Appalachia Appalachian Dialect

Appalachian Vocabulary Test 92

Unique words from appalachiaIt’s time for this month’s Appalachian Vocabulary Test.

I’m sharing a few videos to let you hear some of the words too. To start the videos, click on them and then to stop them click on them again.

Take it and see how you do!

A video posted by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

1. Easy: relived of pain. “I was suffering something awful during the night but I’m easy right now.”

A video posted by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

2. Everwhat: whatever. “Everwhat he was doing sure was loud. Sounded like somebody was blowing something to kingdom come.”

3. Eh law: a mild oath for expressing a range of emotions. “She’s down there in the hospital and ain’t never going to be able to work again and now the company is closing and he’s lost his job. Eh law I don’t know what they’re gonna do.” (You can go here to hear Pap use Eh Law.)

4. Easing powders: an analgesic. “See if you can find any easing powders in that cabinet. I’ve got a terrible headache.”

A video posted by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

5. Elijah room: a separate room of the house for a stranger to stay in; a room closed off from the rest of the house. “Grandpaw said his mother always kept an Elijah room for people who were traveling by to stay in. That way they didn’t have to stay right in the same room with the family.”

This may be the first time I almost failed my own test! I’ve never heard anyone use Elijah room nor easing powders. The rest are beyond common in my area of Appalachia. How did you do on the test?


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  • Reply
    September 24, 2016 at 9:19 am

    I’m kind of taken with the idea of an Elijah room. Separate entry so the guest doesn’t feel like the household is being upset or put out by having a visitor right there every second? Sounds pretty smart to me, but then I’m always kind of awkward-feeling about being in the way.
    Really enjoying the little videos, Tipper 🙂

  • Reply
    Eldonna Ashley
    September 23, 2016 at 5:52 am

    Ok, you don’t have to post this, but I wanted to mention overneath. Overneath is, of course the opposite of underneath.
    I have heard everwhat, most often it was from a school superintendent in the district where I taught for many years. He was from Kentucky, but I don’t know which part

  • Reply
    September 21, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    I think I have heard and used some of those alot. My mother used to ask if pain was “easing up.” I always loved the story of the woman who made Elijah a little room to stay in everwhen he stopped by…the guest room! Wouldn’t you just love to have a room and entertain “angels unaware”?

  • Reply
    September 21, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    I’ve heard them all but Elijah Room. My favorite is everwhat and eh law. Mamaw would say “law” when she was concerned about something you said..

  • Reply
    harry adams
    September 21, 2016 at 4:13 pm

    I had never heard of anyone calling it an Elijah room, but did remember a bible story so looked it up. 2 Kings 4: 8 thru 11.. A woman had her husband fix Elijah a room for him to stay in when he came to the village.
    It has been 60 years since hearing that story. Amazed at what is tucked away in the brain cells.

  • Reply
    Carol Rosenbalm
    September 21, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    Heard of most but I’ve heard of the Elijah room. When my church was preparing their 125th anniversary a lady wanted everyone over 90 interviewed and a story written for each room. An elderly man who has went to heaven told me about his stranger room. It was front porch but was right out the front door. He said a man slept with his family for several days before going onl. He never asked for anything but a bed. In Cades cove where people lived very isolated a lot of houses had a stranger room for people who only needed a bed to sleep. I can’t imagine living in a time when part of my home was available to anyone needing a bed! It’d be unheard of today except for a shelter. In isolated areas in our county they’re evidence of people staying in a place at night.
    Carol Rosenbalm

  • Reply
    anita griffith
    September 21, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    I’ve never heard of easing powders or an Elijah room.Now I know what to call my spare bedroom.
    Seldom heard eh law,but in my mind I stiil can hear my mother-in-law saying lawzee,lawzee.

  • Reply
    September 21, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    Although I’ve heard “easy” used as demonstrated and in the ways mentioned by your readers, we are more likely to say “rest easy” or “resting easy”.
    “E-e-e law” and possibly “eh law” are the phrases I’m familiar with and they are used as some my use “Oh, Lord!”
    I’ve heard, especially among my Kansas relatives, “everwhat” and think I’ve heard “easing powders” used on old Western Movies and T.V. shows – I’ve only heard family use “powders” for the powdered aspirin one could buy in a “paper” or buy a larger quantity in a bottle or tin which was then dosed out in a “paper”.
    – But “Elijah Room” is brand new to me.

  • Reply
    September 21, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    I ain’t never had a headache, I recon Stumpwater don’t hurt! But I have lots of other problems, the worst being a bad back. I’m like you stated, the Elijah room and easing
    powders are the ones I’m not familiar with. Every time I see Richard Petty on TV, I think of Goodies powders and Stanback. …Ken

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    September 21, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    I still use Eh Law. My dad and grandfather both used it. Easy was common too. Easing powders were headache powders. I’ve never heard of Elijah room.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    September 21, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    Eh LAW, did some of the words hit home this week. My husbands quick onset, (a guessament by his primary care physician) based on blood work. Thinking rheumatoid arthritis and the tremendous pain it is causing him, jumping red swelling from fingers, to elbows, knees, etc. I never saw such a thing! He literally woke up one morning’ with pain, red swelling’ and stiff joints. Scared me to death, I just knew he had contacted Lyme disease. We have a lot of deer ticks! I wonder if anyone else has experienced a quick onset like his? Of course we’re getting old. Seventies! ha
    At any rate, after calls, more calls to other doctors, trips to x-ray, more blood work and finally getting a prescription for an anti-inflammatory drug it is EASING a bit. EVERWHAT was in that third med a strong inflammatory pill it is helping.
    EH LAW, it seems to me, he could have at least give him some EASING POWDERS on the first visit, so as he wouldn’t have had to suffer with more pain, calls, trips etc. [my feelin’s It was all about more money] I was about to open an ELIJAH ROOM and bring in a full time nursing assistant for the feller since he was a’moan’in in pain and up and down all night for a few days.
    Even though, I can’t recall the term ELIJAH ROOM, my aunts and grandmothers were blessed enough to have an extra room kept only for visitors that we were supposed to stay out of, so I guess that would be the same.
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS He was referred to a rheumatologist, the wait for one here is long…middle of November. They told him it was important to get started with the firm diagnosis and treatment quick to deter crippling of joints, etc. Eh law, we are real short of rheumatologists in our area!

  • Reply
    Pam Danner
    September 21, 2016 at 11:38 am

    I remember often hearing my mom and grandma say Eh law.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    September 21, 2016 at 11:18 am

    I’m like you. The first three are very familiar. Easing powders I know as headache powders. Elijah room I’ve never heard or read.
    I use everwhat all the time along with everwho, everhow, everwhy, everwhen and everwhere. I bet I use at least one them everday.
    We had several women in the department where I worked who were addicted to Goody powders. We would sometimes have damaged medicines and I would keep some of them in a drawer for in-house use. I would have aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen and naproxen. Stanback, BC and Goody powders. Most of the pills would just lay in the drawer ’til they ran out of date. Stanback and BC powders were no better than the pills but Goodys went like hotcakes. Several women had to get their fix every day or they could not function. If I ran out they would get the shakes. Sometimes I even got accused of hiding them. If I offered alternatives they would hang their heads and leave. The reason it was only women who got addicted was because it was all women in the department. The only men were me and one other guy.
    Note: I never actually gave anyone medicine. If I had it, I would hand them the bottle or box. If they asked how to take it, I always told them “Read the instructions”. If they asked how much I take, I would say, “I don’t, I’m not addicted.” Even though I wouldn’t prescribe their meds, I was still their designated splinter taker outer and bandaid putter oner.

  • Reply
    September 21, 2016 at 10:43 am

    Ken said I was bad to say, eh law, under my breath while I was grading papers at home. It just slips out in a sigh. Sometimes my students would say, hey, my granny says that, too. I imagined she did. A lot.

  • Reply
    Jim keller
    September 21, 2016 at 10:29 am

    Tipper I’ve heard all these except Elijah room, ineast TN instead of “easy” you hear “eased up”

  • Reply
    September 21, 2016 at 10:14 am

    No Elijah room nor easing powder. Otherwise all familiar and still used. The “eh law” very interesting and still used some by my family. I am so familiar with the expression that I never thought about the origin. I suppose I just thought it was a shortened lazy version of “oh lawd.”
    I really look forward to your vocabulary test. Many, I find, are trying to shed all traces of their Appalachian heritage, much like an old coat. It is so refreshing to see The Blind Pig and some FB groups embrace all aspects of Appalachia. Quotes are so great sometimes at explaining a problem. I read them often and found this interesting
    “Never forget where it all began-never forget your roots”
    ― Charmaine J Forde

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    September 21, 2016 at 9:59 am

    Tip, I’m with you, I’ve never heard of an Elijah room or easing powders. The rest I hear all the time. I’m sure the easing powders are the Goodie Powders that work so good and quick on a headache.

  • Reply
    Nancy Schmidt
    September 21, 2016 at 9:51 am

    Shakespeare uses the word “la” at the start of a conversational comment in just the same way that my folks in East Tennessee do. As a child visiting my mother’s people I always noticed this phrase—— often in this way: ” y laa, I just don’t know what happened there.” The tone of the phrase introduced some feeling of emphasis or wonderment maybe to the sentence that follows. (I once believed it was a substitute for “Lord”, but that is not the case.). The sound of that precedes “la” Is indistinct, and I expect varies from region to region. Your rendering of that sound as “eh” is good, a long aa sound or a soft y sound also sounds right.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    September 21, 2016 at 9:06 am

    Missed two–Elijah room & easing powders. Going to have to investigate Elijah room. It must be Biblical but my memory fails me.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    September 21, 2016 at 8:54 am

    Tipper–I don’t guess I quite failed, since four out of the five were familiar to me. However, I never heard of an Elijah room. It’s been a long time since I heard of easing powder(s) although the old folks would use the term when I was a lad. It’s always good to add a new word or phrase, and I strongly suspect I’ll have an opportunity to use Elijah room somewhere down the road.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    September 21, 2016 at 8:37 am

    I’m with you, three of five, and missing the same two. I think ‘Eh law’ is a deliberate variant of ‘O Lord’ because of not taking the Lord’s name in vain. It has been a long time since I have heard easy or everwhat.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    September 21, 2016 at 8:09 am

    I have heard easy used in much the same way, but always relating to the mind. “I feel easy in my mind now that they are home.”
    Everwhat I hear seldom.
    I immediately knew what easing powders were, but never heard anything but Goodies.

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