Appalachia Appalachian Dialect

Appalachian Vocabulary Test 84

Words used in appalachia 2

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

  1. Weak trembles
  2. Whoop and a holler
  3. Whopper-jawed
  4. Wonderly
  5. Wooly bugger

Words commonly used in appalachia


  1. Weak trembles: a dizzy weak feeling. “I was working like fighting fire until I got the weak trembles and had to go sit in the shade.”
  2. Whoop and a holler: a short distance. “It ain’t no trouble to run him home. Why he only lives a whoop and a holler down the road.”
  3. Whopper-jawed: lopsided; stunned. “When Pap saw what I had done to his truck with a can of red paint and a brush he was whopper-jawed.” (true story from when I was about 4)
  4. Wonderly: wonderful. “1936 Justus Honey Jane 108 But I have been thinking what a wonderly sight it will be to sit by the fire and look at the snow through all them new glass winders!” (Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English)
  5. Wooly bugger: anyone who is frightful looking. “I wish you’d shave that beard off. You look like such a wooly bugger nobody will want to come near you at the party.”

I’m familiar with all of this month’s words except wonderly, which I aim to make part of my regular vocabulary. I mean who wouldn’t want to go around saying wonderly?

I hear all the other words on a regular basis in my part of southern Appalachia. How did you do on this month’s test?



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  • Reply
    Sheryl Adams
    October 9, 2021 at 10:46 am

    We say whopper-jawed here in East Texas. It means something is strangely crooked. Enjoy your vocabulary words. More than not some of them come from family in West Virginia or deep east Texas. ..

  • Reply
    December 17, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    Tipper – Tell b. Ruth that it doesn’t have to be just wild boars but any old hog will develop a scent. They have scent glands that develop as they mature. The glands are in their eye cavities, above their tusks and on the backside of their legs. They use the scent to mark their territory as do many animals. As with snakes not everybody is attuned to the smell. The reason we don’t notice the smell in domestic herds is that most of them are slaughtered as adolescents. Only a very few breeding boars live long enough to fully develop the scent. Domesticated boars have no rivals therefore no need to present a scent. This has nothing to do with the gamy taste that some boars have when they are finally slaughtered. Most “wild boars” in this country are feral hogs (domestic pigs who escaped and adapted to the wild.) The Russian wild boar, which was introduced in this country fairly recently, is a cousin of wild hogs and domestic pigs, being the stock from which they were originally derived. The Russians are true wild boars but they are not the predominate species one might encounter whilst on a stroll across one’s vast holdings.

  • Reply
    December 17, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    Carol-thank you for the comment! I’ve never seen a frost flower but after a quick google I sure do wish I could : ) So pretty!

  • Reply
    Kay Baldwin
    December 17, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    thank you so very much, Tipper for posting these ” almost gone ‘
    sayings as well as all of the other old memories, recipes,habits, etc. It is as though someone turned on a light in a shadowy corner of my ‘ memories” folder and let the sunshine in. I smile and sometimes laugh out loud as the memories come back to me.
    My beloved Grandmother raised me and I recognized all of the words except ” wonderly’ ; what a lovely word and one I will mention to my friends as well as putting in my list of these words. There are still a lot of ” wonderly” things in this world; we only have to look for them and that is what you are helping us so. God Bless!

  • Reply
    December 17, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    Tipper, I’m very familiar with the term “weak trembles” because I get them a lot! In my neck of the woods we also used the term “stout steadies” which meant the same thing.

  • Reply
    Carol Rosenbalm
    December 17, 2015 at 9:50 am

    Just got two! Whoopnhollering is what our mom would tell my sister if we were making too much noise outside. Wooly booger we used all the time for anything that we thought was creepy or ugly.
    Also has anybody seen a frost flower? My husband walks every morning and he saw a horse pasture up from our home and it looked like a cotton field. We searched online until he found it. Just wanted to know If anyone had seen one.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    December 17, 2015 at 12:07 am

    Thanks Jim…
    All was well when we got in, way after dark tonight…The airways smelled woodsy clear and nary a farm dog within our neck of the woods was growling, howling or raising cane..
    I am going to be on the smell for, listen for and look out for that “wooly booger”…for it may have been a boar! I can’t go to the woods and check for ruts but I could send the better half….but he don’t believe me! He’s the one that didn’t believe I heard a Bob Cat scream either! ha

  • Reply
    December 16, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    I have to admit, you got me on all these words. I will be listening for them to be used. Are there any special Christmas, celebration, holiday words that are used mainly in Appalachia?

  • Reply
    December 16, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    Still use “whoop and a holler” as well as “hollerin’ distance”. Use “womperjawed” to refer to a very disheviled person or animal (as a person who tumbled out of a moving truck or a critter that got the worst end of a fight) and “cattywumpus” to describe something that’s akilter but can easily be set to rights.
    In short – didn’t do so good on the vocabulary test 😉

  • Reply
    Rev. Rose Marie "RB" Redmond
    December 16, 2015 at 6:48 pm

    I’ve heard “Whoop and Holler” but we said, “Hoot and Holler” and I’ve heard “Wooly Bugger” which we said “Wooly Booger” and they meant about the same thing as your definition for them.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    December 16, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    I don’t recall hearing ‘wonderly’, but the rest were very familiar. For catty cornered my dad used to say catty slauntswise. I also remember hearing that someone lived a stones throw away or over the hill and past a couple of chuck holes.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    December 16, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    Tipper–For B. Ruth. Yes, wild hogs have a distinctive and by no means pleasant aroma, and to dogs it’s probably about a hundred-fold that of what a human smells.
    The “knowing” nose can also smell snakes, deer (especially bucks in rut), bears, and other critters. If the human nose can detect small game such as squirrels or rabbits, then I have some olfactory deficiencies, although a wet rabbit smells strong enough after you’ve shot it and put it in the game bag of an old Duxbak jacket.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    December 16, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    Ron-thank you for the comment! And actually thats what I hear wooly booger. Even though I typed the word from the Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English-in my head I was thinking booger LOL : )

  • Reply
    December 16, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    Charline-thank you for the comment! I think its booger. Thats what I hear even thought thats not what I typed LOL : ) 

  • Reply
    December 16, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    I knew all but Wonderly.
    I get weak trembles sometimes when I forget to eat for a day or two. I call it non diabetic hypoglycemia because it makes me sound like I have an education, but it’s just weak trembles like Daddy used to get.
    I don’t use Whoop and a Holler. To me it is Hollering Distance. My mother used to let us play in the woods but we had to stay in Hollering Distance. That could be a pretty good piece because Mommy had a voice on her.
    I don’t use Whopper Jawed either but it is quite common around here. I say out of kilter. Or straight up at an angle. Or leaning toward Hanks’s mill.
    My son is a Wooly Booger. He don’t like to shave so he lets his beard grow til its long enough to cut with clippers. He works at a place that rents equipment. The other day I asked him if he could get me a bush hog. “What do you want a bush hog for?” “To help you get that mess off your face!”

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    December 16, 2015 at 11:18 am

    Never heard wonderly or weak trembles. All of the others I still use, except I have always spelled it whomperjawed. It is a wonderly thing, Tipper, that you are preserving these gems! I get the weak trembles when I think of how our rich language is gradually eroding in this day of texting, tweeting, flocknoting, etc. Sigh.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    December 16, 2015 at 10:49 am

    All but “wonderly”! Most familiar with “the weak trembles” coming on by too much exertion especially in the heat or from too little food.. Haven’t heard it though, since Mama passed away. I guess “wooley booger” is my favorite! I’ve got two of them here!!

  • Reply
    Janice Stout
    December 16, 2015 at 10:36 am

    I’m familiar with whopper-jawed. I hear that one frequently.
    Instead of whoop and a holler, we say hoop and a holler. Yours makes more sense. I always wondered what a hoop had to do with it. 🙂
    I look forward to your vocabulary tests and share them with all of my friends.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    December 16, 2015 at 10:08 am

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard #3 or #4 used or heard at all. The rest I’m familiar with. Must be something I ate, cause this morning I got the weak trembles and I had the room spinning something awful…Ken

  • Reply
    George Pettie
    December 16, 2015 at 9:40 am

    Yes, wonderly is a good one, and could even be used as a grammatically correct adverb.
    “It’s a wonderly sight, sittin’ here by the fire an’ lookin’ at the snow through all them new glass winders,” she said wonderly.

  • Reply
    Pamela Danner
    December 16, 2015 at 9:19 am

    Well I did pretty good. I got all but #4!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    December 16, 2015 at 9:18 am

    Tip, I know them all but wonderly. How did we miss ever knowing that word?
    Have a wonderly day! If you say ” have a wonderful day” it means have a good day. However if you say “have a wonderly day” it seems to me that would wish the recipient a day full of wonder.
    I like it.

  • Reply
    December 16, 2015 at 9:07 am

    Never heard 2, 3 or 4 used that way. We say hooping and hollering to describe a rowdy or loud person. I failed this test!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    December 16, 2015 at 8:59 am

    3.5 out of 5. Never heard ‘wonderly’ and am a little unsure about ‘wooly bugger’. The version I heard was ‘wooly booger’. It was used in the same sense of someone being rough-looking. Due probably to his time in the Marines, my Dad was all about being well-groomed.

  • Reply
    December 16, 2015 at 8:44 am

    I haven’t heard wonderly before either. We would often say catawampus in the same context as whopper jawed. Also like the photos of a working man’s pickup truck bed and its detritus.

  • Reply
    December 16, 2015 at 8:30 am

    1,2, and 5 are used in this area, although seems I hear these jewels less and less. Maybe I mis heard, but it was usually whomper jawed here if lopsided. Love your vocabulary tests.
    Regarding your recent blog on walnuts–a little note to Ed–goodie was once the favorite word used when one had to dig the nut out of Black Walnut or Hickory Nut. Yes, I actually had a friend that would painstakingly save enough Hickory Nuts to bake a cake, and all with a hairpin. She probably could have easily been in The Guiness Book of Records.

  • Reply
    eva nell mull wike, PhD
    December 16, 2015 at 8:04 am

    Well Tipper: I sure bombed out on this test! Wooly Bugger was the only word I was familiar with in the QUIZZ! BUT I AM GOING TO HAVE A GREAT DAY IN SPITE OF MY VOCABULARY FAILURE!
    Kindly, Eva Nell Mull Wike, PhD

  • Reply
    December 16, 2015 at 8:03 am

    I knew them all’ but I’m a little concerned with the spelling of ‘bugger’, buger, booger???

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    December 16, 2015 at 8:02 am

    Tipper–Like you, wonderly is new to me. Obviously it’s a derivative of wonderful or wondrous, but I’ve never heard it used or seen the word in written form. Three others are familiar but not whopper-jawed. Perhaps Pap has come up with a usage or phrase that needs to go to the head of the line when it comes to next year’s additions to the “Oxford English Dictionary.”
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Bob Aufdemberge
    December 16, 2015 at 7:29 am

    Tipper, like you, wonderly was the only one I wasn’t familiar with, even out here on the edge of the plains. I’d have to say, though, that I hear them a lot less than I did as a kid.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    December 16, 2015 at 7:27 am

    I didn’t recognize wooly bugger. Wonderly was a part of the elders in my family”s vocabulary. I too have loved this word.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    December 16, 2015 at 7:22 am

    One more thang…
    .Ask Jim, Don or any other “woodsman” that comments here…Do those wild black boars have a stench about them….Just wondering, as a few have been (reportedly) seen in this county, actually purty close by our wooded ridge!
    Now then, if I seen one of them “wooly tusked boogers” I fer sure would be “whopper-jawed”!
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    December 16, 2015 at 7:03 am

    Heard and used them all but “wonderly”!
    When we got home last night, I am sure we had a “wooly booger” around some where! Every dog in the area was a’barking! I waited outside while the better half went in and turned on the lights. All of a sudden there was a waft in the air of pure stench of some kind of varmint! Back in the woods on the dry leaves I heard rustling movement away from where all the dogs were barking. No, it weren’t no skunk for we smelled a faint odor of “old stripy” as we come up our driveway! I am sure it must’ve been “a wooly booger”! Our neighbor had a encounter with one at the foot of the hill a few weeks ago…He said, “He never heard such a “fighting’ racket”! He called the next morning and wondered if we had heard it! It was only a few days later he saw the big Bob Cat on his driveway….but I don’t think wild cats stink like this stench we smelled…it faded away shortly as the sound of the “booger’s” shuffling went back up into the woods…
    Thanks Tipper,
    Love these posts…
    PS…WBIR TV…showed a film of a cougar caught on a night cam down about middle TN a week or so ago….They didn’t have to show me the pictures…for we saw one on the Blue Ridge Parkway one early evening when we were headed back home! They can deny to the public all they want. We know rascals are here!
    PS….Sure is a nice pile (length) of “steel naughts” and “rench” you have there in the back of the truck bed! Did someone get stuck in the mud?

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