Appalachia Appalachian Dialect

Appalachian Vocabulary Test 81

Teaching children to be proud of their appalachian accent

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

  1. Swipe off
  2. Sweet milk
  3. Stub up
  4. Stroke
  5. Stingy gut

Appalachian accent



  1. Swipe off: to wipe off. “Make sure you swipe off the counters before you go to bed. I seen a few ants in here earlier and if you leave a mess they’ll be everywhere before morning.”
  2. Sweet milk: whole milk. “Pour me a glass of sweet milk while you’re up if you don’t care.”
  3. Stub up: to be stubborn over an issue; to become sullen. “She got mad about something he said and before I knew it she’d stubbed up and went and locked herself in the bathroom!”
  4. Stroke: to have a stroke. “He got so upset I thought he was going to stroke out on us.”
  5. Stingy gut: a greedy person. “She’s been a stingy gut ever since the day she was born. Wouldn’t share with none of the other kids when she had more than they’d ever even seen before.”

I hear all of this month’s words on a regular basis. I use them all myself too except for sweet milk. Granny and Pap are the only people I hear say sweet milk in my neck of the woods.

Please leave me a comment and let me know how you did on the test!



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  • Reply
    Gaye Blaine
    October 2, 2020 at 10:51 am

    Stubbed up: in my neck of western NC – Macon County – I grew up with
    ” bowed up” as she bowed up and would not go see her granny. Or he bowed up and would not speak to John for ages. ( Ages was never specifically defined, just some length of time.). Or now, Essie, don’t go and get bowed up about what I said. Bowed up meant the same as ” got her/his nose out of joint. I never took French or Spanish in school but I sure can speak and understand Appalachian. Can also spell proper English but still call a chimney a ” chimly”. My dad used clim for climb, clum for climbed and clam as in he clam up mountain yisterdy.

  • Reply
    September 10, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    Swipe off – a less thorough job than “wipe off” or “wipe down; a bit of thievery; and of course, “Swiper” of ‘Dora the Explorer’ fame.
    Sweet milk – grew up with it; still use it. Did you ever hear of “blinky” milk? My Kansas grandmother and my mother used that to describe milk that was just beginning to turn – the sharp taste might make you tense your face and blink your eyes rapidly.
    Stub up – only know “stub” as in “stub your toe” – not broken but possible severely bruised or sprained.
    Stroke – often used that with some of my more emotional middle schoolers: “You’d better settle down before you stroke out.” -or for those who got particularly red in the face “Don’t go apoplectic now!”
    Stingy gut – only know this concept as “stingy” or “tight wad” or some other politically incorrect terms.

  • Reply
    September 10, 2015 at 11:45 am

    Gina-thank you for the comment! Yes I have heard pussle gut! And what a descriptive saying that is : )
    Hope you have a great evening : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Peggy Lambert
    September 9, 2015 at 10:07 pm

    Heard and used all. Only we said she was a greedy gut.
    Peggy l.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    September 9, 2015 at 7:02 pm

    I’ve heard and use them all.

  • Reply
    September 9, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    We always said sweet milk or butter milk to indicate which one we wanted.
    Stub up was what my sister did. She is still stubborn and a know-it-all. Dad called her a sour puss before she could talk well. When she tried that label on someone else it came out ‘sow pous’.
    Stroke reminded of working in a black community in Georgia. When one kid didn’t come to our after school program, the other kids said, “He fell out at school today”. I asked, “Fell out of what?” (meaning his seat, the window, etc) “Naw he didn’t fall out of nothing. He just fell out.” After several more ?’s I understood. He had fainted.

  • Reply
    September 9, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    As Donna Lynn went off the radio
    today, she played “The River of
    Jordan” and she said “that was by
    The Pressley Girls, Chitter and
    It’s #43 on your Playlist and one
    of my favorites…Ken

  • Reply
    September 9, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    I still say sweet milk and think of someone as being stingy, without the ‘gut’. So, I’m familiar with these word parts.
    When I was a whole lot younger, we had a Guernsey Cow, had plenty of milk, and kept it cold in the spring.
    I enjoyed Miss Cindy’s informative comment about her

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    September 9, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    It’s called sweet milk because it still has sugar (lactose) in it. The little microbes that make it go sour eat all the sugar and turn it in to lactic acid. But sour milk is not spoiled milk. Sour milk gets turned (or churned) into buttermilk, yogurt, cheese &c.
    Look at the butter in your frigidary. It says sweet cream butter, right? (unless you are lucky enough to find cultured butter) Means it still has sugar in it too. They dropped the sweet from milk but left it on the butter.
    I knew all the words today. A swipe to me is a halfhearted wipe. A swipe with some muscle behind it is a sworp, like when you are going after a wasper with a fly flappit.
    I hear greedy gut used the same as stingy gut.
    I used to hear sull up more often than stub up but never hear it any more.
    When I look up images of old death certificates many times the cause of death is listed as “stroke of apoplexy.” I guess that was to distinguish it from a stroke of lightning. But that don’t make sense either. Lightning that hits something would be a strike, right? Unless the victim only saw the lightning and got scared to death. Tell me to shut up!

  • Reply
    Joan Ledford Lanning
    September 9, 2015 at 11:00 am

    I HAVE HEARD ALL THESE AND HAVE USED THEM. I am from the mountains of western North Carolina. All the older folks used these.

  • Reply
    Chuck Howell
    September 9, 2015 at 10:40 am

    Sweet milk, Buttermilk, Blue John, Clabbered. Grandma Polly from Robbinsville N. C. ” I reckon I’m gonna have to sell that little ol cow she ain’t givin as much as she used to.” My sister Judy and I would feed her through the wire fence And squirt milk into each others mouths. I had pretty good aim. She usually got my eyes, nose, hair etc. Grandma didn’t know she had already been milked.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    September 9, 2015 at 10:00 am

    I got 3 out of 5. I don’t recall having heard ‘stroke’ as a verb. Also, we used ‘stingy’ commonly but not with ‘gut’.
    There was a whole combination of events that pretty much ended the common use of ‘sweet milk’; migration from farms, electricity and refrigeration, truck deliveries, rise of large diary operations, etc. I heard it commonly as a boy, when my Grandma still had a cow, but my Dad was probably the last one I heard to use it routinely. He also called milk from which the butterfat had been removed ‘blue water’.
    ‘Stub up’ was especially used with an inference of childishness.

  • Reply
    September 9, 2015 at 9:53 am

    I am so glad to know other folks have stubbed up and it’s not just my family that does it. My cousin asked for sweet me for her husband when I asked what they wanted to drink for supper. Buttermilk is called sour milk by some of my older relatives. I’ve heard all the words used, but I still say stubbed up quiet often.

  • Reply
    Gina S
    September 9, 2015 at 9:46 am

    I’ve never heard ‘stingy gut.’ Instead ‘greedy gut’ was the term used in our family. Have you ever heard ‘pussle gut?’ Rhymes with tussle. An older neighbor to my mom used the term to describe a fellow she had no use for.

  • Reply
    Darlene Debty Kimsey
    September 9, 2015 at 9:36 am

    When I was little, you ordered sweet milk in a restaurant to distinguish that you didn’t want buttermilk.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    September 9, 2015 at 9:27 am

    When you think about it, our Appalachian talk and usage is colorful, indeed, and says what we intend. Maybe somewhat obsolete now, as we’ve heard too long “standard” talk on television (and before that radio, too), but having a list of some familiar phrases to those of us “born and bred” in the hills is refreshing, indeed. I hope we still continue to use–and remember–these colorful words/phrases.

  • Reply
    September 9, 2015 at 9:03 am

    And she also said ‘shoe-make’.

  • Reply
    September 9, 2015 at 8:59 am

    Mamma and older family members said ‘sweet milk’, so sweet memories.I got all except ‘stub up’. I like it- very visual description

  • Reply
    Pamela Danner
    September 9, 2015 at 8:53 am

    Well, I’ve heard stub up, sweet milk, and I think stingy gut.

  • Reply
    Amanda Burts
    September 9, 2015 at 8:25 am

    My mom, now 95, remarried in her late 80s. My stepfather was a retired dentist. All of his family got their dental care through his son, a local dentist. My Mom chose to stay with her own dentist. My stepfather got all “sullen up” over that for awhile. We knew he was mad about something(pouting), but later he admitted getting sulled up over the situation. That sure does sound similar to “stub up!” This is in east Tennessee, my home town (Jefferson City).

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    September 9, 2015 at 8:25 am

    Swipe, stingy gut, and sweet milk — definitely! Don’t think I have heard stroke or stub up used like that. Re stroke, we just say, “he got so upset I thought he was gonna have a cow.” Also, Mama taught me that ladies shouldn’t use the term “stingy gut,” so I heard it more than I used it.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    September 9, 2015 at 8:12 am

    Tipper–I never heard stingy gut but I’ve known some folks who possessed that trait, in spades.
    As for the others, they are all familiar, although I’ve heard two of them used in a somewhat different context. In the case of stubbed up I’ve heard it as an alternative to stove up–“He claims he stubbed up his toe and won’t hit a lick of work.
    For stroke, rather than a medical condition how about “that was a stroke of luck” or “now there’s a stroke of genius.”
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    September 9, 2015 at 7:40 am

    Okay, you got me today. Stroke was my only known word. I like stingy gut and swipe off. I must try to use them on my native friends. Good learning for me today!

  • Reply
    Glynn Harris
    September 9, 2015 at 7:40 am

    Sweet milk….definitely. I grew up in north LA where we always had a milk cow, diffentiating sweet milk from buttermilk.
    Stroke….”I almost had a stroke when I near ’bout stepped on that snake.”
    Stingy gut…oh yeah. We used that a lot to describe somebody who was so tight he squeaked when he walked.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    September 9, 2015 at 7:39 am

    I know all of these, Tipper. I think sweet milk came in to use to distinguish between fresh whole milk and buttermilk. My grandmother’s refrigerator was always full of milk. There was the fresh, sweet, or whole milk that was ready to drink as soon as you shake it or stir it to mix the cream in that was floating on top. Then there was the buttermilk made from souring the sweet milk and churning it to separate the butter leaving the buttermilk. The buttermilk was used for cooking biscuits and drinking. Then there were usually a few more gallon glass jugs waiting to go into the churn.
    My grandmother poured two or three gallons of milk in the churn then she poured the cream off of two or three other gallons to go into the churn of additional butter. The rest of those gallons went to the pigs.
    My grandmother wasted nothing. She had lived through the depression and knew what it meant to be hungry and as a result she lived the remainder of her life being careful to never waist food.
    She kept an extra refrigerator in the freezer room to manage all the milk.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    September 9, 2015 at 7:37 am

    This is really good, I am unfamiliar with stub up, I have always heard puff up with the same meaning.
    Funny enough I hear sweet milk a lot in direct opposition to butter milk,stingy gut is not heard so much but when it is it is stingy guts.
    Thanks this is my favorite part of Blind Pig

  • Reply
    Susan landis
    September 9, 2015 at 7:24 am

    After moving to CA from TN, my sister asked her neighbor to pick up some sweet milk at the store. The woman came back and said they didn’t carry any “sweet milk”.

  • Reply
    September 9, 2015 at 4:46 am

    Well, my insomnia carried over into the next day then I saw your post.
    I have always known that sweet milk was really a down-home expression. I never hear it anymore, but was commonly used by my parents. Over the years I had started referring to it as regular milk, since I keep the frig loaded with buttermilk for biscuits and evaporated milk for gravy. My system works well until I get up really groggy and pour buttermilk in my fresh morning coffee.
    Swipe is used occasionally instead of swipe off. I have heard it used more as, “He swiped my new pen.” When I give things a swipe, I always think of the expression “a lick and a promise,” Stingy used some, but mostly I hear them described as tight. I like stubbed up, and find little children use this sometimes to get their way.

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