Appalachia Appalachian Dialect

Appalachian Vocabulary Test 60

Appalachian Vocabulary Test 60

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

  1. Heave up
  2. Heifer
  3. High sheriff
  4. Hewn
  5. Haggled

Appalachian Vocabulary Test 60 2


  1. Heave up: to rise or swell. “Last night’s hard freeze caused the ground to heave up all around that new foundation but I don’t think it did any real damage.”
  2. Heifer: a bossy hateful woman. “That heifer down at the dmv wouldn’t even listen to what I was trying to tell her. She has to be the hatefulest woman that ever walked this earth.”
  3. High sheriff: the sheriff of a county. “If he don’t calm it down the High Sheriff will be over here wanting to know what all the ruckus is about.”
  4. Hewn: cut out; land cleared from forest area. “Them people have hewn out places all over the mountain to build their little play pretty looking houses.”
  5. Haggled: rough; uneven edges. “She don’t even know how to stitch a hem. Why all her dresses are haggled around the bottom till they look plum pitiful.”

I hear heave up, heifer, and hewn on a fairly regular basis.

I’ve only heard the world haggled used in relation to making a deal like “He wanted 50 dollars but I haggled him down to 40.”

I’ve heard Pap use the high sheriff term my entire life. Most of the time he’s telling a story from days gone by-but I’ve heard him refer to Cherokee County’s current sheriff as the high sheriff too.

How did you do on this month’s test?


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  • Reply
    Vera Guthrie
    November 15, 2018 at 10:19 am

    We also used Haggle to discuss cost :He wanted to haggle with over the price I was askin for my car”

  • Reply
    November 14, 2013 at 10:50 am

    Familiar with heave up (and hove) but also use it as in “dry heaves” which often come in the early stages of pregnancy or with a severe stomach bug after one has already “hove up” all the contents therein.
    Also familiar with a negative or pitying use of “old heifer” as an “old maid”; but also use “heifer” as a “pretty young thing” or a lively little girl as in “That little heifer is just clamberin’ all over the jungle gym.”
    High sheriff is commonly heard.
    Hewn as in the example is more commonly used (to my knowledge) as in shaping a log or piece of wood but I’ve also heard that “the DOT hewed that highway right through that mountain”. (Mind you, “mountains” around here you folks would barely stub your toes on 🙂 ).
    Don’t know “haggled” as used here. In terms of bartering or dickering for a trade or price, “haggled” usually implies some less than friendly negotiations but not always.
    On the other hand, a bad haircut could be referred to as “rough hewn”.

  • Reply
    Alica @ Happily Married to the Cows
    November 14, 2013 at 9:25 am

    LOL Working with “real” heifers on a daily basis, I can see why that word could be used in this way! Oh my! 🙂

  • Reply
    Karen G.
    November 14, 2013 at 8:55 am

    Heifer is really the only one I remember being used in my growing up years at home with mom & dad. Heifer meant & was used exactly the same as you but with one addition. A heifer was a bossy, mean tempered & spiteful woman with serious overweight issues. Another negative term used interchangeably with heifer was “skin’t mule.” My late Daddy used heifer regularly or he’d say a person was so “ugly they’d make a freight train take a dirt road” or “so ugly they could snag lightening.” He was witty always trying to make us laugh or lighten the mood. He never used these terms to hurt or insult anyone.

  • Reply
    Devonia Cochran
    November 14, 2013 at 12:16 am

    Same as you – haven’t heard ” haggle ” that way. True story : a ZILLION years ago, I attended a school board meeting. The best I can remember – which is faulty – there were a cpl kids who had been in some mischief and I think maybe it involved ” illegal substance” /not sure – early 70s. One of the school board members who genuinely cared , leaned forward and asked the student , “Son, will you tell the High Sheriff?” Oh Tipper , by the look on that kid’s face ,I don’t think that the student had ever heard of the Sheriff as being ” high.” LOL OFF TOPIC WARNING but I told a professional story telling friend I would ask you. Are you familiar with the phrase ” death bells?” Her own grandmother used the phrase the night of a tragic accident involving a family member. If you’ve already discussed it , I apologized. We have a lot of ” stuff” going on for more than a cpl years and I’ve missed a lot. Thanks!!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    November 13, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    Ken-I’ll bet the High Sheriff didn’t hesitate to collect the evidence from those two illegal distillery sites. Copper fetched a pretty penny then, and even more now. Those squeezens could command more of a premium, depending, of course, on the quality thereof.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    November 13, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    I know and hear all these words too.
    My daddy use to talk about the High
    Sheriff, especially when them
    bloomin’ Moonshiners put their Stills on our property. We found 2
    Stills on the place cause they knew
    daddy was in good standin’ with the

  • Reply
    November 13, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    I’m sorry, it was Ron who gave the “high sheriff” background.

  • Reply
    November 13, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    Haint: Now, I have heard of a bothersome, witchy old woman referred to as, “The ol’ haint!”,meaning ‘haunt’, ie., ‘ghost’.I’ve never heard ‘haggled’ to equal ‘ragged’. I got the rest, and thanks to Ed for the interesting history on “high sheriff”. (Andy Taylor, in my mind.)

  • Reply
    November 13, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    The only word I’ve not used in the contest you have set forth is “haggle”. Like most everybody else here, I use it to describe a part of a business deal, the part related to ‘cost’.
    “Hewn” Yep; also used to describe a what was done to a log that’s been squared off with an axe or adz.
    The past tense if ‘heave’ is ‘hove’; “That sapling we planted by the sidewalk has growed so much that it’s hove up the concrete.”
    The High Sheriff lives across the street from me. “How High?” you ask? High enough that we’ve elected him 11 times consecutively.
    “Heifer” has two distinct connotations: the first is usually complimentary, toward a young girl. “My, ain’t that a purty young heifer?” The other usage is derogatory and usually refers to a woman other than a young girl (unless the user IS a young girl) and denotes a woman who has done something that irked the user.
    “That heifer next door called the po-lice on me just because I was skinning a deer in my driveway!”
    And, for Shirla:
    The High Sheriff / tol’ the deppity / now you go and bring me Lazarus
    Yes th’ High Sheriff / tol’ th’ deppity / now you go and bring me Lazer—us!
    Bring him daid or alive / Lawd, Lawd
    Bring him daid or alive…

  • Reply
    Julie Hughes
    November 13, 2013 at 11:59 am

    In my world haint was a ghost or a spirit. We used everything as mentioned except haggle and heaved up. We would have used stragled or raggeddy in place of haggled in the sentence you used as an example.

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    November 13, 2013 at 11:11 am

    Heard them all and even “so-and-so was the best/meanest man/woman to walk this earth. Visiting friends in Ireland, I made the comment that I was built for comfort, not for speed and was told “like a Mullingar heifer – beef to the heels”. Happy Hump Day!

  • Reply
    November 13, 2013 at 10:35 am

    I have mostly heard and used “heave up” meaning to throw up. I guess that’s something that rises up, though.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    November 13, 2013 at 9:40 am

    You known if you seen the high sheriffs car speeding around you on the highway, instead of “Barny” the deputy sheriff, that somethin’ really dangerous was a goin’ on!
    Better half heaved up a few of those doggone old railroad ties to make another raised bed. He shore wished he had decided to use somethin’ lighter!
    Wish I could hire me one of those “giant peckerwoods” to hewn me a bowl out of that there big burl knot..
    I can’t believe she waggled and haggled that worman over that 25 cent piece of uneven,ragged and haggled piece of cotton flour sack. I gues hit was the purty print she was admirin’ for the quilt she was makin’!
    I was being tormented to death by that “little heifer” and called him so? The better half said, ” He ain’t no heifer!” Well, he ain’t no he either since his trip to the vet, said myself!” The rascally cat got it’s way and I made a trip to the kitchen for the treat bag!
    Use the fairly ofter,
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS…I think I hear the high sheriff sirening it down the highway now. Ever coyote on the ridge is howlin’!

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    November 13, 2013 at 9:40 am

    I’ve only heard “haggled” in relation to negotiating a deal. The others were all familiar.

  • Reply
    November 13, 2013 at 9:14 am

    When I read the words, I immediately thought of a song using High Sheriff, but just couldn’t put it together. I went and made my bed, had another cup of coffee, got a headache from concentration and still couldn’t think of the song. Thanks Ed! You saved the day!
    Tipper, it’s been years since I heard anyone (but me) say, “ever walked this earth.” Sometimes I say, “on the face of the earth.”

  • Reply
    November 13, 2013 at 9:01 am

    I’ve never heard high sheriff and I’ve never heard haggled with that definition. I’ve heard the others.
    Carol: My mom has used haint many times, usually describing a detestable woman. I don’t think I’ve ever heard her use it to describe a man. My mom grew up in the Matoaka/Mullens area of West Virginia.

  • Reply
    November 13, 2013 at 8:52 am

    I have heard haggled, heaved up, and hewn, but never heard the other two. I figured that the high sheriff might refer to the Chief of a deparment, but heifer, I thought referred to a youngin’. I’m learning, slowly!

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    November 13, 2013 at 8:39 am

    I have heard most of them. Haggle was to get a better deal. Being called a heifer was not a compliment and heave up was to lift something up like, heaving up a bale of hay into the back of a truck. High Sheriff as I suspected, came from England and or Ireland. Here is a quick definition.
    The modern office of sheriff in the United States descends from a one-thousand-year-old English tradition: a “shire-reeve” (shire-keeper) is the oldest appointment of the English crown. Because county governments were typically the first established units of government in newly settled American territories, sheriffs were among the first elected public officials in an area and thus developed a leading role in local law enforcement.

  • Reply
    November 13, 2013 at 8:37 am

    I’ve heard all of them except “haggle” in that way–and it in the way you described. High sheriff used to be more common it seems. Wasn’t it a real title in England–maybe just another holdover. And you better hope Marlene “down at the DMV” doesn’t read this post! But she always listens, so you’re safe!

  • Reply
    Lola Howard
    November 13, 2013 at 8:18 am

    I’ve heard them all !!!!!
    The high sheriff always came around when something really bad happened.

  • Reply
    November 13, 2013 at 8:10 am

    Have used all of these at times.

  • Reply
    Jane Bolden
    November 13, 2013 at 8:02 am

    I say heifer just to be funny behind closed doors. Heard hewn before. High Sheriff, haven’t heard but very interesting.

  • Reply
    November 13, 2013 at 7:36 am

    I have heard all but haggle (used this way) and heifer was used to refer to a “pretty little woman”. But my favorite H word is “haint” to mean a real hick. Has anyone else heard of this? Also haint can be used instead of aint. “I haint goin!”

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, Ph.D.
    November 13, 2013 at 7:34 am

    Hey Tipper:
    Do I get an A+ if I am the EARLY BIRD and know all the H words on this chilly NOVEMBER morning? Hope your day is bright and sunny WITH NO WIND!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Dan O'Connor
    November 13, 2013 at 7:34 am

    Never heard the term High Sheriff, but I have used the other terms and still do on occasion, I feel a bit haggered this morning myself…

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    November 13, 2013 at 7:15 am

    I too have heard all but haggled used. I always wondered about High Sheriff, when I was little I thought he was a taller person. I’m guessing he just ranks higher than the rest of the deputies.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    November 13, 2013 at 7:15 am

    Tipper, I don’t remember ever hearing haggled this way. I’ve heard all the rest.
    Heave up I’ve heard mostly in relation to heaving up one’s dinner when sick.
    High sheriff and heifer I’ve heard plenty.
    I believe I’ve only heard hewn used when talking about hewing out logs for building.

  • Reply
    Judy Mincey
    November 13, 2013 at 7:13 am

    I know them all and use heave up, heifer and hewn. I have heard high sherif all my life. My grandmother used haggled in the sense of uneven. “Boy, that barber done haggled your head to bits. Set down here and let me straighten you out.”

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    November 13, 2013 at 7:03 am

    ♪♫ High Sheriff and police coming after me. Coming after me. Yeah they’re coming after me. High Sheriff and police coming after me. And I feel like I’ve gotta travel on. ♫♪

  • Reply
    November 13, 2013 at 6:08 am

    Never heard heave up or high sheriff. I’ve heard heifer but, not as a hateful woman. Did you see that new girl at school? Yeah, now boy that is a pretty little heifer! I love hearing the country boys express themselves and since I am one it is even more meaningful! Once some boys got into a heated argument at the gas station over who was fastest Richard Petty or David Pearson. A fight broke out and some of the boys had some sticks and hit each other over the head. When a bystander was telling about it later he said, “Lord, them boys was mad as the devil and they were ringing heads like a cow bell!” When one of the boys’ Daddy found out about this he gave him a good spanking. When the other boys asked him about it and asked if he got a hard whuppin’ he said, “Yeah, I did but I’ve had worse. I guess that time the belt broke down at the saw mill was the worst whuppin’ I ever had!” LOL

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