Appalachian Dialect

Do You Ever Squinch?

boy squinching his eyes

squinch verb To squint, contort the eye or face; hence squinch-eyed = squint-eyed.
1941 Hall Coll. Del Rio TN His eyes was squinched up. (Wilford Metcalf) 1968 DARE = to squint, close the eyes partway when looking at the sun (Brasstown NC). 1997 Montgomery Coll. squinch-eyed (known to eight consultants).
[Web3 prob blend of squint and pinch]

Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English

2021 Blind Pig and The Acorn Coll. “Sorry I didn’t see you, I had my eyes all squinched up cause of the sun.”

Over 50 years later squinch is still alive in Brasstown, NC.


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  • Reply
    Dona DiBernardo Silver
    March 25, 2021 at 7:21 am

    Yes. I’m always squinting/squinching while reading or drawing with my 3 year old grandson Michael.
    My son noticed Michael doing it as well and asked me to try to control it . Lol
    He is following what his Gran does.
    No harm there.

  • Reply
    Leigh Ann Spurlock Florkevich
    March 22, 2021 at 6:40 pm

    We “squinch” in my part of WV. Or as my Maw Maw pronounced it, “squeenched”.

  • Reply
    Barbara A Vandervort
    March 19, 2021 at 6:12 pm

    We ‘squnich’ but sometimes we ‘scrunch’ too.

  • Reply
    March 18, 2021 at 10:04 pm

    Yes we squinch

  • Reply
    Ruth Binder
    March 18, 2021 at 8:08 pm

    Scooch I’ve heard and used all my life. Squinch is brand new to me, but I love it!

  • Reply
    Dennis M Morgan
    March 18, 2021 at 5:20 pm

    I have used the term “his face was all squinched up” before. It just describes someone, well I don’t know how to define it other than their face was all squinched up!

    It is great to hear from people who ta klike I do!

    Dennis Morgan
    Flat Creek Rattler

  • Reply
    Karen Barnett
    March 18, 2021 at 1:34 pm

    I’ve heard the word “squinch” used in photography circles to describe the difference between real smiles and fake smiles. Fake smiles only use the mouth. Real smiles make your eyes squinch at least a little. So if you want to look authentic, trustworthy, and relaxed in your portraits, make sure you “squinch” your eyes a bit.

  • Reply
    Kat Swanson
    March 18, 2021 at 12:16 pm

    In Wise County, Va. …squinch eyed is often heard….Also scooch . Cross this state 300 miles east and you never hear our mountain words . ..these UVA folks consider the use of these words a sign of low intelligence….So very quaint .

  • Reply
    March 18, 2021 at 11:49 am

    I sometimes squinch my eyes even with glasses due to light sensitivity. I am squinting a bit due to posting on my cell phone. I think my neck of the wood may have made up some of its own words. We sometimes have to scrounge up something for Supper. My sisters and I were known to sometimes scrunch up together to get warm. Our hair could look scroungy if we were caught in the rain. This seemed to be a word where one could change the spelling and use it almost anywhere.

    • Reply
      March 18, 2021 at 10:07 pm

      Well said , know all of those words … ☕️

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 18, 2021 at 11:26 am

    I’ve been a squincher for 70 years now. It used to get my butt beat in certain situations for squinching. Now I squinch my eyes when I need to read something and don’t have a magnetfying glass. Squinching allows you to change the shape of your eyeball temporarily which changes where the light focuses in you eyes.
    Another way to see something more clearly is to put your thumbs and index fingers together so as to form a little diamond shaped hole in the middle. Looking at something through that hole makes you able to see it more clearly. Try it!

    Yes I deliberately spelled it “magnetfying” glass.

  • Reply
    Ray Presley
    March 18, 2021 at 11:07 am

    You know you’re home and among like minds when you start hearing those terms again. I can recall my kin folks saying, “They’s a coming a big storm,” a common occurrence when living in the Tennessee Valley. Also, I can still visualize my Uncle Ed squinching up his eyes and looking at the sun to force himself to sneeze. The soft accent, along with good, old timey music, good country cooking and such, is very comforting indeed.

  • Reply
    Gene Smith
    March 18, 2021 at 10:37 am

    Actor Clark Gable took squinting/squinching to a new level. All of his impersonators do it. Our family used those words, and “scooching” too. Someone might say, “Scooch over. I need more room” (on a couch or crowded pew.)

  • Reply
    Connie Adams
    March 18, 2021 at 10:11 am

    Yep I’ve heard that before. I’m in Missouri.

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    March 18, 2021 at 10:11 am

    Yep, it’s an essential word in my vocabulary.

  • Reply
    March 18, 2021 at 10:11 am

    I’m squinching right now . Trying to get a better focus. I guess as we get older, our eyes gets worse so we have to squinch.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    March 18, 2021 at 9:49 am

    Well, I squinch a lot for sun, dust, etc but if I am speaking I am more likely to say squint. But if I am speaking about the look of ones face who is squinting I would likely say squinched.

    By the way, for the opposite of squinched, that is when the eyes are open very wide, my Dad called that “blared”. As in “When I said that, he blared his eyes at me right big.”

  • Reply
    March 18, 2021 at 9:40 am

    I’ve squinched my eyes and have heard and used the word all my life, which so far is a long time.

  • Reply
    March 18, 2021 at 9:00 am

    I have heard that word all my life. Folks not only squinched at the sun but also squinched when they were mad.

  • Reply
    Margie G
    March 18, 2021 at 8:48 am

    Squinch is a great word to describe eyes partly open/ partly closed due to sun, dust or wind exposure. A child may squinch their eyes ( where momma can’t see lest she tan the behind for being a smart eleck) in disdain. Squinching at tall tales is also a natural reaction. It’s a good word.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    March 18, 2021 at 8:37 am

    Like Miss Cindy I always scooch over to make room for someone else to sit down. I squinch also when the sun is too bright. These are both everyday words.

  • Reply
    Sheryl O Paul
    March 18, 2021 at 8:36 am

    All the time. My family has always used it and a great word it is leaves no diubt whst it mrans

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 18, 2021 at 7:51 am

    Oh yes, all my life I heard that word. Don’t squinch you’ll get wrinkles, don’t squinch your face will freeze like that!
    There is also scooch, scooch up close and we’ll stay warm!
    Perfectly good words!

  • Reply
    March 18, 2021 at 6:18 am

    I’ve not heard squinch, but squinting is a word often heard in this section of the mountains.
    Usually bright light or poor eyesight is associated.

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