Appalachia Appalachian Dialect

How Many Ways Can You Get?


In Appalachia we use the word get in a variety of ways like:

  • using the phrase get about as a verb meaning to move around. “He must be close to 90 year old but I swear he gets about better than I do.”
  • the verb phrase get to meaning to start. “I better get to going or I’ll be late.” or “It got to where every time I seen him I had to give him some money.”
  • the verb phrase get up is used meaning to gather together. “Granny said for us to get up some wood and water before the snow starts.”
  • get can also mean to move out of the way or leave the area. “I don’t know who that dog belongs to but I’ve been telling it to get all morning.”
  • the phrase get up and go is typically used to describe a lack of energy. “I wanted to get a lot done today but my get up and go has gone.”

I took a quick look in my Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English and found some more get uses.

  • get: to hunt or kill an animal (this one is common here)
  • get a track: to find the track of an animal
  • get down: to give birth
  • get easy: to obtain relief from medicine (I’ve heard Pap say this one and Granny too)
  • get fair: for the weather to clear up
  • get grown: to grow up (I’ve heard this one all my life, just didn’t think of it)
  • get killed with their shoes on: a sudden violent death
  • get obliged: to have an obligation to
  • get oneself a cook: get married
  • get one’s peas thrashed: to receive a beating
  • get shed of: get rid of (very common here)
  • get to be: to become
  • get up backwards: to be out of sorts

Leave a comment and add any other get uses you can think of to the list or let me know which ones you’re not familiar with.


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  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    April 6, 2018 at 12:35 am

    Can’t stand to hear someone to say “gitchy, gitchy goo” to a baby! I often wondered what the baby was thinking…Another one I grew to dislike was the pinch on the nose with the term used, “I gotcha nose..see here”! Then show the thumb between the forefinger and middle finger…like any child would believe one could pull off their nose…lol
    We say “Git” as loud as we can and beat a metal spoon on a pan to chase the squirrels back to the tops of the Oaks and out of the birdfeeders….at least until the next day…
    Well, I gotta get going…it’s late and I gotta get to bed…About ready to start gettin’ in firewood again as we are supposed to have a chance of snow flurries this weekend…and I wanted to plant a few taters and onions on the good day for us here in TN…
    Thanks Tipper…also loved all the great comments..

  • Reply
    Granny Sue
    April 5, 2018 at 5:39 pm

    Well, let’s see. I hear people say, “he got down in his back.” Also, as many others, “Git!” to a dog who is where he isn’t supposed to. Git as a noun refers to a foolish, obnoxious person, at least in England. Get a move on, get a life, get-up-and-go, get shet (shut) of, get some learnin’….these are the ones that come to mind right off.

  • Reply
    Shirley Burns
    April 5, 2018 at 4:11 pm

    I never realized how many different ways we use this word .Its as common here in Mississippi as it is up there .I am always saying ” I better drink my coffee and get up and get at it.”( a little procrastinating there )

  • Reply
    Dee Parks
    April 5, 2018 at 12:13 pm

    I’ve heard most of those expressions when I was a little girl spending time with my grandparents. Never heard of getting one’s peas thrashed though. Had forgot quite a few til I read them from your post or your readers response. Brought back memories of my dear grandparents. Always a good thing.

  • Reply
    C. Ron Perry, Sr.
    April 5, 2018 at 11:58 am

    I would make a comment but all my get up and go has done got up and went.

  • Reply
    April 5, 2018 at 11:54 am

    I’ve heard my mama and daddy say “My get-up and go has got up and Went.” And you taught me to say “get” instead of “kill” when speaking of squirrel hunting. (in case Peeta wanted to get on my case.)
    We had a fire across from Ray White’s Plaza this week. The Forest Service was using a Helicopter to assist in putting it out, but it was the Rain that done the most. Someone was burning a Brush-pile and it got out and started those Mountains to burning. …Ken

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    April 5, 2018 at 10:38 am

    “Git shed of” brings lots of memories. I remember my grandparents saying it but haven’t heard it in many yrs.

  • Reply
    April 5, 2018 at 10:36 am

    Just flipped over to check something in your previous day’s post and apparently lost the response I was working on so if you see two responses, only one is needed.
    Don’t forget “git along lit’l dogie” – even the folks out west , or wherever a body might be ranchin’, use “get”. I use and hear most all of the examples you and your readers have mentioned except “get down” for birthin’. I hear “get down” referring to begin common, relaxed, or laid back as a way of telling someone to get off ” your high horse”, or to stop being so “high faluttin'” or “uppity”.
    The other think I noticed is that as I read the examples you and your readers gave, I heard in my head “geht” when the phrase was used in an easy goin’ tone and “giht (git”) when there was more intensity or urgency. For example: I use “geht” when I am dog tired and say “my get up and go got up and went” or “he gets to be such a teddy bear around his grandbabies”. On the other hand “I’ve got to git that coyote before it gits any more of my chickens” or using “git” in any phrase having to do with chasing off an annoyance whether it be child, mosquito, or some 4 legged critter.
    There are several other examples of the variations in pronunciation but I will spare you and your readers any further of my ramblings. Gotta git along now!

    • Reply
      Ed "Papaw" Ammons
      April 5, 2018 at 11:39 am

      I, for one, enjoy reading your’s and other’s ramblings and often provide my own.

  • Reply
    Ed "Papaw" Ammons
    April 5, 2018 at 10:28 am

    Ever get somebody’s goose? Or get your goose got?

  • Reply
    April 5, 2018 at 9:07 am

    It’s been ages since I’ve heard get down. Another one that’s common in my family is get supper, meaning prepare a meal. I tried to fancy up the saying by adding fix instead of get and my friends still giggled. They “make dinner” in the microwave while I fix mine on top of the stove.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    April 5, 2018 at 8:59 am

    One that comes to mind is “get settled” after a move. Then there is, “Might as well get comfortable. Looks like we’ll be here awhile.” Oh yes, how about, “He used to be plain folks but now he’s got plumb above his raisin’.” I ’bout forgot, “get likkered up.” And I guess each of us is prone to “get crossways” with somebody. I don’t suppose “get an ear (or an eye) full” is Appalachian though.

    On another subject, I posted yesterday a reply to Tamela about candy roaster seed. How do you handle those sorts of things Tipper when your readers need to connect ? How do you want to handle it?

    • Reply
      April 5, 2018 at 3:42 pm

      Ron-thank you for the great comments! I know a lot of folks come back to read comments left later in the day, but just in case if a comment is made as a reply to another reader I try to email it to the reader 🙂

  • Reply
    Robert Barlow
    April 5, 2018 at 8:55 am

    I have used a few of the phrases with the word “get”, but when I was much younger I would hear the older folks use these phrases quite often, however, I have never heard of “get one’s peas thrashed”; I got my peas thrashed every once in awhile when I was a kid by my parents.

  • Reply
    Ed "Papaw" Ammons
    April 5, 2018 at 8:48 am

    It’s spelled get but I pronounce it git.

    I had Dusty rolling one day. We were outside when a big ugly lookin dog trotted across the yard. I didn’t pay it no mind til it stopped and started staring at us. I yelled “Git out of my yard!” It just stood there. I took off toward it yelling “You better git before I rip your heart out and stuff it down your throat!” It took off like it had just seen the devil. I am pretty big and ugly too, you see.
    The dog ran across a neighbors field looking back over it’s shoulder every once in a while. Every time it looked, I yelled “Git” until it went plumb outta sight. I don’t know what I would have done if that dog had turned on me. I guess I would have got eat up. Dusty couldn’t have helped me. He was laughing too hard.

    • Reply
      April 5, 2018 at 1:12 pm

      I use “git” all the time, Ed – it’s the word I use every day to move a goat from where it is to an inch closer to where I want it to be. Sadly, I do not have your degree of success! 🙂

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    April 5, 2018 at 8:47 am

    It is just one of those words we all use without thinking.. I loved your example of Get shed of him. My neighbor growing up used to say get shut of him.

  • Reply
    Sanford McKinney Jr
    April 5, 2018 at 8:38 am

    I hear one pretty often around upper east TN when someone does or says something ridiculous. “Why don’t you get real!”

  • Reply
    Bobby C
    April 5, 2018 at 8:34 am

    We regularly use “get down” for someone who is ailing or has a health issue. “Whenever Daddy gets down in his back, you kids are going to have to pick up the slack with the chores!”

  • Reply
    Bob Jones
    April 5, 2018 at 8:22 am

    Don’t know where my post went!! So here it is again. A saying I have heard is–Where do you think you are going with that ‘get up’ on? Or she sure had some ‘get up’ on!! Maybe it is only a Maritime saying. Have you heard it in your area?

    • Reply
      April 5, 2018 at 9:53 am

      Bob-great one! Yes we use get up in the same manner 🙂

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    April 5, 2018 at 7:43 am

    Today , thanks to the ‘Cable Guy’ “Get er Done” meaning to accomplish a chore has become popular.

  • Reply
    April 5, 2018 at 6:45 am

    First one that comes to mind is “get your goat” for trying to provoke someone just for the sake of being annoying. As in, “he doesn’t mean that silly thing he’s saying, he’s just trying to get my goat!”
    Quinn the Goatherd

  • Reply
    April 5, 2018 at 5:33 am

    There are quite a few of these phrases I’ve heard or hear on a daily bases, but it’s one of those words so commonly used until you don’t realize you use it until someone like yourself draws attention to it, I can remember as a Boy growing up we might be into something or didn’t leave just as we were told to and Mama would have to repeat herself and say, ” You better listen to me, ” Get “. by then she’d have her hand raised or a fly swatter cocked in a position you knew what was coming next.

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