Appalachia Overheard



“I’m going to try my dead level best.”



Overheard: snippets of conversation I overhear in Southern Appalachia


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  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    August 1, 2016 at 9:06 pm

    Strange saying, isn’t it. LOL
    God bless.

  • Reply
    August 1, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    Sorry about the subscribing glitch-hopefully you’ve got it fixed! 
    One thing you might try-make sure to add my email [email protected] to your email contacts list. Sometimes email programs make changes-to help block spam. Sometimes adding my email to your list will let the provider know you know I’m not spam : )
    I hope you have a great week!

  • Reply
    July 31, 2016 at 5:50 am

    I have heard this all my life, the only difference is now days seems on average, no one does it anymore…

  • Reply
    July 31, 2016 at 1:15 am

    Saying “dead level best” and “level best” are both still used among kith and kin. “Dead level best is a notch above “level best”.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    July 30, 2016 at 11:34 am

    I use dead level best. Sometimes just level best. I never thought about where it came from. It must be something akin to putting plum (plumb) in front of words. Plumb means straight up and down. Dead level means perpendicular to plumb. The combination of the two means all squared away.

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    David Wilson
    July 30, 2016 at 10:58 am

    How come I had to resubscribe today? Then it told me that I was already a subscriber. But until I subscribe I couldn’t get in before I could get in. So I re-re-subscribed.
    Technology can’t live with it, can’t live without it. I hope I can continue to get blind pig each morning! You make my day so much brighter!

  • Reply
    July 30, 2016 at 10:55 am

    There’s that pretty little Chitter again, a listening to a conversation going on, on the other side of the door, and with the aid of a snuff glass…Ken

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    July 30, 2016 at 10:35 am

    When you do your dead level best then you have tried as hard as possible to do it. I don’t hear that used very much now days. You can trust someone who is always level headed, on the level with you and do their dead level best.

  • Reply
    July 30, 2016 at 9:39 am

    I use “dead level” and “level best” but don’t think I’ve heard the combination.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    July 30, 2016 at 9:32 am

    You just keep reminding me of things my Dad said. ‘Dead level best’ was one of his and describes his ethics very well. He didn’t believe in doing a poor job at anything. Underlying the idea of dead level is the understanding that a small amount of out of level now leads to real trouble over yonder and after awhile. Starting wrong ends worse. I’ll probably be mulling this over all day.

  • Reply
    anita griffith
    July 30, 2016 at 8:16 am

    I’ve haven’t heard that one for a long while.Mostly hear and say ,I’ll try real hard.I asked my 10 year old grandson what he says,and he said really hard.
    I’ll use that one more.I hate to see our language die.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    July 30, 2016 at 7:03 am

    Here is my take on this overheard post.
    Level–even, all balanced the same
    Dead level–Nothing touches the level, let the bubble stabilize without moving or touching the level.
    Dead level best–That’s it, all balanced, mark it down, the truest balance you can get, no interference at all on the balance. Then and only then can you hammer the nail or place the shim or cut the board for the best fit. In other words if all comes together, at least you’ve tried!
    Guess this is my carpenter daughter’s thoughts the way I view the idiom!
    Thanks Tipper

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