Appalachian Dialect

Ever Heard of a Lip-Hook?

group of people from smoky mountains 1950s

A few weeks back Nancy Scott Beach sent me the following question on the Blind Pig and The Acorn’s Facebook page.

“My dad always told visitors to just stay the night and he would put them on a liphook. Instead of saying he would make a mat on the floor for them. I googled liphook and couldn’t locate a southern slang usage that way. Was that just one of my dad’s Scots-Irish heritage sayings? Curious if you have heard that. My ancestors settled in Macon County, NC in the mid 1800s.”


I don’t remember the word liphook, but it seems like I remember someone saying something similar.

Have you ever heard the lip-hook usage Nancy describes?


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  • Reply
    Deborah Smith
    September 9, 2019 at 6:20 pm

    I remember hearing about Liphook, a little town somewhere in England as a coach stop. it was used during the ww1 & ww2 as a stop for troops. it was just a small place and they used to let people sleep on floors and in stalls. so maybe dad used it as slang for making a pallet?

  • Reply
    July 14, 2019 at 3:17 am

    This reminded me of “sleeping on or over a line”
    This was a means of accommodating a lot of sleepers.

  • Reply
    sue carter
    July 12, 2019 at 9:46 pm

    tipper for some reason i havent gotten your newsletters for several days ,miss them,so i re-subscribed thanks

  • Reply
    July 12, 2019 at 1:02 pm

    The only lip-hook I’m familiar with is for stringing your catch when fishing.
    The only other similar thing I can think of is the “hooked mats” Grandma would sometimes put on the porch floor for afternoon naps and rest times. These were crocheted rugs which had not yet been put to use so were nice and clean to lay on.

    • Reply
      Gaye Blaine
      July 12, 2019 at 7:24 pm

      Always heard of a lip hook growing up. German, Engkish, Scotch Irish mixture.

  • Reply
    July 12, 2019 at 7:02 am

    In our family it was called a sky hook.

  • Reply
    July 11, 2019 at 5:45 pm

    No, I haven’t heard that one. Like some of the others, just, ” we’ll make you a Baptist pallet, or hang you on a nail.” E. Tenn.

  • Reply
    Paula Rhodarmer
    July 11, 2019 at 12:56 pm

    Tipper, the post and comments are so interesting. I never heard it before, but it sounds so natural. Old words and old ways are disappearing every day. Thanks for helping keep them alive.

  • Reply
    Don Byers
    July 11, 2019 at 12:55 pm

    I kinda like the one about hanging up on the wall like a coat….dunno about this!!!As I already said…never heard of it.

  • Reply
    July 11, 2019 at 12:04 pm

    Sounds like Grandpa was just funnin’ with y’all. A lip hook is a dental tool to keep the lips peeled back. He was probably implying that he’d hang you from your lip from the rafters if he had to make room for you. ☺️

  • Reply
    July 11, 2019 at 11:46 am

    Never heard it used in that context but I know what we called a lip hook looks like, we used it to hang our catfish on when we would clean them, you would drive a nail on a board stand it up stick the fishes lip on the nail and skin and clean the catfish, don’t believe I’d like to spend the night that way.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    July 11, 2019 at 11:34 am

    Never heard the word “liphook” used before.

    Dillard Hardin had a Trout Pond just below the house when I was growing up. Me, Harold, and Gary Lee used to transfer trout in the summertime. Talk about fun, we would catch them on flyhooks. two and three at a time and put them in a Pipe. The fish would Pop-up in his big Pond several feet away, and he paid us for doing that.

    One time I was sitting on the Porch at his Trout House beside the Pond and Ole Dillard was wound-up, telling a Coon Hunter Story. He told about “ole Blue”. He was getting ready to Coon Hunt, and noticed ole Blue wasn’t feeling so good. He said to one of his boys to go fetch the Wheelboro and put ole Blue in it. We caught two Coons that night by just following ole Blue’s nose, said Dillard. He was quite a character. …Ken

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    July 11, 2019 at 11:01 am

    I remember beds on the floor being called Baptist pallets. I wonder if it got started with people attending revivals and staying with family or friends.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    July 11, 2019 at 10:27 am

    I’ve heard of ‘Lip Hooks” as long as I can remember, I’ve actually heard of hanging folks from a lip hook when there wasn’t sufficient bed space this was just an expression and I don’t think it ever happened. Actually the “Lip Hooks” I was familiar was the screw in hooks we had in our Smokehouse that we hung Hams and Shoulders from to smoke them after they were cured with salt and brown sugar since the smoke rose and was more concentrated in the peak of the Smokehouse. In fact I have several in my workshop where I hang things I don’t have room for otherwise.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    July 11, 2019 at 9:37 am

    Maybe Dad was suggesting hanging them on a chain like catfish. The chain has hooks on swivels that you poke through the fish’s lip. There is a lot of people these days who already have a hole in their lip. That’s a great idea!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    July 11, 2019 at 9:18 am

    I heard “Why don’t youins just spent the night. We’ll make room for you if we have to hang you on a nail!”
    Most of my folks came to Macon County in the early to mid 1800s too. Macon County was a lot bigger then.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    July 11, 2019 at 8:23 am

    Never heard ‘liphook’. For the same idea we would have said ‘pallet’ such as, “I’ll make you up a pallet on the floor.” Guess there is a connection to the idea of the modern wooden pallet being something you lay things on to keep them up off the floor.

    Every now and then one runs into words that are individual or family-specific. They are real mysteries because they can just spring into being out of thin air with no evident connection to anything.

  • Reply
    July 11, 2019 at 8:11 am

    This post shows exactly why your blog is so important, Tipper. No, I never have heard that expression used for the pallet on the floor, and it would have been memorable. We would have them scattered all over the upstairs of my uncle’s old log farmhouse. As I look back, I would think that old farmhouse was probably built in the 1800s. When young people were “setting up housekeeping” it was not unusual for them to move into any old structure that was still standing. If they had overnight company they would just have pallets, and I remember it being such a wonderful time. Breakfast would be some sort of meat from the latest hog killing, but the best was the long rows of steaming hot coffee for children and adults alike. That was the only time I got coffee.
    Occasionally something will come to me, and I will realize I had not heard it for years. If I cannot google it, then I figure it is possibly lost forever except in the minds of a very few who still remember their elders using it on a daily basis. I never hear handovers for rutabaga, and I had to look long and hard for pamillion which was commonly used for a squash much like the candy roaster. I feel fortunate to be able to go each day and get my Appalachian “fix” and it is especially nice to see where a poster has shared an almost forgotten treasure from our Appalachian heritage!

  • Reply
    aw griff
    July 11, 2019 at 8:10 am

    No, never heard lip-hook. Tipper, the one I’ve heard and maybe you have heard is spend the night and we’ll hang you on a nail.

    • Reply
      July 11, 2019 at 8:20 am

      AW- Yes hang you on a nail is the one I was thinking about but couldn’t remember the exact saying. Thank you!

  • Reply
    July 11, 2019 at 7:53 am

    I have never heard that one. Maybe Nancy’s family was like mine and said things that were only common among other family members.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    July 11, 2019 at 7:45 am

    I do remember that but haven’t heard it since I was a little kid. I know it meant he would hang them on the wall like a coat if there was no bed available. It must be Scots-Irish or German because that was my Grandfather .

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    July 11, 2019 at 6:55 am

    Nope, never heard of it.
    I like the picture today. That’s my Great Grandmother, my Dad and uncle, me, my sister, and cousins. My Dad’s family had a big get together every July to celebrate several birthdays and to just get together. At this picture time we would have driven up from Texas for our summer trip to see family.

  • Reply
    Don Byers
    July 11, 2019 at 6:48 am

    Never heard that one……must be like “put on the feedbag”.

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