Appalachian Dialect Celebrating Appalachia Videos

Being Foundered in Appalachia

Granny and Tipper

Foundered is a word I’ve heard my whole life. I’ve heard it most often used in a humorous or teasing way.

Thanksgiving, Christmas, or other special occasion where a lot of good food is served you’ll often hear someone say they foundered themselves.

Truly being foundered is a miserable experience. In my latest video Granny shares a story of being foundered when she was a child.

I hope you enjoyed hearing Granny’s story.


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  • Reply
    Tony Maynard
    July 31, 2021 at 8:45 am

    Granny is cute as a button! God bless her.Great story to hear

  • Reply
    Lorene H. Dale
    July 12, 2021 at 12:46 am

    The first Christmas we spent with my new mother’s parents (dad remarried after the death of his wife and he had 3 youngsters), my sweet new grandma kept pressing me to eat, and being polite I didn’t say no. I got so stuffed and was so uncomfortable for nearly a week, even after I was able to stop eating so much.

  • Reply
    Crystal Kieloch
    June 20, 2021 at 11:57 am

    How precious to hear Granny’s story! I’ve heard the word founder most of my life but not often. When I was much younger my niece accidently used flounder for founder and it’s something we remember and chuckle about to this day. When she was still younger, her parents had lost a friend from church and so they went to the viewing (which is what we call it around here.) My niece answered the phone that evening while her parents were gone and she told the person on the line that her parents were gone to the “lookin’.” Kids are precious!

  • Reply
    June 20, 2021 at 12:53 am

    Yes! Grew up and continue to use ‘eat a bait’ of something. Now that word DOES get some looks. 🙂

  • Reply
    Ron Bass
    June 19, 2021 at 10:26 pm

    We farmed with mules when I was young. Always heard the older folks say they preferred mules to horses because they were smarter. Miles would not founder (over eat), also a mule would not injure themselves trying to pull something too heavy for them where horses would.
    Love your blog

  • Reply
    Dennis M Morgan
    June 18, 2021 at 7:08 pm

    I have not heard the word foundered in reference to over eating. Where I came from – Flat Creek- when we over ate we were “as full as a tick”.

    That is a wonderful video with Granny. You are so fortunate to have all these videos of your family. I really enjoy watching them.

    Dennis Morgan

  • Reply
    Kathy Usry
    June 18, 2021 at 6:19 pm

    Hi family,
    Thank you for including me for your blog enjoy your show very much because it’s just plain everyday life not like some of the far fetched reality shows. I landed on another site the first time I tried you find your site but was a young couple that taught you how to make some really good mixed drinks. The name was the same but I separated all the words and that’s what I got.

  • Reply
    June 18, 2021 at 3:46 pm

    I must admit, I never heard of a human being foundered. The only founder I’m familiar with is when a horse is lame from being foundered; foundered being because they were turned out on early, wet pasture, or they got into the grain bin. Their hooves would grow and turn up at the toe if they were not trimmed. It was a very painful situation for them to stand or walk. Guess when it comes down to it, it was being a glutton, lol.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    June 18, 2021 at 12:04 pm

    Tip, I’ve heard the word foundered all my life. It simple meant you ate too much! One was expected to get foundered at Thanksgiving Dinners and such other times when big meals are cooked.
    How about this…he ate a bait and was foundered!
    Did you ever hear about eating a bait?

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    June 18, 2021 at 11:00 am

    I have always heard and used “foundered” in both ways. I had horses so knew the medical term, but all of us who occasionally ate too much used it in that sense. Folks who ate only a little bit too much might say, “I’m as full as a tick — If I eat one more bite I might founder!”

  • Reply
    Deborah Roy
    June 18, 2021 at 10:00 am

    My mother and grandmother often spoke of getting foundered by overeating. When he was a child my husband foundered on potato salad. He ate an entire bowlful while en route to a family picnic. That was the last time he ever ate potato salad.
    Tipper, I really enjoy your posts. They bring back many memories of grandparents using the words and phrases you share. And just a few days ago my brother said he “didn’t care to” when asked to help build a shed, stating that he was willing to help.

  • Reply
    June 18, 2021 at 9:59 am

    Now I am confused, because I always have more questions than answers. Patricia Price mentions a lame horse being foundered. My friend Google mentions this as a condition in a horse’s hooves, but I always heard old timers caution about certain feeds causing a serious foundering in horses. Another situation was that you should let a horse cool off before it drinks, and yet Google says it is a myth that horses can founder or get colic from drinking cold water after exercise. I know this seems unbelievable, but I once foundered on watermelon. One tends to overeat certain foods when they are with chid. Now I love it!

  • Reply
    June 18, 2021 at 9:53 am

    If I ever heard foundered, I must have forgot it:} I have heard of people overeating some food and then getting so sick they never wanted to eat that food again. I just love hearing Granny talk about her life. I was only blessed with an older brother and he has passed now, but I sure loved him and count those growing up memories more precious than gold.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 18, 2021 at 9:23 am

    I looked up founder in the new “The Dictionary of Southern Appalachian English”. Here is all it had to say.

    “FOUNDER noun A Cold
    1861 Patton CW Letters (May 26) we have all ben enjoying very good health since we left home except the bowel complaint and a few founders.
    [EDD founder sb4 “a catarrh, cold; illness”]

    I am disappointed to say the least. Southern Appalachian English is my native language! Would you please check your Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English and see what it has to say?

  • Reply
    Margie G
    June 18, 2021 at 9:07 am

    I adored watching you and your dear, sweet mother walking and talking til you disappeared around the house together. I think your daughters favor your mother and Corey does more than Katie I think. I look a lot like my great grandmother. I hear I look like Elaine on Seinfeld. Of course the older version lol. I’ve been foundered a lot!!! I know for a fact I’ve eaten chocolate til I was foundered! But I went back to it…. kiss and hug your mommy for us! She’s fabulous!!!

  • Reply
    June 18, 2021 at 8:48 am

    I was halfway teasing when I told my friend I foundered while eating Thanksgiving dinner at my daughter’s house. It didn’t take long to realize she had no idea what I was talking about. I googled the word (for her benefit and mine) and forwarded the information to her.
    Granny sure can tell a story. It’s funny how we remember things from our childhood that can make us laugh now but was not one bit funny when it happened. I’m glad Granny got to piddle around outside while you helped in her flower garden.

  • Reply
    June 18, 2021 at 8:32 am

    Keep up recording your family’s history. It is so often I wished I would have written what my parents and grandparents told me.
    We always kept horses and a Foundered horse was a constant fear. Once they over ate, if you caught it early enough you could stand them in a river or stream long enough to keep the heat in their hoof to a minimum. That rarely worked and left you with a horse that needed weekly maintenance on thier hooves.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    June 18, 2021 at 8:28 am

    Well, I never did founder but my father-in-law did as a boy. He thought that since cooked pumpkin was so good raw pumpkin must be to. Made himself sick on it and will not eat anything pumpkin, no matter how little.

  • Reply
    June 18, 2021 at 7:51 am

    Mules CAN get foundered like a horse but don’t hardly ever – the got too much sense – much smarter than a horse!

  • Reply
    Patricia Price
    June 18, 2021 at 7:24 am

    I have heard of horses becoming lame and that being called foundered. Also, boats or ships becoming foundered in the water and sinking. I have not heard of foundering because of overeating.

    • Reply
      Larry Paul Eddings
      June 18, 2021 at 9:07 am

      Your mother is such a precious lady. My grandmother often cooked new potatoes and green beans together. They were so good.

    • Reply
      Ed Ammons
      June 18, 2021 at 10:24 am

      The word you are thinking about is floundering with an L. Ocean going boats when they run aground in shallow water or take on water at sea tend to lay over on their side much like a flounder, a flat fish with both eyes on one side, that tends to lay on the bottom and look up.
      Horses are the same way. When they lay or fall down and can’t get get their feet back under them to get up, they are floundering. They are laying on their side kicking and struggling but if they can’t roll over on their stomach, they can never get up on their own and will die. They are floundering or have floundered.

      • Reply
        Sanford McKinney Jr
        June 18, 2021 at 12:43 pm

        I have heard the world founder all my life. It was mainly used in our area about horses foundering. Of course, the world was also used humorously when someone would “overeat” and someone would tell them they need to go stand in the creek.
        Yes founder and flounder are two different words with different meanings. I have heard the expression when someone was learning to swim, “He was just floundering around out there in the water getting nowhere”.

        I was amazed that the “outline” of the eye of the flounder fish was still on its underside “blind side” even though the eye had migrated to the top of its head.
        The flounder is morphogenetically unusual. When born it is bilaterally symmetrical, with an eye on each side, and it swims near the surface of the sea. After a few days, however, it begins to lean to one side, and the eye on that side begins to migrate to what eventually becomes the top side of the fish. With this development a number of other complex changes in bones, nerves, and muscles occur, and the underside of the flounder loses its colour. As an adult the fish lives on the bottom, with the eyed side uppermost.

  • Reply
    Rita Gay Gilbert
    June 18, 2021 at 7:24 am

    Yes I’ve heard it my whole life too.don’t remember ever being founded.

  • Reply
    Carol Roy
    June 18, 2021 at 6:58 am

    Just love hearing Grannie’s wisdom and knowledge… Eastern Canada where I live I do not recall hearing the word foundered used in any form. Very interesting isn’t it all the differences in our small worlds. Enjoy your site Tipper and love learning the Appalachia way of life…tks for the great reading. The best to you!

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