Animals In Appalachia Appalachian Dialect

Courting In Appalachia

Courting in appalachia

In Appalachia…

Courting = dating

sparking = dating

sweet on = means you like someone

he-ing and she-ing = hugging and kissing

slip off = elope

serenade or shivaree = a loud noisy celebration
occurring after a wedding

courts like a stick of wood = a person who is awkward
when courting

jump the broom = get married

took up = 2 people who start courting


When I was young someone was always asking me if I was courting yet. Granny and Pap slipped off from Granny Gazzie and got married without her knowing it. But it seems to have worked out for them since they’re still married all these years later.

Along with courting and slip off I still hear: took up, jump the broom, he-ing and she-ing, and sweet on in my part of Appalachia. The other words/sayings-have faded away.

For more about courting in Appalachia-visit Dave Tabler’s Appalachian History site.

I’m sure I left some courting sayings out-if you think of one leave it in a comment!


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  • Reply
    Mary Lou McKillip
    February 14, 2014 at 9:06 am

    Tipper. slipping off to get married must have been prevalent years past and present. I slipped off or sneaked as old timers would say in two marriages when I really didn’t have too.
    My first love said now you would tell your Mother and he knew I did not keep things from her and did tell her and my Daddy felt hurt I did not confide in him and he said to me I know what your up too and it is fine but he better be good to you.( I guess slipping off was the first love’s ideal) The second love we both were sneaks we hadn’t dated to long and he was wanting to marry me. ( OK OK OK i agreed and the last time I told him I would marry him he whisked me off to get married) It started snowing and I tried to get him to turn back and he said if I take you back you will change your mind.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    February 13, 2014 at 8:10 pm

    Tipper-pleased be aware of subliminal messages. Remember when you were stalked by the “old Painter?” Remember the loss of your headgear? I suggest that the same “Panther” who hovered near then is even closer now, waiting to snatch away that which you hold most dear.
    Panther: An older specimen of a species who seeks to pounce upon and whisk away the life mate of a younger and perhaps gullible female of the same species.
    Older is only a chronological age differentiation not an indication of the viability of the individual in question.
    Even more reason for caution in dealing with such entities.

  • Reply
    Gary Powell
    February 13, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    I remember my hill country grandparents talking about shivaree when I was a kid. Heard and used all of the other sayings. An old fellow that I used to work with used the expression “took up” to refer to a couple who lived together without bothering with marrying.

  • Reply
    February 13, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    My 17 yr. old nephew has a serious girlfriend for the first time & of course we all love to tease him a little. Someone asked if they were going “parking” & he had no idea what that was!

  • Reply
    February 13, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    We always used ‘sparking’ for kissing.

  • Reply
    February 13, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    Struck on = sweet on
    Going with = dating
    Happy Valentine’s Day ‘

  • Reply
    Julie Hughes
    February 13, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    On hearing of an elopement, my Granny, usually said something to the effect, “I seen them makin’ eyes at one another a few months back. It no surprize to me that they run off and got hitched.”

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, PhD
    February 13, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    Well Tipper, there are lots of new terms in your post – which I need to share with a fine grandson. We think he is ‘struck on’ a pretty girl! And he finds the advice that Jim provides him – even without his asking – to be very helpful.
    Back in the fifties when Jim’s best friend in Cullowhee, ask him to “GO TO HAYESVILLE, WITH ME! There are really pretty girls over there!” Jim’s response was “Nah, I ain’t lost nothing over there!” Dah! Now he knows better!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    February 13, 2014 at 11:07 am

    I can’t add anything to this “Lovey-
    Dovey” stuff. Come to think of it, I
    haven’t hugged my dog today…Ken

  • Reply
    February 13, 2014 at 10:31 am

    He-ing and She-ing are new to me. We still use “stuck on” but not “struck on”. What about, “they’ll be squeaking the bedsprings soon” for a couple about to be married. As formal and reserved as my grandfather was it really shocked me (once I was old enough to infer the actual meaning) when he talked about when my Mom and Dad were getting ready to squeak the bedsprings”!
    Mom and Dad were chivareed after they married – Dad’s cousins and friends put her in a wheelbarrow and wheeled her up and down main street while her friends and relatives “gave chase”. I would have loved to have seen that.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    February 13, 2014 at 9:27 am

    How about “Oh lover boy!” or Oh, lover girl!”, taken from a song in the 50’s….
    Very good snuggle weather today! Actually, it is a bit warm…It warmed up just enough for us to end with 7″ of snow on top of our hill, on the parked truck. The birds were singing. The Carolina Wren has started his territorial call as well as the Cardinals…They love to “slip-off” and make several nests, then decide which one to choose. I found a few bits of moss already on a shelf on my front porch.
    Have a great day, Tipper!
    PS…Wonder if that “old painter” is prowling around on the ridge enjoying this snow!

  • Reply
    Charles Fletcher
    February 13, 2014 at 9:22 am

    All of this attention meant only one thing. They were trying
    to get a free ride on the ferries wheel or swings, Some of the
    boys fell for this “Lovey-Dovey” stuff and spent as much as fifty
    cents on them. But you just wait until the next day at school.
    The giggle the smile and the rolling of their eyes were gone.
    Everything was back to normal for the Boy-Girl thing until next
    Labor Day.
    You didn’t mention “Lovey Dovey”
    The above is from one of my books -Labor Day Celebration- Courting-Dating.

  • Reply
    February 13, 2014 at 8:33 am

    I don’t have any new sayings, but I liked the ones you stated. I will have them tucked away in my brain so I, hopefully, learn them.
    Is the snow good courting weather?

  • Reply
    Susie Swanson
    February 13, 2014 at 8:32 am

    You got all the ones I’ve heard of.

  • Reply
    February 13, 2014 at 8:31 am

    An expression I heard many times when I was young was “struck on”. Such as, “She is struck on the new boy in town.”
    I suppose it came from “love struck”. It was teasingly used by both youths and the older folks.

  • Reply
    Roy Pipes
    February 13, 2014 at 8:25 am

    Call on you. In my novel Darby I wrote:
    Once William asked Deborah Woodard, Andrew’s sister, if he could call on her

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    February 13, 2014 at 7:37 am

    Tipper, I’ve heard all these words at sometime. Things sure have changed since most of these words were in use. Women are no longer expected to Marry and produce children in their teens. Men are much more likely to move from the area where their family is to seek better employment.

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    February 13, 2014 at 7:17 am

    Of all of those, he-ing and she-ing is the one I’ve never used or heard of. I love sweet on – it sounds so sweet :o) I had never heard of the shivaree until I saw it on a Walton’s episode. But there is a couple I go to church with that said they were shivareed and serenaded when they got married.

  • Reply
    Richard Beauchamp
    February 13, 2014 at 7:16 am

    I never heard the he-ing and she-ing I have heard all the rest.

  • Reply
    Roy Pipes
    February 13, 2014 at 7:11 am

    Call on is an Appalachian term. Can I call on you? In my novel, Darby –
    Once William asked Deborah Woodard, Andrew’s sister, if he could call on her

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    February 13, 2014 at 7:08 am

    I always like the expression he-ing and she-ing. You have hit on the ones I know

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