Appalachia Appalachian Dialect

Point Blank


The Pressley Girls point blank got to quit carrying their instruments around upside down!

point blank
A variant forms pime blank, pine blank, pint blank, plime blank, plum (b) blank. [DARE pime blank chiefly sAppalachians, esp eastern Kentucky, pine blank chiefly S Midl, esp sAppalachians; pint blank chiefly South Midland; plime blank chiefly sAppalachians, esp eastern Kentucky]
B adjective phrase Exact, precise.
1937 Hall Coll. Cades Cove TN Pint blank proof [of illicit liquor making] was necessary for an arrest (Dave Sparks) 1963 Edwards Gravel 134 And among them wuz a little sorrel mare with white feet and a white spot on her forred, and follerin her wuz a colt that wuz the pimeblank image of its maw.
[DARE South Midland]
C adverb phrase Exactly, directly, positively.
1913 Kephart Our Sthn High 286 “P’int-blank” is a superlative or an epithet: “We jist p’int-blank got it to do.” 1961 Williams Content Mt Speech 15 Atter a while the little oddlin’ begun to look plime blank like its grampappy. 1974 Fink Bits Mt Speech 19 I told ’em no—pint blank. 1961 Medford History Haywood Co 34 I can hit a squirrel pine blank in the head on the highest limb with this here gun, yes-siree! 1978 Montgomery White Pine Coll. II-3 Things get twisted around, if you’re not point-blank open and explain. 1993 Sosebee Wordlist He looked pime blank like Billy. 1998 Brewer Don’t Scrouge “Plime blank” in our neck of the woods was “pint-blank.” it means “exactly” or “right on target” (in other words, “point blank”). “That boy’s pint blank like his daddy” or “that rock hit him pint blank on the nose,” for example . . . . When we started with “plime blank” month or two ago, I had no notion there were so may variation of it scattered from one holler to the next in Southern Appalachia. We’ve had “plime blank,” “plum blank,” “plumb blank,” and “pint blank.”
[OED point blank C2a now rare or obsolete; Web3 archaic; DARE South Midland, esp sAppalachians]

Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English


Point blank is the version I’ve heard in the area of Appalachia where I live. Pap said it often, The Deer Hunter says it sometimes, and I need to say it more to make sure it continues to be heard.


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  • Reply
    November 13, 2018 at 6:11 am

    I’ve heard “pointblank” all my life, always as an emphatic “straight out, no argument” kind of word: “he’s lying if he said that was my idea – I told him pointblank we were not going to do it that way.” I never thought about the meaning or origin, but now you’ve got me thinking – as usual 🙂

  • Reply
    November 10, 2018 at 12:58 pm

    Point blank vs pine blank: Point blank is what I heard growing up (my parents being from different areas in the South) mostly from my Mother, a N. Alabama native. I’ve also seen it written out in books, etc as dialogue, meaning ‘exactly, absolutely’. Pine blank was used when quoting my maternal Great Grandfather, and my Grandmother used it for emphasis, as in “I’ll swear pine blank, if that don’t beat a goose-a-gobblin’- also from N. Alabama.

  • Reply
    November 9, 2018 at 5:01 pm

    Here in Western Kentucky we say point plank still, and also” right smack dab ”……
    as in , ” went fishing in Wisconsin while visiting our daughter and we got stuck on a sand bar right smack dad in the middle of the river,,,,, haha that really happened to us …so funny ….. later on 🙂

  • Reply
    November 9, 2018 at 11:06 am

    I heard, “I’m telling you point blank …” all my Iowa life.

  • Reply
    November 9, 2018 at 11:00 am

    I don’t remember hearing any of the versions of pime blank but I do remember and say Point Blank. Reading comments I get a smile on my face when they register with me, as I have said Smack Dab too but its been a long time ago.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    November 9, 2018 at 10:33 am

    I’ve heard point blank as long as I can remember. Basically the same as “That’s a fact”.

  • Reply
    Charles Ronald Perry, Sr.
    November 9, 2018 at 9:38 am

    Besides if they carry them around like that all the music will drain out of the neck of the instrument

  • Reply
    November 9, 2018 at 9:25 am

    We say it to get the point across! God Bless you all today. Have a good one.

  • Reply
    Pamela Danner
    November 9, 2018 at 9:19 am

    I have heard it as well.

  • Reply
    November 9, 2018 at 9:19 am

    I’ve heard point blank all my life.

  • Reply
    November 9, 2018 at 8:49 am

    Point blank is not often heard recently, but was regularly heard through the years. It is one of those expressions I never before noticed, and would not have thought southern or appalachian. Thank you, Tipper, for bringing these gems to our attention. Television has been responsible for causing our language to be nondescript, so hope we can use these expressions to keep them going. Unfortunately, I do say words and expression to younger folks, and they ask for an explanation of what I am speaking about.

  • Reply
    November 9, 2018 at 8:49 am

    Yep, it’s plime blank in eastern KY. It’s said the same way today as it was a hundred years ago.

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    November 9, 2018 at 8:47 am

    Now that I think about it, I don’t hear that as often these days. Like you, Tipper, I’ll be sure to say it more often from now on.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    November 9, 2018 at 8:44 am

    I don’t know how to write it but the word, the way I say it, comes out as pie’nt blank and is synonymous with smack dab. It’s almost the same as pint blank but with an ie sound as opposed to a long i.
    I associate point blank with guns. Point blank range is commonly used to describe a situation where a shooter is so close he doesn’t need to aim his weapon.

    • Reply
      Ed Ammons
      November 9, 2018 at 10:46 am

      Or slap dab!

  • Reply
    November 9, 2018 at 8:31 am

    I haven’t been on here for awhile. Unpassable kidney stone with complications.
    I don’t think that in my part of I ever heard anything but plime blank. That’s the one I use.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    November 9, 2018 at 8:26 am

    In southeast KY you can hear either ‘pint blank’ or ‘plime blank’. And the same person may use both. There may have been a shift toward ‘point blank’ in recent decades because of school and other wider-world influences though. ‘Pint blank’ tends to mean ‘directly’ and ‘plime blank’ typically means ‘just alike’ .

    About language, it is interesting and instructive to listen to old recordings of people talking, especially elders. Just the sound lets us get a sense of how the way we talk has changed. I expect to my own ancestors I would sound like a ‘fotched on furriner’ to some degree.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    November 9, 2018 at 8:16 am

    Point blank is the only one I have heard or used. I have not used it lately and as you said Tipper these phrases are going away.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    November 9, 2018 at 7:20 am

    Tipper–To me it’s “point blank,” with synonyms being “flat out”or “plain out.”
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Colleen Holmes
    November 9, 2018 at 7:11 am

    Hear that one a lot here in Michigan. Sometimes I think southern talk migrated some to us Northerners because my grand pappy talked thisaway.

  • Reply
    Sheryl A Paul
    November 9, 2018 at 6:58 am

    Point blank here too

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    November 9, 2018 at 6:47 am

    Yes, that’s one I’ve heard all my life, the point blank version. I never thought about it being a southern or Appalachian expression….it’s just point blank what we said!

  • Reply
    November 9, 2018 at 5:15 am

    I point blank can’t remember where I lay things anymore.

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