Appalachian Dialect


biscuits on pan

We had some extry good eating at Thanksgiving.

Extry was a word Pap used often. Francis Cook says it too. Francis and Pap both said/say special more like spacial with emphasis on the a.

A variant form extry.
1813 Hartsell Journal 98 I and my surboltens never drew aney extrey rations from the day we started up to this time. 1940 Simms Wiley Oakley 16 I’ll not charge anything extry for guidin’ the valet. (Wiley Oakley) 1973 GSMNP-79:21 I thought the people down here just tried to work too hard to make that extry money.
B adjective Very good, excellent.
1939 Hall Coll. Gatlinburg TN He was a extry hand to work (Lee Reagan) [DARE cheifly South, South Midland]
C adverb Especially.
1953 Hall Coll. Plott Creek NC He had some extra good dogs of the Plott dogs (John Plott)

Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English


Granny says extry too. I sure hope I say it without thinking, but I’m going to try and pay attention to what comes out of my mouth so I’ll know for sure. Extry makes it sound even more spacial than extra.


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  • Reply
    December 10, 2019 at 11:36 am

    “Extry” is not as common as it used to be around here; but those drawn out or “lazy” “As” may just be a reminder that we should slow down and savor life!

  • Reply
    December 8, 2019 at 7:59 pm

    Those biscuits sure look good, Tipper!
    I’m curious about the “valet” who needed guiding. I’m probably just ignorant, but the only valets I’ve ever seen have been in English movies 😉

    • Reply
      December 9, 2019 at 6:51 am

      Quinn-I was curious about the use of the word too. I know their talking about guiding a hunt or fishing trip, but not sure about the valet part!

  • Reply
    Auther Ray
    December 8, 2019 at 6:26 pm

    There wadn’t airy an extry one left. Awshaw , did you check the paintry ? They’s bound to be at least one sweet tadder left in thare.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    December 7, 2019 at 5:39 pm

    Both my parents said extry and so did I until had to unlearn it in school. Most of our teachers grew up in the community. Most likely they talked just like us until they went off to school and lost their commonality with their community and gained it with the World. That same World that our Appalachian ancestors struggled to free us from.

  • Reply
    December 7, 2019 at 4:25 pm

    Ditto on my Daddy saying extry, spacial, and just ragler. Sweet memories.

  • Reply
    December 7, 2019 at 2:34 pm

    I love listening to how people talk. I will say extra, as in those biscuits were extra good. Those biscuits look like the ones my husband made the other day. I’m a good cook, but he likes to cook more than I do, so I let him. We had the biscuits with a pot of great northern beans, and it was a wonderful meal on a rainy Sunday. Beans and biscuits were my favorite when I was a child.

  • Reply
    Paula Rhodarmer
    December 7, 2019 at 12:22 pm

    I don’t say extry but I sure have heard it said. My dad used to say it and he said many other words a little differently. When people used to not pump their own gas but drive up to the gas station my dad would say to the attendant, “Rag-ler, please.” Mother used to fuss at him for saying it, but he just smiled and said it the way he always said it.

    • Reply
      December 7, 2019 at 12:28 pm

      Paula-Pap said rag-ler too 🙂

    • Reply
      Ron Stephens
      December 7, 2019 at 4:42 pm

      Thanks for the reminder Paula. Gee, how long has it been since I heard that, “ragler”. It would make a good name for a dog, especially one that chewed things up into “doll rags”!

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    December 7, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    With helping out our homework, us boys and Mama tried to use Proper English, Daddy could care less and he said whatever came out of his mouth. I’ve heard both of them say “extry” a lot. Daddy mustive been in his thirtees when he was got Saved and was baptised in Brown’s Pond, along with two if his younger brothers. (I have a picture of them shortly afterwards, I’ve shown this picture to Matt and Tipper.)

    Daddy would lay in bed at night and read the Bible, with the help of Mama, who would help pronounce the words in Genesis, where so and so begat so and so. I still have trouble with those names. Later, Daddy taught most of the Adults in Sunday School. …Ken

  • Reply
    Debbie Nixon
    December 7, 2019 at 11:32 am

    It’s funny , I think we all have our on vocabulary of words we sometimes use without even paying attention till someone says what! Where you come up with that word.
    I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    December 7, 2019 at 10:13 am

    I’ve heard Extry for years but I have never knowingly used it though I may have without thinking about it. We tend to use language similar to that being used by the person/persons we’re talking to.

  • Reply
    December 7, 2019 at 9:22 am

    Captain D’s Restaurant ran a commercial a few years ago where they had an older woman tell the cashier she wasn’t paying extry, not knowing the meal was on sale. I absolutely loved that commercial. It sounded just like something my mom would have said. I don’t think I say extry, but I probably do. My parents never said special, spacialy when they talked to their children.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    December 7, 2019 at 9:04 am

    Those are some extrey good looking biscuits you got there. I don’t know if I say it or not but it’s what I hear in my head.

    • Reply
      Wanda Devers
      December 7, 2019 at 2:15 pm

      Just what I thought, Miss Cindy!

  • Reply
    December 7, 2019 at 8:39 am

    my oh my…this was an extry spacial blog post

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    December 7, 2019 at 8:15 am

    I draw a ? about “extry”; definitely yes for the idea but unsure about just that use. I’m confident I don’t hear it here nor say it myself. I have a feeling, but no more than that, I did not commonly hear it growing up or I would remember.

    Hope all you all have an extry good day today.

  • Reply
    Ray Potts
    December 7, 2019 at 8:00 am

    Spell correction corrected my extry to extra.

  • Reply
    Ray Potts
    December 7, 2019 at 7:59 am

    Tipper I remember all my family saying extra, I still say it. I just thought of something else as I was reading your blog. You said you was going to pay attention to what comes out of your mouth so you’ll know for sure. I and a lot of people I am close to don’t say (sure) we say (shore) or (Y shore). Like as in, did you have a big turkey for thanksgiving, we would answer Y shore or we shore did. I really enjoy your blog. It seems like us mountain folks is losing a lot of our ways of sayin and doin thangs as people from other areas have moved here and our cultures blend in with theirs. It is not a bad thing really, but I get homesick for our old ways sometimes.

  • Reply
    aw griff
    December 7, 2019 at 7:51 am

    I remember my Mamaw Lewis said extry and my Wife said her Mamaw Evans said extry. Tipper like you, I’m not sure if I say it or not. I’m sitting here using it in sentences and think I do say what sounds more like extree.

  • Reply
    December 7, 2019 at 7:03 am

    Man those biscuits look good and Yep, it does make it sound more special, and nothing like extry buscuits to have for later.

  • Reply
    Sanford McKinney Jr
    December 7, 2019 at 6:55 am

    I remember people in the mountains of Upper East Tennessee where I was born and raised using both these words, extry (y with long e sound) spacial, together, which elevated whatever the subject happened to be to a higher level than if only one of the words were used. I expect that was common in more areas than this area.

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