Appalachia Appalachian Dialect

Appalachian Vocabulary Test 49

Appalachian Vocabulary Test 49

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

  1. Bust up
  2. Boomer
  3. Bobble
  4. Blow
  5. Blatherskite

Appalachian Vocabulary Test 49 2


  1. Bust up: to end a relationship or marriage. “I can’t believe it either. Laura came home telling it yesterday, after all those years of being married they’ve busted up.”
  2. Boomer: a squirrel. “I was sitting in my tree stand this morning when a boomer up and jumped right in my lap. I about fell out of the tree trying to get that thing off me.”
  3. Bobble: a mistake. “I was going along pretty good till I made one little bobble. I hope no one else will notice the bad place in the quilt but me.”
  4. Blow: to brag about one’s accomplishments. “All he ever does is come round here blowing about what he’s done-when the truth is he ain’t done jack squat.”
  5. Blatherskite: a fool. “That blatherskite down to the store tried to tell me eating pure lard was bad for your heart. Why I told him Granny’s kicking a hundred and she’s eat it all her life!”

I’m familiar with all of this month’s words-except blatherskite-I’ve never heard it. I found the word listed in my Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English.

I found #1 in the dictionary too. That one surprised me-surely everyone across the country uses busted up to describe a marriage or relationship that no longer exists?

Leave me a comment and let me know how you scored on the test.



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  • Reply
    December 13, 2012 at 6:37 am

    Gina-thank you for the comment! Ive never heard the saying you quoted from your Mama-but maybe someone else has and will let us know : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    December 11, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    This is for Angie. I heard this one many times in my youth.
    “He that tooteth not his on horn may not have his horn tooted.”

  • Reply
    Peggy Lambert
    December 11, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    The one I had never heard or anyone use it is blatherskite.
    When I saw boomer I thought of a squirrel which is in
    that family and also a person that had a nick name
    of “Boomer”.She has been dead a few years.
    I have to bust up clods in the garden after it has been
    plowed in the spring. I call my high top work shoes, my
    “clod-hoppers” or “kick butt” shoes.
    Bobble reminds me of those funny bobble head dolls you
    see in some cars on the dash.
    Some smarty pants is always a blow to get attention.
    PEGGY L.

  • Reply
    December 11, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    Blatherskate makes sense to me now!
    Your Christmas music is lovely.

  • Reply
    Susie Swanson
    December 11, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    I’m familiar with the first three but never heard the last one before.

  • Reply
    Sharon Schuster
    December 11, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    My Dad (from Valle Crucis, NC) always referred to chipmunks as ‘boomers’. In fact, his CB radio handle was ‘Boomer’. Jackie’s post reminded me of the word, ‘bumberchute’, which is an umbrella. I used to sing a song in elementary school about it. My Kentucky-born mother often talked about the ‘new ground’ mentioned in Ethelene’s post. Daddy frowned upon the neighborhood ‘blow bag’. Never heard Blatherskite used.

  • Reply
    December 11, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    I’m familiar with all but the last one; never heard it before.

  • Reply
    Bob & Inez Jones
    December 11, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    Blatherskite–Never heard that word before but I love it!!!!Inez Jones

  • Reply
    December 11, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Have mot heard of blatherskite and didn’t know boomers were squirrels. Never get to old to learn something new.

  • Reply
    December 11, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    we call blatherskite a big wind blabber all he doese is blabber
    off about someone.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    December 11, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    Tipper–Although I’ve seen blatherskite used in print I have never heard the word spoken.
    Ed is right in his comment about boomers. They are a distinct subspecies from grey squirrels (sometimes called cat squirrels) and fox squirrels (not found much, if at all, in the WNC mountains). Boomers tend to be found at higher elevations are are perhaps 60 percent the size of a grey squirrel. They are noisy, dumb as dirt, and supposedly pretty scarce.
    In regard to the latter, the Forest Service, in its infinite capacity for bureaucratic idiocy, actually created a device up on the Cherohala Highway to enable boomers and flying squirrels to cross the road in safety. I haven’t read the instructions telling these critters how to use it, but it cost tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars. It seems there is no limit to the capacity of bureaucrats to waste money, but this has to be one of the best I know of (comparable with tunnels under highways in eastern N. C. for bear movement).
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Larry Proffitt
    December 11, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Tipper , Ed Ammons knows “boomers” . They are pesky little squirrel like creatures that have too little meat for a squirrel hunter to fool with. Little loudmouth squirrels that I have only found here in east tennessee above about 3000 feet elevation. We all use bust up here but blatherskate is new to me. Larry Proffitt

  • Reply
    December 11, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    I’ve heard and use them all except
    Patricia Page’s comment caught my
    interest cause I went clean through Andrews School and never
    heard of the ‘Boomers’. But we sure had lots of ’em in the pines
    close to the old Elementary Building…Ken

  • Reply
    December 11, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    never heard “boomer” or “blatherskite” but knew all the others. We also used “bust up” to mean breaking ground or splitting wood too. I almost wrote “bloomer” for “boomer”. Used to hear it used for ladies underwear but not in a long time.

  • Reply
    December 11, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    I vaguely recall hearing ‘boomer’ in regard to a squirrel, years ago in East Kentucky. It’s also used in the same area as a noun, being the chain binder that’s used to tighten the chains holding the logs on a truck. ‘Busted up’ is also used to describe the loser in a fight as well as the verb describing the act of making him/her the loser.
    You ain’t gonna believe this, but I actually USED the word blatherskite last week to describe a man that could talk the leg off a Queen Anne piano; of course, nobody understood it. The other two words are common speech around these parts, so finally, I’m 5 for 5…

  • Reply
    December 11, 2012 at 11:27 am

    Okay! I got two of them right – busted up and blow. Now I will try to learn boomer as I have so many of them scamptering around here in my woods. Bobble, well I thought it meant one of those bobble head things one puts on a shelf or in your car, etc. where the head bobbles all over, like there was no self control. Blatherskite, well, I can see some of it from the first part of the word; can’t figure where the rest comes in. It must be just one of those words to be learned and gather brain dust. Happy learning to all!

  • Reply
    December 11, 2012 at 10:09 am

    I have never heard of #2 or #5, but when my grandfather’s pet squirrel Chip decided to jump down on my grandmother’s head while she was carrying a double-filled tray heading toward the freezer with that seasons veggies she let out a boomer! I did not even know she knew those words while they went flying all over the yard. Needless to say Chip was packed up and taken far away to a friend’s pecan grove to live. 😀

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    December 11, 2012 at 10:09 am

    That “blathering idiot” went around telling everyone Granny was pregnant, when it was Granvilles wife who was pregnant!
    Lordy, don’t say nothing when that “bobbling fool” is around!
    Heard them all except “blatherskite”. I have heard “blathering idiot” for years! Maybe we just dropped “skite”…Is the word from Irish, Scot or Old English, and maybe changed in our part of the mountains?
    The “boomers” are carrying everything except the kitchen sink to their “hidey-holes”, it must be a “big cold winter blow” a’comin’ this year! I even seen the red fox a’carrin’ far wood to his den!
    Thanks Tipper, I love this segment of the Blind Pig…heps me with my Anglish!

  • Reply
    Patricia page
    December 11, 2012 at 9:44 am

    Heard of all except the last. Did you know that back in the 30s-40s that the mascot for the Andrews NC high school was the Boomers?

  • Reply
    December 11, 2012 at 9:31 am

    I’ve never heard of blatherskite and did not know boomer as a squirrel until a few years ago. Have you ever heard “how much” used to question a person’s last name. Mama (from Lincoln Co.) when hearing me speak of someone by only a first name would ask, Jimmy how much? No telling where she learned it for her mother was from SC plus Mama had served in the Army Nurse Corps.

  • Reply
    Uncle Al
    December 11, 2012 at 9:07 am

    All but that last one…never heard of it and never heard anyone say it. Interesting word for sure.

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    December 11, 2012 at 8:32 am

    I’ve never heard boomer used for a squirrel, I call them tree rats.
    I have heard blatherskite but not often. A blithering idiot is more common and after researching found that the two words are connected. Blither comes from blather and it is of course a Scots word.

  • Reply
    December 11, 2012 at 8:13 am

    I don’t remember ever hearing #5. I have also heard boomerchute for umbrella and used bust up for spliting a pile of wood.

  • Reply
    December 11, 2012 at 8:00 am

    I’m only familiar with blow and bust up. Sometimes we refer to the blowers as blowhards. We say doddle instead of bobble. My cousin recently visited and was telling about the speed and traffic on the LA freeway. She said, “All it would take is for a driver to make one little doddle and there would be a hundred car pile-up.”

  • Reply
    Kimberly Burnette
    December 11, 2012 at 8:00 am

    I have never heard the last one either, but the rest of them are very familiar!

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    December 11, 2012 at 8:00 am

    Blatherskite didn’t make it into the vocabulary of us Choestoe Valley folks! I didn’t know the word or its meaning. And we had an additional meaning for “busted up.” We used it to talk about turning the soil in the spring to prepare for planted, as “Daddy went out to the “new ground” yesterday and busted it up for planting. And “new ground” meant a recently cleared-of-forest piece of ground that we were turning into cultivation. You can imagine how roots were still a problem in “new ground”!

  • Reply
    December 11, 2012 at 7:54 am

    I have never heard bobble nor blatherskite in this part of Appalachia. Blatherskite is familiar, and I am sure this is from reading books based in Appalachia. We really elaborate on the word blow, and it is used to describe one who continuously brags too much. They are called a ” big ole blow George”, and are accused of blowing big. “John is such a big ole blow George, and I wish he would stop blowing big about everything.”
    I have only heard the word Boomer years ago from my Dad, and that is the only animal he did not like. Tipper, you have me thinking too early again! I’ll have to get my second cup of coffee and google Boomer.

  • Reply
    Bob Aufdemberge
    December 11, 2012 at 7:51 am

    I’m guessing that blatherskite is of Irish origin. I’ve never heard it used, but have run across it in books set in Ireland. “Boomer” for a squirrel is a new one on me.

  • Reply
    Lonnie Dockery
    December 11, 2012 at 7:46 am

    Except for “blow” I’m not very familiar with these. I’ve heard “bust up” used in that context and maybe read “boomer” somewhere–but blatherskite? That’s a strange one! You sure you didn’t wander into the “French” section of that dictionary?

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    December 11, 2012 at 7:43 am

    I am familiar with three. Like most other commenters, I am not familiar with boomer and blatherskate.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    December 11, 2012 at 7:40 am

    I have read the word blatherskite but never heard it used. Must be akin to blitherin idiot in origin. A boomer ain’t just a squirrel, its a kind of squirrel. They are much smaller, faster and more agile than their gray squirrel cousins. They are infested with yak-a-lot. Most hunters don’t kill them for meat because there ain’t enough to mess with, but I’ve seen them shot for warning the grays that danger was on the way.
    Boomer is also a community not too far from me. Its up #18 between Lenoir and Wilkesboro.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    December 11, 2012 at 7:37 am

    I don’t ever recall hearing number 5. The first four I know well.
    I’m also familiar with the word ‘blather’ meaning to talk constantly but say little. Also seem to have a memory of ‘skate’ as a word used to refer to a man, but I can’t quite get hold of it this morning.
    Tipper, check if ‘skate’ is in that big book of yours.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    December 11, 2012 at 7:02 am

    Never even heard of, let alone heard, blatherskite.
    When it comes to bust up, I believe I’d more likely use it to describe breaking things than relationships. Of course we’re not as bad to gossip as those folks over in Brasstown;-)
    For example:
    “Don’t you reckon we better bust up some of that wood for kindling and get it in under the tarp? It looks like it’s about to fall a flood.”
    “I really busted up my knee when that doghobble took holt of me.”

  • Reply
    Tim Mc
    December 11, 2012 at 6:44 am

    Boomer and blatherskate are not familiar, I’m like Sheryl, we say, it looks like it may come up a thunder boomer today..

  • Reply
    December 11, 2012 at 6:44 am

    I have never heard boomer and blatherskate used. I really enjoy your vocabulary lessons. Happy Tuesday from middle TN.

  • Reply
    Pat in east TN
    December 11, 2012 at 6:30 am

    #5 is the only one I’m not familiar with also. The rest are used pretty much all the time around these parts.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    December 11, 2012 at 6:12 am

    Boomer and blatherskate are new, thunder is boomer around here. Blatherskate is pretty obvious when you read the word, but I’ve never heard it.

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