Appalachia Appalachian Dialect

Appalachian Vocabulary Test 79

Old words used in appalachia

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

  1. Spraddle
  2. Spread
  3. Square dab
  4. Squinch 
  5. Stand

Unique language of appalachians


  1. Spraddle: to sprawl or spread ones legs. “I told Darnell she shouldn’t be sitting there all spraddle legged with a dress on. There’s no telling what they thought of her!”
  2. Spread: to arrange or set a table or bed. “Let me spread the table and then we can sit down for a bite to eat.”
  3. Square dab: exactly. “I came around Brady Curve and there set a family of goats square dab in the middle of the road. I never seen such a sight in all my life.”
  4. Squinch: to squint. “You need a hat. You’re going to give yourself a headache if you squinch like that all day long.”
  5. Stand: a hive of bees. “Papaw Wade used to keep a couple stands of bees when he was raising his family. I’ve always wished I had at least one.”

I’m familiar with all of this month’s words. I hear stand used with the same meaning-only referring to other things-such as a stand of corn. Granny still spreads the table before Sunday dinner. And I seriously doubt that I have ever said the word squint-I’m positive squinch is what has always come out of my mouth.

So how did you do?




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  • Reply
    November 10, 2021 at 1:28 am

    Appalachian Vocabulary: Orta -(should or aught to) … {We orta go fishin’…. We orta go swimmin”}

    Funny story about growing up Appalachian … I always thought I grew up as an Appalachian. Several years ago I ran across a map online that showed the boundaries of Appalachia & its boundary looks like it ended literally in my back yard. It’s that close. I figured I spend most of my time playing in the backyard so I qualify. lol

  • Reply
    July 9, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    Thank you for the great comments! I’m not sure what the flower is-I think a lily of some kind? Or a dahlia maybe? Whatever it is its growing at the folk school : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Pamela Danner
    July 9, 2015 at 11:12 am

    I have and still do use a few of those words.I had to laugh at square dab, I still say that. I have heard them all.

  • Reply
    Peggy Lambert
    July 8, 2015 at 11:44 pm

    Have used and still use these words,
    except we used smack dab in the middle.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    July 8, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    I am familiar with all but squinch.

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    July 8, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    100%! But we say smack dab, too-

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    July 8, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    I had never heard “stand” applied to bees, but heard of a stand of corn or other crops. Heard all of the rest except for “squinch”, but correctly guessed it to be the same as “squint”.

  • Reply
    July 8, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    Never heard “square dab” – always heard and use “smack dab”. “Stand” was more likely referring to a healthy field or orchard – as in “He has a good stand of oranges” or “He has a good stand of tomatoes”. Seems I most often heard that when the trees and plants were full of moisture and seemed to be reaching for the sky.
    – then, there’s also “That fruit stand on the old highway always has the best cantalopes.”
    About the time I came into awareness of the world around me the age of chemistry as beginning to dominate agriculture and I remember “old-timers” commenting about missing the bees in the orchards. I wonder if folks talked about a “stand of beehives” when they were brought to the orchards to help with pollinating.
    Otherwise, all terms mentioned are alive and well in my vocabulary.

  • Reply
    July 8, 2015 at 11:59 am

    All are familiar. Our tendency to use words such as spraddle legged just shows what an interesting people we are. I used to hear things such as, “She was spraddled all over the floor when there was work to be done.” Tipper, keep them comin’, and I will keep enjoying.
    There is another word I hear rarely–Jakie. I wondered if it might be an Appalachian word on the way out. Example–“She just looked so jakie when she tried to dress up.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    July 8, 2015 at 11:49 am

    I knew them all! I immediately thought of the five gallon lard can called a “lard stand”. May have told the story before of my cousin jumping up on the full lard stand to unhook the screen door. The lid flipped over & she was more than knee deep in the lard!!

  • Reply
    July 8, 2015 at 11:47 am

    I know and use all these words all the time. Many years ago, we had a nice swimming hole at the Brady’s Curve. We built that thing, walked all the way from Topton down the RR tracks, both boys and girls went in swimming. Most of the time none
    of us had a bathing suit either.
    It was a time of innocence and we
    didn’t think a thing back then.
    But we never saw any goats tho…Ken

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    July 8, 2015 at 11:31 am

    Yep. Although I hadn’t heard stand applied to anything but crops. Also, spread was often also used like this: “Went to the Methodist church supper
    last night. They sure put on a fine spread.”
    Also, I love it when dogs lie all spraddled on the floor!

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    July 8, 2015 at 11:28 am

    Heard them all! But often hears slap dab rather than square dab.

  • Reply
    July 8, 2015 at 11:05 am

    Being originally from MS, I have heard and used all of today’s Words routinely. Of course, living now in TX, we still use the words on occasion.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    July 8, 2015 at 10:45 am

    Have you ever got gaulded because you walked home from the river in wet britches and then had to walk spraddle legged for a day or two?
    I’m not sure of this one but didn’t we used to have squinch up to get all the kids on the bench at the dinner table?

  • Reply
    July 8, 2015 at 10:40 am

    The “square dab” one is an unfamiliar one. We always said “smack dab.” :-).

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    July 8, 2015 at 10:34 am

    I knew them all and use them per your definitions as well as others.
    The stand is actually the platform where the bee hive sits. Kinda like a tree stand. You can pick up the whole hive and move it to another stand. We also called it a bee gum because people used to keep their bees in a section of a holler blackgum tree.
    Daddy had a couple of stands of bees. One was right behind the house. Brother and I dared Sister to climb up on it and pee. She did it! All the bees either left or died and Daddy couldn’t figure out why. I had an idea but never told him.

  • Reply
    July 8, 2015 at 10:09 am

    In our area a spread is your home or a buffet type meal. “They had quite a spread for Thanksgiving. ”

  • Reply
    July 8, 2015 at 9:53 am

    New words for my vocabulary! I really like the pictures; what is the flower’s name?

  • Reply
    July 8, 2015 at 9:50 am

    I never heard square used like that. We always said smack dab or slap dab.
    Mom would have said spraddle exactly like your example but she would have added “bawdy ?” somewhere in there. I’m guessing bawdy meant a girl was not acting lady-like.

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    July 8, 2015 at 9:28 am

    I know every one of today’s words and use most of them. Instead of square dab I use smack dab. Mom spread the table and also spread the bed out. I’ve seen a lot of good stands of corn this year. My sister had a boyfriend who would come over to our house sometimes. He was a rather lazy fellow. Mom did not care for him and I remember her saying he just comes over here and spraddles out like he owns the place. Great words today!!

  • Reply
    carol stuart
    July 8, 2015 at 9:22 am

    Loved today’s words and have heard and used them all with the exception of “square dab” – in my world it has been “smack dab”. These were all “good erns”!

  • Reply
    July 8, 2015 at 9:11 am

    I have heard them all except #5 in that context. These are great ‘s’ words.

  • Reply
    July 8, 2015 at 8:56 am

    Regarding #3 (square dab), here in Oklahoma we usually say “smack dab”.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    July 8, 2015 at 8:49 am

    Hmmmm…. well the meanings of some of them didn’t come to mind right off but in reading your definitions I recognized all of them. We say ‘smack dab’ usually instead of ‘square dab’ though I think I’ve heard that also. Have not heard ‘spread’ per your definition in a great long time (since Heck was a pup). The word ‘stand’ is used routinely in forestry to mean a forest set apart from its neighbors in one or more characteristics. I suppose it would be a semi-technical term.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    July 8, 2015 at 8:07 am

    We use smack-dab around here. I’m pretty sure that “spread” is used more broadly than Appalachia.
    The one of these words which I think is most Appalachian is stand, but not in the context of a stand of bees. It’s used to describe growing things:
    “I’ve got the sorriest stand of corn you ever saw.” Fortunately, that is not true, and I intend to have an ear for dinner today.
    “It does a body good to walk along the Boogerman trail and see just how small he is amongst that stand of yellow poplar on the right fork of Sag Branch.” This one is absolutely true; Boogerman Trail is on the Caldwell Fork of Cataloochee, and the trees there are awesome.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    July 8, 2015 at 7:31 am

    All but squinch. Like you I have used stand in other instances “A stand if trees”. Square off and on for your example it would be. Smack dab in the middle of the road. Spread the table my grandmother use to say.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    July 8, 2015 at 7:31 am

    All but squinch. Like you I have used stand in other instances “A stand if trees”. Square off and on for your example it would be. Smack dab in the middle of the road. Spread the table my grandmother use to say.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    July 8, 2015 at 7:31 am

    All but squinch. Like you I have used stand in other instances “A stand if trees”. Square off and on for your example it would be. Smack dab in the middle of the road. Spread the table my grandmother use to say.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    July 8, 2015 at 7:31 am

    All but squinch. Like you I have used stand in other instances “A stand if trees”. Square off and on for your example it would be. Smack dab in the middle of the road. Spread the table my grandmother use to say.

  • Reply
    Glynn Harris
    July 8, 2015 at 7:26 am

    Good ‘uns, all of ’em and I’ve heard ’em all. Sort of interesting that country folks where I grew up in north LA say most of the same things folks say in NC.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    July 8, 2015 at 7:23 am

    I got 100 on this one. I know all these words and have used most of them.
    Spraddle is the word I’ve heard most and it was spraddle legged just as you described. I think it had more meaning back when I was a kid because we required to wear skirts to school and I was never what you would call a dainty little girl. LOL!

  • Reply
    July 8, 2015 at 7:22 am

    ‘Square dab’ kinda threw me for a minute, I usually said ‘smack dab’ or ‘raht square in the middle of…’ I useta keep a couple of stands of bees years ago and I’ve cut a stand of poplars. I’ve never squinted either, though I have scrunched up my eyes in the sunlight. The other two are part of my vocabulary too.

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