Appalachian Dialect

It’s Ooshie!

Ooshie means cold

A good while back Blind Pig reader Lorie Thompson left the following comment:

I read your blog with delight! Your Appalachian sayings surprise me, since I did not know most of them are specific to this area. It is just the way we have always talked. How about “ooshie”?

I emailed Lorie and said “Ooshie means cold to me is that what it means to you?” She was in agreement-that’s what the word means to her too.

I checked for ooshie in my various Appalachian word dictionaries and found nothing. Then I did a quick google. I found ooshie in the manner that Lorie and I are familiar with on this page. In addition, I discovered that ooshie is also a high end fashion line-who knew?

I thought ooshie was a word that was only used for cold around Granny and Pap’s house, but Lorie’s comment and the website word list made me realize the word usage must be more common than that.

How about you – does ooshie = cold?



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  • Reply
    Patricia Price
    October 28, 2021 at 7:33 am

    Reading old posts and came upon this one. We most surely do use “ooshie”! In fact, if it is REALLY cold, we say, “OOSHIE BOOSHIE”! (From the other side of the TN border from you all.)

  • Reply
    January 28, 2020 at 7:27 pm

    Have used it here in Northwest Alabama all my life. But my husband, from Northeast Alabama, had never heard it until we met.

  • Reply
    November 14, 2018 at 1:55 am

    I know I am late to this discussion but the word “ooshie” and “oosh” were frequently used for cold around my house. It was so common that I didnt realize other people had no idea what I was saying.

    • Reply
      November 17, 2018 at 9:41 am

      Mountaincat-thank you for the comment! Good to know you used ooshie in your family too 🙂

  • Reply
    January 19, 2016 at 11:19 am

    Betzy-thank you for the comment! I didn’t make Chatters hat but Granny did : ) Have a great day!!

  • Reply
    Rev. Rose Marie "RB" Redmond
    January 16, 2016 at 9:36 pm

    I’ve never heard the word ooshie before, in NC or in any of the other states I lived in.
    Looks like your prayers for snow might get answered this weekend in the NC mountains. I pray everyone stays safe and warm during them.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    January 16, 2016 at 7:14 am

    I’m lost on this one, never heard it.. and I vote no Snow this year except on T.V..

  • Reply
    Shirley B
    January 16, 2016 at 12:52 am

    I don’t think I have heard the word ooshie.Most of the words on the vocabulary tests are pretty much the same as us country folks around here use. Sometimes I will see one that I am not familiar with ,or maybe just barely remember my dad saying it.My mom,who is 84,will say a word occasionally that kind of “stumps” me.When someone tells her something that shocks or surprises her,she will say”well,I swonney!” I have always wondered how that word came about.
    The snow picture of Chatter is beautiful! Maybe you all will get some snow soon.

  • Reply
    January 15, 2016 at 7:12 pm

    Yes, very ooshie here and more snow on the way. Sure wish we could send you some, we certainly have more than enough to share! Hope you get your snow wish soon.

  • Reply
    January 15, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    They say cats have 9 lives, so that means 9 deaths unless they are still on their last life, which means 8 or 9 funerals wouldn’t be unreasonable. You might want to consider a mausoleum though, unless you just like digging in the dirt.

  • Reply
    January 15, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    On late, but just had to post on that beautiful picture. That is a beautiful picture of Chatter, and possibly the prettiest picture I have seen on here. She is definitely modeling material, and love that toboggan.
    Now for the word “ooshie.” I have never heard the word said in southern West Virginia, but have heard old timers say many of the words you mention. We are very used to the cold here in Winter, as it seems that weatherman always shows those cold fronts dipping right down and grabbing WV.

  • Reply
    eva nell mull wike, PhD
    January 15, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    Oh! Goshie Washie! I wish I could attend the Folk School BEGINNING Story telling sessions with Keith! But weather prevents us hitting the roads!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Peggy Lambert
    January 15, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    I misspelled a word in my comment this morning. Should have been spelled phrase and not prase. Sorry. Still ” ooshie” here and raining but feels like snow may be on the way.
    Peggy L.

  • Reply
    January 15, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    Peggy L. – I loved your story about the cat’s death and the numerous funerals! It made me laugh!
    P.S. I never heard ooshie used before but it’s a great word. I think I may have to start using it if it ever gets cold enough.

  • Reply
    January 15, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    Don’t know the term – but then, maybe it doesn’t get cold enough in these parts for such a word. . . .

  • Reply
    Betzy Day
    January 15, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    Did you make Chatter’s hat? I love it.

  • Reply
    January 15, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    I have never heard that word! Thank you for that beautiful winter picture of such a beautiful young lady!

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    January 15, 2016 at 2:04 pm

    I called into the Party Line today and Donna Lynn asked if I’d like to go on Party Line. I said “no”, I want to request a song. She said “What do you want to hear?”
    To which I said “My Heart’s in Brasstown” and she interrupted me and said “I Love that one and it’s by Chitter and Chatter.”
    WKRK is worldwide on the Internet at : …Ken

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    January 15, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    When first stepping outside in the winter, my Mother usually said….Oooooo, she’s cold outside this morning!”….Now then, maybe all along she was saying “ooshie” ! Followed by “COLD, outside this morning!” ha
    We also said if it was just beginning to get cold of a’evenin’….”It’s gettin’ a little “air-ish!”
    Love the picture! Just beautiful, all of it!
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    January 15, 2016 at 11:44 am

    I have heard the word used as you do. It was also used by tween girls to describe something or somebody they considered repulsive. Since both cold and gross things tend to elicit one, I have always assumed that ooshie was a descriptive word for a shiver. Kinda like a more feminine form of brrrr. The colder or more disgustion the situation, the more o’s you put in oooshie.
    Ever heard oosh gosh?
    I think this is an example of how your plan to add sound clips to word questions would come in handy!

  • Reply
    January 15, 2016 at 11:43 am

    I remember Mother saying “Ooshie!” Usually followed by, “Shut that danged door!”

  • Reply
    Peggy Lambert
    January 15, 2016 at 11:23 am

    We must be living on the right side of the mountain.
    “Ooshie has always been used in our part of the woods when it is cold. I never hear younger children saying it, mostly all older folks like me and one of my sisters.
    We also had this prase when we were playing or wanted to play we would always say “Lets play like .”
    Well, the cat died and we had to bury it. We had to have a preacher. A person we dearly loved that lived in our other house was a preacher and they had two sons who played with us. We got the sons to preach that cats funeral. Everyday we dug that cat up and they preached the service and sang again and we did that till it got so ripe we had to stop. We could always entertain our self and friends. We had no cell phones or games like kids have today. The sons have passed on and every time I think back on this I smile and then laugh.
    Thanks Tipper for jogging my brain this morning. It is “Ooshie and raining here today.”
    Peggy L.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    January 15, 2016 at 11:13 am

    That’s a nice picture of the Snow and Chatter sure is beautiful standing there with Granny’s Crocheted Hat. I bet Chitter is out there too, making a Snowball for someone. She’s more fiesty, but gorgeous too.
    I wish it would Snow! I remember when I was little, standing in front of the old cookstove waiting for it to heat up and mama saying “oochie.” Gosh, she was a tough woman and never complained much, heck she had to be, with six sons and no girls. But she loved being “mama” to us boys…Ken

  • Reply
    George Pettie
    January 15, 2016 at 11:11 am

    Terrific photo. Background: cold, white stillness. Foreground: warm, colorful vitality.

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    January 15, 2016 at 9:40 am

    That’s a new one to me. Airish is a word I grew up with. And if it was a cold wind it was said to cut you like a knife. My dad would say on a cold day that you can tell where your drawers come too. Stay dry…it’s raining like a cow peeing on a flat rock here!

  • Reply
    January 15, 2016 at 9:33 am

    Never heard “ooshie” . Can’t imagine what it’s derivation might be. Pretty pic. Kinda Zach Brown look with the toboggan.

  • Reply
    January 15, 2016 at 9:09 am

    Never heard ooshie. I was about to question the location of the snow in the picture when you explained it was taken last year. The weathermen are watching a system that will be headed our way on or around the 23rd. They said it would be a very heavy snow or rain maker. I’m sick of all the rain! Doesn’t Mother Nature know it’s January?

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    January 15, 2016 at 8:53 am

    Never heard of “oushie”. We often said ‘airish’ to either deliberately understate a bitter cold or to accurately describe a moderate cold. That reminds me of Jamer Herriot, the Yorkshire vet, writing that Yorkshire folks would say “thin wind” for the kind that blows right through you.
    I expect there are a few words or expressions most anywhere that are really local and arose from some unique combination of circumstance.
    As a side note, I love to go tramping in snowy woods when everything seems hushed and kind of closed in.

  • Reply
    Henry Horton
    January 15, 2016 at 8:45 am

    New to me, but what a beautiful knit cap. What we called stocking caps in Missouri, but boggans here? Just found out on line that boggan comes from toboggan. Words and their migrations and transformations; don’tcha just love em?

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    January 15, 2016 at 8:37 am

    We didn’t always say “OOSHIE” –which did mean cold–but we shortened it to OOSH! Meaning really cold!
    And we sometimes said “Ooshie, gooshie” together for anything unpleasant or meaning we should do something about it! If cold when we were to go out, put on more clothing, or galoshes if muddy, snowy or frosty!
    And “Oosh!” was usually followed by going back inside to the fire to get warm again!
    Thanks for listing my son Keith Jones’s class on Beginning Storytelling at the Campbell Folk School the weekend of February 5-7. If you want to learn how to spin tales, I recommend his class! He might even tell a story with “Oooshie, gooshie” in it!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    January 15, 2016 at 8:23 am

    Never heard ooshie. Sounds squishie to me

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    January 15, 2016 at 8:11 am

    Nope, not something I every remember hearing ooshie. Yep, that’s some pretty girl!

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    January 15, 2016 at 8:09 am

    Pronounced oouzie!!! around here and yep- COLD

  • Reply
    January 15, 2016 at 7:54 am

    The photo above is definitely a keeper. Chatter is a beauty as well as her sister. The word ‘ooshie’ is a new one for me. Keep those words coming; I love the learning!

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    January 15, 2016 at 7:54 am

    I never heard the term “ooshie”. If it had appeared on the Appalachian Vocabulary Test, I probably would have guessed something like soft and “squishy”.

  • Reply
    Doris Noland Parton
    January 15, 2016 at 7:21 am

    “ooshie” I had never heard!

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    January 15, 2016 at 6:50 am

    On the one hand, I don’t think I have ever heard the word ooshie.
    On the other hand, I have seen both the girl and the location in the photo, but my, oh, my, what a wonderful shot and what a beautiful girl.

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