Appalachia Appalachian Dialect

Do You Ever Scrooch?


Papaw and Chatter scrooched up taking a nap –  2004

Scrooch, scrooch down, scrooch up, scroudge, scrouge, scrouge around, scrouge over, scrowdge verb, verb phrase. To crowd, encroach on, bunch up, squeeze together into a small place; to move over to make room for others, to crouch, huddle.

1895 Edson and Fairchild Tenn Mts 374 scrouge = crowd. “Oh, we scrouge ’em up.” 1913 Kephart Our Sthn High 75 Git up, pup! You’ve scrouged right in hyur in front of the fire. c1926 Bird Cullowhee Wordlist scroudge = crowd. “Too many boys tried to scroudge in on one bench.” 1936 LAMSAS scrooch down (Madison Co NC, Swain Co NC). 1942 Hall Phonetics 92 scrooch, scrowdge. 1953 Hall Coll. Deep Creek NC [In the early day] Indians had the upper end of Deep Creek. The whites kept scroungin’ on ’em. (Fate Wiggins) 1960 Cooper Jularker Bussed Scrouge up and give me settin’ room (= sit closely and give me sufficient room.) 1979 Carpenter Walton War 164 The younguns was all scrootched up in the bedstid. 1982 Smokies Heritage 67 scrutch = to crouch down. 1986 Ogle Lucinda 60 So I scrouged around through the Rhododendron thicket and went on over the top to fill my sacks full of the pretty lacy ground pine, thinking I would have fifty cents when the peddler took it to Knoxville. 1996 Montgomery Coll. Scrooch up like you got a family. He scrooched up like he was freezing to death (Cardwell). 1998 Brewer Don’t Scrouge Scrouge is another [word that is dying away]. It describes the midway point between being crowded and squashed by another. As youngsters, we were forever yelling. “Mom, she’s scrouging me” if a sister got a little too close. 1998 Montgomery File I’s kind of scrowged in here (55-year -old woman, Jefferson Co TN).

Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English


Since I started blogging I’ve had more than one person ask if I was familiar with the word scrooch. I always answer “Yes I know the word and use it all the time.”

I’ve never written about scrooch till today. Not sure what took me so long. There’s a Del McCoury song that has a line something like: she sits all scrooched up by me and its so nice. The most common usage for scrooch in my area is that exact description-people scrooching up close to each other.

Here’s a few sentence examples that could be added to the dictionary listing.

2017 Brasstown NC

  • It’s freezing outside! Scrooch up and get me warm.
  • Chitter scrooch over so I can sit on the swing too.
  • If you’ll scrooch those first two boxes a little closer to the wall I believe this third one will fit.

So tell me do you ever scrooch?


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  • Reply
    Carol Blanton
    February 15, 2018 at 3:15 pm

    I scrouch down.

  • Reply
    February 15, 2018 at 2:36 pm

    – – guess the “r” got lost somewheres between the Applachias and the MidWest: my family and our Kansas kin (track back to W. Va.) use “scootch” when trying fit people or things closer together. “Scrounge” is used when looking for loose change between the cushions on the couch or for food when there’s hardly even any old leftovers in the fridge or pantry, or any search for something to make-do with when not much of good quality of what you need is available.

    • Reply
      Leon Estes
      February 15, 2018 at 9:19 pm

      Yes, happened to us, too. We used Schootch (or some such spelling). We never wrote it out, though.

    • Reply
      Sarah Bitner
      October 13, 2018 at 10:28 pm

      Yes. This is exactly the way I speak as well.

  • Reply
    February 14, 2018 at 10:09 pm

    I don’t scrooch much no more, I’m kinda getting to the age I don’t play well with others and I like playing by myself in my sand box all alone.

  • Reply
    February 14, 2018 at 2:58 pm

    HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY to everyone! …Ken

  • Reply
    February 14, 2018 at 2:26 pm

    Just before Donna Lynn went off today, she played another Favorite by Chitter and Chatter and the Gang. “The Soul of Man Never Dies”.

    I’ve heard Scrooch all my life. When I was just a little thing, me and Harold liked to sleep and scrooch up to Daddy while he’d tell us Indian Stories. We’d lay real still so we wouldn’t miss anything and Daddy never told the same Story. Sometimes he would tell us a funny thing that happened in the Great Depression, and about folks having their life savings invested in the Stock Market, jumpin’ out of those high rise buildings.

    Today’s blog triggered alot of memories for me. …Ken

  • Reply
    February 14, 2018 at 1:35 pm

    Oh how I loved spending wintry nights with Grandma when I was a little girl, all scrooched up to her back in her big ol’ feather bed while she told me tales. Pure bliss!!! I was not a happy camper when my cousins would come spend the night and scrouge me out of my spot next to Grandma. Each one of us thought we were her favorite and wanted to be next to her. She was a jewel and we loved her so much. Thanks, Tipper, for bringing back such wonderful memories!!!

  • Reply
    February 14, 2018 at 10:46 am

    I agree with Nance. I never heard an “R”in the word. “Scootch over” was common in Iowa. My wife still says it occasionally. Don’t you wonder where the “R” went, and when? Fascinating.

    • Reply
      February 14, 2018 at 11:32 pm

      Scoocch over was used commonly with me and my friends in mid Illinois all through my childhood . 1950’s

  • Reply
    February 14, 2018 at 10:32 am

    It has always been — and still is — an essential word in my vocabulary!

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    February 14, 2018 at 10:31 am

    Tipper and all acorns…

    Happy Valentines Day to all…
    There, I managed to scrooch in the wish amid all these comments about scrooch…
    Thanks Tipper,
    Love…is what I love about this post…

  • Reply
    Jane Bolden
    February 14, 2018 at 10:13 am

    They scrooched over so we could sit on our favorite pew. Tina scrunched up her little blankets and made a dog bed.

  • Reply
    February 14, 2018 at 10:03 am

    My wife hasn’t been able to get out of the bed for almost two weeks now and I have been tending her to every need. Last night she asked me what I was getting her for Valentines Day. I told her nothing. I told her I was going to fix her breakfast in bed.
    It took a few seconds before she laughed. You know life can be painful if you don’t try to sprinkle a pinch of humor on it now and then.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    February 14, 2018 at 9:37 am

    Yep, did and do ‘scrooch’ except the word is fading. I am more likely now to say, “Scoot over and give me some room.” I can just imagine scrooch being used by folks riding a wagon or the bed of a truck, a bunch of kids in one bed, friends and relatives on a church pew or posing for the big group picture. So much for invading one’s space! You only scrooch for those you either don’t mind being close to or, more likely, want to be close to.

  • Reply
    Rick Shepherd
    February 14, 2018 at 9:19 am

    Happy Valentines Day, Tipper!…..I’m all scrooched up in my easy chair sitting in front of the fireplace looking at the royal purple Cala Lilly plant on the mantle I got Mary for Valentines Day…..Purple is her favorite color……She has to work today 1-11pm so I’m just waiting for her to get up while I have a cup of coffee.

  • Reply
    February 14, 2018 at 9:09 am

    Scrooch is not a word I ever use. Around here, it’s scrowdge when an area gets too crowded and scrounge (scraped and scrounged) when I try to find enough of a certain thing such as enough money to make a purchase. I’ve also scrounged around in the kitchen to find the food I need to make a meal.

  • Reply
    Dee Parks
    February 14, 2018 at 7:59 am

    Haven’t thought of that word for a long time. I remember using it when I was young and also when I was down south at my grandparents but now I just say “move it on over.” In one of the sentences describing the word it also talked about going through a Rhododendron thicket and picking up lacy ground pine to take to the peddler. My grandmother was always saving eggs to trade with the peddler, but ut what is lacy ground pine??

  • Reply
    February 14, 2018 at 7:57 am

    Midwest, with West Virginia roots. We said ‘scootch’.

  • Reply
    February 14, 2018 at 7:39 am

    Of course we scrooch when too many children and grownups try to line the same pew, or fit in the same easy chair. Sad when children cannot sit on your lap, and you have to fit in tight places. We also scrounge around and find something to eat before grocery time. We have been known to scrunch up to make more room for one more. A sectional couch will take care of that. but it can sure be lonely when the little ones are not there wiggling and moving all over creation. Nothing sweeter than napping in a chair with a little one.

    • Reply
      February 14, 2018 at 8:17 am

      Replying to my own post. I guess that is acceptable and to be expected when one gets older. It is the equivalent of it is okay to talk to self if you don’t answer back. I just wanted to mention that scroungy was a common term in my mountains. You could feel scroungy, look scroungy, or have an old scroungy dog under the porch. I find more and more that describes my days, but spring will be here soon.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    February 14, 2018 at 7:26 am

    Yes, used that word all my life, Tip. Doesn’t everyone use that? It just seems like a word the whole world would use. I noticed another word in you 1895 Edison example “You’ve scrouged right in hyur in front of the fire.” Hyur in pronunciation of here. I’ve sure heard a lot of that. It’s another mainstay in our colorful Appalachian language!

  • Reply
    Sheryl PaulI
    February 14, 2018 at 6:59 am

    Oh yes used it all the time when we needed to fit so many of us in a back seat or on a couch. Is e it today too but not as often

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