Appalachia Appalachian Dialect

Bad to…

I'm bad to...

bad to adjective phrase Having an unfortunate, undesirable, or excessive habit, inclination, or weakness for (doing something). The term usu expresses a speaker’s disapproval or derogation, but sometimes lends only emphasis to a statement (thus “She was awful bad to talk” = She had a tendency to or liked to, talk a great deal).
1904-7 Kephart Notebooks 4:847 He used to be bad to drink, but he’s kinder tapered off. 1956 Hall Coll. Roaring Fork TN People was purty bad to stay all night with each other and tell stories. (James Huskey) 1973 GSMNP – 57:68 He wasn’t too bad to grumble. 1974 GSMNP – 50:1:13 Grandmother was awful bad to have sick headache. 1976 Lindsay Grassy Balds 208 Yeah, [bears] were bad to kill sheep, but not so bad to kill the hogs. 1991 Haynes Haywood Home 25 Shiloh [= a horse] was bad to shy and run away at the drop of a hat…ibid. 42 Blackgum trees were bad to go hollow if they got to be any size and they were most often used to make bee hives.

Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English

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The girls are bad to take silly pictures with my camera without me knowing it and I’m awful bad to use them on the Blind Pig and The Acorn blog without them knowing it.

The adjective phrase bad to is still extremely common in my area of Appalachia.

Tipper

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27 Comments

  • Reply
    William Roy Pipes
    January 6, 2017 at 5:43 am

    I OFTEN USE THE WORDS ‘BAD TO” Example – “He is bad to curse.”

  • Reply
    Bobby
    January 6, 2017 at 1:01 am

    We use “bad to” and “awful bad to” all the time. But we also say “awful good to”. Like, “Brother Johnson is awful good to visit folks when they’ve been sick.” I love your posts Tipper because they make me think about and appreciate things that I take for granted as being common and ordinary!

  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    January 5, 2017 at 9:28 pm

    Nope. Never heard that one that I can recollect.
    Interesting though!!!
    We’re preparing for a snow storm here in south central NC. I expect those of you in GA & SC are too.
    Prayers it goes easy on us all.
    God bless.
    RB
    <><

  • Reply
    Tracey Green
    January 5, 2017 at 9:04 pm

    In Spartanburg County, SC, I grew up hearing and using “bad to” and, similarly, “bad about.”

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    January 5, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    I honestly don’t remember that usage. Of course, “… bad about …” is common. Still, at my age I confess that I am bad to forget even the most common of things. Well, I’m bad about joining a crowd, too.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    January 5, 2017 at 5:17 pm

    Tipper,
    There’s some of them little round sorta soft pellity things falling from our sky right here under the plateau. They closed the schools up there at 1:30 PM today…that would be 2:30 Eastern Standard time our time. If we don’t get a good’n it shore missed a good chance!
    Just reading the comments and decided to give you a “what to look for” weather forecast. In fact, our weather person says you folks may have more than a few inches of the white blanket! I know you and that feller up toward Andrews wants snow! ha
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, PhD
    January 5, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    Well Tipper, I am bad to put off responding to your site till I have read everybody’s posts! And sometimes I am really bad to ‘put on the dog’ as they say in the Cove! But you shore nuff understand where I’m coming frum!
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, AUTHOR: “Fiddler of the Mountains”

  • Reply
    Paula Rhodarmer
    January 5, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    Tipper, this is a word which is completely ingrained in my vocabulary. I use “bad” that way all the time.

  • Reply
    June Jolley
    January 5, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    Oh yes! My parents used the “bad to” saying and I use it all the time. One parent was from Madison County and the other from Haywood County.
    In regards to Lee Mear’s comments, I often preface my questions with “did you not want to” and “are you not going to?” A dear friend, who is a retired English teacher, once pointed out to me that she loved the way I asked those questions. So there!

  • Reply
    Nancy Schmidt
    January 5, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    Pretty common here in Kansas too, tho I always heard it at home in Kentucky

  • Reply
    Mike Norris
    January 5, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    LESTER FRYE
    Lester Frye was bad to lie.
    You couldn’t believe a word he said.
    When he hollered,
    “Come back. It’s a heart attack,”
    They laughed and went on to bed.
    From Mommy Goose: Rhymes from the Mountains
    https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00DX56ST6

  • Reply
    Lee Mears
    January 5, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    I’m really glad you thought to bring up this one. I can’t remember NOT hearing this but strangely, not from my immediate family?? But definitely it’s a Haywood Co. thing as well.
    Another phrase I say is, “did you not want to___..” As in “did you not want to just slap her”? Did you not want to just bring ALL the puppies home”? I had to actually explain it twice when out with company who asked, ‘what does that mean’?? Before moving to TN 5 yrs ago, I lived in FL for over 10 years and never heard either one there. There’s probably 50 more people too polite to ask! ?
    It just doesn’t seem strange to me in any way!? Or Appalachian for that matter.
    Tipper, its so much fun for you to bring up our ‘saying’! I wouldn’t necessarily pay any attention to them if you didn’t start the discussion.
    And again, your girls are just adorable and very talented young ladies.

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    January 5, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    I’ve heard and used it my whole life. I’m bad to use bad in that way!

  • Reply
    Ken
    January 5, 2017 at 11:30 am

    Tipper,
    Chitter looks like she’s freezing, but both girls have Pap’s thick eyebrows. That’s what makes ’em so pretty.
    As for the silly part, Cindy even admits to aigen’ it on. …Ken

  • Reply
    Edward Karshner
    January 5, 2017 at 11:25 am

    That is one of those that is so common I wasn’t aware that I did it. That being said, I’m bad to leave stuff at home I need for work.

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    January 5, 2017 at 10:23 am

    I don’t recall ever hearing that. I have always heard — and said — “he is awful bad about talking too much.”

  • Reply
    Jackie
    January 5, 2017 at 9:30 am

    “She was awful bad to talk.” I commented about a coworker that she was too verbose for my taste and had to explain what it meant. She was bad to run everything into the ground and take everything personally.

  • Reply
    larry grifith
    January 5, 2017 at 8:37 am

    I’ve heard and used that alot, usually used with awful. He was awful bad to drink, gamble, lie, flirt, chase women, etc. I use to be awful bad to put off what work I could to go hunting or fishing.

  • Reply
    larry grifith
    January 5, 2017 at 8:37 am

    I’ve heard and used that alot, usually used with awful. He was awful bad to drink, gamble, lie, flirt, chase women, etc. I use to be awful bad to put off what work I could to go hunting or fishing.

  • Reply
    larry grifith
    January 5, 2017 at 8:37 am

    I’ve heard and used that alot, usually used with awful. He was awful bad to drink, gamble, lie, flirt, chase women, etc. I use to be awful bad to put off what work I could to go hunting or fishing.

  • Reply
    larry grifith
    January 5, 2017 at 8:37 am

    I’ve heard and used that alot, usually used with awful. He was awful bad to drink, gamble, lie, flirt, chase women, etc. I use to be awful bad to put off what work I could to go hunting or fishing.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    January 5, 2017 at 8:24 am

    Oh yes, use this all the time, It is a well known phrase around here and everyone understands what you are speaking about!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    January 5, 2017 at 8:08 am

    Sounds like home to me. I’m bad to (maybe awful bad to) speak Appalachia without thinking whether hearers will understand me. Over Christmas I told a young Japanese exchange student that he was “being awful quiet”. My daughter explained I meant ‘very’. Oops. The older I get the more inclined I am to say less and less because I am not safe.
    Your girls must know by now they take those pictures at their own risk. Anyway, it is good they have fun together. (I am inclined to suspect a bit though that Katy is bad to be the starter more than Corey.) But I also expect their characters complement each other nicely.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    January 5, 2017 at 8:07 am

    Tipper,
    Great picture! So funny, I’m “bad to”laugh at other peoples way to get “revenge” so to speak!
    Hold on tight, there might be a “flake or two” drop in your area over the next few days! Of course, I’m meaning snow flakes not people flakes!
    I’m gone to watch the weatherman’s or woman’s shower of arrowry marks on the map of the front moving our way!
    Loved the post,

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    January 5, 2017 at 7:54 am

    There’s an inscription on a tombstone of a fellow buried in Georgia which reads:
    “He was bad to fish.” I knew the man and the epitaph is both appropriate and one of which he would have approved simply because he was bad to fish although anything but a bad fisherman.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    January 5, 2017 at 7:32 am

    Tip, it’s more than they are bad to take silly pictures it’s that they are really bad to be silly…and I’m really bad to encourage it!

  • Reply
    Eldonna Ashley
    January 5, 2017 at 7:14 am

    Yes. This one is still common in the family.

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