Appalachia Appalachian Dialect

Pieded – Piedy – Pietist


I started writing this post way back in 2015 when Ed and Dan sent me the following questions:

Question one from Ed:

“Do you or have you ever heard the word pieded? Mommy used to use it referring to the spotted or blotchy color of the skin near an infection. It was getting serious if it was getting pieded. Sometimes if you left the baby uncovered it’s skin would get pieded.”

Question two from Dan:

“I just came across a new word that I never heard “pietist”.  It was used in a book by Mildred Haun. The sentence read “The little cow was the pietist thing I ever saw.”

After reading the questions I wondered if the words they were asking about were connected or if they meant the same thing.

All these years later I haven’t the fainest clue why I thought the words were the same, but that’s what I had written. Hmph I guess I should have finished the post and I wouldn’t have lost the thread of thought I had going on the subject.

I’ve heard the word Ed asked about used in reference to skin my whole life, but not necessary skin near an infection. This is what the “Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English” has to say about pieded:

pieded, piedy adjective
1 Of the skin of an animal:mottled, marked with different colors in patches or blotches.

2 Of the skin of a person: blotched, as from exposure to a fire; hence pieded legs = discolored legs from sitting near a fire.

“Smoky Mountain Voices,” another Appalachian word dictionary has this entry:

pieded p.a. pied, piebald A spotted animal is said to be pieded (pied).

You may wonder why I suddenly decided to finish the post I started three years ago. This is the time of the year the girls and I fight over the position just in front of the stove where we will often sit or lie until our legs are pieded by the heat.


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  • Reply
    Vee Honea
    December 19, 2018 at 9:36 pm

    I’m 53 and I still used Pieded. I don’t really know another word that fits lol. I also use peeked to describe how a sick child’s eyes look.

  • Reply
    Mary Lou McKillip
    December 16, 2018 at 9:05 am

    Tipper. I have heard Piedid and here is one for you. Pilsyie ( nasty)my grandmother was of dutch orgian so piedid sound like from what my grandmother would say Dutch. Mama said if grandmother would seen something nasty she would say that is pilsyie

  • Reply
    December 12, 2018 at 7:22 pm

    Words are so interesting. So the use of the word ‘pied’ goes back to the 1200’s. Ok, back then, how did the use of the word ‘pie’ skip over from an edible item to a description of a mottled item, hmm? It would be nice to know.
    On another subject, the beautiful book, “Wild Fare & Wise Words,” with the Acknowledgments page and interesting Introduction written by Jim Casada, has arrived! Mouthwatering recipes! Sage quotes! (pun intended) I will be working my way thru it over the winter months. Thank you, Tipper, for sharing this lovely book.

  • Reply
    December 12, 2018 at 3:48 pm

    I don’t think I have heard that Tipper.

  • Reply
    December 12, 2018 at 3:46 pm

    Is it pronounced , Peed or Piid. I’m sure my grandparents used it but I don’t remember it. Quare I do remember.

    • Reply
      Ed Ammons
      December 12, 2018 at 5:18 pm


  • Reply
    December 12, 2018 at 3:38 pm

    The Pied Piper of Hamlin was to have worn a vari-colored garment/ cloak, hence his name. I think that story goes back to the 1200’s, it’s an old word.

  • Reply
    Jay A Clark
    December 12, 2018 at 3:18 pm

    Mom and Dad both used pieded. Mom took it further with “piededy.”

  • Reply
    Doug Bishop
    December 12, 2018 at 2:18 pm

    I have seen the word used to describe animals, especially horses As in he rode a Piebald mare.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    December 12, 2018 at 1:21 pm

    Did you feel the earthquake this morning? It was centered about 57 miles northwest of you. My daughter-in-law Sarah was working at the 911 call center in Morganton and people were calling her to report it. Morganton is about 170 miles away. I reckon I slept through it.

    • Reply
      December 12, 2018 at 1:41 pm

      Ed-we did feel the earthquake! It woke The Deer Hunter and me a little after 4. We experienced one, oh about 10 years or so ago so we knew what it was right away. I said “I wish it would quit.” The Deer Hunter said “Why?” I said “Cause it’s scary!” Chitter felt it too, Chatter and Ruby Sue the dog slept right through the whole thing 🙂

  • Reply
    Sherry Whitaker
    December 12, 2018 at 11:29 am

    Never ever even heard it that I can recall.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    December 12, 2018 at 11:26 am

    Yes–we all used to stand in front of the heater till our legs were pied, too! Then we would take off & jump into the icy cold beds. Gradually straightening out as the bed got warm. I really miss having a warming spot. Hope you are ready for Christmas!

  • Reply
    Janis Sullivan
    December 12, 2018 at 10:19 am

    I always heard it as a kid being used regarding cattle and horses, not people. Thank you, Tipper, for everything you and your family do for us. Merry Christmas! It is getting near.

  • Reply
    December 12, 2018 at 9:24 am

    Pieded was a common word used in our household when I was growing up. I think I might still say it occasionally when I hug the woodstove too long. Daddy loved his horses and traded them as sort of a hobby later in life. He never bought a solid color horse. To hear Mom tell it, he wouldn’t have one that wasn’t a purdy pieded color.

  • Reply
    December 12, 2018 at 9:10 am

    Have heard piebald, but not the pied usage.

  • Reply
    aw griff
    December 12, 2018 at 8:29 am

    Pieded was used by my Mother and Father-in -law to describe an animal with mixed up colors but can’t say if they used it for skin infections. My Mother-in-law also used another word to describe an animal with mixed colors. Muckledun. I always thought she made that one up.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    December 12, 2018 at 8:28 am

    Yep, heard pieded used for “blochedy” growing up but do not recall hearing it for a long time. I suspect I would use it without a second thought though if I was talking about mottled colors.

    You know, I just realized you have convinced me that we do have a language of our own. I generally just consider that we all are not that different. Maybe that is why I have gotten some funny looks through the years. I was being quare when I thought I was just being common.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    December 12, 2018 at 8:25 am

    Tip, I don’t remember ever hearing this word but maybe I just don’t recognize it written but would know it if I heard it spoken.

  • Reply
    Roger Greene
    December 12, 2018 at 7:15 am

    Probably derived from piebald —- having irregular patches of two colors.

    Surley The Deer Hunter has spoken of pibald deer. I saw a young piebald doe earlier this year.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    December 12, 2018 at 7:10 am

    This is a new one to me. Don’t think I have ever heard any version.

  • Reply
    Sheryl A Paul
    December 12, 2018 at 6:17 am

    I have heard pied used in this manner. The words are variations of this I would guess.

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