Appalachia Appalachian Dialect

Appalachian Vocabulary Test 93

Unusual words used in western nc and eastern tn

It’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!

1. Fall out: to have a disagreement. “I reckon they had a falling out over the ball team. They’ve been coaching together for years now they won’t even speak to each other.”

2. Faired off: weather changing to clear skies. “I was worried about her wedding getting rained out but it faired off and the weather was right nice for the ceremony and the eating too.”

A video posted by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

3. Fall off: loosing weight from sickness or a worsening  condition. “I hardly knew her when I ran into her at the store the other day. She’s fell off something terrible.”

A video posted by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

4. Fitten: suitable. “I don’t care what you say! It just ain’t fitten for a man that age to be running around acting like hes one of the teenagers.”

A video posted by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

5. Fainty: feeling weak or faint. “It’s been so hot during the last week I felt plumb fainty while I was working outside. It orta be cooling off by now.”

All of this month’s words are still very common in southern Appalachia. I think most of them are common beyond this region as well. Hope you’ll leave me a comment and let me know how you did on the test.


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  • Reply
    Pam Danner
    October 28, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    I have heard them all and used a few myself!

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    October 27, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    Better late than never — I’ve been away from computers for a week.
    Yep, I’m familiar with all of those!

  • Reply
    October 22, 2016 at 9:22 am

    “They had a falling out” is pretty common here. Maybe we’re just a contentious bunch up here in New England? 😉
    Tipper, is that a hickory?

  • Reply
    Melinda Kessler
    October 22, 2016 at 2:15 am

    Really enjoy the Blind hog will find an Acorn words & phrases! Although my dad used that phrase & many other catchy ones, most of yours remind me of Grandma! She lived to be over 100 & was born in SW Ohio. One thing she often said was, “Hit’s gonna be a nice day”, or “Hit’s almost supper time”.
    Thanks, Grammy

  • Reply
    Larry Proffitt
    October 21, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    Tipper thanks for the test. This was an easy one. These are all common words and phrases across the ridges from you here in far east tennessee. Larry Proffitt

  • Reply
    October 21, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    Here is the way I heard or “heered” the term “fitten”……..’taint fitten to dress thataway… I do try not to talk thataway too much!!!!! I am from Arkansas and grandparents were from Mississippi and North Carolina/Tennessee. Since I have been living in Kansas, people ask me where I am from and they say I don’t really sound like a person from Arkansas!!?? But I am, I was born in Dyess, Arkansas back in 1948. Yes, I know I was born a “flat-lander” and lived in the area for 17 years then moved to the hills of Arkansas.

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, PhD
    October 21, 2016 at 2:20 pm

    Tipper: That is a ‘fair showing’ of mountain expressions in ‘this here post’ but I am kind of skirdish about TAKON – cause being wuz my sister and me had our OWN LANGUAGE and nobody could understand us. See the film “Nell” which Jody Foster played in and YOUR WILL KNOW ABOUT what I am ‘tryn’ to say!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    October 21, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    I know all these words that folks in our area speak. And I’m going to Pivot my comment to this colder weather. This will surely make these leaves come down as the
    wind blows. I love this kind of weather…Ken

  • Reply
    October 21, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    I did well. I’m familiar with all of them , even use a few often.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    October 21, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    I am familiar with all five words. I must admit that the first time I saw “fainty” was here on your blog some time back when one of the Girls got fainty after oral surgery.
    Fall off is very familiar. It goes right along with filled out. Filled out is a more diplomatic term than Fleshy or Fat.
    Fall out is probably my favorite. It happened a lot when I was coming up. People didn’t fight, they just fell out which mean they avoided each other, sometimes for years. Somebody had to die to get them back together again. I thought it was funny! Still do!

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    October 21, 2016 at 11:58 am

    I didn’t know “fall off”. I knew all the rest.

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    October 21, 2016 at 11:32 am

    Yep, 100% here too. I would tend to use swimmy headed more than fainty.
    That is a beautiful old tree. Reminds me of the big Poplar tree in Gilmer County, Georgia in the Cohutta Wilderness area that reaches 100 ft in height and is near 20 ft around at the base.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    October 21, 2016 at 9:37 am

    Familiar words and a fine tree that Katie’s leaning on. Where is that?

  • Reply
    George Pettie
    October 21, 2016 at 9:23 am

    Excellent words–I love the voice feature. And how ’bout that big mossy oak tree?

  • Reply
    Janis Sullivan (Jan)
    October 21, 2016 at 9:14 am

    Oh, Tipper, you make me so proud of my raisin’ and heritage. I have so much to be thankful for. Also, I enjoy reading the comments of your readers. Please keep bringing my life so much joy through yours. Jan

  • Reply
    Cynthia Schoonover
    October 21, 2016 at 9:10 am

    The only one I use and have heard all my life is falling out. Maybe it’s a common Southern expression.

  • Reply
    Sheila Bergeron
    October 21, 2016 at 9:07 am

    I’ve heard these all my life and use them yet today. I just love hearing y’all talk. Be blessed!

  • Reply
    Ed Karshner
    October 21, 2016 at 9:05 am

    These are all ones I’ve heard. Number 2 is perfect for today. We are all down home for the Circleville Pumpkin Show. I’m really hoping it fairs off before the Pet Parade at 3 o’clock!

  • Reply
    October 21, 2016 at 8:32 am

    Heard all except “faired off” – we’d say something like “things cleared up nicely” .
    Seems I’ve heard “fell off” related to weight loss but not sure; never used the phrase.
    By the by: think I’ve told you that I sometimes send your “vocabulary tests” to the theater teachers in my family; having your video clips of the words being used is even better for their students!!

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    October 21, 2016 at 8:22 am

    I still use most of them especially fitten. I do use that one a lot. Love this part of your blog each month. I never realized how our heritage is very much alive and well here in the mountains.
    Thanks Tipper

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    October 21, 2016 at 8:17 am

    Hard to score myself on this one. Heard, and probably used, each of them in some form except ‘fainty’. Closest I can come to that is ‘swimmy headed’. I am more likely to say ‘faired up’ instead of ‘faired off’ and ‘fit’ rather than ‘fitten’.
    These are good examples of expressions I would understand immediately if I heard them but would be unable to say offhand whether I used them myself. I would have to think about it. Even then I don’t think I could be sure. I also think they are good examples of things I might well say if I were with ‘my people’ without even realizing I had chosen to but would not use with ‘outlanders’.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    October 21, 2016 at 8:12 am

    “Fall out” I hear on occasion. “Cleared up” more than “Faired off”! My granny hardly ever said to me but one time, “Well, b. you’ve “fell off” since the last time you was here. Most of the time it was “I see you’re still “fleshy”! I hate that word, meaning fat! ha Yes, I think fat is a more “fitten” word instead of “fleshy”
    Woke up this morning hearing what I thought was rain. Sure nuff it was a’sprinklin’! It sounded and smelled so good that it made me have a “swimmy and fainty” feeling of happiness!
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Kay Paul
    October 21, 2016 at 8:10 am

    I scored 100! And I should have because I’ve heard those words all my life down here in South Alabama. Maybe it’s because so many of our ancestors in this part of the state originally lived in your part of the Appalachian Mountains.

  • Reply
    October 21, 2016 at 8:07 am

    As always Appalachian Vocabulary is my favorite on your blog. There are many wonderful things about our Appalachia–the music, the dance, the writers, and so many it would take me most of the day to list. I personally am so drawn to this subject because my dear, Tipper, you are in the minority when it comes to bringing attention to the unique vocabulary. You have done so very much to make me proud of my heritage, and I deliberately fall back into using terms I once used daily. Sometimes my grandchildren have no idea what I am saying, but at least they will have heard it and will question. Sometimes an old expression will come to me “right out of the blue” and I will know Tipper would like that. All have been used around here except fitten. I have heard fitten in southern movies.
    Your writings always remind me of some old happening in my life. Once many years ago everybody had a good laugh at my Mom. A visited friend had “fell off” and did not appear well. In my Mother’s attempt to offer concern she got the words “puny” and “peaked” crossed. She looked at the friend and said, “You look pukey!” Even the friend perked up and joined in the laughing.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    October 21, 2016 at 7:06 am

    Tip, I know and hear all these words/expressions.

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