:59 am

    I am reading a book,”Above the Smoke” about fire towers and people who worked in the towers in Pocahontas County WV. When they interviewed some of the people they used the word “plumb”. (I’d have to walk straight up over the mountain, plumb to the top of Cheat Mountain.) I remember my dad using the word “plumb”. A word you do not hear today.

  • Reply
    Uncle Al
    August 8, 2012 at 9:29 am

    “Why ever” and Yankee dime are most familiar to me, but I have occasionally heard the others except yon way

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    August 8, 2012 at 9:26 am

    I am not familiar with whistle pig but know all the remaining words.
    Though I’m familiar with Yankee dime, it is not a work my family used.
    As for the remaining three I’d have to claim a very close acquaintance.
    Why ever, what ever are in daily usage here, and Tipper is such a well turned young woman from yonway toward the folk school.

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    August 8, 2012 at 9:16 am

    My Father always called a ground hog a “Whistle Pig” and a Woodpecker a “Pecker Wood”…
    We used Yankee Dime a lot in high school during the fifties…I actually thought Yankee Dime was a new expression in high school.
    All the others are common to us…using over yonder and yonway. When deciding which road to take I always say “Let’s go yonway and see what we find.”
    I finally found my way back home from the Worlds Longest Yard Sale..
    and “boy oh boy” am I glad to be home!
    Hi Tipper,

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    August 8, 2012 at 9:15 am

    Tipper–I’m familiar with all the words/phrases, although in the case of yonways I have normally heard it as yonder way or yonder ways. As Don notes, our mother used Yankee dime regularly. Like him, I don’t recall hearing it otherwise. As for ground hogs, which is the only thing I ever heard them called as a boy, they go by other names elsewhere, including not only whistle pigs but woodchucks and land beavers. They also make mighty fine table fare, especially a young one, although they tend a bit towards the greasy side.
    As for well turned, I tend to think of that more in terms of flattering descriptions of girls or women, referring both to their comeliness and their behavior. For example, “Now you take that Chitter and Chatter, there’s two well-turned young ladies.”
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Dale Anderson
    August 8, 2012 at 9:07 am

    “\Yankee Dime” was an expression often used by my Mother who was born in Dillsboro. Not familiar with “whistle pig”

  • Reply
    August 8, 2012 at 9:06 am

    I grew up with the Yankee Dime, my Nanny Mac (grandmother) gave them to us quite often for doing things for her. My Mom and Pop also would reward us the same way. I loved those Yankee Dimes as they always had a big hug or a sit on the lap time with them. I use the term with my boys and my Mom who is 84 and lives with me will still offer if I do some small thing for her. I’ve heard most all the other terms and have used most of them but the Whistle Pig I haven’t heard since I left Arkansas many years ago.

  • Reply
    dolores barton
    August 8, 2012 at 9:05 am

    I have never heard any of these words used since I lived here in the foothills. Perhaps, if they were used, I was able to gather the meaning through the other words in content. My favorite choice is ‘whistle pig;’ but I’m not sure why. I haven’t heard the sounds that a groundhog makes.

  • Reply
    Wayne Newton
    August 8, 2012 at 9:03 am

    Tipper, well turned was used mostly to describe a pretty girl’s ankle.
    We used yonder with over, down back, up, etc., never yon way.
    No ground hogs in Wiregrass Georgia; countless rabbits.
    What in the world made you do that, say that, think that…instead of what ever…
    I was always looking for or offering to trade a Yankee dime whenever I was near a pretty girl.
    This test was fun.

  • Reply
    Linda House
    August 8, 2012 at 9:03 am

    I’d not heard ‘whistle pig’. We use the other four, but’yonways’ is ‘over yonder’or just ‘yonder’. My heritage is from Virginia, Kansas, and Arkansas. Great to learn some etymology of ‘yon’.

  • Reply
    Judy Mincey
    August 8, 2012 at 8:59 am

    Know them all, Yankee dime unheard in many years. One of my aunts paid for chores in Yankee dimes and real nickels.

  • Reply
    August 8, 2012 at 8:50 am

    Never heard Yankee Dime. Wonder how that came about to mean a kiss. Where I’m from, they always said yonder ways. I’ve heard some of the old-timers say heander. My kids used to get a kick of that word when Granny said it. Has anyone else heard yonder said like that?

  • Reply
    August 8, 2012 at 8:43 am

    Have heard all of them but “yankee dime”. We would say “he lives over yonways” or sometimes “he lives over yonder”.

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    August 8, 2012 at 8:38 am

    I know all of them but I haven’t heard Yankee Dime in a long time. Mom would always tell us she would give us a Yankee Dime if we would do something for her.

  • Reply
    August 8, 2012 at 8:35 am

    I had never heard of Yonway, but I like it and Whistle pig is fun too!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    August 8, 2012 at 8:14 am

    I scored 100. Yon, Yonder, Yunder, Yonderway, Yonway all require a point of the finger, a nod of the head in the direction or a landmark to fix on. None pinpoint an exact spot. It’s in that direction or it’s somewhere between here and there. You know over yonway torge the creek.
    Though a well turned man I’m said to be, why ever I must wander hither, thither and yonways in search of a Yankee dime and attract only the attention of a whistle pig. Whoa is me!
    Ground hogs do make a noise that sounds like a whistle but I’ve never actually seen one with it’s pucker on.
    Ok now, Whoa!

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    August 8, 2012 at 7:56 am

    Mama frequently used the term yankee dime – that was her unit of payment to her children and grandchildren for work done around the house.
    I still use the term myself sometimes, but I’m not sure that I’ve ever heard anyone outside the family use it, and wonder if it was one Mama picked up elsewhere.
    Although she was born in Cherokee County, NC – within 10 miles of Tipper’s home, both her natural and adoptive families moved all over the place when she was growing up, living in Georgia, Tennessee, Texarkana (not sure if on the Texas or Arkansas side), and California before she came back to NC for her final 65 or so years.
    It’ll be interesting to see if any of your native WNC readers know the term.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    August 8, 2012 at 7:29 am

    I’m unfamiliar with all but 1 and 3. I don’t use 1, but 3 is an everyday part of my speech. Like John I hear and use yon/yonder.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    August 8, 2012 at 7:23 am

    I’m familiar with and have used all but “Whistle Pig” for Ground Hog. I wonder why we didn’t use that in Choestoe–just a little yonway south of Brasstown, NC? But ‘over yonder’ or ‘down’ or ‘up’ younder was more frequent than yonway–and if we used yonway, we’d say it ‘yonaway’.

  • Reply
    August 8, 2012 at 5:51 am

    An unfamiliar list on this side of the ocean, though ‘ever’ creeps into all questions to indicate incredulity – “Who ever heard such a stupid thing?” etc. Never heard ‘yonways’ though “yon” is common in the North of England meaning “the one over there” – “Bill lives in yon house by the mill”

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